Amy Artisan

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Month: October 2006

The Changing Leaves

One of the things I love about fall is the changing of the leaves. Shades of bright green start to fade, then brillant shades of red, orange, and yellow appear and then the leaves are just a pile on the ground. The memories of the previous spring and summer fade and you await the new growth in the coming spring.

Flying into Chicago on Saturday morning the forest preserves were patchworks of yellow, orange and red. Here at home, many of the trees have lost most of their leaves – this morning the street sweeper came down the street to clear out the big piles of dry leaves.

Down in Chattanooga the leaves aren’t quite as far along in their season change. The first weekend of October when I did a lot of mountain driving the mountains were covered in green with just a few spots of autumnal colors. This week as I drove through the mountains for the last time this year the patchwork quilt was vastly changed – not nearly as much green and a lot more reds and oranges.

As the leaves are changing this season, it is also a season of change for me as well.

So long Scenic City…for Now

Last week was my final week on the project down in Chattanooga. The 8-10 week assignment in May ended up lasting 23 weeks. It had been 4 years since I had a travel assignment for work and it was a bit of a rough start. In August my role in the project changed from wearing one hat to wearing lots of hats. As I’ve mentioned (and the lack of blogging since August indicates) my world became pretty crazy and work was close to all that was happening with me. In September the system went live, I worked an insane number of hours and in the midst of it also marked 10 years in consulting. In addition to learning a new software with this project I also learned a lot about me and how I work. I can honestly say that this was one of my favorite projects.

I look back on the last several months and while the “who practices some trade” side of Artisan was definitely the driving factor in my activities there are also some fun memories. One plus of the travel assignment was that I got to see my family much more than I normally do – at least one weekend a month I was down in the ‘Ville instead of coming back to Chicago. Another plus was forming some new friendships that will continue beyond the duration of the project.

When I first learned that I would be traveling I had grand plans for all the knitting that would happen – well, not nearly everything was accomplished & most of the knits were simple in nature. (Click to see the set) As I mentioned in my previous post, I did make it to a local yarn store once. Now that I’m back home, here are the yarn souvenirs that I picked up. I don’t know what projects these will become – the colors definitely remind me of a lot of the scenery that I saw around the Scenic City.

Hello Home…

Now that the Chattanooga project has wrapped up it is good to be back home. My next project will keep me in Chicago so I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine that doesn’t involve living out of a suitcase. I will be working downtown so I will have “El” commute time – it may involve knitting or maybe catching up on the stack of books that I have been wanting to read.

In the coming weeks and months I think that the “handicraft” side of Artisan will be done more frequently. The “Knit List” seems never ending with all the projects I want to complete – many are on the needles already – a lot of the projects I showed earlier this summer are still “in progress.” Scrapbooking has been pretty nonexistent this year – but I’m already looking ahead to the winter retreat weekend in January & all that I can accomplish then. And cooking…well after eating out 3 meals a day for 23 weeks I’m definitely ready to spend time in the kitchen. In fact, a friend is coming for dinner tomorrow & I’m looking forward to making a big pot of soup.

I’m enjoying a bit of downtime before the next project begins. Stay tuned for more blogging. I’m also looking forward to heading to Dallas this weekend to spend some quality time with Miss Butterfly & Miss Doodlebug!

Never Lost*

* That’s the name of the navigation system found in some rental cars. And indeed, it came to the rescue.

As my recent lack of blogging has shown, I’ve been pretty close to “lost in my work” here in Chattanooga since early August. I’ve been away from Chicago for almost a month – supporting the live application here has meant working crazy hours – including weekends. In the midst of all the work I’ve enjoyed a few ‘adventures’ that have helped to keep me from becoming too lost in the work.

Two weekends ago my rental car was equipped with “Never Lost” – when I picked up the car on Friday afternoon my initial reaction was to the effect of “hmm..don’t need that.” Fast forward to Saturday afternoon when I left the office at 3:00 – it was a beautiful day, I had a couple of hours free before meeting up with friends for dinner – what to do? After picking up an Italian soda at a cute little cafe, I got in the car and headed across the river. I remembered that there was a yarn shop “over there” but didn’t know where & didn’t want to go back to the hotel to get online and look for it. Enter “Never Lost.” I pulled into a parking lot, turned the system on & searched for nearby specialty shops. About the 5th shop listed was “Genuine Purl” – so the car talked me to the location. I walked into a charming store overflowing with all sorts of beautiful yarns. Given the near exhausted state that I was in, in a word I was overwhelmed! I circled through the rooms & picked up all sorts of beautiful things. Even though I had projects back in the hotel room I wanted to pick up a simple project to start on that afternoon – after quite a bit of back & forth I picked up a fun variegated yarn for a simple ribbed scarf. As yarn souvenirs I picked up a lovely green Malabrigo yarn and also some Claudia’s Hand Painted Yarns in a colorway that reminds of some Scenic City scenery – the river and the mountains. (No pictures yet)

I left the yarn store with a smile on my face and a bag full of pretty yarn. I still had some time left to my afternoon – so I parked at the river front park, found a park bench, turned on my iPod & cast on for the scarf. An hour of good tunes, being outside, watching the boats on the river & the back & forth of the ribbed scarf were just what I needed.

I still wasn’t ready to head back to the hotel so I got in the car and did some mountain driving – up and down Lookout Mountain. I had been along that route once before and the vintage signs for Rock City really did help ensure I was “Never Lost” while on the curvy mountain roads. The autumn sun through the tree leaves (some of which were just starting to change colors) made for beautiful scenery.

This serendipity Saturday was capped off with dinner with new friends. We went to a new Thai restaurant that is owned by a couple of people that work at my client site. Royal Thai is a great place – if it were closer to downtown I would be there a lot more frequently.

That Sunday my parents were in town while heading back to GA from a weekend getaway. We explored the town, had a great brunch at Lookout Mountain Cafe and did a lot of driving through the mountains – it was another beautiful day & we all enjoyed the sun, the trees, the start of fall leaves.

This past weekend I didn’t have to be in the office so I headed down to the ‘Ville to hang out with the family. No big plans – just lots of little things – sleeping in till 8AM, my kitty snuggling under the covers with me, Mom’s home cooking, a bit of shopping, watching a classic musical (Oklahoma) and all of us humming songs the rest of the weekend. On Sunday evening I had dinner with a college roommate on the northside of Atlanta before coming back up to Chattanooga – it was great to catch up with Kelly & reconnect with a dear friend. The simple pleasures of this weekend were a “homegrown” version of Never Lost that pulled me back from the depths of work overload.

Still very little to report on the knitting front. To my swaps pals, I haven’t been lost – just a bit off the “normal” path.

My time in Chattanooga is probably wrapping up soon – I look forward to being back home, back on the blog and back involved with the parts of my life that have recently been put on hold while being “lost in work.”

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