Back and Rested
Generally when I go away for a teaching weekend I steele myself, reserve my energy a few days in advance and run on adreneline while I’m teaching. Then when I get home I crash.
This time, while I was in VA for the Knitters Review Retreat this past weekend, I did try to rest before I left (but for various reasons that was hard to do) and I found that while I was there the adreneline just wasn’t doing what I needed it to do.
Result – I slept quite a bit.
As usual, the best part of the retreat was putting names with faces – meeting NEW faces and getting to spend some time with old friends! Here is a list of some blogs written by retreat attendees (if you would like your blog added to this list, email me and I’ll add it!)
NEW as of 11/9/04
It was SO terrific to meet Larry – aka Knit Dad – in person! And imagine how thrilled I was to discover we had adjoining rooms so we could visit early in the morning (he, like me, seems to be an early riser most of the time) It’s so great to meet folks in person and find they’re as nice as you’d hoped!
My Own Schedule
in painful and boring detail
I arrived on Friday evening after a FULL DAY of driving. On the way I stopped at Knit Happens in Alexandria, VA just to peek in the shop. Wonderful! (I’d been turned onto the shop after reading Wendy’s blog – Wendy was at the retreat and how terrific was it to meet HER?!)
I spied one of my books sitting in the window so I surreptitiously signed it before fleeing with a purchase of two sets of needles. A few hours later – after some EVIL fleeing DC traffic, I arrived at Graves Mountain Lodge. After a shower, dinner and some incoherent (on my part) conversation – I crashed and slept for over 12 hours.
Saturday I rose, ate breakfast and taught – then spent the afternoon setting up my kits and books to sell, and taught (individually, one on one) and finally escaped with a few other retreaters to a local winery where we tasted and bought some bottles. Then returned to the retreat where I schmoozed, and taught (once again, individually…)
I was amazed and gratifed not just at the number of attendees who’d READ my book, but the number who wanted to BUY my book! I sell a lot on the internet and through Amazon, but it’s always a thrill when a real, walking, breathing human being wants to buy a copy (and want me to sign it!)
Of course, discovering on the way back from the vineyard that the same wine we’d purchased was available for $1.50 less at the store across the road from the lodge didn’t dim our pleasure at driving through a farm, narrowly missing a few chickens, and seeing spectacular scenery on the way to the winery. We didn’t get much of a tour – the guy who helped us was steadying himself by gripping the counter – he’d been tasting all afternoon, too… He did, however, point out the refurbished 1780’s cabin up the hill from the winery. I insulted all of Virginia (and most of the south) when I asked, innocently, “Does it have heat and running water…?”
Recently we’d stayed at a cabin in the Catskills with no heat, running water or electricity, and my intention wasn’t to offend – but our host responded, a bit indignantly, “It has direct TV!” I refrained from asking (like a smarta$$) “Yes, but does it have heat and running water?” I simply apologized for my question.
Back to the lodge (as we drove past each house or building Larry would ironically ask, “I wonder if they have running water…” Thanks, dude) My winery buddies – Larry and Kathy – returned with me to my room to drink a bit, eat some cheese and triscuts and just have a nice, quiet chat.
I like the retreat, but being there as a teacher means that I can’t really just sit and knit – or enjoy the scenery – or eat a meal – without a lot of questions about knitting, purling, or 15 cast ons. Which is fine – I enjoy that and I like helping folks – but it was nice to get away with just two people and have such an enjoyable hour snacking and drinking and chatting (and not teaching!)
After our “cocktail hour” we went down to the lodge for dinner, but the crowd, the noise, the stuffiness of the dining hall became overwhelming to me and I seriously thought I would either become violently ill or pass out. Okay, maybe it was the wine, too… I acquired the key to the meeting room (locked during meals) got my own car keys, and returned to my room to just chill for a bit.
After falling asleep at 8:00 pm I slept fitfully until around 5:00 am (I kept hearing a dog bark and in my dreams kept thinking, There’s a BEAR in the woods!) when I got up and enjoyed the quiet, the dark, starry morning and the delicious chill in the air. I think those hours on Sunday, from 5 – 8, were personally my favorite of the retreat. I dressed and loaded my car, then drove down to the lodge, pulled a rocking chair out into the yard and just sat with the aforementioned barking dog watching the sky lighten and the stars fade. It was chilly, but bracing and beautiful.
Then breakfast, more impromptu teaching, more visiting and saying goodbye – and I was off in my car by 10:30. A quick stop at the Plow & Hearth Outlet on Rt 29, then on the road by noon and home by 6:00 – what a day!
Following my weekend pattern, I was asleep by 8:00 and feel more rested today than I generally do during my weekends away teaching. Generally, though, when I’m away I teach more than 1 class.
All in all, it was a terrific weekend. I miss a TV or phone in my room when I’m at Graves – and the starch, starch, sugar, gravy & fried meat meals get a little wearing after the first day – but in that way it was like visiting family in West Virginia!
Speaking of family in WV – and I should have written this first, but it’s so not knitting content – my cousin had her lumpectomy and removal of some of her lymph nodes on Thursday. The surgery was more difficult than expected – she lost a lot of blood and was held over in the hospital overnight – I feel even more like I should have been there. She’s supported by her sister in law (her late brother’s wife) and lots of friends – but I’m her sister and I feel like crap for not being with her. Her spirits sound good – she’s home and resting – and with the positive chemo experience this may be behind her. We’re crossing our fingers that the radiation can be kept to a minimum. Thanks so much to everyone who wrote with kind thoughts – keep them directed toward Jan and her doctors and helping friends!