The Most Important Thing in Life

My friends are special. No, not that kind of special. They're special in a good way! They're kind, caring people, who support each other no matter what. And yesterday, we all gathered together for the last time, at least until we get together again. I won't post pictures of us (you should've seen Katie yank my hank, though), merely because I may have been intoxicated and everything turned out blurry I forgot the better lens and took only very poor pictures. But I do have pictures of the gifts, and they're as special as my friends are.

Shelly and her DH came with a huge bundle of flowers!
flowers from Shelly and K 4
Purplish blue Irises! Gorgeous Alstroemerias! Yellow Chrysanthemums! (I hope I got the names right.) They're all beautiful! The Irises remind me of the Irises I used to have in our backyard, years ago. They're such gorgeous flowers. The combination of blue and yellow is one of my favorites.
flowers from Shelly and K
The Alstroemerias are so delicate and fine. And the specs are the most beautiful color of maroon. They are also called the Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas, which, knowing Shelly, makes these flowers all the more special.
flowers from Shelly and K 2
And Chrysanthemums, they're happy flowers! Maybe not the most delicate flower, but they're perfect for almost any occasion, easy to take care of and the flowers last a long time. And the color is the happiest yellow there is! (And you know I have issues with yellow.)
flowers from Shelly and K 3
Thank you Shelly! I never get flowers, ever, (I forget to buy them, and Mr HairyFeet buys me suicidal potted plants which only live for about a week) so these are very special. And her DH picked out the ones most in bloom, because we won't be able to enjoy them for very long, so they got the ones that are in their best bloom right now. They're all gorgeous!

My friend Katie photographed her Dragon Shawl with a wooden dragon, one of those wooden puzzles you find at a craft store. I was very very jealous when I saw her gorgeous picture, mostly because her shawl was so pretty, but also because I thought the dragon was very cool. And then last night, lo and behold, she gave me a dragon puzzle!
dragon from Katie
Dragons are special creatures to me. I find them inspiring and puzzling and to me, a dragon is a positive, powerful but slightly frightening creature. (Just like spiders.) So Katie's gift is a special one too. And the kit, it's perfect as it is flat and small and will fit in my suitcase :) Thank you Katie!

Speaking of the Dragon Shawl, I've made four of them and I never got to keep one. I don't really remember how it happened, but as it is, I don't have a Dragon Shawl myself. This will be quickly corrected, since Kristin gave me a bowl of lace yarn!
bowl of yarn from Kristin
The yarn is extremely beautiful, merino-silk-bamboo blend and she spun it to lace weight (800yds to 3.8 oz). The colors are deep and rich and lustrious - the photograph doesn't do them justice at all. There are specs of gold and oat and chocolate and silver - it's breathtakingly beautiful.
merino bamboo silk laceyarn from Kristin
And the bowl.. Kristin made this a while ago and I've been secretly coveting it every time I visited her. She said this was a happy mistake bowl, but to me, it's definitely art, in every sense of the word. I love everything about it, the colors, the shape, the glaze, everything. Thank you Kristin, for the most perfect bowl and the yarn that will definitely be a hug from a distance.
bowl from Kristin 1

bowl from Kristin 2

bowl from Kristin 3

I am lucky enough to know a painter, an artist whom I admire and who I find truly inspiring: Carol Brozman. Her use of colors is genious, and the geometric abstract shapes are a source of new ideas, everytime I look at her pictures. (And I have spent hours just looking at them.) And a few weeks ago, Carol gave me a painting. (Carol, I apologize for the poor picture!)
inca 1
She called this "Be Careful with Me" and it's one of her original paintings (approx. 30" x 40", acrylic on canvas). I saw this in her bedroom, and it.. talked to me. There is no other way of describing it - the painting talked to me. And then yelled. And whispered. And sung! I don't know what it is about it, but I am mesmerized by it. It is not a happy picture, per se, or something that will lift your spirits or make you feel positive. It's actually a rather sad picture, thought-provoking picture, puzzling picture. I immediately saw an Inca figure, maybe an Inca god, in the picture. (I actually called it The Inca the first time I saw it.) But I also see rooms. And fields. And a door.

I really do apologize for the picture above, it doesn't show the colors true at all. (Neither will the next two pictures.) Also lost are the details, the way Carol uses colors and small brushes to bring out details that you only see when you examine the painting closely.
inca 3
Like the burgundy specs in this picture below. They only become visible when you take the time to look at the picture closely.
inca 2
What an amazing piece of art. Thank you so much, Carol, for The Inca!

As much as I appreciate all the gifts, it's the thought and the person behind them that matters the most. I feel so lucky to know all these talented, inspiring people and to have them in my life. Most of what has happened in the Lair during the last year would never have happened without my friends. They're all different in their own way, and yet there is room for all of us to be who we are, whether man or woman, black or white, straight or gay, atheist or believer, knitter or not. And we all get strength and inspiration from those around us, and to have such a circle of friends, it is a rare thing.

Do take care of your friends, everyone, because friends really are the most important thing in life.