Sunday, October 21, 2007

You Know You're in Colorado...

...when you wake up in a postcard and can't get out.

The bottom photo shows what the back of our house looked like earlier today. You've got to love a place where the high is 65 one day and 25 the next, with who knows how much snow having fallen during the night in between. (Our very cool wireless weather station measures 10 weather elements, but snowfall isn't one of them; we do know the wind chill was around 5 degrees at times throughout the day.) For a couple of Florida transplants, one of whom has not seen snow in more than a decade, this was a wonderful day indeed.

Oh, and that car you see near the back door? It's now stuck on our steep, red granite driveway. We can't go out until the snow starts to melt, and we couldn't be happier. There's something so comforting about knowing you're semi-stranded (we could walk, if we really had to go somewhere; "town" is only three blocks away). I'm able to kick back, knit a pair of warm woollen socks, watch the Red Sox wallop the Indians, sip a cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace, and never feel like I should be doing something more productive. This is productive. It's producing peace.

And to think it's only October.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Knit 'n Kneel

That's what I'm calling my knitting weekend at the abbey. 'Twas wondrous in every way---16 very cool, very real women; one very cool, very real instructor; Lord knows how many very cool, very real nuns; and great accommodations, meals, weather, and northern Colorado scenery. Oh, and church.

Mary Gildersleeve, knitting teacher extraordinaire, gets high praise for putting together a series of workshop sessions that were just right---not too much, not too little, with just the right amount of time for one-on-one help. Mary is so generous with her time that I'm surprised she got any sleep at all. Maybe she didn't, but it didn't show. She somehow managed to coordinate the workshop schedule with the many daily services at the chapel. The weekend never felt tiring, overwhelming, or rushed.

And the nuns---what a delightful group! One nun was a former knitter who gave a great presentation on creativity and the value of just sitting and knitting; another wore a perpetually amused expression that let you know that she knew something you didn't know, and she was not about to share; and a third seemed to think we were entertaining in a puzzling sort of way.

My favorite image from the weekend, though, had nothing to do with knitting or kneeling: a nun speeding down a dirt road on an ATV, her habit and veil flapping in the considerable wind, doing her best to steer with one hand and with the other hold down the straw hat that threatened to fly off to Wyoming. It was priceless.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Off to the Abbey

I'll be living my bliss this weekend, attending a knitting retreat at an abbey in northern Colorado. How cool is that, I ask you? One Mary Gildersleeve, a certified hand-knitting expert and knitwear designer, will be leading the retreat and causing the rest of us to do penance for being so envious of her skills and creativity. Keeping us in line* will be Sister Hildegard, guest house director of the Abbey of St. Walburga** in Virginia Dale, Colorado.

The last time I experienced anything that sounded this medieval, I was in a real live medieval castle in England. Really now---Gildersleeve! Hildegard! Walburga! How can you not have great expectations for a weekend filled with such a wondrous array of appellations?

Alas and alack, there will be no cell service, no Internet connection, no technology more advanced than electricity, so there will be no real-time blogging from the big event. Rest assured, my lads and lassies, I shall report on this extraordinary journey back in time when I return to the 21st century. If I return.

* Not really.

** St. Walburga lived in 8th-century England, and to this day her bones produce a healing "oil" throughout the winter.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Colorado Rockies Rule!

Whoo-hoo! They did it! They pulled off a miracle in the last few weeks of the regular season! Heck, they pulled off a miracle in the last few hours of the regular season!

Okay, let's back up the cheering truck a minute. The last time I actually rooted for a baseball team was circa 1989, and my team was the Yankees. Oh, I continued to follow them after we left the New York metro area that year, but since we only had 2.5 television stations in rural Delaware, it was mighty difficult to maintain any enthusiasm for the team for the next five years. Then we moved to Florida in 1994, and it was pretty much over.

Until late August of this year, anyway. That's when my husband and I moved to Colorado and resumed our love of minor league baseball at a game between the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and some other team whose name I intentionally ignored by the sixth inning or so, because by the fifth I had become a rabid Sky Sox fan. I do love minor league games.

Fast forward to Monday night's deciding game between the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres. Suddenly, I had become a fan not only of a major league team not called the Yankees but also of a National League team. I haven't been a fan of a National League team since I lost interest in the Phillies in 1967 or so.

This only goes to prove just how impressionable I am. At some point during the 12th inning of Monday night's 13-inning game, I realized how little it had taken to convert me to major league baseball's dark side, the National League. Yes, I am ashamed of my behavior, my betrayal, my base duplicity.

I'm sure I'll continue to root for the Rockies this week. If the Yankees win the AL pennant and the Rockies win the NL, though, I'm going to be in deep you-know-what. What to do?

I wish all life's dilemmas were this difficult.