Sunday, May 04, 2008

I came, I saw, I bought NO yarn

Yes, you read that right. Two days at the 2008 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival and I came away with zero yarn. Proud of me?

Don't be. What I didn't purchase in yarn, I made up for in drop spindle purchases and fiber. And I'm giddy with delight.

Unlike previous years, I took very few photos, so don't have much to show you tonight. But I will share my favorite spindle purchase of the weekend.

Feast thine eyes upon this beauty:

Golding Ring Spindle - "4 Blue Roses"

enamel ring - blue rose detail

That's a Golding ring spindle called "4 Blue Roses", with a vintage enamel ring, a 2¾" carved & painted cherry whorl and walnut shaft, and it weighs 1.32 oz. (The fiber is 70/30% Corriedale/Alpaca top from “A Touch of Twist”.) Needless to say, it's a delight to spin. And Tom Golding is even more delightful in person than he has been in emails. I'd been asking him questions about a few of the other gorgeous vintage spindles on his website, and so he very graciously brought them to the show especially for me to see, hidden away from his main display. I could have hugged him right there. Those spindles were breathtaking in person. But after seeing the blue rose spindle, I knew it was the one for me. Oh, happy day. :-)

Okay, enough about the spindle. Not everyone feels the same way I feel about them, so it must get boring. So, for those who'd like more details about my weekend, I will elaborate.

I left Richmond around 5:30 pm on Friday, and arrived in Columbia, MD around 8 pm. Thanks to Nigel, (my beloved GPS), I made one intermediate stop to pick up some dinner-to-go at Macaroni Grill, and enjoyed it after I checked into my hotel. (I wish Richmond had a Macaroni Grill -- I adore their "Carmella's Chicken Rigatoni" - chicken, pasta, mushrooms, garlic, onions, parmesian cheese -- how can you go wrong?)

Staying at my hotel were Suzanne, Melanie & Lou, and we ate breakfast together both mornings. After breakfast on Saturday, I got to the festival early, and managed to hit all my "must-see" vendors by noon. At various points during the morning, I ran into Patsy & friends, Jane & Donna, and Robin C. and her husband. Oh, and I ran into Gina Bonomo as I was leaving. After grabbing a lamb sandwich for lunch, I wandered by the Ravelry meet-up in the rabbit barn (jam-packed with people), and then decided I'd had enough of the heat, humidity and crowds, and went back to my hotel to relax for a few hours before dinner and the Ravelry party at the Sheraton.

I met up with a few other Ravelers at the best sushi place in Columbia, Sushi Sono, which is conveniently just a quick stroll down the sidewalk from the Sheraton. I had my favorite item on their menu -- Una Jyu (freshwater eel over rice) and some spicy tuna tartar. Dee-lish. The Ravelry gals I met there were complete strangers prior to Saturday evening, but turned out to be fun dinner companions. We wandered over to the party after dinner, and I managed to get a Ravelry tote bag -- cute! Later I ran into Beth and Monet, who were both amusingly entertaining and the life of my little corner of the party. (I do have a photo of that -- dare I publish it?) I stayed long enough to hear Casey, Jessica and Mary Heather talk a little about Ravelry, and then draw numbers for door prizes. Some nice prizes to be had, for sure. Alas, I did not win anything.

Today, (Sunday), I arrived at the festival mid-morning and almost literally ran into Bess at one point, (wearing her beautiful KipFee sweater), which was a lovely surprise. We shopped a bit together and then parted ways. I spent the rest of the day visiting all the barns, buildings and vendors I'd missed on Saturday, and added more spindles and fiber to the stash. Oh, my. I had lamb again for lunch, (and ordered some to-go, for dinner). I love lamb. I then had an ice cream cone and spent a little quiet time on the hill outside the main building -- that's always nice. I took another round of the vendors in the main building, and before I knew it, they were announcing that the festival would be over in half an hour! Where did my day go? For the first time, I missed the sheep-to-shawl competition. I also missed the skein & garment competition -- hated missing that, but them's the breaks. I'm hoping someone else who attended took lots of photos and will share.

Once again, for the third year in a row, Sunday turned out to be a much better day than Saturday, both weather-wise and crowd-wise. So, I will always recommend that people go on Sundays. It's really like a completely different (sane) event.

My drive home was trouble-free, for which I'm eternally grateful, and now I'm sufficiently exhausted. Time for bed!

And later this week I hope to get some photos of my purchases taken and published here. Need daylight and wakefulness for that. :-)

So, how was your weekend?

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Boss


Wednesday night I saw my dream-husband Bruce Springsteen and his "heart-stoppin', pants-droppin', earth-shockin', hard-rockin', booty-shakin', earth-quakin', love-makin', Viagra-takin', history-makin', legendary E-Street Band" perform at the John Paul Jones arena in Charlottesville.

I last saw him 2005, when he came to Richmond on his solo "Devils and Dust" tour and gave us an incredible show, one that was very different from what E-Street Band fans are used to seeing. And while that '05 tour and album proved to me his incredible artistic versatility, Wednesday's show underscored his stamina and longevity.

This 58-year-old man, who has been rockin' hard for 30 years, has still got it. With every bit as much energy as his four-hour "Born in the USA" tour I caught in Hampton in 1985, (but alas, only half the length -- the man is pushing 60, after all, and his fans are getting old, as well), The Boss did not disappoint. (Although, someday, somehow, someway, I'm going to see him perform "Rosalita" live...).

Clarence "Big Man" Clemmons

Stevie van Zandt

Max Weinberg

Best songs of the night included a surprise rendition of "No Surrender" early in the show, "Radio Nowhere" from his new album 'Magic'; and oldies like "10th Avenue Freeze-Out", "Born to Run", "Badlands", "Adam Raised a Cain", "Prove It All Night"...

...and "Jungleland":

(Feedblitz subscribers click here to view embedded video)

"Badlands" and "Jungleland" are two of my all-time favorite Springsteen songs, and were easily the highlights of the night for me. A moment that was a close second, however, and that proved that (my dream-husband) Bruce has still got it, was when he slid across the stage on his knees (58-year old knees!) during "Mary's Place". I cannot think of a better song to prove his virility.


(Newspaper reviews here and here. Set list here. A few more photos out on Flickr, here.)