Saturday, January 24, 2009

A retreat for the strong-hearted

So far January has not been the doze-in-front-of-the-fireplace kind of time I fantasize about in November and December.  I have not been willfully neglecting this poor blog for so many months -- life is what happens when you have other plans.

Last weekend my daughter-in-law and I went on our annual quilting retreat in Door County, Wisconsin.  When we arrived Thursday afternoon, the temperature was -17 F.

But, as I tell my granddaughter, "The women in our family  are tough cookies."  We had a wonderful time, spending as much time walking around outside gaping at the beauty and taking pictures as inside doing needlework.

It's a unique ecosystem --a  peninsula between two large bodies of water (Green Bay and Lake Michigan), and it's the transitional area between the Northern Hardwood Forest and the Boreal Forest.  It is stunning, especially in January.  Going up there for five days over MLK, Jr. weekend has become a tradition among my close quilting friends.  The fair-weather tourists have long since gone, and quiet reigns.

Snow reigns too.  It is austere and opulent at the same time.  We had six inches of snow on Saturday, in bright sunshine, so it truly appeared that diamonds were falling through the air.

The paths through the woods are right out of a storybook (Narnia).  

Here flowers are wearing white shakos.

This is one of the unheated cabins -- we stay in the few that have heat!  We take our down comforters and hot water bottles and are snug and warm.  And we know how to dress for the cold.  

I had low expectations for what I would accomplish -- and met them:  I finished my grandson's Obama socks (the right one says President and the left says Obama) so he could wear them for the inauguration on Tuesday.  I finished appliqueing a block which I started last June.  I am taking a two-year class to learn hand applique, and the first four blocks went surprisingly well.  It was beginner's luck -- the fifth block is awful, and I was so discouraged I couldn't get myself to pick it up again.  But I finally convinced myself that someday I will look at this quilt and say, "Wow, I've come a long way!"  So I finished it.  And I cut out the next one.  Last, I appliqued over a mistake on a top that's now ready for the quilter, once I get the backing together.

I have watched more television since Obama's nomination acceptance speech than in the past 30 years.  I know our country has huge problems, but we still have natural resources, we still know how to work, we're still inventive.  There's nothing wrong that we can't fix.  I'm so relieved that we now have people in government who can figure it out without getting hung up on ideology.

One of the blogs I like to read is Sara's Scraps.  Sara ends each post with gratitudes for the day, and I like that.  I think I'll steal the idea from her.

A warm house
Fresh homemade bread
Lois reads this blog 

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