Don’t cry for me…

My sisters and I keep a running email dialog, it helps to keep us connected when distance keeps us apart, and we get to laugh and tease about each other’s daily lives, and it is a really important part of my circle of what’s really important to me.

One of my sisters makes Martha Stewart look like a slug.  She is an amazing volunteer and quintessential hostess, and she does the holiday thing in a big way.  I love her for it, but that’s not me.  She didn’t realize I was going to Key West two weeks before Christmas, for VACATION.  Her comment was, “…who would book a vacation less then two weeks before Christmas?  I’d shoot myself!”  Then she proceeded to tell me in a lengthy paragraph about all the holiday activities she participates in, including the 37 gingerbread houses she made for the kids at church to decorate.  Like I said, I love her for being everything I’m not, and what I’m not, is a holiday hostess with the mostest…

I don’t bake.  I weave.  I don’t entertain.  I sew.  I hardly buy any gifts, just for my immediate family, that would be the family that lives inside my house.  I definitely don’t make gifts, or if I do, like the mug mats last year, it was because I was in some sort of mood.  My husband and daughter decorated the outside of the house with lights, and my daughter put up the tree.  It’s artificial.  No watering.  And no vacuuming the needles up in January…

I finished up the shopping I needed to do on the plane, thank you Skymall.com.  I never set foot in a single mall the whole season, thank you Amazon.com.  And so, I chose instead to fly away with my husband, and reconnect with him, he’ll be gone again in January to Saudi Arabia, and I’ll hunker down then and churn out the work.

The trip was fantastic.  Key West is the perfect weekend getaway, if you live on the east coast.  We flew to Miami, and hopped a prop plane and took the 27 minute flight to Key West.  The weather was surprisingly cold, my one mistake was not packing warm enough clothing, but I managed to layer, and wear my sneakers more than I would have normally.  So much for my pedicure…

Key West has water sports, gorgeous sunsets, gardens, Mojitos, unbelievable architecture, history, shipwrecks, Ernest Hemingway’s House, Mojitos, incredible restaurants, Key Lime Pie, oh, and did I mention Mojitos?  We went sailing, watched the sunset, did a house tour of some of the historic inns on the island, ate at two of the best restaurants I’ve ever experienced, and took a 3 hour ferry to the Dry Tortugas aboard the Yankee Freedom.  One of the great things about what I do is the feedback I get from students, guild members, and blog readers.  As a matter of fact, the post I did just before I left, produced a comment from one of my Canadian readers, who suggested her favorite restaurant, Blue Heaven, and we located it, and ate there after spending the day at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas.  When the owner came up to ask how I liked my dinner, all I could say was OMG!  He asked if he could quote me.  🙂

Irene Schmoller, from Cotton Clouds, is providing the yarn for me to do the project/kit for the upcoming article I’m writing for Handwoven Magazine.  She mentioned right before I left that her wonderful friend Ellen  Steininger owned the Hands On Wearable Art Gallery on Duval Street in Key West, so we set out to find the gallery.  It is a lovely intimate gallery with work I readily recognized from some of my favorite fiber artists, Ellen wasn’t there but the manager Coco showed us around and then suggested another amazing restaurant, Louie’s Backyard.  We dined on the water, had some more incredible food, and of course, a Mojito.

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you’d know that my husband is an amazing photographer.  It isn’t unusual to come back from a trip like this with a couple thousand photos.  Like any good photographer, he will take a hundred shots to get the one perfect one.  I culled through a ton of photos as quick as I could to get this blog post up, and pulled some representative shots.  When I got possession of the camera, like when he went snorkeling, I took inspirational shots of things like the herringbone pattern in the brickwork, dead seaweed in the sand, and spiderwebs clinging to the mortar in the crumbling bricks and a tunnel of doorways in Fort Jefferson.

My absolutely favorite thing we did in Key West was a complete surprise.  My husband grabbed some discount coupons from the hotel, and we happened to be walking by so he dragged me into the Butterfly Museum.  I figured it would be a bunch of dead bugs mounted in display cases, but I was thrilled when I found out it was glass conservatory with tropical plants, filled with tropical birds, quail, and hundreds of gorgeous butterflies all over the place.  I sat on benches, enjoyed the tropical rainforest atmosphere, listened to the quiet orchestration of the Christmas music in the background and just watched the butterflies.  My stress level/blood pressure dropped 20 points (not that I was really stressed hanging out in Key West drinking Mojitos, but you get the picture).  And I fell in love with a bench.  I wanted that bench.  No matter that it was $4000.  I wanted that bench.  I wanted to have it shipped home, and I wanted to sit in it next summer between conferences in my own beautiful gardens that someone else will have weeded and cared for, and I wanted to be served Mojitos by some gorgeous cabana boy in my butterfly bench in my own backyard, ok, well anyway, I had a great time in Key West.  I’m sure you can imagine.  

So we flew home and I hit the ground running.  I am diving into some new projects and adventures, and then there is the article to work on.  I’ll post more in the next couple of days, so stay tuned.  Meanwhile, I’m bundled up, it is cold in NJ, and I’m glad for having had a weekend away where it was warm and pretty and I could reconnect with my husband, even though it is two weeks before Christmas.

Have yourself a merry, and maybe a Mojito or two…

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Alice-Ann Ferderber
Alice-Ann Ferderber
December 16, 2010 1:38 am

Oh my, I’m in love with that bench too!

Nancy JC
December 16, 2010 6:30 am

Daryl, how wonderful! Key West sounds good right now…6°F here this morning. And yes, your husband does take some absolutely beautiful photographs! Thanks for sharing them. I look forward to more. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Carmella
Carmella
December 16, 2010 7:58 am

-0.1 in northern Wisconsin this morning! Wow, all that and Mojitos, too! The photos are gorgeous and I love hearing about your travels as well as your work. Thanks for the morning spirit lift.

Michael Kelley Dean
Michael Kelley Dean
December 16, 2010 8:56 am

Good morning, cousin. I loved hearing about your trip and seeing Kevin’s photos. I, too, fell in love with Key West and its architecture and food and sunsets….and sunrises…..and beautiful gardens…and gorgeous azure water….etc….etc. Bethany did too; we always talked about driving down together. Now here we are over a thousand miles away. Glad you two had that time together before his next “deployment.” I also loved the peek into your exchanges with your sisters; keeping in touch is more and more important as the years fly by. It’s good to know that we can appreciate the differences in each… Read more »

Jennifer Hill
Jennifer Hill
December 16, 2010 7:11 pm

Daryl, how can I weave that line of archways? Oh, that one “got” me. sigh
There are drawbacks in knowing what you don’t know, ya know?! So glad you had such a good time. It will be 1*F, tonight, or colder. The pogonip [hoarfrost] never burned off the lines & fences, today. I think Winter has hit!
Thank you for sharing all you do. Jennifer who has been bitten by the yardage bug

Tam
Tam
December 16, 2010 7:52 pm

I’ll drink (a mojito) to that! Great pics.

Elizabeth Eddy
December 17, 2010 2:30 pm

Key West! My favorite place! We were having wind chill to 5 degrees, and an inch of snow that paralyzed DC and caused more than 200 accidents. Mojitos are definitely the way to go! Your own pictures inspire me. I always bring home some of the oceany stuff I find on the beach, and enjoy that, instead of translating it into fabric. The BRICKS, oddly enough, suggest a path to me. ( mean, a weaving path.)(Maybe it’s the twill?)Happy holidays!

Mom with Love Always
Mom with Love Always
December 18, 2010 11:48 am

What a wondweful life!!!! In time for the best of seasons! Love the pics, both Kevin’s and yours. Bernie read your blog also and told me to tell you what a good writter you are!! I’ll second that. Will see you Christmas!

Your sister, Marta (not Martha)
Your sister, Marta (not Martha)
December 19, 2010 9:15 pm

Mom told me that I needed to read this, and it was worth it! Your trip sounded way more fun than my Martha Stewartesque holiday preparations. Thank you for the domestic compliments…just think of what I could pull off if I had as many minions as Martha, to execute my grand schemes…