As our time in sunny FL was coming to a close last April, DH and I decided we were not going to spend a fifth winter as snow birds. The weather in Crystal River is pleasant and the company, at The Islands and at Nature Coast UU, is good. We enjoyed being outdoors, biking and walking. We liked the townhouse we rented as it is larger and better equipped than our place in NJ. The washer and dryer in the unit were particularly appreciated. I will never like walking my laundry two buildings over even though there is rarely a wait for a machine and the laundry room is kept spotless by our super, Romeo.
What we missed in Florida was culture, particularly our easy access to Manhattan. Since coming north, we've visited numerous museums, seen countless independent films, enjoyed first class chamber music. We also missed our families. Being in NJ all year allows us to have the company of our NY/NJ children and grandchildren. For the first time in many years we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house. It was wonderful. It's also a treat to meet Jackie in Manhattan for a meal and a visit from time to time.
So far the winter has been extremely mild. I heard on the radio the other day that December and January have averaged 5 degrees above normal. We're expecting a cold snap in the next few days and the temperature is forecast to stay below freezing for an extended time. We'll have to see how we fare. Inside we are warmer than we ever were in Florida. Our apartment is kept at a steady 72 to 74 degrees. At night I have to open the window to bring the temperature down to one suitable for sleeping. In Florida the unit was difficult to heat with uninsulated windows. DH was almost always cold until April. If we turned the heat up to the comfort range, the electric bill took our breath away.
I'm really appreciating my knitting friends as well. There are scheduled knit group meetings three times a week at various venues and ad hoc get together opportunities at Lisa's yarn shop, All about Ewe. I missed her grand opening last February and I've been busy making up for lost time. Her shop has a comfortable seating area, a welcoming atmosphere and absolutely lovely yarn.
I'm currently working on two knitting projects. One is a cable sweater for DH. It's a challenging pattern and I've suffered a few set backs but I'm soldiering on. I've finished the front and am most of the way through the sleeves. It would be nice to finish it before the winter is over. My other project is very long term, a shawl I started November 29, 2011. It's the kind of project that requires intense concentration, precludes conversation and is knit in fingering weight yarn. I enjoy it when I'm working on it, but don't often find the solitary time. In the meantime, I've completed lots of small projects: fingerless mitts, cowls, sweaters for the OR grands, hats (one for Molly and one for me), a washcloth for Orion and four baby bears (three pictured below, fourth given to charity). Photos of the other finished items are available on my ravelry page.