Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Other Coast

DH and I have been in Arcata visiting with Chris, Becky and the twins for nearly a week now. Every time I'm here I'm struck by how different it is from New Jersey. For one, we don't use a car. The market and the Plaza are within walking distance of the house. There are sidewalks everywhere so it feels safe to walk. We've been fortunate this visit with the weather. it's been sunny and warm every day.
This photo was taken yesterday. The Plaza is in the center of town and is a gathering spot for residents and the many transients who come to Arcata in the summer time. On Saturdays the Plaza becomes the farmers' market. DH and I wandered through this morning and the produce was amazing. Everything is locally grown and looks so fresh and delicious.
There is tremendous emphasis on lowering one's carbon footprint. While here DH and I recycle and compost more than we do at home. We reuse plastic bags when we go to the market and we carry everything home in a backpack. In fact, here the market charges if you don't bring your own grocery bags.
I guess what strikes me each time I am here is how accepting people are of differences. Arcata is a university town and there are plenty of well educated, upscale folks, lots of students and many people who appear homeless and panhandle on the streets. They all coexist comfortably, something I don't think would occur on the east coast, at least not in my town.
That said, while I enjoy it while I'm here, I'm always happy to get back to the hustle and bustle of New Jersey. As Dorothy so aptly said, "There's no place like home."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


As I feared I do not have enough yarn to finish the February Lady Sweater. I had one skein left for each sleeve. In order to make the left sleeve long enough I had to get into the second skein.

Unfortunately this yarn has been discontinued and is not readily available. The manufacturer, Classic Elite Yarns, e-mailed me a list of yarn shops that might have stock left. WEBS has five skeins although the representative wasn't sure what dye lot they were. She is sending me three skeins and I can only hope the color is not too far off.

I think the sweater is a bit short and I plan to frog the bottom garter stitch trim and add a few more pattern repeats. Other than that, I'm pretty pleased with how it is coming along.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

In the Company of Women

In the Company of Women
Originally uploaded by rallaronson
I spent the last week at Ferry Beach, a UU camp on the coast of Maine. I shared my time there with 87 other women who were also interested in connecting, learning more about themselves and others and playing by the sea.

The photo, taken in front of my tent (which was a bit soggy at times) is of me and my three travel companions. It was a long trip from NJ and we shared driving responsibilities. We're a companionable foursome and it was fun getting to know each other better.

Ferry Beach is a large compound situated right on the ocean near Saco, Maine. it's been in existance for more than 100 years. There are lots of guest rooms, meeting spaces, a beautiful outdoor chapel and a campground. The food is tasty and plentiful.

Those in attendance had a choice of morning workshops including yoga, shamanic journey, women loving women, sacred circle dance, discovering the super shero within and Soul Conversations for Women over 50, the one I chose.

There were 11 of us in the soul conversations group including our fearless leader, Julie. We ranged in age from late fifties to 91 and came from the east coast of the US and Canada. Some of us are straight and some are gay; some in committed relationships and some living alone.

We spent each morning in deep conversation about our lives to date and our hopes and fears for the future. A number of us were at or near retirement and were thinking about change. Over the course of six days we developed a level of trust and honesty that was very rewarding. I felt that these women had become my sisters.

Meals and the late afternoon social hour offered opportunities to meet other women and have conversations about politics, diversity, grandchildren and the frequent rain showers. Those so inclined took bike rides, hiked or enjoyed the beach.

It was a week that expanded my horizons and made me grateful for "the company of women."