Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Wednesday, November 10, 2004  

It wasn't so bad to go back to work after all. How lovely that I have such a nice job. The WW scale showed me that I had gained only 2 lbs - which - considering the amount of food I'd managed to consume over the weekend, was not too bad. I'm back on the program today.

What follows is the first of several installments of my Retreat Report.

* * * * * * * * * * *

I’m glad I saved Friday’s early morning post because the past 4 days have been packed so full, it would be hard to remember just where it all began. I remember that it began with the anticipation of the feminine luxury of a manicure. The joke on me was that it very quickly spiraled down into the reality of administrative responsibility. I planned to stop by the library and drop off a book as I drove into town. Unfortunately, my key wouldn’t open the back door. The tumblers wouldn’t move inside their hidden box. The door wouldn’t open.

There was a scramble over the next hour, complete with mad dash to the county administrator’s office, phone calls to MaintenanceMan and a plumber (you don’t want to know), a sidewalk meet-up with my assistant to supply her with front door keys, and some quick schedule planning so that the Saturday staff could get in. Whew is all I can say.

For all the burden of being responsible for a public institution, I felt remarkably little stress about blithely waltzing off to the retreat, albeit a little later than I’d intended. The weather was crisp and golden, the drive was easy except for that stretch of road between 95 and the Rapidan River. Driving through the Virginia piedmont on Route 3 is a bugger, always crowded, always slow, with the development fairy sprinkling vinyl villages and shopping centers willy nilly.

Of course, we need a shopping center now and then and I stopped at Borders and at the mall. The Borders was awful - at least, the craft section was. The book I wanted was supposedly in the store, but it certainly wasn’t any where I could find it and the slender, pierced and head shaved tweentey-something who was supposed to be working there managed to melt away before I could insist that he locate it. Truth is, I know how hard it is to keep certain collections of books in order. I also know that once something is really out of place it’s not going to be found in the amount of disposable time the patron or customer has to fritter away. Oh - one of these days the manager will make somebody clean up the craft section and the book will be found, but it wasn’t going to happen last Friday and what’s a $29 loss to a megalith organization. Heck. I don’t even live in Fredericksburg!

But when I go on-line to buy that book, it won’t be from Borders, that’s for sure.

It was close to 5 when I finally got to Graves Mt. Lodge and the welcome I received from all the wonderful people there was as loving and warm as a hug from mama. In fact, it was full of hugs. Hugs and laughter and the happy delight of meeting up with KnitDad, on the east coast at last.

Each year the retreat, in addition to bringing old friends together, offers up the delight of new friends who will be next year’s old friends. The new buddies are a precious gift. You never know who will touch you across the room with a special feeling of knowing - of having been waiting forever for this one moment. It has happened at previous retreats. It happened at this one too. But this meeting was special - because we knew it was going to happen. We knew - and we were waiting and we were excited about it. Best of all, we weren’t disappointed. The face2face with KnitDad was as wonderful as I’d known it would be.

I never asked the incomparable Clara about statistics, but the retreat seemed cozier this year. There was very good energy throughout the assembled knitters. Perhaps it was because I got there late. Perhaps the pre-conference dye workshop had produced a little flame of happiness that was already permeating the group, filling everyone with good vibes. Whatever the reason, this retreat held a sweetness to it that overrode all my other feelings.

And feelings I had in plenty. I never knit anything at these events. I’m so pumped by the voices and questions and actions and products and ideas and triumphs of the other people present that I can’t settle down to do anything at all. I can spin on my spindle, which somehow keeps me from otherwise spinning off the deep end emotionally, but what I spin doesn’t even become anything. I’m remarkably like an overstimulated toddler when I get in a group of knitters. I’m actually like this with my own little Tuesday night knitters group. Imagine what I’m like when there are 65 or 70 knitters in a room.

We all tramped upstairs for dinner sometime around 6:30 and began the first of many gargantuan meals spread out upon the groaning tables. Graves is a little heavy on the carbohydrates but you could eat a fairly balanced meal of self-selected portions if you chose. You could, but I seldom see anyone do so. Like teenagers, we tended to dive in and scarf down. Even the people who complained about the sugar or starch in every dish didn’t seem to restrain themselves much.

The evening closed with a show and tell session that gives folk a chance to introduce themselves. Seasoned retreat goers know that this can go on a long time, since knitters love to share and love to admire. Those who were absolutely bushed by the journey slipped away to catch some Z’s, but the rest of us sat around till after 10, admiring and touching and ooing and ahhing. Gorgeous stranded colorwork. Silky scarves. Cleverly tied shawls. Felted bags. Antique knitted skirts. The collection was worthy of a gallery exhibition. What was cutest of all was how people would stand up and begin talking about their knitting without remembering to introduce themselves - this happened much more than once.

Eventually the crowd broke up and I was up the hill and fast asleep before 11.

posted by Bess | 7:09 AM