Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Don't Look at the Clock-- Just Knit and Stretch (and EAT)

Posted by Spike Gillespie

Sunday night at dinner, one of my fellow knitting yogis was sharing a trick she’d learned about how to sleep better at night. Some people, such as myself, are big on checking the clock numerous times during the night, wondering if it’s time to get up yet. I was challenged to not give into that urge and, since I didn’t have to be anywhere too early on Monday, I thought I’d try it.

The technique worked. Monday morning, after resisting clock-checking fifty different times, I finally just got up when I really, truly felt like it. So, around 7 a.m., which meant I had about two hours more than my average seven-hours-per-night.

I trotted down to the dining room and joined a number of the others for some breakfast—I showed restraint and had the oatmeal. Then off we went on a hike out to the cliffs. Though this island is small, there’s no shortage of walking paths and gorgeous overlooks and stop-and-get-the-camera-out-right-this-second moments.

I spent a fairly good amount of time contemplating a seagull that flew down and sat on a rock very close to me. Some people think of seagulls as rodents with wings. Not me. Any encounter with a seagull reminds me of summers growing up on the Atlantic—I find the birds to be intriguing, hilarious and, especially regarding the guy I spent time with, sometimes very majestic.

Then, my time as the Seagull Whisperer drew to a close and we semi-hustled back to Monhegan House for our first yoga session with Melora, who is pinch-hitting for Suzanne on this trip. We’ve got students from all the way across the spectrum – super beginners to intermediates. So we went slow and did a lot of shoulder openers, something knitters can never get enough of.

I learned—or rather was reminded—something about myself in class. I just love being the teacher’s pet, no matter what it takes. So when Melora asked us to all stand the way we “usually” do, I knew she was expecting to see some bad posture. Not wanting to disappoint her, I got out my absolutely worst posture. It worked! I got singled out as Melora worried aloud about my spine and if maybe I had some permanent, chronic condition.

For lunch we were on our own. A number of us went to the Novelty, a great little place out back behind Mohegan House. I had a cup of chowder and split a tuna melt with Patty, our resident hike leader and photographer.

Then, knitting class. It’s crazy how hard we’re relaxing here, moving from chilled out activity A to chilled out activity B and so on until we collapse from relax-austion as I like to call it. Susan Mills, who is here as one of our teachers, is the Creative Director for Nashua Handknits and a totally great designer and she has red hair, which gets her extra bonus points from me. She got us quickly hooked on Nashua Creative Focus worsted-weight with a cool mix-and-match mitten pattern that allowed us to either knit in the round or flat, pointed or rounded tops, and gusseted or after thought thumbs. I had no idea there were so many ways to make a mitten. (I’m doing a periwinkle-for-main-color, no-ribbing, all stockinette, in-the-round pattern with a gusseted thumb and a round top and some splashes of contrasting color courtesy of some variegated Nashua. Oh I can’t believe I’m a smart enough knitter to write a sentence like that last one and ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND IT. Did I mention how much I am loving this trip?)

Post-knitting class, we broke up and scattered, some to more yoga, some for walks, me happily holed up with my keyboard to try to write some of this down. Then off to dinner, not that we needed it since, during knitting class, Monhegan House proprietor Holden had forced upon us about ninety-five different kinds of homemade cookies. Among these were Whoopie Pies, which tasted like a much better version of the Devil Dogs of my youth, and were shaped different and far moister. It was sort of a bad idea to put a Whoopie Pie in my mouth, since now I want to eat them constantly.

But there were no WP’s in sight at dinner. Instead, there was clam chowder—natch—and this salad with goat cheese and maple dressing and nuts and… well let’s just say it made one salad-averse blogger into a leafy convert. Then the entrée, Citrus Seared Salmon on a bed of sweet corn risotto and topped with avocado salsa and a side of dense, homemade bread. Dessert, which I was too Whoopied out to partake in (but which I can assure you, based on my reporting skills and observing my co-yogis was fabulous) was a Chocolate Espresso Pot De Crème.

Then, I am not kidding you, people, MORE knitting. Being here is like… well it’s like you spend 364 days a year vowing to make more time to knit and then, suddenly, here you are, and not only can you knit six hours per day (or more) but it’s highly encouraged and everyone’s doing it. Well, hello… I now know, with certainty, my personal Nirvana.

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