Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Where they know my name.

I'm feeling a little homesick today.

Listening to Already Home by Marc Cohn made me think of my knitting gals back in Idaho.

This is where I hang my hat
This is where they know my name
This is where they show me that
a man's not so alone.

And I realized that I never blogged about the retreat a million years ago in March. So much has happened since then that it feels like several lifetimes ago; and looking at the photos made me realize how much I miss everyone. This post isn't all-inclusive of the people I love and left in Idaho, there is also the group from church and the group from Scrap Night. (I'll catch those groups in another post.)

Driving out to the guest ranch took me up into the mountains surrounding Sandpoint, and up into the snow. Mostly gone at my house for a while, the snow was still obviously happy in the hills.

(Please forgive the date stamps. I forgot my camera, and so I borrowed my Mom's, and wasn't familiar with her settings until it was too late. ;o) The road wasn't bad at all, especially since I was in the 4-wheel drive. It reminded me of driving up the mountain when we lived on Gold Hill over Lake Pend Orielle, and showed me how soft I'd gotten when not-so-little thrills of fear would race down my spine as I made tight curves with nothing but open sky at the edge of the road. (Sorry, no photos of that. My hands were busy.)

Finally arriving, I was greeted by some barns and wooly horses breathing their steamy winter breath, and then approached the lodge.

It was fun, looking around inside, and seeing how it was made. With Vern a member of the Log Home Builder's Association, I've learnt a thing or two about log structures. Actually applying those odd bits of info was fun. (It's a special kind of nutsy, I know.)

Pretty nifty, no? Complete with sentinels on the loft railing.

There were just a few of the Stitchin' Sisters there in the lodge, and I was promptly directed up to my room. Along the way I was greeted by a few lodge denizens. First, I was cooly sized up by the resident moose:

I've forgotten his name, but he truly is a beautiful guy.

There, you can see what he really looks like there. I just couldn't resist playing up that nose. I next met Sam . . .

who was uncharacteristically silent. But I patted him affectionately nonetheless. ;o) I had a lovely little room, assigned to me because I was a month away from my due date with BabyB.

Done up in pinks and purples, it was feminine and Victorian from floor (mauve carpet) to ceiling (huge grapevine wreath full of silk flowers hung up on the wall under the vaulted ceiling. And here was the sweetest part of the room . . .

That's where I want to be someday. Holding one of my babies in a garden like that. It'll probably be a niece or nephew, by the time I have a garden in that lovely stage of full bloom, but it's going to happen. Some day soon.

My stuff hauled in and my knitting brought down, I checked out the view from the deck.

I know it's not much to look at (my little camera goes into a grand mal the high contrast of wintry afternoons), but it was breath-taking that day. The crisp air opened your eyes wide, and made you breathe in deeply, even though it reached places in your lungs still musty from long months inside.

We sat and knit and were served lovely meals by the great folks at the ranch. And trust me, there are few things as luxurious as having time completely unfettered by the task of preparing, serving, and cleaning up meals. This weekend sealed my resolve to hire a cook and maid when Vern makes it big. ;o)

The retreat abounded with all manner of things our knitterly group loved. Littered about, there were lovely magazines, yarn in yummy colors, candy (which I did eat, but only a little), and a few adult beverages (which I didn't drink ;o).

Once I took this photo, I noticed Audra's knitting in the background. She has one of the most interesting ways of picking I've ever seen . . . and she's fast. Check out how she works her tension:

She's holding the working yarn tensioned around her thumb, there on the other side of the sweater (where you can't see it). I think that at the next retreat, I'll have to go 'round and make a photo documentary on how each of us Continental Knitters manage our yarn.

I was the first one to finish something at the retreat. It was BabyB's newborn soaker set:

It was finished first thing Saturday morning, before some of the ladies were even up. I wasn't the first one up, though. There were some exceptionally early birds up hours before I appeared around 7:30.

And now, for some shout out's. First, we have the lovely Karen, who is a red-head all the way, and I love her dearly for it. She reminds me of one of my best friends, Cathy, who passed away about five years ago from complications due to diabetes. She was in her early 50's, and I miss her terribly. Here, Karen's working on a green tweedy cabled something-or-other with small needles and DK weight yarn.

Up next is Audra's mom, whom I caught unawares. I'm still a lousy photo blogger, but I'm getting better. Hopefully at the next retreat I'll be able get a more coherent photo story.

And here we have Denise & Kristy. Partners in crime, and hilarious. Kristy is also a first-rate stylist, and I loved to have her cut my hair. (I love small town crossovers. Don't you? ;o) Denise is mom to one incredibly cute little boy, who was rather impatient for BabyB's arrival. He saw me two weeks in a row at knit night, and after learning that the baby was supposed to come soon the first time, he demanded when he saw me the second week, hand on his hip, chin jutting out: "Where's that baby?" He was visibly miffed that I hadn't produced the little guy yet. lol

Below are Robin and Sally, the tall ones. They're both right around six feet tall, and lovely. Robin loves horses (and all animals, really), and has such a gentle heart. Sally has been cheerful and smiling every time I've seen her . . . even when things are hard. I've learned a lot from both of them.

Here we have Embroidery Jen, Bar-B-Cue (a.k.a. Barbara, a.k.a. Un Poco, No Mas), Audra (with the fun 'do), and the back of Angela's beautiful head of hair. On Saturday, shortly after this photo was taken, we were talking about age, and how old we were. We all thought Angela was the youngest, since she looked at least five years younger than I am. Turns out she's older by a year or two, making me the youngest one there. That was quite the topic for discussion, and comments were made about how lucky Angela is to look so young. Barb chimed in that Angela was like German women, who looked so very young. "Until they hit about 40," Barb finished. "Then it's pbhtpbhtpbht," she said, blowing a raspberry, "and they're all wrinkled and old."

"Hey!" Angela called back. "I am German!" and everyone laughed and laughed. 100% German she is, and so, the clock is ticking . . .

I had such a good time that I honestly didn't take many pictures. On the way home early Sunday morning (had to be back for church at 9am), I had to take a quick detour and try to catch this sunrise:

The dawn reflected on the snowy meadow simply took my breath away. This was just the tail end of it, on a very simple camera. I wish I could have had a DSLR and been there about ten minutes earlier. It's another one of those moments that will stay with me forever, along with much of the weekend. And in just shy of two months, I'll be trucking back to Sandpoint for the next Stitchin' Sisters retreat. It will be so good to see everyone, and to "cackle" in the group again.

I know that for most of you, these photos will be just that: photos. They're faces you don't know, places you haven't been. But for me,

This is where I hung my hat
This is where they know my name
This is where they showed me that
a woman's not so alone.

'Til then, knit on.

*Modifications to the lyrics are mine.