Election Blues

Whatever your political persuasion, I hope that by now you realize that this is a critically important election, and that your vote is important.  I voted in person absentee last week, which was tremendously exciting!  The election judges said that they’d had 50-100 people through in the previous hour – which is pretty remarkable, given that it was still two weeks before the election, and it was the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday.

It’s been exciting living in a swing state this year, though it looks pretty clear which way VA will be swinging this time around.  We’ve had at least two canvassers come by when we were home, and SB has gotten LOTS of calls from the Obama campaign looking for volunteers.  The other side’s been leaving us alone, and that’s just fine with me, though I did laugh at the little dog at the farmers’ market wearing a McCainine shirt.

Last weekend we decided to do our part to support Obama and spent some time phone-banking at an Arlington volunteer center.  I hate – HATE – cold-calling, but I sucked it up and war-dialed 90 people in an hour and a half.  Of that 90 people, I actually spoke with maybe 10 – but SB had better luck, and on the whole it was a rewarding experience.  Towards the end of our shift, the vice chair of the DNC and MANDY PATINKIN showed up to thank the volunteers, which was super random but also a neat surprise:

Mandy Patinkin!

But seriously, folks.  Go vote on Tuesday.  It’s really, really important.  And then let’s stop talking about the election because while I’m excited, I’m also really sick of it.

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Crafty-Pants

Among other things, I’ve been getting much more into crafting lately.  Tina and Sonya and I started a craft blog recently and are hoping to Etsy it up after the holidays (though the holidays are really the ideal time to Etsy something up).  Last weekend Soy and I spent a great deal of quality time just hanging around our hotel room in Pacific Grove, watching bad TV and working on projects.  She knit pretty things, and I cross-stitched a freakin’ pineapple:

Pineapple!

This weekend Tina and I went to Knit Happens’s knit for the troops event at Buzz – well, it was supposed to be at Buzz, but it ended up being at Rustico (we had cupcakes anyway).  Tina made a valiant effort to help me remember how to knit, but it was to no avail.  I have basically forgotten how to knit.  To prove this, here’s a video of Major General Doug Stone knitting a helmet liner, and me attempting to knit and then purl a swatch.  The General located two other Marines in the bar before he left, and I’m (dis)pleased to note that they were both knitting by the end of the afternoon.  Me?  I have a pattern, some new needles and yarn, and two left thumbs.

Today I intended to finish our living room curtains (they need to be shortened, hemmed, and hung), but failed on that project as well.  I measured and shortened one panel, jammed up my machine trying to put in a new hem (I blame the bobbin), then gave up and just used the fusible web to hem it up…only to realize that it’s STILL too long.  Ugh.

What I did manage to do, though, is make a scarf holder out of the curtain remnants!

Fabric Scarf Holder

I saw this project on Apartment Therapy last week and got excited because it looked quick and easy and like it’d be a fun way to manage colorful pretty things that I have IN ABUNDANCE.  It’s basically just a length of fabric with pretty ribbon loops:

Loopy

But hey!  It’s pretty, and I made it, and now at least a few of our scarves are hanging up.  I’ll have to work on other versions to manage things like belts in our bedroom closet.

Right now though?  Bed.  Or maybe tea, then bed.

Adventures in Apple Picking

SB was out of town for the weekend, so on Saturday, Jackie and I took off for Stribling Orchard.  In coming up with Something Fun To Do, we decided it needed to be Outdoorsy, but not Too Outdoorsy, and should preferably end with beer.  Apple-picking fit our requirements to a T.

Stribling Orchard is a nice day-trip length drive from DC – about an 75 minutes total, though our drive was broken up by me driving to Fairfax, then Jackie driving the rest of the way.  Her GPS apparently thought we needed church more than apples, so we made a brief side trip to a tiny, tiny Baptist church at the end of something that could only dubiously be called a road.  Nice try, GPS.

Upon arrival, we were given maps, offered bags, and pointed in the direction of parking – but only after witnessing the spectacle of people trying to fit the very long apple pickers in their cars.  I think I’d completely forgotten about apple pickers until that moment – we would fight over them at my grandparents’ house when we helped pick the Lodi apples for early summer applesauce.

Apple Jack(ie)

Thusly armed, we set to work on the Serious Business of apple picking.  Stribling has a variety of apples spread out over 30 acres, including Red and Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Jonathan, Rome, York, and Granny Smith.  There were apples up high:

Apples in the sky!

and apples down low:

Sad apples

The Granny Smiths seemed pretty well picked over, but we found an abundance of other things to fill up our bags.

What's in my Queen Bee bag?

In case you’ve ever wondered what 30+ pounds of apples looks like, wonder no more! We also found some pigs:

Messy-faced pig

We did not, however, find any bears – to our great dismay. When looking for an orchard to visit, we stumbled upon this tantalizing tidbit on the “rules” page of Stribling’s website:

Are there bears here? Yes. Bears live in the woods and love to eat peaches. If you see a bear in the orchard, leave the area immediately.

I won’t deny that a large part of the appeal was the possibility of seeing a bear and having to leave the area immediately. Unfortunately, the only bear we saw was a wooly one:

Tagalong

All told, it was an excellent day of being Outdoorsy.