Monday, September 17, 2012

Monhegan Island Retreat 2012-- Let's Get This Party Started!

It's not a retreat unless we have lobster cookies from The Standard Bakery in Portland to eat on our drive to Port Clyde.
Welcome aboard y'all! I'm your official blogger Spike here with the first installment of Monhegan Blog 2012. Today we take a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at some of the pre-planning action, glimpse the joyful chaos of the ferry dock, revisit our time on the high seas, and allow are jaws to drop in wonder at my ability to capture so much island beauty with a mere iPhone. Let us begin...

Here, benevolent alpha, Patty, gets out her beloved clipboard to make sure that there is a lobster cookie for each and every attendee, as well as our van drivers, Norman and Tom.
The vans arrive to transport us mermaids to Port Clyde where we will catch our Pirate Ship to Monhegan Island and unearth a booty of all things knitting. 
Lisa and Spike confer before separating for the ride to the Clyde. Lisa is telepathing, "Spike, keep control of that pretty big mouth of yours, sister!" Spike is telepathing in response, "I will if you give me another lobster cookie."
On the dock, with an hour to spare before departure. we strategized where to shop in Port Clyde. 
Then we eagerly awaited the moment we would step onto the dock and both literally and metaphorically begin our transformation from harried mainlanders to Fantasy Island inhabitants. 
I pretty much take this same exact picture every year. In my defense, the date always changes. Also, what I love about this picture is that just looking at my ticket (which, yes, nearly blew away) I get as excited as a little kid who has just been given a new pony.
As has been the case for many years now, Suzette carries a remote control hidden on her person. This she uses to manipulate her incredibly shy friend Eva, who -- totally against her will-- finds herself leaping up and showing off at unexpected turns. And nope, you don't even have to pay extra for the show.
Mary Alice and Evelyn breathe in the salty air and contemplate dressing as pirates for Halloween. Arrrrgh!
See those yoga mats? They are instrumental in the fight against the effects of Whoopie Pies.  

For our meet and greet, we enjoyed Holden's amazing Monhegan House Party Snax Smorgasbord, including some artichoke dip that is so out of this world I'm trying to convince Mary Alice to use it as a full-body wrap as part of my massage. 
Couldn't you just sit around the Monhegan House Dining Room and eat this stuff all day and all night?  This is the menu from our first evening.
And the party officially begins! Salud!
More party people.
Yes, it's possible that Holden was drunk when he took this blurry photo designed to show off a trend I started years ago-- wearing a headlamp to knit in the parlor. Everyone made fun of me and then, of course, everyone ran out and got their own headlamp. Great addition and very fashionable. Oh, and it's possible that Holden wasn't drunk, maybe he just didn't have his glasses on. Or maybe he's an impressionistic photographer. 
Here, attendees quietly plot ways to break the 10 pm noise curfew. 
Our first full day we began with dyeing yarn using a very sophisticated technique developed in France in the 16th century... First, we took the finest wool. See below.
The Finest Wool. Next, we got the sort of dye favorited  by Renaissance dyers: 
That's right-- Hey Kool-Aid! Here I thought Susan sort of randomly discovered the dyeing properties of Kool-Aid but apparently there's some science to it. Some active ingredient in the stuff-- maybe the same ingredient that sends kids climbing the walls when they drink it-- also acts as a fixing agent, the way vinegar does. 
Who knows what evil lurks in Suzette's dyeing technique? The Shadow  knows!!
Isn't this like camp for big kids? Don't you love it? 
Susan explains the chemical reaction that occurs when blending Uber-Berry, Mango-Pineapple, and Guava-Coconut flavored Kool-Aid with handspun yarn taken from goats raised in the Swiss Alps by monks. 
Eva wonders what effect the Kool-Aid will have on her shiny finger rocks.
And then we wandered over to Burnt Head where I attempted to convince the newbies that I had created all of this with my own two hands. They were not buying it. 
Here, the group decides whether or not to vote me off the island. Whew, I got a reprieve. 
We came home from the walk to check how our Kool-Aid yarn cakes were baking up. They were baking up nicely. 
Then I went for a wander down toward the dock. So there are more things I love about Mohegan Island than I can count or name. One is that, in addition to the possibility of strenuous hikes, there are plenty of pleasant, easy strolls to take that reveal the wonders all around us. Here, for example: a random squash conference was underway. 
Then I checked out the handwoven doormats. Aren't they lovely. And don't forget all the cool studios. Today I went to Winter Works and scored some excellent stuff crafted by the year round locals. 

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