Friday, December 18, 2009

Hemmed In

During sivasana at a recent yoga class, Barbara had us take a "mini-vacation" and visualize our favorite vacation spot and recall how we felt while we were there. I immediately went to the Caribbean and then out West, remembering the grandness and sense of space. Then I started thinking about how I feel while I'm on vacation and compared it to how I feel when I'm not (It was at this time that Barbara said "If you've left your mini-vacation, it's time to go back." Oops...). What I revel in, especially if our vacation includes being in the wilderness, is the sense of freedom, of openness. And it struck me that my day-to-day life makes me feel, well, hemmed in. I leave my house in the morning, get in my car, go to work, sit in my cube and conference rooms all day, get back in the car, drive home, eat dinner in the kitchen (or in front of the TV if Tom is watching something I want to watch), then go to bed. Repeat for five days.

The weekend routine is only slightly different. I don't go to work (usually), but the days are usually spent in the house, trying to get caught up on chores that I didn't do during the week. Sometimes I just spin my wheels and don't accomplish much. Hemmed in.

On vacation, however, and most notably when we took a road trip through New Mexico, Utah, and a tiny part of Colorado (and again in South Dakota when we were there for the Lean Horse Ultramarathon), that hemmed-in feeling disappears and I feel free. I can't quite figure out why. Is it because I have no responsibilities other than just being? Is it because I'm out in nature? Is it because I'm out West and the landscape is so vast and grand? Whatever it is, I would dearly love to feel like that in my non-vacation life.

And speaking of vacations, for the first time since I've been out of school (I won't mention how many decades that's been), I'm going to take both Christmas Eve and the week after Christmas off! Usually the companies that I've worked for schedule a major software release in January, and given that most software development efforts involve the code being delivered to the testers several weeks late (without the release date slipping), I've worked long hours over the holidays. Not so with my current company; the last release of the year was delivered this week. So I'll be free! I've already started a to-do list that includes fun things and chores. Maybe I'll pull out some UFOs and finish them. Maybe I'll pull out the spinning wheel and finish some spinning. I want to paint and re-do my fiber room. I want to cook up a bunch of gluten-free food to take to work for lunch. I'll be teaching a friend to knit (we had the first lesson yesterday). How much do you want to bet that I won't get any of it done (other than teaching the friend to knit)?

Breaking Weather
It's snowing!! Now, for those of you in the more northern climes, I'm sure you're groaning at the thought of snow. However, in Virginia, and particularly in the Washington, DC area, a good snowfall is rare. The last several winters have seen a couple of snowfalls that were only a couple of inches. Pitiful. Shameful, actually. However, the National Weather Service is predicting a "significant" snowfall and they've been upping the accumulation estimates all day. Now, they are saying that we'll have 5-9 inches over night (up from 1-3), 8-12 inches on Saturday (up from 7-11) and another 2-4 inches Saturday night. I'm pretty sure that the higher accumulations will be in the mountains, but a minimum of 14 inches is pretty good. I'd like to see the maximum, of course, but I'll take what I can get.

It was difficult to concentrate at work today because of the predicted snowstorm. I swear, I'm worse than a child. While I don't like driving in the snow (the drivers around here are pitiful, either going too fast because they have four-wheel drive or too slow because they don't), I love shoveling snow. I know, it's kind of weird. But there's something satisying about clearing snow. You can actually see the results (the results in my job are somewhat intangible).

And then there's the hush that falls when it snows. All the sounds are dampened, muffled, almost reverential. It's the same on Christmas Eve, when everything seems to be hushed in expectation of the birth of Jesus (or the visitation of Santa, depending on your beliefs). It's mystical.

I absolutely love it.

Knitting Progress
After many months (eight months, to be exact), the baby blanket is off the needles, the ends woven in, and washed and blocked. I'm pleased with the way it turned out, even though I see the mistakes in it (I slipped yif once instead of yib, and left out a row in one pattern repeat, but I at least I was consistent). The hand of the fabric is nice, somewhat heavy, but fluid. And even though I was using magenta and lime green yarns, the magenta did not bleed into the green when I washed it. What a relief! I'll post a picture later this weekend then I'll send it off to the happy family.

I'm working on the garter stitch scarf (I'll post a picture of that, too), but I'm not sure about how the dye pattern is working out. I raveled back to where I untied the knot, retied it, and everything was going along well for a while, but now there are stripes where there was an argyle pattern. Did my gauge change that dramatically? Of course, I was quite relaxed when I started knitting it at the knitting retreat and am much less relaxed now, which could result in tighter knitting. I ripped it back once more and tried to consciously loosen my gauge, but to no avail. I'll continue on and see what developed. Maybe a full do-over is necessary.

Well, that's all for now. I need to check the snow status and head to bed. I'm working tomorrow to verify the implementation we're doing tonight. Fortunately, I can work from the comfort (albeit chilly) of my own home.

Happy snow!


Sheepish Annie said...

We're due to get the tail end of that storm tomorrow morning. Nothing major, though. Eight inches if it really gets out of hand. But I still think that the Caribbean sounds better !

Enjoy your Christmas vacation and all that snow!

Unknown said...

Be safe - I think y'all got more snow than you bargained for.

And just for the record, being in wide-open NM spaces still requires one to do chores. I will attest to that!