Alrighty then. It's raining. It's about 50 degrees and the gunky, hard, crusty February snow is melting. We're talking my little street looks like a small river as water gushes out of sump pumps, across lawns and sidewalks, and into the street where it heads to the nearest storm sewer. If the temps drop tonight we can all go skating.
I treated myself today. I got some new trekking poles (that link isn't the exact ones I got, but they are almost identical). I got some Black Diamonds last year in preparation for my trip to Iona, and to my dismay, they didn't fit in my suitcase. :-( I used them once here at home, and discovered why they were in the sale bin at REI to begin with - one of the poles' snap locks was not secure, but you couldn't tell until you were actually walking with it. I'm going to Sedona, Arizona on Friday, and there will be hiking, so today, I decided to find out if REI was serious about their "bringitbackwheneverforeverevenifyouusedit" guarantee. I actually still had my original receipt (which I didn't even need because I'm a member)!
I'm suitably impressed. No questions, no fussing, completely easy credit back to the credit card of my choice. Kewl Deal! Thank you REI :-) And I bought myself the new poles in the hope that they would fit in my suitcase and I could take them with me to hike in the red rocks of Sedona. OK - I spent WAY more than I anticipated, but I like them, they are very lightweight yet sturdy, and I got some rubber tips so that I can also use them to Nordic walk around the neighborhood once the weather finally calms down. So the price was the bad news, but the good news is that they FIT in my suitcase. I will have to check my bag, but that's alright because I will be able to take them with me all the time now when I travel! Woo Hoo! Instant exercise :-D
I'm going to retreat again with author, Joan Anderson, this time in Sedona. My life was changed so dramatically by my time in retreat on Iona last year that I have realized that this type of time away is not a luxury. It's something I need to do for my sanity on a regular basis. I think this will be a substantially larger group of women than when I went to Iona, but this time will be what I make of it, and at least two of my Iona sisters are also going, so I will get to see them!
I've been waiting to show you a few more finished objects. Michelle, at Boulderneigh, signed up on my blog for the Pay it Forward exchange, and I sent off her present this week. I had been wanting to make an Irish Hiking Scarf for some time, and when I found the Irish Hiking Wrist Warmers that go with it, I was sold. The yarn is Fiesta Boomerang, in the Alaska colorway, purchased from The Loopy Ewe. I think it's the only worsted weight that Sheri carries!
I liked the wrist warmers so much that I made Michelle a second pair. She lives on, what to me, is a farm. She calls it "property," or "a few acres." She has sheep and horses - and a barn. The only place you see those in Chicagoland (other than horses - we have mounted police) is in the Farm-in-the-Zoo in Lincoln Park - so I figure she lives on a farm ;-) The second pair I called "Barn Warmers." It doesn't get so cold where she lives as it does here in Chicagoland, but I thought it might be good to have a sturdy pair for handling farm implements and working with animals. These are made of my first handspun yarn (that brown Lincoln that seemed to take me forever to spin). I doubled it to make gauge - they are very sturdy. Rachael tried them on last week and pronounced them good, and Michelle likes them and they fit her! Perfect! I enjoyed this PIF exchange very much :-) Michelle actually has better photos on her blog.
The dryer is buzzing and it's time to figure out dinner :-)