Tuesday, November 18, 2003

A Mainer Heads South

Report from the Retreat... or, what you didn't see in Knitter's Review

On November 7-9, I flew down to Virginia for the second-annual Knitter's Review Retreat. As we know, getting there is half the fun. I posted a nice and tidy report of the event in KR, but here's a deeper look at what I found on the way to (and back from) the lodge.

It was a 2-hour drive, so prepare to be thrilled.

bep beep

We began with a wonderful treat urban dwellers call "traffic." Is that rain I see? You betcha!

where am I again?

In case I had any doubts of my whereabouts, this friendly truck reminded me.

tasty treats abound

A detour through Culpeper led me to this fine culinary institution.

number one in the number two business

And if you had any doubts, there are plenty of places to take a leak in the Culpeper region.

mail order heaven

Before turning off the main road, I had to make a detour to visit this mail-order institution in person. I left with replacement filters for my kitchen compost pail. Does it get any better than that?

we like cars that go boom

I did a U-turn to catch this place. Darn, if only I'd brought my gun...

can I get a latte?

The last big town before Graves' is Madison, a contradiction between old and new. Here's the town café. If you look really closely you'll see several men in overalls sitting on the porch.

ah, progress

But yet at the end of this very same street, you come to this vista. Ah, progress!

the house of the big bopper

There were loads of these everywhere I went.

the bleakness of high school, revisited

I found this high school strangely depressing—enough, anyway, to stop the car and take a picture.

the house that holidays forgot

Hey, it's never too soon to start preparing for the holidays. (And likewise, it's never too late to start taking down the decorations from last year?)

fixer upper

I love this region enough to move here permanently. First I thought I'd get this fixer-upper...

My winter house

Until I found this place. See? The renovations have already begun. Boy do I work fast.

going, going, gone

The threat of development was everywhere, even on the borders of Graves'. This large farm immediately bordering Graves' just sold in several parcels for development. And something tells me they won't see much use for this lovely old barn. Alas.

all alone

And finally I arrived at the retreat, drove up the steep hillside, and parked my (upgraded at the airport) rental car in front of the hotel building. I was the only guest there that night and the night after everyone left. "The Shining," anyone?

Sunday, November 2, 2003

T-minus no time at all before the KR Retreat in Virginia. I'm a nervous wreck. There will be 67 people there. Or 68? Or 64? Who knows? Every day a new scenario arises that puts somebody's participation in question.

But here's the odd thing: It seems that everybody is having or has had a seriously challenging year, far more challenging than at last year's retreat. This includes myself. And it leads me to wonder if a year really can be cursed?

I just hope everybody can make it, because we all need this very much. I've already put in a request to the lodge for more Kleenex, because we're going to need it.

To keep myself from going off the deep end of anxiety and nervousness, I've been spinning up a storm. But not the useful kind of spinning—the piddly kind where you end up with 22 yards here, 46 yards there, and no project in sight. Still, it's keeping me grounded. Mostly.