Literally and figuratively since I last checked in way back in October. Supports my theory that time is compressed so much that it shoots by like a train from September to December - I keep blinking and another month has gone by.
It all started with that family odyssey to accept a Lifetime Athletic Achievement award for my father - something he always wanted and his old frat brothers finally made happen for him. My mom, twin sis, and younger brother and sister flew into Philadelphia where I was to pick them up on Friday afternoon, in plenty of time to make the 6PM dinner 35 miles outside the city. I planned the drive so that I could finally make it to Loop - I've come close one time and also missed the knitty meetup with Amy. It was a horrible rainy, foggy day, but I took the eastern shore route and had my new GPS thingy at the ready.
I worried as I approached Philly that I'd have to skip Loop - or run in and run out, but the fam's plane was delayed. Good news/bad news - the GPS took me directly into the city and to the shop, albeit on one of the narrowest one-way streets I've ever been on. It's an absolutely lovely shop - so clean and inviting and open. I love the seating area right in the middle of the store (instead of tucked away in a back corner). They have the most incredible colors I've ever seen, so well displayed in so many new yarns. I indulged (imagine that!) on four hanks of this gorgeous silk/wool from Sheep Shop Yarns - the color undulates with subtle tone-on-tone variegation and sheen. I tried to get some of the orange-y, coraly tones in here:
I should have stayed and knit a while, but I was anxious about getting out to the airport on a Friday at rush hour - turns out that was a good hunch. But then I ended up having to wait in the Philadelphia airport - sorry to any natives there, but what a pit! There are VERY limited services for any poor slob who's stuck waiting for a plane, outside the security area. I ate at one of those horrible airport restaurants and then just picked a spot to knit and wait. The Minimalist Cardigan got some work done, but I was jonesing - no coffee place anywhere - sheesh.
I was confused about which airport the gang was coming through, and after several bumbling phone calls with my aunt and uncle, also on their way to the dinner from NJ, I was sure they weren't going to arrive until 7PM. And then there they were - out of nowhere! We crammed into my station wagon - three women in the back and my brother navigating in the front - and set off for the hardest driving of my entire life.
I had absolutely NO IDEA where we were going, but my Magellan did, and it knew rush hour was in full swing, so it took us on dark, winding, hilly, misty, unlined, unlit, rural roads to Collegeville PA. To Ursinus College - land of no signs, no directions anywhere. Not to mention we were now an hour late - the salads were on the tables when we blew in (through the loading dock and kitchen, like a bad movie).
My father's supporters (frat brothers and teammates) occupied four ten-tops - pretty damned amazing how much this award meant for all of them too. My rock-star mom had to go sit on the stage through all the acceptance speeches, and she managed to say wonderful things and look wonderful at the same time as she accepted the award. It was certainly worth the drive and the drama.
But now it was after 9PM, and we still had to get to my aunt & uncle's in rural NJ - on those same dark, winding, hilly, misty, unlined, unlit, rural roads. Magellan to the rescue again - we sent mom in the other car and the brothers and sisters managed to get there in one piece - barely.
Saturday was for the New Jersey family, and we all made a visit to see grandpa - he's got an amazing view:
and then we all got back in my car to head for a night in DC so we could visit dad in Arlington Cemetery Sunday. We listened to my iTunes compilation of our old traveling songs, wondering why some had been so great so many years ago, and all singing along to others. Some real classics too - see if you can find Teddy Bear, an old trucking song - hilarious. The Carpenters songs we girls always wanted on the eight-track sounded like they were recorded at slooooow speed - not so appealing anymore, especially for our high speed family. Steve Martin comedy routines from the 70s really got us through the drive - thanks Steve.
Sunday morning was glorious, and after waiting for the Marine Corps Marathon to cross the entrance to the Cemetery, we set off, through DC to avoid all the other closures, and my car started clunking. No flat tire - we continued across Memorial Bridge, clunking, and proceeded on to have an amazing, sad, wonderful family visit. Breathtaking that he's there, and that we could all be together there too.
Onward - sibs all flying home Sunday evening, mom planning to stay one night with old friends, and I was to drive home - three hours. Hah - the universe (or dad) had other plans. Not only was my car clunking, it began screeching and making other bad sounds from the rear. Responsible for my entire immediate family, I pulled into a gas station and called AAA. This was incredibly reminiscent of the time, the week before I left for college, that we blew up the engine in the Bronco on our way home from camping on the OBX, and my father and brother rode into Norfolk with the tow truck, leaving my mom, sisters and me on the side of the road in Moyock, NC for hours and hours and hours, with only a very small amount of wine.
I think it was just the universe's way (or dad's) of making sure that we remembered that we, as a family, just get through it. We figure it out - whatever it is - and no matter how hard or how ugly or how stoooopid, we work it out and get through it and come out smiling on the other side somehow. This is who we are. A PITA way to be reminded, but most effective.
So, we laughed, we made phone calls, we sent some of us to rent a car, we met the tow truck, we met the neighbors, and got the sibs to the airport. You probably can't tell, but I'm wearing my triple-threat lucky Clapotis (from my hand dyed, handspun, hand knit silk hankies). Trip one.
Mere days later, I drove (my repaired car) BACK up to DC on a Thursday morning with my fun friend at work to particpate in and assist with a trip organized by our well-connected trustee extraordinaire. After seeing the Hopper and Turner shows at the National Gallery on Thursday afternoon, we boarded two busses that drove us deep into Rock Creek Park to the top of a hill I didn't know was there -we saw deer on their long drive - where we visited the Rockefeller home for a tour of their extraordinary art collection. What a chance of a lifetime - pretty amazing, and besides the incredible location and collection, it was obviously someone's comfortable home, and Sharon Rockefeller was a most gracious host to 43 gawkers in her house. We had a private tour of the Corcoran's collection, plus the Annie Liebowitz show on Friday morning - whew.
My pal and I also took advantage of having to drive home on 95S to stop at both IKEA and Potomac Mills mall on the way home Friday evening - a nice respite from the stopped traffic, but man - visual overload! We went berserk in IKEA - I forgot how fabluous it is, even though my mom opened the Woodbridge store back in the 80s. She was a team leader - and put the store together with the Swedes - it was an amazing time and and an amazing company. Trip two down.
Somewhere in here I finished the Minimalist Cardigan, which I'll tell you about in another post. I've worn it more than once and I love it, cammoflauge and all.
Then I turned around and it was Thanksgiving! We did our usual pilgrammage south where we can both see CA's parents AND have turkey on the beach with mine within a 90 minute drive. This year the weather cooperated and we had a glorious day. Little sis has a knack for capturing my inner essence in photographs on the beach on turkey day, and this year was no exception. The birds feasted en mass in the shallow surf of the gulf all day, but towards sunset got soooo dense it was little too Hitchcock. I of course wanted to see what they were eating and wandered into the massive flocks, and couldn't resist stirring them up a bit:
I ran into another flock of mostly big white gulls up on the beach, and this is me just after that trick desccribing the unsettling way the birds flew alright, but not up and away from me but around me - blowing right by my head!
We boarded the plane bronzed and happy, and I got off with the beginnings of a record-breaking outbreak of cold sores that eventually overflowed my philtrum and ran down onto both lips. Nice. I think it's some sort of vacation penalty - I know I paid at least 20% of my tan as I arrived back to the cold, and I guess owed more. I suffered with a truly disgusting upper lip that whole first week back - which included a board meeting - a lovely opportunity to show my scabby face to all my favorite people.
And then that board meeting was rapidly followed by yet another major evening event at the msueum. I've worked more events this year than in my entire 7.5 years there - ugh. Hopefully help is on the way, but I had to do this one too. Another opportunity for me to feel silly trying to play dress-up, but I did get to wear my Christmas ball earrings and my lip was healed enough to disguise with makeup.
Are you still here? Wow - thanks for sticking with this one. I have lots more - I'll try to wite in more digestible bits, but it's been a while. There's so end in sight of the mania at work, so I've been MIA from my reagular blog reads and other web fun. I've at least set myself up on Ravelry, and if I can force it to link to my new Flickr account, my MC is up there as my first FO.