well. there is lots to say and i have little energy to write, but i need to get it all down tonight.
i'll start by saying that andrew and i celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary on saturday, and it was terrific. we dropped the dogs off at the cozy inn (warning: stupid music plays, but you can turn it off at the "music off" link beneath the changing pictures) and headed down to berryville, virginia, for the shenandoah valley fiber festival. it was my first time going to this one, and it was really nice. calm, friendly, spacious, a little warm but not too, and lots of vendors. and most indoors, making weather a minimal concern even if it had been bad. i was not very spendy and bought just two skeins: dragonfly fibers dragon sock in the titania colorway, which is a beautiful tone-on-tone emerald green and a nice sproingy tight twist,
and lizard toes isobel, which is a fingering blend of merino, cashmere, and nylon in a variegated grey and brown.
the dragon sock is earmarked for the tour de sock; my team is the team that rocks (slowly), made up of five members of the rockin sock club, and socks that rock is by far my largest stash, but dragonfly fibers is one of the sponsors and we get double points for using its yarn, so. i am competitive. what?
the isobel was just calling to me from the aisle and i waltzed into the booth and grabbed it, felt the cashmere and knew i had to have it, and THEN realized that it was a yarn by someone i'd met on lazy, stupid, and godless just a couple of days earlier. it will make beautiful weaving. on which more later.
after the festival, we checked into our hotel. we stayed at the aloft winchester, and let me sum up right here, unambiguously so that there is no confusion: DO NOT STAY AT THIS HOTEL. it is pretty. it has a snack bar. that's about all the good i can say about it. oh, and i guess it wasn't too expensive ($116 including taxes for one night). why did we hate it so much? here we go, chronologically: i was too stupid to check where it was located and should have booked something in the old town. my bad. not the fault of the hotel. but a bummer. whatever. so we walk in, and the young woman behind the desk is angrily flipping through a binder. chin on her hand, scowling, nearly ripping the pages out as she turns the pages, looking for something she's not finding. she doesn't acknowledge us (we are in her line of sight peripherally and the lobby was small--we know she saw and heard us) for literally about five minutes. when she finally does, she makes sure to tell us how crappy her day is going and that it's just beginning. this line of conversation continues throughout our (fortunately relatively brief) interaction. at the end of said interaction, she pushes a couple of card keys at me and starts to turn back to her computer problems (also a topic of complaint during our time providing hotel-desk-clerk therapy). so i ask, "what's the room number? is this it?" and i find it written in tiny letters on the card-key envelope. "what's the best way to get to that?" (any other time i've checked into a hotel, the checker-in has made sure to show and tell me my room number and then give explicit directions to the room. not this one. she had Things to Do.) so she tells us and then returns to her work. we head to room 226. it's cool. it's modern. sleek. we settle in for a little nap before dinner.
we walked around the pedestrian area for a little while before dinner, then headed to the restaurant. here's me on our walk. i was a hand-knits fool: february lady sweater, kalajoki socks, and earth and sky shawl.
dinner was AMAZING. i'd found (thanks, google!) and reserved a table for two at one block west. again, unambiguously, i'll offer this: DO EAT AT THIS RESTAURANT. so good! i started with this fabulous composed salad:
(oops, sideways; i'll figure out how to fix that). it's a mixture of asian pears, butternut squash, and spiced pecans with an apple-cider reduction. omg so good. also excellent french bread. very frenchy. i had a hanger steak with dragon-something (a theme!) wax beans and black kale. i love hanger steak. :) and then we shared a flourless chocolate cake called le bete noir. it was warmer and had a different texture from other flourless cakes i've had--almost like a flan, except that i don't like flan. not custardy, just soft and warm like that. omnomnom.
and then we were completely stuffed and drove back to the hotel. we were surprised (and, i confess, unimpressed) to see the desk clerk cozily adjusting the shirt of a young man who was enjoying the attention quite a bit, both enjoying pounding music and a lively party going on around them in the lobby bar. we were grateful to be headed to the peace of our room.
we thought. but we could hear EVERYthing from our room. we were annoyed. but we watched some tv and went about our business and tried to ignore them. this was doable until we tried to go to sleep. at 10:15 (yes, i am old), i phoned the front desk and asked about how late we should expect the music to be going on. "about 12:30, maybe a little later," came the answer. no apology, no concern. so i hung up. what could i do?
then andrew suggested that we request a different room, so i called back. she had one more room, on a higher floor and at the other end of the hotel. why the hell hadn't we been given that one in the first place? i do not know. so we moved and had a decent night after that. but never any note of concern or apology from the desk clerk.
the morning-shift guy was a whole different kind of employee. genuinely aksed how our night was, just a general air of here-to-serve. too bad he hdn't been on the night shift.
we headed back to town for breakfast before hitting the road: the amherst diner. another good choice. not speedy, particularly, and not any prettier than any other old diner, but a good diner. i'd go again.
and that was our weekend. i'd spent a lot of it stressed and worried, despite the beautiful scenery and wonderful company, because i am having endometrial ablation tomorrow morning and had received a call friday afternoon saying that they couldn't clear me for anesthesia because of an abnormality on my ekg. so i'd worried all weekend about how i was going to chase down doctors and tests to get cleared by wednesday morning, given that i have a rush project at work right now that really needed to get to the author by COB today. (it didn't. sorry.) but monday morning i was able to get all the paperwork faxed and signatures transmitted, so i'm all cleared for tomorrow. i'm very nervous still, mostly about the IV needle (i HATE needles, serious phobia, like the only thing i'm actually phobic about), but also about the anesthesia not working and going through what i went through five years ago in the colonoscopy. but i remind myself that needles are not (generally) fatal and that i have survived being raped and the rape-like colonoscopy and that i shall therefore survive this thing tomorrow. i will be grateful to be under anesthesia finally and not worrying about this any more.
so. weaving: i start an eight-week course on weaving at the pittsburgh center for the arts on saturday, and i am SO excite. i learned to weave this summer at woven art in lansing but haven't had anyone here to help me learn more, and there are a few more things i'm ready to learn. the classes are three hours every saturday, and i am so excited to learn and make some more fun stuff.
and of course nerd wars and tour de sock both start on saturday, so those will be good for keeping me busy.
oh! and i almost forgot: we brought nova flooring out today to have a look at our dr. seuss-ity house, and it looks like they might be the answer for us. we hope to have an estimate in a couple of days. now to choose actual flooring! i'm SO looking forward to entertaining at home again. :squeezesigh: