December 17, 2009

Less Really is More

This Christmas I'm embracing the 'less is more' theme. Slowing down and taking the time to savor the season, enjoy the anticipation and keep my own pace.The halls are decked and beautiful. But, many of the decorations remain in their box. Cookies are baked and delivered to co-workers, a task I enjoyed over several days.

I am close to finishing one fantastic handmade gift that will delight the recipient. And that's all I plan to make this year.

Next week I'm on vacation. I have plans to revel in the season with more cookie baking, gift wrapping, and Christmas Carols playing through the house. Its a great Christmas this year.

November 20, 2009


I found this in my drafts - a post I wrote in August and then never finished. It still made me laugh, and shake my head in disbelief, so I decided to publish it now for your entertainment. And maybe you can tell me where I can move that I won't have to deal with fleas.

(Assistant on the phone behind our examining room.)

Okay, that's a tape worm you saw. We can give you something for her.
No, they're not transmitted between pets. They get them from fleas.
Well, fleas are very, very small. If you look around the base of her tail, you'll see little black specks. Those are fleas.

At this point, I pick my jaw up off the floor at the idea someone doesn't know what fleas look like and leave the room with the tech for a different test. I am gone for two or three full minutes, and when I get back she is suggesting he bring the dog in the next morning and she'll show him what a flea looks like.

(Assistant to the Tech who has gone back)

He's going to bring her in tomorrow, so we can give him dewormer and show him what a flea looks like.

He really didn't know what a flea looks like?

No, he said that he saw them when he went to the dog park; that they were flying around there.
Um, yeah. If its flying around, its not a flea.

I'm still thinking about it, and trying to figure out how it is that a dog owner doesn't know what fleas look like. He can't be from Florida. Are there really places where you own animals and can't identify a flea?

November 19, 2009

Odds and Ends

My Ribby Sweater is finished and fits over my head. Its been finished for months, actually. It was ready in time to take to Bulgaria, and it got alot of wear there. Just not when anyone was taking photos of me, apparently. Now that we're getting cooler weather here, at least in fits and spurts, its starting to get wear here. I still don't have a good photo of it, but since you can see its a sweater and I'm wearing it I'm posting it.

I've started a Christmas gift quilt (for a family member, none of whom read my blog or even remember I have it) that is way outside my comfort zone. Its super simplistic and modern, stretch number one. And it involves curved piecing, stretch number two. Each half circle block (half circle, not the whole circle) takes me close to an hour. Whew. Thankfully, I'm only planning on four circles. The rest of the quilt is just a big block of the gold. I think I'm going to like it, and I know I'm going to be proud of it. (And its exactly the recipients style, so I know she'll love it.)

I'm considering seeking out a machine quilter for this one. I've never done that before. But, I'm going to feel rushed by the fact that I really want to give it for Christmas, and my quilting skills aren't all that great to start with. With the big expanse of solid gold to fill in, I think my stitches will really show and I'm not sure I can live up to that. I haven't decided, though. The opportunity to do some fun quilting in that big expanse of gold is also pretty hard to pass up.

October 28, 2009

How to Shorten Your Doggy Life Span

Its a good thing she's cute, because the little dog is doing nothing to help my efforts to get more sleep. Mostly its been small things, like waking me up to help her get back under her blanket, but the other night she took it to an entirely new level.

She sleeps on a large pillow with a fuzzy blanket to curl up in. I always put her pillow on the floor right below me (see above for tendency to wake me up to help with her blanket). Apparently, she woke up the other night and wandered around doing whatever it is she does in the middle of the night. I half registered the clicking of her little nails on the floor, but I was most definitely asleep. Until, that is, she tried to return to her pillow. All of a sudden she was snarling and squealing, the frightened snarl she gives when she is in danger or really upset with Lily. I woke up with a rush of adrenaline, and Alex immediately flipped on our bed light. Had an animal gotten in to the house? Was she hurt? No, she was running away from her pillow, and then she stopped and looked around, confused.

There was nothing and noone there. Nothing. She had scared herself. I'm guessing she touched her furry blanket (the one she sleeps under every. single. night.) and thought someone was in her bed. After a little reassurance from us, she settled down and went right to sleep. I, on the other hand, was awake for an hour as I waited for the adrenaline rush to subside. It was 12:45 in the morning.

It's a good thing she's cute.

October 15, 2009

Venturing in to a New World

My low battery light has been blinking for weeks. I don't know where the energy sucks is, but its sure draining out of me at an alarming rate. The fatigue was the final push I needed, though, to venture in to the world of eastern medicine. Several people whose opinions I trust have urged me to try acupuncture. This week I finally did. Diagnosis: I have a kidney/liver imbalance, which has nothing to do with my actual kidneys and liver but is instead a water/wood imbalance. Yeah, I don't understand it either. I just told myself this is a completely different framework for understanding the world and you should just go with it.

I didn't know what to expect, but when the doctor had me feel the needle I was startled. It was thin and flexible, and felt more a hairbrush bristle than any needle I've ever touched. She inserted them at strategic points (the rhyme and reason to which I couldn't discern, but pretty much correlating to the spots the massage therapist always focuses on) with a little tapping motion. They just barely broke the skin and didn't hurt at all, with the notable exception of one spot on my hand she warned me would sting. Frankly I prick myself with needles and pins much harder than that on a regular basis. I didn't realize she'd leave them in so long, but soft music was playing and it was a nice excuse to lay still and just let my mind wander. I wasn't at all uncomfortable, so it was almost a nap.

About half way through, she also used cupping on my right leg, where I have the most inflammation in my muscle. I'm sure there was another explanation for what was happening there in eastern medicine, probably blocked qi or something similar. Again, I'm acknowledging this is a framework I don't share and just going with it. But, I can tell you that western medicine says that's exactly where I have alot of inflammation. It was just gentle sucking pressure.

I can't say that I feel dramatically different now, but then again one treatment is rarely enough to change anything significantly. I do notice that today, when we're having a huge weather change, my leg barely hurts at all and most of my aches are in my shoulders and spine. (She focused on my leg, because that was my primary complaint when I went in. That and the blasted fatigue, which is definitely not better yet.) All in all, not a big deal and worth a try.

Though, I was a little weirded out when she used a needle right between my eyes.

October 11, 2009

A Lark

This is the project on my design wall this weekend. The design wall I created specifically to be able to do this project.* I've always had a well-defined plan before starting a quilt. Not necessarily a pattern, but always a clear plan where I've done some math and drawn out a sketch. But this week I launched in to a completely improvisational quilt. It started with the large bird in the middle and one of the rail fence sparrows. Then I hung them up on the wall for awhile before deciding to make three more sparrows. That hung overnight, and I'd stop by the sewing room just to look at them hanging on the wall and to occassionally audition ideas for what became the floral pieces this morning. I've never worked on a quilt like this before, and I'm loving it. I find my cutting and piecing is actually significantly more precise, because I'm working in smaller steps. (And I definitely don't miss cutting 125 squares at a time.) And its fun watching the quilt unfold naturally. I don't even know what size its going to be, and its already one of my favorites.** Now I'm contemplating what's next. A 1" brown frame? The bird sillhouettes down the sides? 3" blocks of both or maybe even other fabrics as well?

*By "design wall" I mean a craft size package of batting hung on the wall beside my sewing machine with push pins.
** I'll admit I'm hoping for a lap quilt I can keep on the couch, and not a baby quilt I'll be giving away. But, I honestly don't know yet which it will be and since I'm the one designing that is wild. Follow the fabric...
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September 30, 2009

Items of Interest, at least to me

Things about Rousse, Bulgaria that will probably surprise or interest you:

  • Living spaces are small. Appliances are small. Personal space is small. Europe is small. You can get to Vienna from here, by bus, in well under a day. If the cafe is out of tables, someone will ask to share yours. (At least my experience is they will ask; in the german airport they just sit down in your empty chairs.)
  • Showers are not in a separate space, but are in the middle of the bathroom and the drain in the middle of the floor. I have never seen a bath tub. The toilet may also be in this room, or it may be in a separate room. (I much prefer the latter, so I don't have to figure out how to shower without getting the toilet paper wet.)
  • If you use a public restroom, there is the possibility that you will need to pay and/or squat.
  • When you visit someone, you will sit at the table and you will be offered food as well as drink. You should accept, because if you don't they will just assume they haven't found the right thing to offer you yet.
  • You will probably spend the evening drinking, discussing politics and swapping jokes. You will be asked for American jokes; I suggest you do some research because you won't remember any on the spot.
  • If you ask, there's a good chance that any cafe or restaurant will have a menu in English and the server may very well speak some English.
  • The waiter or waitress, however, will probably be intimidating. Its less scary to go in to a small store than to try and order coffee at a cafe. They also expect to be largely ignored by the customer, and if you ask their name or initiate any conversation it will be a surprise. For some it is a pleasant surprise.
  • Regular coffee here means espresso. They will probably have nescafe and might have cappuccino. They will not have drip coffee. I don't know that they even know what a latte is.
  • Pizza will probably have corn on it. And maybe an egg.
  • Bulgarians are still pissed off about the time they spent under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, which they call the Ottoman Yoke, and they build monuments to the revolutionaries and soldiers that helped free them.
  • This is because it lasted 500 years - this is more than twice as long as our country has existed.
  • They do not consider themselves in any way, shape or form, Turkish or related to the Turks. And muslims are very much a minority. 500 years or no.
  • Many gypsys live in Bulgaria and always have. They are not considered romantic or exotic, and though their music has had significant influence many Bulgarians still have mixed feelings about it.
  • This is very much a cash economy. Most stores don't have cash registers. The person in charge of taking the money simply has a purse or wallet from which they make change and where they keep the money.
  • I can not figure out if we pay tax on anything other than electronics, and it seems to be factored in to the price advertised. Maybe. I'm still a little confused on this issue.
  • Family is huge and sprawling. Your parent's cousin is your uncle, and your cousin's child your nephew. There is a term to define the relationship between you and your child's mother-in-law. It is very common to call someone by their title (wife, brother) when addressing them or talking about them. I wonder if this is because names are recycled so much within families.
  • There are parks absolutely everywhere and the children run free in them until 10 or 11 at night. Most restaurants have a play area for the children, and it is expected they will be running and playing. After age 5 or so, parents only expect them to check in every half hour or so and older children much less often than that. However, any older person feels free to correct a child that is not behaving properly.
  • The soil is amazingly rich. Flowers, vegetables and grape vines are grown all around the base of apartment buildings.
  • Stray dogs and cats roam the city and are routinely fed at restaurants. They are immunized, spayed/neutered and released by the city unless they become aggressive. They are not aggressive and I have not seen any animal waste in a public space. Pet dogs are kept on leashes at all times.

September 13, 2009

Well, crud

The Ribby Pulli sweater has been washed and blocked for awhile, but what with the 90 degree heat I haven't been ready to try it on. Today, as I finally started pulling clothes to pack for Bulgaria, I decided to try it on before putting it in the suitcase. It does not fit over my head. No, its not a bit snug or uncomfortable. No, getting it wet and stretching doesn't help. It's not close. It. Does. Not. Fit.


So, I'm spending my football knitting time today ripping out the funnel neck, picking up stitches - more of them and with a larger needle size - and trying again. I guess that answers the question of what knitting I want to put in my carry on.

September 01, 2009

How did she do?

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

And you know, I'm okay with that. It was another crazy week. I was exhausted and run down. Rest was (and frankly is) much more essential at the moment.

August 30, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Today has been a lazy, lazy Sunday.  The sum total of my activities for the day include: knitting, drinking coffee, eating, reading a magazine, emailing a few friends, taking the dog to the dog park, going to the grocery store and joining Facebook.  Several of those activities have appeared repeatedly through the day though.  Mostly the knitting and coffee drinking.  If you'd excuse me, I must get back to my busy schedule of knitting now.  :)

Wow it feels great to get some rest.

August 24, 2009

Dreams Deferred

I have so many sewing projects swimming around in my imagination.  

There's the adorable kimono-inspired outfit for the new baby who will be joining us in Octoberish.  After all, my friends were kind enough to give me the girl I requested.  I have to make some adorable clothes for her.  (I love their little boy, but boys just aren't as much fun to sew clothes for.)

I've also been planning a gym bag for myself.  Something that will keep my shoes separate from my clothes, contain my card and lock so I can actually find them without fishing around the bottom of the bag and hopefully look a whole lot cuter than the conference freebie I am currently using.

And last night, as I was hunting through a messy drawer for the right size knitting needle, I was dreaming of a simple circular needle holder.

Oh, and I bought fabric for a quilt for my aunt way back in the Spring.  I'm just now feeling like I may have the courage to try my hand at the pattern.  (Curved seams.  Scary.)

Yep, lots of big plans for me and my sewing machine.  And with just a few short weeks before we leave on vacation, what am I doing with my only evening at home for the week?  Not sewing, that's for sure.  My leg, my right leg - my sewing machine pedal leg - is still hurting.  Really hurting.  There's no way I can run the machine tonight hurting.

So, while I dream of sewing, I'm knitting.  Knitting swatches.  Still.   

How did she do?

Wednesday*: cardio, strength building, light yoga
Sunday: 1/2 light gardening, cardio**

* After a stressful morning at work, my reaction was "I need to go to the gym at lunch." I'm excited that the gym is finally getting to be a default for stress management.

** My first time on the elliptical machine. Oh, mama.

August 21, 2009

Impatient is my middle name.

Startitis: the compulsive desire to cast on new knitting projects. 

I seem to have the opposite of startitis.  My least favorite part of a knitting project is the getting started.  I hate the endless knitting of gauge swatches while I figure out which size needles I need to use.  And pointing out to myself that this is indeed knitting, the exact activity I want to be doing, doesn't seem to change that feeling.  I don't particularly like the first rows of a project either.  I don't like the fiddliness of getting it established.  What I like is the body of the knitting, after the pattern is well established and before all the finishing and weaving in of ends. 

Unfortunately, I also like to complete projects.  It takes me 9 months to finish a sweater, and quite frankly that's enough of a test of my patience.  My enthusiasm for the project definitely begins to wane if it doesn't keep changing, and if there is no end in sight.  You will not see me casting on for an afghan any time soon.  Which means that I do finish my projects and so, if I want to keep knitting, I eventually have to start new ones.

That's where I'm at today.  I've finished all my projects.  So, last week I ordered yarn to make a tank top from Knitting in the Sun and sock yarn for a purse project.  I really like having a small, portable project in addition to my primary project, so I want to get started with both.  But, both are new yarns to me and that means figuring out gauge is taking awhile.  I'm very impatient with this.  I just want to be knitting the projects now.  I'm actually tempted to just cast on for the tank, having come pretty close to gauge with my last try, and I probably would except that I don't own needles in the size I'll need for the ribbing.  Of course.  

So, I'll be starting another episode of Kyle XY and knitting swatches tonight.

August 17, 2009

How Did She Do?

Monday: cardio, strength building and yoga (on my own at the gym)
Wednesday: Wii yoga
Thursday: Cardio
Sunday: Yoga (on my own in the bedroom)

I'll take it.

August 15, 2009

Carnival Tumblers

A lazy Saturday turned out to be the inspiration I needed to get back to work on Carnival Tumblers. The top is now fully pieced, and I'm somewhat surprised to find its a baby quilt. The odd shaped pieces gave me some trouble with my math. Its fun, though, and I think the bright colors will make a lovely play quilt for a little girl. I don't think its done, though. It looks like canvas for appliqué to me. But what? Maybe something from the carnival theme. I think I'll set it aside until inspiration hits.

August 11, 2009

Making Laundry Pretty

Last week, after a frustrating day at work, I indulged in fabric therapy.  In a little less than three hours, I whipped up this bag (very) loosely based on this tutorial I found on-line.  It's a laundry bag for a young lady who grew up in foster care and is now headed to college as an honors student.  The quiet time with my sewing machine and pretty fabric, a reminder of why I do my job, and the satisfaction of a finished project at the end of a day where I felt I was spinning my wheels - this little project packed alot of punch.

August 10, 2009

How did she do?

Thursday: Wii Yoga

My work week unexpectedly fractured in to a dozen meetings of varying sizes, spread out all over central Florida and spilling in to several of the evenings. I was doing my best to keep up, and getting to the gym wasn't in the cards. By the time the weekend came, I wanted a nap much more than a work out.

I'm paying for it, though. My muscles feel so tight that my entire body aches. I managed to pull a muscle in my back during a nap Sunday. Yes, that's what a said - I pulled a muscle napping. You'll have to excuse me now. I need to go to the gym. Obviously.

August 03, 2009

How did she do?

Monday: 30 minutes cardio, stretching
Thursday: 20 minutes cardio, stretching

I'm keeping my workouts light, in deference to serious lobbying from my right leg and its friends.  

August 01, 2009

Just Us

This week Alex suggested a date and took me to a lovely restaurant.  We sat by the lake with our drinks while we waited for a table, talking about our day, the weekend to come and nothing in particular.  The sun was setting and we could watch a storm blowing up from across the lake.  It was a great night.  

July 22, 2009

The Potter's Clay

My church has started an art ministry, The Potting Shed, to build fellowship and encourage mission.  We're making bowls that will be donated to a silent auction for Second Harvest Foodbank and loaf pans that will be used to bake bread we will donate to the Coalition for the Homeless.  Last week I started the loaf pans class and had a great time.  I've also agreed to be an "Art Angel," helping to glaze and fire bowls as we try to create 300 bowls for the auction. 

I've been looking for a way to become more engaged, to connect in a way that makes Church a part of my life.  And not just on Sunday morning.  But, I've been looking for a way that feels right for me, right now.  Presbyterians are famous for their committees, and I'm really not interested in wading my way through the bureaucracies.  We're also famous for our philosophy of stewardship, our commitment to mission.  And while this is perhaps the tenant that most drew me to the Presbyterian church, my own role in it needs to be balanced with the emotional demands of my profession.  But, with my hands in the clay and my sides aching from laughter, I think I've found it.  A chance for fellowship, to try something new, and to give without emptying myself.  Its been fun.

July 20, 2009

How did she do?

Monday: 30 minutes Yoga

I have no idea what happened this week.  Monday I was hurting and achy, so I came home and did yoga on the Wii.  And then that was it, noting more for the week.  I had a few night activities, but really this week wasn't busy enough to keep me from the gym.  I'll have to do better this week.

July 14, 2009

How did she do?

Tuesday: 30 minutes cardio, stretching
Thursday: 90 minutes heavy gardening
Saturday: 3 hours heavy and moderate gardening
Sunday: 45 minutes moderate gardening

Tuesday, watching all the people flowing in to the YMCA in their work clothes, I was thinking that modern society had created a strange dichotomy.  We work all day, 8 hours or more, and then we have to actively go somewhere to use our muscles.  And then Thursday, as I was digging grass out of the front bed, panting and straining, I realized that I like it better when my life generates my exercise.  At the end of the hour and a half of heavy labor, I had a strong heartbeat, pleasantly sore muscles, and a clean flower bed.  There's a very different sense of accomplishment at the end of an actual project.  So, I'm going to keep looking for those opportunities and keep giving myself credit for them in my exercise plan.

July 11, 2009

Back to Me

With the Surprise Jacket done, I am able to return to my own sweater.  I made alot of progress this winter, with the torso finished and the sleeves almost done,  and then put it down in favor of Sabine's quilt and Maggie's sweater.  It was nice, though, to pick the project back up and immediately make such visible progress.  The sleeves are attached and I'm working my way up the bodice.   It's an easy patter, but with just enough thought required to keep it interesting.  I knit enough over the 4th of July weekend to bruise my left pointer finger, the one I use to help push the stitch off the needle because the yarn tends to stick.

Again, I didn't make the best yarn choice.  Its very stiff and hard to knit with, and this sweater will be comfortable but definitely not soft.  That said - I'm loving both the texture and the color.  I think it will get alot of wear.  I do want to make another, though, in softer yarn.  Eventually.

July 10, 2009

Washing Away a Mood

I woke up this morning to the drum of a gentle rain on the roof.  Its soaking my freshly-weeded garden, cooling the air and making the birds sing with joy.  I am watching the fall of the rain over the brim of my coffee cup, a little dog curled at my hip, and thinking this is a lovely way to start a Friday.

July 06, 2009

How did she do?

I took the holiday week easy and mostly had fun, but I didn't lose my momentum altogether.

Monday: cardio, stretching and strength building
Weekend: swimming and stretching in the pool

July 03, 2009

Maggie's Surprise

I don't usually knit for friend's babies.  It just takes too long, and my skills still aren't up to snuff.  But, when a working Mom who wanted to learn to knit a sweater for her baby never got a chance, I couldn't resist making one for her.  It also gave me a chance to try out the legendary Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  The sweater is just as cool as they.  

This is what you have when you finish knitting - a strangely shaped mass of garter stitch.
But then you fold in two places - and have a sweater.  The woman was a genius.  A mad genius.

All you need to do to finish is sew up the two seams and sew on five buttons.  

I really enjoyed making this sweater and I love how squishy and comfortable it turned out.  I used a new yarn, Bernat Cot'n Corn, and the finished sweater does feel really good.  But, I won't knit with Cot'n Corn again.  There were way to many knots in the skeins, the yarn had a tendency to split and it would even come out of the ball unraveled enough to require me to cut away large sections.  Then end result just wasn't worth the hassle, and I'm concerned about how it will wear over time.  Fortunately, the baby won't fit it for long anyway.

Perhaps I can blame the difficulties with the yarn for how slowly I knit.  I don't think so, though.  My jaw dropped when I read the Harlot's comment that she can whip out this sweater in 6 to 8 hours over the weekend.  Seriously, that's what she said.  I read that while looking for some help with a step I didn't understand, and I was well past the half way point.  I knew I had already spent much more time than that on the sweater, so I started paying attention to how my bursts of time on it were adding up.  I spent more than 6 hours on the last third.  I. Am. Slow.  No wonder it feels like it takes me forever to finish anything I knit - it does.  The funniest part is my knitting method is the one recommended to increase speed.  Its a good thing!

June 30, 2009

I Florida

My job requires a good bit of travel during the day, but generally its not to the prettier areas of my home.  Last week, though, it took me out of town and in to the Ocala National Forest and the surrounding rural area.  I took a short break in a national park, enjoying the cool lake water on a 100 degree day.  I checked out the 50s era sign reminding me that Black Bears will come eat my food if I leave it out and said hello to some less reclusive native life.  And I found a grape orchard, which my father in law would love, using peanuts as groundcover, which my mother would love.  A lovely reminder of why I love Florida, made extra special because it was a work day.

June 29, 2009

See you at Home Depot

"It smells like popcorn in here all of a sudden."
"Or an electrical fire."

Followed by a check of the dishwasher and billowing black smoke. I can now confirm that an electrical fire (or maybe the near miss of one) does indeed smell like popcorn. I'm sure glad Alex knew about that.

How did she do?

Home Run

Tuesday: cardio, stretching and strength training
Thursday: cardio, stretching and strength training
Sunday: cardio, stretching and strength training

We also took a half hour (leisurely) walk after dinner both Saturday and Sunday nights.  The walks were wonderful, and we felt so mellow afterwards.  We're hoping to make this a habit.  The dogs are really hoping we'll make a habit of it.

June 22, 2009

How did she do?

Tuesday: cardio, stretching and strength training
Thursday: cardio, stretching and strength training

Two trips per week seems to be all I can do on a regular basis, and even that is an effort.  I thought the gym would be a habit by now, that it would be a routine and easier to get there.  Its not.  I still try to make excuses and answering to the blog is definitely part of the motivation to get there enough to at least not be embarrassed by the report.  Sigh.  So, I'll keep at it and hopefully some day it will be routine.

June 21, 2009

Adventures in Durian

Alex recently took his parents to our local asian market for the fresh fish.  They came home with this strange looking fruit, in addition to the stinky fish.  (I'm just glad they didn't bring home any of the live snails or crawdaddies.)  It was frozen, and they were told to let it thaw and then cut between the spikes. 

My mother-in-law and I did a little research and found we had a Durian fruit.  The article I found by a south Asian chef left me a bit dubious.  She said that, while it was a delicacy in  Thailand that often caused tussles at the produce stand, it is generally considered vile by those with a less familiar palate.  She warned that the smell would be overwhelming, so she recommended eating it while still partially frozen.   Apparently, that would also mute the taste a little.  The taste itself?  It would be a mix of sweet fruit, onion, garlic, and another suggested it would be perhaps a hint of gym sock.

Duly warned, we cut in.  The spikes are on a woody hull, but it was relatively soft in its mostly-thawed state.  We pulled it apart and found a pocket of cream-colored fruit the texture of custard.  I scooped it out with my hand and dumped it in to a bowl.  There was a huge seed in the middle of it, but it was easy enough to squeeze that out and be left with the fruit.  The durian was roughly divided in to quarters and so we had four of these pods.

We served it up and the reactions were immediate.  My 9 year old cousin declared it vomit; my husband disgusting.  My father-in-law refused to try it until forced, and Alex's cousin took a microscopic bite.  My mother-in-law, our friend and I were a little less sure we hated it.  We definitely tasted the garlic and onion, and we didn't think we liked it.  But, we found ourselves going back to try another bite.  On the other hand, we threw away most of it.  In the outside trash - the strength of the smell was not exaggerated.

It was an interesting adventure, but I won't be among the ranks tussling over the freshest Durian in the Thai markets any time soon.

June 20, 2009

Summer Is...

:: Barbecue and watermelon
:: Swimming with the dogs
:: Soft air smelling of damp leaves
:: A matinee on a hot afternoon

June 16, 2009

How did she do?

Wow - Monday night flew by and here it is already Tuesday afternoon. But, to recap last week.

Monday - light yoga
Wednesday - cardio, stretching and strength training
Friday - cardio, stretching and light strength training
Sunday - a long walk on the beach (yeah!)

I'm having alot of trouble with the muscles in my neck, so I'm pacing myself right now. I had a (painful) massage last Thursday that really helped, and I'll be going back tomorrow for another. But, I'm still getting the exercise in, so that's something. Tonight I'm planning to try the yoga again and see if that helps.

June 15, 2009

Finding my Touchstone

When I left for college, I was a small town girl. All of my memories were rooted in the same community, where I knew someone around every corner and always had family nearby. The first few weeks away were rough. I was miserably homesick and the 2 1/2 hours between school and home felt so far. Then I was walking across campus on a beautiful September day and I felt this bubble of contented happiness well up deep inside. At that moment, I knew I had made the right choice and was where I needed to be.

I've felt that bubble again over the years. Shortly after moving to D.C. and meeting Alex, it came as I was walking down the sidewalk to shop at Eastern Market. A year or two in to law school, watching the lights come on in my neighborhood on a cold Fall evening. Walking the dog around my apartment complex back here in Florida. Its my touchstone, that feeling, my signal that I'm making the right choices in my life. That the world is simply right. Not an every day thing, but a little message from myself that I hear in moments of peace.

Last week I realized I haven't felt that bubble in quite a while. Instead, I've been feeling a nagging disquiet. Nothing is wrong, but I wasn't entirely sure it was right either. Too often irritable voices have snapped out at one another, leaving bruised feelings that never quite have a chance to completely heal. Too many work concerns have followed us home, intruding and casting a shadow. Life has felt too full, too uncertain - too much. My attempts at something different have provided only momentary relief, followed by frustration when the simple task of choosing dinner leaves us in our separate corners. I've started to think again about what I would do if I left my job, what the after might be if this job I have loved is becoming a weight I can't bear. To reconsider choices and wonder if its time to adjust our plans, but with no idea what the alternative might be.

And then we spent this weekend at the beach, just the two of us away from everyone. It wasn't the clean escape I had hoped; those irritable voices managed to find us there. But, it was a chance to find our rhythm again. Lying together watching an afternoon storm rage on the ocean, holding hands as we walked on a quiet beach at night, listening to live music in a smoky bar - none of it planned but simply unfolding. The next morning I took my coffee out on the beach and walked by myself there in the quiet, alone with nature. And in that moment of peace, my touchstone welled within me. All is well.

Its reassuring, this knowledge that my disquiet is superficial. That what resides deep within is happiness. I can't be done looking for the shift that will put things in place; I know that. Superficial disquiet can become something deeper if I don't respond to the message being sent. But, it helps to know I'm playing with the right pieces.

June 13, 2009

Wrap Up

Here it is - the Wrap Skirt from Weekend Sewing, finally photographed and blogged.  It is already getting a great deal of wear, and compliments.  Last weekend I wore it to a family party and really enjoyed the shocked "you made that?" from the non-sewers.  Mom, a talented seamstress, spotted it immediately as a handmade skirt.  She complimented it and started a chain reaction of "you made that?"  "Look, Cara made her skirt."  It is comfortable, fun to wear, and I feel good in it.  Perfect.

June 11, 2009

Summer Pace

The air is heavy and dense with humidity, hanging on your skin and slowing your steps. My usually brisk work day pace giving way to the recognizable stroll of the south. This, I believe, is the reason for the southern drawl and our famous (or at least infamous) lazy pace. When the very air creates resistance to your movement, you might as well take a moment to smile at that stranger or stop to chat with the neighbor. You're not going anywhere fast anyway. And when you do, you learn you're getting where you're going anyway.

Of course, air conditioning is changing that. You keep moving to get to that blessedly cool air, to breathe a little more easily. I'm not going to shake my fist at technology. I am glad for the relief of air condition and remember the years I lived without it with a touch of awe. But, I want to remember the natural rhythm of life too, the value of a slower pace now and again.

June 10, 2009


The birthday quilt from back in March is finally done.  I went back and added additional quilting, and the flowers really pop in three dimension now.  (Can you tell?  It seems really hard to see the texture in the photo.)  The one good thing about having to go in to work this weekend is that I was able to leave the quilt for the Mom as a surprise for Monday morning.  She was as excited as I hoped she'd be, and it was fun to give a quilt to someone who really wants one.

We'll just overlook the fact that she has started calling it a blanket.  After all, I'm told that the recipient is "a blankie girl" who carries them around, tucking her dolls and stuffed animals in and sleeping with at least one.  A loved quilt by any other name...

June 09, 2009

How did she do?

Work got in the way again this week.  I did a full work out on Monday - 30 minutes of cardio, stretching and then strength training.  The rest of the week I settled for stretching at home.  This week isn't off to a great start either.  But, right now, it is just going to have to be 'do what you can.'  Tomorrow, though, I'm going to the gym.

June 01, 2009

How did she do?

Not bad.  Not bad.

Monday - Cardio and stretching
Tuesday - Wii yoga
Thursday - Cardio, stretching, and strength building
Saturday and Sunday - manual labor

I spent the weekend helping my sister and her husband move in to their new cottage in the midst of a horse farm.  My first task was assisting with re-screening the front porch.  Then it was moving furniture and boxes, cleaning and generally making myself useful.  It was wonderful and I am pleasantly tired.  But, it was definitely manual labor.

May 26, 2009


I took an extra day off today, which turned out to be tons of fun.   After just a little time on laundry and gardening, I went out and explored.  I started out to finally go in to a food co-op I think I should check out every time I drive past.  They are open a whopping 18 hours a week, as it turns out, and today wasn't part of that.  But, the asian grocery store was open.  And full of people buying interesting things.  I wandered through with Alex and his co-worker after lunch and found my kissing candy.
And then I took myself off to the Orlando Science Center.  It is always great to go to a museum when everyone else is at school and work.  I got to play with all the fun Grossology stuff that would normally be surrounded by a human barricade six children deep. 
I also discovered they have live animals there.  I don't remember that from my childhood.  They fed the crocodiles (why crocodiles and not alligators, which actually live here?  I couldn't tell you) crickets while I was there.  I ended up spending three hours there.  Great fun - I highly recommend visiting a museum by yourself on a weekday.  The self-paced exploration can't be beat.

Oh!  I wore my new Wrap Skirt during my wanderings today.  It was comfortable and garnered compliments, so its a resounding success.  Unfortunately, I had no photographer and was too lazy to get out the tripod.  I'll have to get you pictures next weekend.

May 25, 2009

How did she do?

Uhm - yeah. The only exercise I can claim all week is Wii yoga on Sunday morning. I spent most of the week in a conference, and then a fourth day flying to and from Ft. Lauderdale to give a training. This week, no excuses.

May 23, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

It's raining. Again. We desperately needed good rain after the drought, but we didn't need it all at one time. On the other hand, I know just what to do with a rainy Saturday morning. Brew a cup of tea and turn on the sewing machine.

This morning its back to the Wrap Skirt. I'm really enjoying sewing it, particularly in such a relaxed manner. I went slowly and was careful with my french seams, and for a change they came out perfectly. I also realized that sewing such a large skirt is alot like sewing a big quilt; there's alot of fabric to guide as you add the panels. I could probably have finished the skirt this morning (having browsed Flickr and decided to go with the yellow after all), but I ran out of fabric and I need to cut more panels. Or I at least think I do.

Heather has published errata regarding the number of panels you need, but I still read them to mean that I need six. But, warned by all the other comments about adding more panels, I've tried wrapping it around my waist and I think I need a seventh panel. The overlap is so small that, without another panel, I think I'll be flashing every time I move. So, if the rain ever lets up enough, I'm going to go buy more fabric. And then hope I can figure out how to adjust the waistband to fit.

Hmm - I guess I also need to decide whether to change from the yellow waistband and ties or not, since I'm going to the fabric store anyway...


I'm still slogging through my Carnival Tumblers quilt.  My pleasure in it is definitely waning as I try (and try and try) to settle on a layout, and then have to figure it out again as I screw up the order.  I don't think I'm a truly scrappy quilt girl.  The lack of color control seems to be frustrating me, and thats even though I made sure I had a unifying color scheme.  But, my sewing room helper keeps holding the blocks out to me and encouraging me to finish.  I'm almost there now, and I suspect that putting the border on (the Carnival Bloom that was the basis of this quilt) will pull it together for me.  Either that or I'll finish it off and give it to my sister, who has commented that she really likes it every time she's seen it on the floor of my sewing room, regardless of what permutation of the lay out it happens to be in.  Then I won't have to look at it anymore.

You know, if my sister the trained artist doesn't think it matters what order I put the blocks in, it probably doesn't.  I need to ease up and just finish it.

May 19, 2009

How did she do?

Eh - not so well.

Tuesday: cardio and stretches
Friday: Wii yoga
Sunday: cardio and strengthening

I was all off schedule this week.  My mother had a packed schedule on Mother's Day, so I called her Monday instead.  She called me back while I was on my way to the YMCA.  I ended up sitting in the parking lot for 45 minutes before deciding just to drive on home (using my hands free earpiece!) and finish the conversation.  We had alot to talk about.  But, I had to work Tuesday night, so I had a shortened lunchtime work out.  

Then, Thursday, I took my car for some work that I thought would be just the afternoon, but it turned out to be several days.  My gym bag, including my membership card, was in the car.  So, I went out to dinner with Alex and the boys before they went to watch the Magic rout the Celtics.  I planned to use the Wii when I got home, but I went to bed with my book instead.  Friday evening I finally turned on the Wii and did the yoga.

Sunday, finally, I went to the Y for a full workout.  Of course, yesterday I went to see Star Trek instead of working out, and I won't be going today either since I'm in a conference until 9 tonight.  

May 17, 2009

Weekend Sewing

With another quiet weekend stretched out before me, I broke out, appropriately enough, Weekend Sewing. Last weekend, when my friend was visiting, I bought daring fabric for the Yard-Sale Wrap Skirt that I probably wouldn't have brought home on my own. Ironically, I am very happy with how it looks in this skirt. But, I haven't started sewing yet, because the contrast fabric bothers me. The simple yellow just doesn't feel right. I have real doubts about it, and I may need to make a trip out for more fabric. Definitely not a solid. Looking at it, I'm not sure I want a contrast fabric at all...

May 14, 2009

Live Life

I was standing in line at the grocery tonight, when I couldn't help but notice the unusual progress of a cart going by.  Two little ones were hanging on the back, 'pushing' with one foot while Mom tried to push from the side.   They were adorable and I laughed out loud at their sheer pleasure in the game.  To her credit, their Mom heard me and met my eyes with a twinkling laugh of her own, clearly more amused by the antics of her kids than aggravated by the snail's pace of their progress.  Not that there wasn't a touch of resignation in that look, mind you.

I've learned that too much attention to what kids are doing in public tends to embarrass parents, so I returned my attention to my line.  But a few moments later it was drawn back by calls of "and now we bow, and now we bow!"  And there was the little girl making exaggerated, careful bows - grinning when she saw I was smiling at her.  Her brother took a little prompting, but he joined in and soon they were both hamming it up for me.  

They were so free, their fun enhanced by the audience rather than inhibited.  It was a pleasure to watch them, and I find myself thinking about them alot tonight.

May 11, 2009

How did she do?

Monday - 30 minutes cardio
Wednesday - 30 minutes cardio

Last Sunday's marathon of yard work left me sore and stiff well in to the week, so I kept things light while those sore muscles recovered.  This weekend my college girlfriend was in town from Oregon, and I gladly spent all of my time with her.  My priorities are clear.  

May 04, 2009

How did she do?

I decided last week that I really needed to get back in the habit of regular exercise. Every trip to the gym does wonders for my health and my stress level, and my husband swears for my toosh, too. And while you would think all that would be motivation enough to get to the gym, until I establish the routine again it just isn't. Some accountability is in order, so here it, this week's round up.

Monday - cardio and strength building at the Y
Wednesday - cardio and strength building at the Y
Saturday - a 30 minute walk on the beach (wimpy, but with the soft sand around here it counts)
Sunday - 7 hours of heavy gardening

And just in case you think gardening shouldn't count, my thighs, back and shoulders hurt so much more from a day of gardening than they ever do from the gym. That was a serious workout. Serious enough that I'm worried I'll hurt myself if I try to do a full gym workout today. But, it didn't give me much in the way of cardio and I am really trying to establish a habit here. I've settled on a half hour on the stationery bike, which shouldn't hurt my back and will give me the cardio. Whether I can walk afterwards or not remains to be seen.

May 03, 2009

Playing in the Dirt

  • blooming Vanda, always reliable but always a thrill
  • Desert Rose, my show off that will hold through the summer
  • almost ripe tomatoes that I haven't eaten right off the vine yet
  • a bean sprout from the beans planted just days ago
  • the first of the new caladium bed unfurling
  • summer portulaca ('moss rose') for the turtle
I spent most of the day in my garden today. I started early, early enough that I tried to keep the noise down since I would like to continue being friends with my neighbors. I started out with all the heavy work that I simply can't do in the afternoon or early evening heat. But, I still didn't quite beat the heat. I was out front late-morning, pulling grass, when a neighbor walking her dog gently advised me to wrap it up. Or at least get out of the sun. So, I took her advice and went to the nursery to buy more plants!

I really did go buy more plants, but I only planted what I could work on in the shade and then waited until this evening to put in the rest. I mostly bought plants to fill in pots and then a few for the front bed, which still desperately needs plants since January's landscaping project. The bed still looks bare to me, but many of the plants in there are spreading plants and I need to give them a little time to fill in. Patience is a virtue. And, of course, I bought a few vegetables since I seem to have a serious weakness for them. Its almost past tomato season, but I put in two new cherry tomatoes since they'll last in to the heat yet. And I couldn't resist a couple of zucchini plants for my zucchini loving husband.

After all of that, I gave myself a pass on the gym work out today.

April 28, 2009


The days are longer again and, though I know it is an illusion, I feel I have so much more of that precious commodity, time.  The day still has a strong hold when I get home, and there are hours before night will slip in and take over.  Today I took some of that time to plant seeds.  Pole beans to feed us, sunflowers to feed the birds and wildflowers for the butterflies.  I wandered through and counted my green tomatoes.  Spotted the first of the caladiums peeking through.  Transplanted here, weeded there... puttered.  Today I'm not working in the garden, I'm just reveling in it.  Breathing deep and free.  Planting myself in the here and now.

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves. Mohandas K Ghandi

April 26, 2009

Adventures on a Train

Trains have always held a fascination for me.  They are such a timeless link to our past, and yet they speak of the industrial foundation of our country.  And the pace of our life.  The south in general is not particularly well linked to the rail system, maybe its the slower pace of life down here, and Florida is no exception.  However, between our long history as a destination for northern visitors and our long coast (and the shipping that comes with it) we do have trains.  The tracks wind through our little town and I can stand in my front yard and watch them go by.  Or lay in my bed and hear them go by...  You really do learn to sleep through it.

So, Friday morning I tossed my overnight bag over my shoulder and took the short walk to the Amtrak station.  I haven't been on a train in the South since I was a child, and it felt very different from the northeast, where traveling by train was common.  I've tried to figure out what was different, but there's nothing I can point to.  It just felt different.  And for me it was a great adventure.  Instead of driving the dreaded Interstate, trapped by myself in the car, I knit and watched the other passengers.  I watched little towns go by, and laughed with the conductors, who clearly enjoyed their job.  And 2 1/2 highly entertaining hours later, I was in Tampa.

I wandered around Ybor city, pausing now and then to lie in a park and read my book, for several hours while Alex was finishing his conference.  And then I spent two highly entertaining days with my silly husband.

*I am quite aware that my inability to think of a single song about trains to use in this post, or at least the title immediately brands me a woman without small children.

April 17, 2009

Paying the Piper

Our taxes went in to the mail April 15th.  Tax day itself.  We have never pushed it so late before.

Sabine's quilt (above) was given to her on her birthday, and her mom loved it.  (Sabine, being one, was more interested in the balloons than any of her gifts.)  It was then promptly returned to me, at my request, so that I could quilt all of the flowers and not just the yellow ones.  That marked the first time I gave an unfinished gift.  I'm still trying to finish it for her.

Saturday will be the second, and I'm taking it to all new heights.  My friend will be receiving balls of yarn and about four inches of a Baby Surprise Sweater at her baby shower.  It would have been a little more, but last night I realized I had to pull out two inches because I failed to increase at the proper time.  Since she doesn't knit, I may buy her a gift for Saturday and then give her the sweater when its, you know, actually a sweater.

We're not going to discuss work and the deadlines looming there.  Or the ones I have already missed.

I think its safe to say that I got a wee bit behind schedule with this busy spring.  But, I am slowly digging myself out, one deadline at a time.

April 01, 2009

Well, hello there

Where have I been?  

On conference calls, in court, on the computer, at the Capitol lobbying, in meetings - nose to the grindstone buried in work.

At the sewing machine, on the phone, at the store, in the yard potting plants, at the garden weeding - hands filled with wedding preparations. 

At a restaurant with my husband , out with a friend, on the computer sending an email - keeping in touch with what's important.

This month does not lend itself to a coherent narrative, but its been crazy-making, fun, a hassle and glorious all at once.  It has also very much been fueled by good quality coffee.  As luck would have it, Alex decided to buy an espresso machine this month.  And to make me cappuccino every morning.  I knew there was a reason I married that man.  He even bought the cutest sets of  cups in primary colors.  I never would have predicted it.

March 01, 2009

Quiet in the Storm

The sky is a dark, angry purple, casting the living room in to gentle shadows.  Wind chimes ring out the news of the coming storm, above the gentle roar of the winds themselves whipping through the yard.  After weeks of busy-ness, I have nothing to do but sit on the couch with a cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet that is found in the midst of the storm.  Its a perfect day for hand quilting.

February 24, 2009


This has turned in to the week that will not end.  But, since it involves lots and lots of conference calls, my knitting is growing without my being aware of it.  Sabine's quilt, on the other hand, will only be done in time for her birthday if magic little elves come in the night to finish it.  Anyone have elves to lend out?

February 16, 2009


This afternoon I decided Sabine needed a quilt for her first birthday. (Her Mom confessed some time ago to being disappointed she didn't get a quilt at her shower. How can you resist making a quilt for someone you know will really appreciate it?) After work, I detoured to the store and chose fabrics for a simple, girly quilt. Tonight it is basted and ready to be quilted. You can't see them, but I've traced dragonflies on to the pink stripes. Now, to quilt it in record time. I don't think my knitting will see any progress over the next two weeks. And my Carnival Tumblers are definitely on hiatus.

February 15, 2009

Puttering My Way To Progress

With my sister's bridal shower only two weeks away, I decided it was safe to wash and block the shawl. I am thrilled with the final product, and I can already see that blocking it is going to make it sing as Amy promises.She's going to love it.
And with chores done on a rainy Sunday, what's a girl to do but play with scraps? My tumblers quilt was named today - Carnival Tumblers. After all, it was the Carnival Bloom scraps that were the inspiration and how I chose my color palette. I am counting on that color palette to tie it all together, since I spent several hours today chain piecing blocks together at random. I did pay some attention to contrast, but that's really it. Now I have a basket of two-units and single pieces to play with in putting together rows. If I'm smart, I'll do that tomorrow and go to bed now... I'm guessing I'll be tired tomorrow.

February 12, 2009

And So It Begins

Wedding preparations have begun in earnest, and we've upped the ante with handmade bridesmaid's dresses. Fortunately, there are only two of us. Mom is making the one for our young cousin and I've begged help from a friend who is a much more accomplished seamstress. And by help I was clear that I meant "I'll cut out the pattern and follow instructions, but you'll do all the alteration and actual construction of this thing." I've just begun to develop some ability to construct simple garments that I'll actually wear. I am not ready to be responsible for my own dress when I'll be standing beside the most important person in my life on one of the most important days of hers.

January 26, 2009

Little Bits

On my worktable: little pieces of creativity

With nothing going on at the sewing machine, I have pulled out a stack of scraps and started a project that I'm in love with. Using the wonderful Michael Miller Carnival Bloom print to set my color scheme, I am cutting out tumblers. I love the movement of the design and pulling all my favorite colors out of my scrap basket. Each little tumbler is about 3" at the bottom, 1 1/2" at the top and 3" tall. Then you add triangles along the edge to finish them off. I suspect I'll be at this for awhile.

January 22, 2009


We're headed in to our third night of freezing temperatures. Around here, that's an event. An annual event, but an event nonetheless. Typically, when we say 'its freezing out there,' we don't actually mean its freezing.   But, right now we do, and it means covering large swaths of my plants with sheets, a call from the landscaper to make sure that I had covered them, and enlisting the help of the neighbor to pick all the grapefruit off the tree.  Well, all the grapefruit except those in the highest branches I consider the squirrels' share.    (Seriously good haul for all of us this year, about two dozen already.) Yard secured, vegetable stew cooked, fire built - we are officially hibernating.

You know, I vaguely remember a time when my yard was always covered with ice and snow by late January, where I watched for blizzard warnings, and had an ice scraper handy in my car. The dog even went for walks in the snow and knew that it was possible to potty before the temperatures rose above 40. Neither that girl nor that dog live around here these days. We consider this very cold, and the fact that the heat is (still) broken gives us license to curl up on the couch with the down comforter and refuse to move.  Fortunately, the boy still harbors a love for the cold weather and is willing to indulge us.

You'd think, then, that this would be prime crafting time.  Not much sewing would be getting done, what with that whole refusing to move off the couch thing, but definitely knitting, right?  Yeah, not so much.  Instead, I'm all about a lazy novel and a glass of wine.  And since you can't hold a book or a glass of wine while knitting, well not much knitting is getting done.  The sweater sleeve crawls along at a snails pace, though, and I'm okay with it.  Right now, reading a trashy novel with my cuddly dog, warm comforter and cool glass of wine is working for me.  We're hibernating.  See you when the weather warms up. (You know, like 24 hours from now.)

January 20, 2009

To Remember

I want to remember today.  I want to remember:
  • taking off 3 hours in the middle of a work day simply to witness;
  • my respect for George W. Bush, whatever my disagreements with his administration, as I saw the honest smile reaching his eyes as the history of the civil rights movement is invoked in recognizing this moment;
  • Obama visibly straightening his shoulders during the invocation;
  • Malia taking a picture of her Dad as he gives his first speech as President;
  • the humor of the oath being taken a few minutes after noon, despite all the warnings that it had to be taken before noon, and of the Chief Justice and Obama having to correct a line Roberts got wrong;
  • Tuskegee Airmen and other veterans of a segregated military witnessing the first African American commander in chief take office;
  • watching it again in the evening, and tearing up again.
I watched, and I believed.  

January 15, 2009

Sleeve, Take Three

My sewing machine has been quiet, but my needles have been clacking away.  I'm still working on the Ribby Pulli.  It took three tries, but I think I've finally figure out how to incorporate the increases in to the 2x2 ribbing.  Its been several inches since I ripped it back to the beginning, anyway.  I've actually tried it on my arm several times and I think I'm willing to live with it, even if I suspect its far from perfect.  So, another few inches on this and I'm ready to join it to the sweater.  And then I have to make the other sleeve, of course...  And then finish the yoke.

Yeah, maybe this sweater will be ready to wear before next year's cold weather.

January 02, 2009

Savannah Reconnaissance

I've read repeatedly this morning that how you start your New Year will influence what you do during the year. I wasn't aware of that tradition, but if that's the case Alex and I did a great job. 

His Christmas present to me was a trip to Savannah. We were supposed to go up for New Years Eve and spend the weekend there. Unfortunately, we only made it half way to Savannah before he received a call from work that meant he'd have to come back and deal with a problem. But, he wasn't going to be able to do anything about the problem until the engineer's office re-opened on Friday anyway, so he decided we'd still go up to see in the New Year.After enjoying the street party on New Years Eve, we spent hours and hours on New Years Day just walking through Savannah. It was cold, but sunny and with our coats buttoned up and a cup of coffee it was beautiful.
Every corner you turn has another beautiful building, statute or plaque explaining the history that occurred right where you are standing. Often, it has all three.  I couldn't resist taking picture after picture of the beautiful buildings.  This is the Congregation Mickve Israel, founded by Jewish settlers who arrived in Savannah in 1733.  They received a letter of congratulations from George Washington when they were later "founded in perpetuity." We had a great day, with a bit of romance and alot of fun.  Alex was able to set aside the mess waiting for him at work until he could actually do something about it, and I was able to enjoy the time we had without regretting it was being cut short.  It's a great way to start off the New Year, and if it means that in 2009 we'll be able to roll with the punches and focus on one another I'm all for it. 

However, we're already planning for a chance to spend more time in Savannah.  I'm calling this our reconnaissance mission.  It definitely deserves more time, and we'll be going back.