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First things first, have you noticed it’s snowing here at LPE? Boy do I love me some snow. On the blog that is. Ok in real life too. Just minus the biting cold. I’m not ready. It’s sooooo cold! Boo.

Ok, the annual whining about the winter weather is complete. On to the real purpose of this post.

Hip Hip Hoooooooraaaaay! The co-knitted blanket is finally complete.

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My first project in the One Project a Week create-a-thon is done. I know. It’s been like twelve weeks. Ok ok. Fifteen weeks. And I should have fifteen different projects to show for my toils. But no, it’s just the one. But I’m glad to have finished. Thanks to Lesa/Mummy for tag-teaming this lovely beast of a blanket. And thanks also to the easy-to-follow pattern in More Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson (Mount Holyoke ’89!!) and and the beautiful and inspirational work and guidance shown on her Purl Bee blog. Mum, I hope that one day soon you and I can make a pilgrimage to Purl Soho to reward ourselves for our efforts. ūüôā

So what’s next, you ask?

We’ll, I’m also here to announce that I won’t be selecting another project out of the jar until January. Given that it’s now the holiday season and I have lots of creative and crafty projects on my to-do list in preparation for Christmas gifting, I’m gifting myself a break with the idea that starting back up on the One Project a Week project would make a great New Years Resolution!

This is a good plan, methinks. Ok. Good. Good good good.

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I went home this weekend, to to be with my family and to see friends. I needed a mini-break, as they say in England. A small vay-cay. Some R&R.

I traveled home to remember what wide-open spaces look like when you’re driving on a lonely highway and you can see that point way out in the distance where the earth meets the sky.

And to remember what the cool, clear, fresh air smells like, almost minty and piny and cold in your lungs, but then warm. Spring in Wyoming means five different weather patterns in four hours‚ÄĒpouring rain, gale-force winds, blizzard snow (it didn’t stick, but it came down with a fury), beaming sun, and sad grumpy drear.

It felt good to be there, surrounded by things I know, people I love, small moments here and there that reminded me where I came from and why I am who I am.

I am eternally grateful, and immensely blessed.

But on my way back, I caught myself saying I was going home. “Oh, it will be good to be back home,” I said. But hadn’t I just come from home? Is Massachusetts now my home (say it ain’t so!)? Can I have two homes? Or three? Or four? Not actual buildings, but spaces‚ÄĒor feelings of all-is-ok-ness, one-ness, whole-ness. Is that what I meant by “going home”?

What is home? Where is it? Or who?

Before leaving for college, my parents told me no matter where I roamed, Wyoming would always be my home‚ÄĒWyoming, my native land of the vast sky and big prairie. Snow in all seasons and drive-up liquor stores. Fly-fishermen and eagles on fence-posts. Mountains, streams, and antelope. I left Wyoming to see something new, to go someplace with “less dirt”. To widen my mind and my purview.

When I got to Mount Holyoke, home was where my bed was‚ÄĒ

every year in a different place on campus, each room a special place for me and my thoughts, my books, my music. I felt good there, like I belonged. Like I was intrinsically connected to the place and the people there with me, those who came before me, and those who would come after me. Each year was new and different.

shannie, 1st year roommate. we broke the light. thelma & me.

But every late August, when I stepped back on campus, I felt like I was right where I needed to be. Soon I’d see my friends and we’d fall right back where we left off the previous year. It was a place of shared experiences, of self-seeking, of togetherness.

Then during the summer I went back to “home-home” as I called it. Back again to Wyoming, to my family, my room, my bed, my dogs.

My first job out of college was really when I first set up my own space that was really and truly mine, my new apartment. My walls, my kitchen, my art space.

And now Mark and I have a home here, in Watertown,

with our dog, our bed, our pictures.

I’m at home with Mark, in his hug. With his laugh and warm smile.

We feel good here, all together, “at home” in our 1200 square feet of room, and beyond that space the life we’ve shaped with one another.

All of this, and yet still I’m not certain. What IS home?

Is it a warm blanket? a friendly hug? where your family lives? where everyone knows your name? Could be… Surely it isn’t only the things around you, in your life, or the space they fill. Is it the people? Or is it just where you are, in that moment? And there, could it be many places?

Perhaps the answer is that home is where you are, where I am, where we are together, and that home will be ever-changing, ever-moving, because life is ever-changing, ever-moving. And in that movement will always be a constant space where we feel good, we feel like our true selves, we feel like we’re whole. And all those spaces will always be there, waiting for us.

I feel good knowing this. I feel calm. I feel at ease.

Would that it was snowing right this moment, blanketing the world with the fluffy, white, winter-y stuff.  I would go outside with Gordon and Mark and make tracks and angels and snowballs.

It is not actually snowing here in Boston town, nor is it in the forecast (although I’m sure we’re in for a good Nor’Easter soon.¬† It is, after all, New England).¬† Yet it is snowing here on L.P.E.¬† A beautiful quiet whisper of snow coming down ever so softly. The snow on L.P.E. is not cold and doesn’t blow away.¬† It doesn’t sting your face and you can’t catch it on your tongue.¬† But my hope is that it conjures up good feelings and leaves you thinking fondly of winter white holidays and happy childhood memories.¬† And hopefully it makes you smile.

Snow snow snow snow SNOOOOOOW.

It won’t be long before we’ll all be there with snow

Snow…
I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow

Snow
I long to clear a path and lift a spade of snow…
Snow
Oh, to see a great big man entirely made of snow

Where it’s snowing
All winter through
That’s where I want to be

Snowball throwing
That’s what I’ll do

How I’m longing to ski
Through the snow-oh-oh-oh-oh

Those glist’ning houses that seem to be built of snow
Snow

Oh, to see a mountain covered with a quilt of snow

What is Christmas with no snow
No white Christmas with no snow
Snow

I’ll soon be there with snow

I’ll wash my hair with snow
And with a spade of snow
I’ll build a man that’s made of snow
I’d love to stay up with you but I recommend a little shuteye
Go to sleep

And dream … Of snow.

Hmmm… Me thinks it’s time for a giveaway!

Write your favorite snow memory in the comments, and I’ll send one lucky reader a sweet little surprise!

 

 

(The lyrics and song “Snow”, from the movie White Christmas, are ¬© 1953, Erving Berlin)

 

Here’s a bit of Olympic trivia for you–

Olympic Charter, Rule # 6 states: “Only those sports which are practiced on snow or ice are considered as winter sports.”

Did you know that? I didn’t.¬† I mean, I assumed most of the sports of the Winter Olympics were in some way affiliated with snow or ice, but I never actually thought about it that way.¬† I saw that rule and had to think long and hard–are there any sports in the Winter Olympics that didn’t involve snow or ice?¬† I couldn’t come up with one.¬† Glad to have this chart to peruse–thanks to the New York Times columnist Ben Schott–which tells me all the sports, from then and now and other fun facts and figures:

Notable:

  • The first Olympics had an event called “Military Patrol” which, thanks to a little bit of Googling and Wikipedia referencing, was more of a demonstration event and after 36 years became what we know as the Biathlon.
  • The games at the highest altitude were the 8th Olympic Games in Squaw Valley, CA in 1960, at 1880 feet.
  • The United States won the most medals –12– of all the 17 teams¬† when they¬† hosted the third Olympics in Lake Placid, NY in 1932.
  • The first Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix, France hosted 258 athletes competing in 9 disciplines — The 21st Olympiad in Vancouver, Canada will host over 2500 athletes competing in 15 disciplines.

The New York Times has a great page devoted to the 2010 Winter Olympics here, with stories on different sports, athletes, gear, and all kinds of interactive media including an event tracker and videos of the downhill course at Whistler.

FYI coverage of the the Opening Ceremonies begins tonight at 7:30pm EST on NBC.

The Winter Olympics in Vancouver are coming. Soon. Very Soon. FRIDAY, in fact. This Friday.

I, for one, CAN’T WAIT!¬† I love love love love watching winter sports, and especially winter Olympic competitions.¬† I’m thinking/hoping that this will be the first of many posts about the 2010 Winter Olympics, and I hope that our readers will write in about their favorite events, predictions for winners, and other thoughts and comments.¬† My personal favorites are too numerous to count, but figure skating, downhill skiing, and luge are right there at the top.

As a budding designer, I am always intrigued about the logos, icons, colors, and forms used to represent the Olympics, their host city, and their events. This year is no different.  This is the 2010 Vancouver logo:

and apparently somewhere in Olympic Village someone has carved and installed a large stone version.¬† The sportswear donned at the opening ceremonies is always either a fashion do or don’t, and this year I hear that USA is sporting lame-o popped Polos and funny white pants.¬† This year’s individual logos for each of the events are spectacular.¬† The colors blue and green swirl around an illustration of a figure doing the sport represented.¬† Here is an example of the skeleton¬† (to download your own versions and to check out other Olympic fun–schedules, medal counts, event recaps–check out the Official Vancouver Olympics Website.

The New York Times put out a great story on the history of the design of the torch which is worth a read–the article has an interactive time line where you hover over an Olympic year and the torch pops up with all kinds of interesting facts and info.

I had heard that this year’s Olympic medals were created from recycled materials, which I think is very hip and with it.¬† And when I was perusing a new favorite news site vbs.tv, I happened upon this video on how they were designed by a local firm (sorry I can’t embed the video for some reason… but at least it will also get you over to check out vbs.tv).¬† Each medal is different, none like any other, an individual piece of art that the winning Olympians will wear around their necks.

And don’t forget the Olympic mascots–they’re so cute!!

What’s your favorite part about the Olympics?¬† What are you most looking forward to watching?

The National Weather Service is predicting that a “SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM WILL IMPACT THE REGION WEDNESDAY AND WEDNESDAY NIGHT WITH HEAVY SNOW AND STRONG WINDS…” note use of capital letters for emphasis.¬† It could very well be a snow day here tomorrow.¬† I’m hoping for it, but I’m thinking the big snow won’t start until tomorrow afternoon, by which time I’ll have already been at work wishing I was curled up with the dog and some cocoa watching recorded episodes of American Idol Hollywood Week.¬† I’ll finish my work day and then have to wait for a bus that won’t show because the snow is impacting the overhead lines, or if and when it does show up is packed with masses of people trying to exit the city.¬† We’ll then trudge through several inches of snow to home only to be met by a dog who has been inside all day long and desperately needs a walk.¬† Fun Fun!¬† I’m not complaining, really, in fact I wish for MORE snow because I really want a snow day.¬† I just don’t want to come home from a long day’s work in a snow mess.¬† So yes, more snow please!¬† I’ll take all that DC has had and more! Bring it on!¬† I heart snow days!

If… IF… it is a snow day, either tomorrow or Thursday (both unlikely, but a girl can dream!) here are the top 10 things I would do:

1. Sleep in
2. Stay in my sweats all day
3. Make a big pot of coffee and eat a giant bowl of Malt-O-Meal, extra lumpy and two brown sugars
4. Knit and/or paint and/or make Valentines
5. Watch tivo’d episodes of Chuck, American Idol, and Biggest Loser
6. Finish this terrible book I’m reading called The Anglo Files.¬† Funny, but super whiny and borderline offensive towards all things Britain
7. Bake Mark these cookies, or these cookies
8. Give Gordon a bone and watch him hide it
9. Force Mark to play a board game with me, preferably Boggle or Life
10. Make a pot of soup

How would you spend a snow day?  Or, if you live in DC or anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic, how have you spent your snow days?

Is it bigger than this, which currently sits next to our parking area?

snowbank

I included the trash can for reference. That’s about 5 or 5.5 ft. Can you top that? We need photographic evidence (send it and I’ll post challengers).

Anna has gotten us back in full-blog mode, and there’s lots to report on. What a few weeks it has been! Last weekend we were in beautiful (cold) Killington, Vermont with college friends of mine. It’s an annual tradition, thanks to our wonderful host, Jessica. My highlight is always making fires — I love every aspect of it, and it’s not the sort of thing you get to do very often in a city apartment these days. The only minus is having to wash every bit of clothing you brought with you because you smell like a campfire. A small price to pay, in my book.

The spot is almost impossibly beautiful in the winter, as is obvious in this picture:

killington_group1

Hiking in the snow is always part of the weekend, and this year’s snow crop did not disappoint. We were waist deep in many spots. On Saturday, we braved the snow and ice in an effort to cross a raging frozen waterfall. We made it, though my foot slipped back in the icy water. To warm up, the two doctors in our group recommended a few glasses of wine. Done.

Anna and I also did some playing in the snow. A few freeze-frame captures:

mark_snow

anna_snow1

anna_snow2

We highly recommend this. You will smile like this afterward:

anna_mark_snow

On our way back to Boston, we made a detour through Williamstown. Of course we got purple cow cookies:

anna_cookie

Tuesday there was this little national matter that we are just now starting to understand completely. Wow.

Then Thursday, we met Loyal Reader Mark, who’s just taken a new job at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for a night of Mendelssohn. Guy peaked at age 20, sort of like a college football player who goes pro to early (insert Maurice Clarett joke here). Anyway, it was our first trip to Symphony Hall, and the world-renowned acoustics are as good as described. Thanks, Loyal Reader Mark!

This weekend, we have had the great pleasure of hosting our good friend Darryl, who made the trip from Gambeir, Ohio. For readers who know Ohio geography (there can’t be many of you, can there?), Gambier is roughly 30 miles north of my hometown of Granville. Right in the heart of Buckeye Country. Can you tell I’m just a little bit jealous?

Anyway, before Darryl got here yesterday morning, Anna, Sammy, and I participated in a volunteer event at the Boston Food Pantry downtown with the Williams Alumni Association. Wet met Jessica there, too (as she too had thankfully unfrozen from Killington). For those of you who have never volunteered at a food pantry, it is good and meaningful work. There were roughly 80 volunteers there, divided into two teams on assembly lines. Ours looked  like this:

food_pantry

Within a half hour or so, as task-specialization kicked in, we were operating as a pretty well-oiled machine. Jessica was a loader (lifting boxes off of the pallets onto the line for sorting), Anna and Sammy were first sorters (inspecting the contents of the boxes, throwing out expired or opened products, and discovering the weird stuff that people thought were a good idea to give to a food pantry — pregnancy tests, anyone?). I was proudly the runner, meaning I did a little bit of everything. Like storing the hundreds of mops and brooms we received:

mops4

If you have never volunteered at or donate to a food pantry, we’d strongly recommend it. In 3 hours, our group boxed up over 15,000 meals, but the Boston pantry helps feed over 90,000 clients a week. Drop me a line if you ever want to go. As a nice thank you, the Pantry gave volunteers beautiful flowers that had been donated by Trader Joe’s. They are sitting on top of my blogging desk now, and are a great reminder of the cycle of generosity that service creates:

orchid1

Lots more to report on soon, hope you are warm and well-rested wherever you are.

This past weekend, Mark and I traveled out to the wild, wooley west to see Marcy, my oldest friend from growing up, get married in a four-day wedding extraveganza.¬† Wyoming is truly beautiful this time of year… if you can escape the snow, which unfortunately we didn’t.¬† But we had an enormously fun time seeing everyone, attending parties, and participating in a beautiful ceremony that took place inside the warmth and love of our childhood church while the wind and snow blew in heaps outside.

We flew in to Casper, an oil and gas town of about 60,000, elevation more than 5,280′ in the mountain plains of Wyoming, on a beautiful fall day.¬† I’ve actually never flown in to Casper during this time of year when the prairie cottonwoods and grasses have turned bright golds and oranges, contrasting against the evergreen junipers and lodgepole pines.¬† By the time I get home it’s already winter and everything is dead and frozen over, or during the summer fresh in bright green.¬† As we flew over the bluffs I was struck with the colors and how the flora stratifies just like the rock it grows on.

It was a 60 degree day, but much like New England–all we had to do was wait a minute and the weather would change.

Casper is home to many things, from one of the largest oil and gas industries in the lower 48 to Lou Tauberts Ranchwear with FIVE FLOORS of boots and hats and chaps and wranglers and lassos and bolo ties and big buckles and carharts and all kinds of western awesomeness.¬† The city is surrounded by ranches and farms and cattle, and more North American antelope per square mile than people.¬† But the one thing I suppose one could say Casper is famous… or infamous… for is… the Beacon.¬† A bonafide cowboy bar.

And yes, that’s right.¬† It says “Where the cowboys go SNEAKIN'”¬† And OHHH MY… do they ever.¬† And not just young cowboys.¬† Old ones too.¬† And cowgirls.¬† And cowladies.¬† They do the two-step to live music and then dance the night away to a DJ.¬† This is an incredible site to see.¬† Believe me–I am not making fun of this, the moves these people have are amazing.¬† One dance in particular they do is called the “Casper Slide.”¬† I don’t know exactly how it became the “Casper Slide,” because the dance doesn’t have anything characteristically Casper in it… just some kicking and stepping and twisting around.

I tried to catch a video of my friends doing this special dance (they are in the background… the girl with the veil is my friend Marcy), but a woman who was very in to her Casper Sliding stepped right in and stole the limelight… anyhow.¬† Watch and you’ll get the idea… both about the dance and about the awesomeness of the Beacon.

All Sneakin to the Beacon silliness aside, the wedding was beautiful and sweet and lovely.¬† We laughed and cried.¬† We took too many pictures.¬† We watched our friend become Mrs. Marvel.¬† We ate salmon caught by Marcy’s father and bacon-wrapped cheese-filled jalapenos (well, Mark did in any case–I stuck to the cheesy potatoes!).¬† We danced and drank too much wine.¬† And did I mention it snowed?¬† It did.¬† During the wedding and the reception and all through the night until more than a foot blanketed some areas and we all threw rose petals at Marcy and her Eric as they bundled into the limo and we all slid home to our warm beds.

In the morning, I awoke to this:

The snow kept us home one extra day due to a late flight and a would-be missed connection.¬† It was nice to be home, even for what only seemed like a minute, where the old dogs still love you and your bed is made just the same way it used to be.¬† The smells are there–for me it’s cider and something good cooking on the stove mixed with something I can’t categorize but that feels so familiar.¬† The colors and the weather and the dogs and the smells… they all remind me that no matter where I may be, Wyoming will always be my home.

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