This then that

I love babies. I know I’ve told you that before – I think everything around them is brilliant.  First you have a woman, then a bigger woman and then she unbelievably becomes two people, and then one of those people changes from a baby into someone who can do algebra, play the violin and scream “you don’t know my life”.  (It is very loud magic.)  I feel the same way about knitting. First you have some string and a plan, and then you wave your hands around (a million times) with some sticks, and poof. A sweater appears. it’s the same with spinning – it’s a fantastic act of transformation. Watch this:

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Nerd Girl Yarns roving, 100% Cheviot, in the colourway “I will not eat them Sam I am.”

Then I waved my hands around a wheel a little bit:

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Then I waved those together with the wheel the opposite way:

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Whammo.  From baby to adult in the blink of an eye. (Okay. It took several hours, but compared to something like pregnancy, it was super fast.) Now that little roving can go on to be something else. What? I don’t know. It’s made it’s trip with me. It’s about 275m of fingering weight, something so pretty and now it’s up to someone else. I’ve done my part of the magic. This is destined to make something else happen, it’s going to turn into services for a client (or clients) at PWA. I’m going to kick off this years fundraising with it. If you want it to be yours, send me an email (stephanieATyarnharlotDOTca (replace the AT and DOT with the right things, and notice the .ca, not .com) with what it’s worth to ya. I’ll email you if you’re the highest offer, and you can make the donation, and I’ll send it to your house.

Boom. Transformation.

(If you’re looking forward to this years Karmic Balancing Gifts, don’t worry. They’re coming. I’ll explain more about them in the coming weeks – but basically, anyone who helps, with a donation, with spreading the word, with social media, with good thoughts and wishes… you all qualify. Help the Bike Rally somehow, and send me an email at that same address with the subject line “I helped” and you’re in. Same goes if you help any knitter doing the ride. That’s MeKenPatoCameron or Heather (she’s blog reader, and a new knitter on our team.  Let’s get this party started.)

In my house

In my house there is:

1. A lot of laundry. Most of it clean, since my charming husband uncharacteristically and delightfully hauled off and did a whack of it. (Thanks buddy, you’re a team player.)

2. A pair of finished socks.

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Agatha socks, knit from West Yorkshire Spinners 4 ply in “Cardamom” , I love them. I put them on to take a few pictures, and haven’t taken them off yet. I guess they’re not going in the Christmas box after all.  Whoops.

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4. A drying skein of yarn that I spun with my own two little hands. It’s gorgeous. I’ll show you tomorrow.

5. All of the handouts and prep for the Knitter’s Frolic this weekend. If you’re in town, you should come.

6. 4895 emails to do with the rather awful death of Prince. Thanks for sending them. When I landed in Denver last week and turned on my phone, I had 57 texts waiting. It was so powerful that by the time I got a message telling me it was Prince and I could open the rest,  I was almost relieved it wasn’t about my Mum. (Who is well and fine and fit and I don’t know why I thought that.)  I was completely shocked as I read through them, and went straight to the Loopy Ewe and bought purple yarn out of some sense of mourning, even though I don’t much like purple.

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It’s remarkable how much the death of someone you didn’t know can matter to you. Prince was the soundtrack for so much of my life. I remember fighting with my Mum to be allowed to take the train downtown when I was a teenager, just so I could see him – I remember the wild conversations with my sister about how much was reasonable to spend on a ticket to see him – and I regret none of it, including that I got grounded for coming in late that first time.  It was worth it. There’s few words to describe the loss. It’s not like the loss of someone who was in my life, I’m a big, grown up woman, and it’s not like I thought we had a relationship on any level, but almost all amazing moments in my life were punctuated by the music he made, and he was of my generation, and so young (therefore) and on top of David Bowie, I just don’t know what to make of it all.

Somehow, despite the fact that our love never came to fruition, and we weren’t friends, and I know that, I’m grateful for what he was in my life, and even more remarkable,  I’m going to miss him – but maybe a little less if I have a purple shawl. I bet you get it.

While the sun shines

This morning when I got up and looked upon my domain, I realized that I was screwed, and started in on the hopeless list of things I can’t possibly accomplish in one day. I began with Item #1. Drink Coffee.  (Sometimes I put things on my list that I know I’m going to do, just so that I can cross them off. #2 was “Cross off drinking coffee”. See that? I got to cross out two tasks in one.) While I was drinking coffee, I was sort of gazing wistfully at my wheel and feeling bad about how long it’s been since I sat at it. Truth be told, we moved it to our bedroom to make room for the Christmas tree, and it didn’t come back down until yesterday. (I’d feel worse about that, but at least I don’t still have the tree up.) It occurred to me that if I wasn’t going to get everything done anyway, then maybe it didn’t matter if one more thing didn’t get done, and I took my coffee, my roving, and my phone over to the wheel, plunked myself in the sunbeam that was shining in through amazingly dirty windows (that’s what I took off the list. Clean windows) and listened to an audiobook and had a little bit of a spin.

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Nerd Girl Yarns roving, 100% Cheviot, in the colourway “I will not eat them Sam I am.”

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Looks nice, right? Sure it does. It looks like a nice normal person sitting there, listening to a book and having a really relaxed morning, which I absolutely did, for just about an hour before I let all the stuff I have to do start creeping in around the edges again. Then I worked, and packed (I’m flying out tomorrow, and those of you I’ll be teaching wouldn’t appreciate a whole day at the wheel) and then this afternoon I had another twenty minutes where I neglected important things (I decided I could write emails in the airport in the morning instead – likely a tactical error, considering that I’ll be there before 5am, but it was a nice thing to say to myself) and I feel amazingly sane, undeservedly organized, and pretty happy.

I’d forgotten that spinning can be like that. It’s so tidy, and orderly, and such an efficient act of transformation- like dusting something with a lot of dust on it. Big change, easily had. No waiting. Very, very good for the soul, if bad for the windows.

PS. The details about the June Knit-Play-Cook Retreat are up, and it’s so funny that today – the day I’m talking about spinning, I’m opening a retreat just for knitters. (Well, I mean, spinners can come and all, but you don’t have to be one. This is the one retreat a year we do without a spinning component.) We’ve had some cancellations on our “hold me a spot list” so there’s some places wide open.

Swimming

Hello Pets, and sorry for the absence. Life right now has a strange feel – all chaos and disorder, and to be completely honest, it’s my least favourite kind of chaos and disorder – which is to say that it’s mostly other peoples. I’m pretty okay with the monkey wrenches I throw into my own life, with work, family, travel and commitments, and I love having a busy, fast paced life – but apparently only when I choose it. The last week or so I wake up in the morning, imagine a tidy little plan, mentally make a list of all the things that will be accomplished or set to rights that day, and then watch it all come undone as the needs of others come to bear. Nothing is terrible – no great tragedy has befallen anyone, we are all well – but there have been a lot of surprises- some good, some great, some no-so-great and all destined to shake the ever-loving daylights out of any plans I had.

In the face of all that I retreated, trying to settle things down and restore a little order. I haven’t found that sense of order yet, but somewhere in there I remembered that floating through the wildness untethered isn’t my best thing either – so I’m back. If you’re one of the lovelies who’s emailed to make sure I’m not dead in a ditch, thank you. It’s sweet of you to worry, and here I am, a little the worse for wear, sure to be more present.

So, what I have I been up to? Well, we had a lovely retreat at Port Ludlow (and it turns out there’s room for the June one, if you’re interested, details to follow- or send an email) and then I came home, and then I went to several events for Joe, and then I did some stuff for my kids, and then I tried and failed to find a tidy house under the layer of “I’ll get to that later” that has settled over the place, and then I got on my bike and rode the first training ride of the season. Well, it wasn’t technically the first one, it was the third, but I was away for the first two, and so it was my first. It went okay, but my arse apparently remembers nothing from last year, and I cursed my way up all the hills, and have been reminded of my flaws each time I’ve sat down since then. (Luckily, I haven’t been sitting much, which has reduced the amount of secondary swearing.)

This week began with an intention to get it all together, and here I am on Tuesday and together, it is not. (It turns out that my ability to get other people’s scenes together is much less than the skills I have around my own stuff. Who knew?) The roving I was going to spin today sits on a chair waiting for me patiently…

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The almost finished pair of socks I’m knitting are tossed on a table…

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Although I did finish a cowl, and I do love it…

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and it does match my spring coat – and it is indeed spring… So that’s something… isn’t it?

Yours from the wild side,

Steph

Randomly, on a Thursday

1. I got home on Monday night from Knitting in the Heartland.

2. I am writing this to you from the airport again because I’m leaving for the Strung Along Retreat.

3. Knitting in the Heartland was terrific.  Like so many guild hosted events it was charming, friendly,

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and hosted by really, really lovely people who truly love knitting and the community it creates. People like my new bestie Stacey. (Thanks for all your hard work Stacey.)

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4. The Marketplace was pretty awesome, and there was lots of new-to-me vendors.

5. What happened after that re-enforces the idea I’ve had for a long time that a knitters ability to withstand the siren call of yarn has a lot to do with immunity – just like with the flu or something. I’m pretty sure it all has to do with if you’re in a weakened state or are running into a virus you’ve never had before.

6. So, I bought some yarn. (And some fibre. And maybe a bag. And maybe that is not a picture of all the yarn.)

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7. I bought this yellow coat a while ago (someone has to buy all the yellow and orange coats, it might as well be me) and I realized today that not only do I not really have a knitted thing that goes well with it, I also bought exactly the right yarn for it at the Marketplace.

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That’s Stone Soup Fibers Elements/Skinny Skeins.

8. Somewhere between here and Seattle I am going to figure out what to do with it. (Well, that and and maybe all the other mini-skein kits I keep buying because they’ve got crack in them or something.)

9. I got to use an overhead projector and I remembered how much fun it is.

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10. What’s the neatest thing that happened to you this week?

Hunker Down Now

This post comes to you from O’Hare airport in Chicago – I’m on a longish stop, waiting for my flight to Kansas City for Knitting in the Heartland. and I thought I would be crabby about the travel, so many flights and airports and hotels lately, but it turns out I’m entirely content. (That’s not totally true, going to this event means I’ll miss one of my favourites, the DFW Fiber Fest. Have a good time my little petals, I wish I was there.) It’s yucky outside, but I’m inside knitting (and answering email and writing to you) and the weekend will be a busy one, but I find myself really liking the idea of (mostly) having one task.

For the next several days (with the exception of a few responsibilities to the Bike Rally) this weekend I am just a knitter, and I am just going to a convention, and I don’t have anything to juggle or a thousand things competing for my attention. I am going to knit, and teach knitting and give a keynote and a lecture and in the evening I am going to sit in my hotel room, with the lights dim, and an audiobook on, and I am going to knit.  Hell, I might even watch a Craftsy class. (In my head Craftsy is TKC. The Knitting Channel. I’ve only bought a few of them but I watch them over and over. I find them really calming.) I’ve brought three projects with me. The Agatha Socks, which are my current on-the-go knitting, though in a perfect world I’d have something plainer for walking around.  It’s hard to check a chart, knit and juggle the universe at the same time. I figure I’ll have it memorized right about the time I’m done the socks.

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(A word about the yarn – it’s West Yorkshire Spinners 4 ply in “Cardamom” and I pretty much adore it.  I’m pretty sure I bought it in Calgary when I was at Pudding Yarn last year, but can’t be sure now.  So much of my yarn shopping is a blur. I had money. Then I had yarn. Don’t really remember what happened in between.)

I’ve also got Magmatic Boom, which I’m knitting out of Jill Drapers Rifton.

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It’s a second go around for this one – I got about this far in last time before I decided I was unhappy with the gauge and ripped the lot of it back and gave it another go  I’m happier now, though only now getting into virgin, unknit yarn.

I’ve also brought the Habu Sea Tangles with me, though we are not currently on speaking terms.  I’m going to have a visit with it later, and see if we can get over it if we spend a little time together. For now, my flight’s delayed in Chicago, it’s prime knitting time, and there’s even another yarn person in the lounge so I don’t look weird.  I’m all over this.

Captain Adventure

I was going to start this post by telling you that I’m not a very adventurous person, and then I took a look at my life lately and wondered if I was wrong about that and I deleted it. The Bike Rally, travel, everything that happened this weekend… maybe, I thought, maybe I am becoming a brave and fierce adventurer as I get older. I thought about that while I packed up our things, tucked two kinds of knitting in my bag,  and I realized that I am pretty much the same. I am simply easily led, and have friends who adore escapade and fear nothing, and (in particular) a husband to match. Let me tell you about our weekend.

Joe is part of the team working on the National Music Centre in Calgary. He’s been flying back and forth every so often to work here a little, and he had to work here this past week. He looked at my schedule, and remembered that at some point in the year gone by, I’d said that I might maybe, possibly, consider giving skiing a go.  It has always felt very unpatriotic that I can’t, and Joe can, and as the kids leave us behind, we’re looking for things that we can do together – things that can replace the excitement of a houseful of teenagers. Now, to be fair, I thought that when I mentioned the skiing thing, that we might bounce off to Blue Mountain (a small place here in Ontario) or maybe go nuts and try Mont Tremblant. I forgot who I was married to though, and the next thing I knew, Joe had put together that he had to be in Calgary, that I had a free weekend, and decided that since he had to come west anyway, that it would be very economical and clever indeed, for me to learn to ski in the CANADIAN ROCKIES. For the record, I do not recall specifically consenting to this, I was just suddenly on another Joe ride.

We flew to Calgary – Joe did what he had to do – I went along for a site visit, man, the new National Music Centre is going to be something…

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and then we got in the car and I drove us (poor start, Joe forgot his drivers license so I lost a ton of knitting time chauffeuring) up to Lake Louise, and we had a good sleep, and then the next morning, bright and early, we toddled off to the ski hill.  Joe had decided, for the sake of our marriage, that this adventure should start with skiing lessons – proper ones, from an instructor.  We rented our skis and reported to Club Ski – where in an incredible stroke of good fortune, and even though we’d only paid for group lessons, I was the only beginner in the class, and me and my new best friend Brett “hit the slopes”. By this, I mean we went to the bunny hill where I learned how to put on skis, and we spent the rest of the day there, with me learning (more slowly than I can tell you) how to stand up, how to move forward, how to snowplow (it’s a way of stopping -vital information, I tell you.)  At 10:30am Brett was skiing backwards in front of me while I clung to his hands like he was the last life raft on the Titanic, and by lunch, I could slowly cruise down the “carpet” (that’s what they call the bunny hill to make it sound less babyish – it doesn’t work) doing the slowest linked turns you have ever seen in your entire life, while swearing involuntarily (and a little hysterically) the whole time.   Joe’s got a video of this – I thought I was going so fast that I could scarcely breath – in the film, you can see that toddlers walk faster.

I practiced the rest of that day, and things got a little better. The next day we went to Sunshine, and things got a little better again.  I got off the bunny hill and on my first ski lift with the fabulous Brett. (Joe was off skiing off cliffs and skiing down sheer faces while leaping rocks and doing moguls.)

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(This picture was taken before I tried to get off the ski lift, and invented several ways to do it, all various forms of horizontal. I fell getting off the lift five times in total, and at the end of one particularly catastrophic attempt I only had one ski.) I skied my first green run – top to bottom, all standing, and then my second green run, mostly on my bum – with a return to near tears, swearing, and one particularly low moment in which I referred to Brett (openly, and with real feeling) as a lunatic.  Then we came back to the lodge and it turned out a lady in the other group had gotten hurt and I excused myself very civilly and cried in the bathroom for about 5 minutes.   Joe was in another group than I was and he was such a good skier. I was… not.  I sat there in the loo and I realized I had a choice. I could give in to every instinct I had and go out there and tell Joe and Brett that I was too scared and I couldn’t do it, or I could make the most of it and hope that I wouldn’t break an arm. (I felt like I could cope with a broken leg. Preferably the left one.)    I went out and I told Brett I was ready to ski, and you know what? I did.

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I skied a green run successfully three times that afternoon, and the next day we went way up high at Lake Louise, and I got on and off the ski lift without falling every time, and I skied a really long run, all the way from the top of the mountain down, and I even skied a run that was way, way too hard for me by accident (Brett was really sorry – apparently you don’t know what the groomers or ice have done to a run until you get up there – and then there’s only one way down, dammit) I wasn’t able to ski it without a return to language unbecoming  a knitter, and I sat down (quickly and in the snow) to save my own life twice, but the important thing is that I skied it.

I skied it all, and with a little gracefulness, and no more tears, and when it was over, Brett said that I was a going to be a good skier, and that if I could ski greens in the Rockies I could probably ski greens anywhere, and I didn’t totally believe him.  Brett’s a great guy, and all of that, but we did give him money to spend time with us, and so I felt like I couldn’t entirely trust his position, so last night I checked in with with Joe.  I asked him what I was supposed to say now if someone asked me if I could ski. “Should I say that I can sort of ski? Do I say I can ski, but badly?”

“Steph” Joe said, “You can just say you can ski.”

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So hey.

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I’m a skier now.

And it was like this

When I travel, I always have my eye out for other knitters. I bet you do too. (Cat Bordhi once confessed to me that the advent of tiny headphones has been hard for her. Watching people pull them from their bags, for one wonderful second she always thinks “Yarn!” and is then a little crushed when it’s just headphones again. It happens to me too. Over and over.)

I was looking for knitting in Mexico, but I didn’t find it. (I did find one knitter – although technically she found me. As Joe and I were walking down the street, a very nice knitter approached us, and introduced herself, and she was a cyclist, and a knitter, and she was also American, not Mexican, there on a visit herself. Being me, I was confident I would remember her name – and being me I’ve forgotten it, but not her.  Hi there! Lovely to meet you!)  As we travelled around, there was lots of evidence of the textile arts, but no evidence of knitting – this makes sense, there’s no traditional knitting of Mexico – it’s not like they had Aran sweaters like Ireland, or mittens like Latvia.  Knitting came to Mexico by way of immigrants coming from other parts of the world, much like the rest of North America. (Surprise, there’s no knitting tradition in Canada or the United States either, not until immigrants brought it from Europe. The indigenous people here didn’t know how.  I know someone just flipped out and is about to leave me a comment about the Cowichan people and their sweaters. I know, I know, but the Coast Salish peoples didn’t knit until about 1850 – when a Scottish settler taught them.)

Mexico then, doesn’t have a knitting tradition – the Spanish knew how to knit by the time they colonized the place, but knitting was an art that wasn’t known by a lot of regular people and it looks like they brought farming techniques, floor looms, sugar cane, horses, sheep and small pox, rather than knitting.  Instead, what knitting exists there now was probably brought by missionaries later on.  That said, the indigenous people of what’s now Mexico were making textiles for a long time before they were colonized. Spinning, weaving and beading were well known to the Mayans, using cotton, backstrap looms and drop spindles were commonplace, and figure largely in their art and artifacts.

Those are primarily the traditions that have carried on. I saw absolutely buckets of weaving in Ajijic, Guadalajara and Mexico City. It was everywhere. There was handwoven textiles in just about every shop, and every restaurant boasted some handwoven napkins, or a tablecloth.

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Beaded bookmarks, necklaces… you name it. If you can bead it, it was beaded. At this booth, a guy sat in the back, beading a neckpiece so fast that I worried he’d bead me if I stood still too long. (No picture. He didn’t want me to take one.)

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At the Museum of Archeology, there was a recreation of a 16th Century room from Tlaxcala – and there were a lot of items in there we’d find pretty familiar.  Hand cards, a wheel not too different from one of my own, a skein winder, and a pretty modern looking floor loom and bobbins.

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There was a frame loom,

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and a back strap loom – the use of both of which almost certainly pre-date the floor loom.

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There was beautiful embroidery everywhere, and tiny hand made needles from (crap. I forgot to write it down – they’re pretty stinking old. Maybe one of you knows?)

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One lady even showed us the first needle and thread -

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The tip of an agave leaf, with the fibres that run down the plant still attached. Voila. It was really, really sharp, and you could see how well it would have worked.

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I even saw a weaver, working away at her loom – outside a shop full of the things she’d made. (I tried to tell her I was a weaver too, but I didn’t know the words and it didn’t go very well.)

In Guadalajara I turned a corner and suddenly found myself in front of three yarn shops, all in a row – Well, they were shops that had yarn, but they were really different from what I’d call a yarn shop here. For starters, in not a one of them could you touch the yarn.

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It was in cases that opened to the back, so only the staff could touch them, or it was up on shelves behind a counter – running back into the shop.  Near as I could tell, the customers did a lot of pointing and shouting, and the people who worked there went back and forth with sticks, ladders and other implements, fetching the yarn that the patron fancied, and running it to the front, where it was examined, and then rejected or accepted.

There was little or no supply of knitting patterns that I could see, and the notions section (including needles) was very, very meagre, and also behind the counter. Now, what was really interesting, was that it seemed to me that all of this was for crochet. All the samples were crochet, there was lots of crochet hooks, and the few magazines of patterns I could see at all, they were crochet too.

This all sort of fit, I think – because the only person I saw using that yarn the whole time I was in Mexico?

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They were a crocheter.  This is Stephanie, your roving correspondent, signing off.

(PS. We’ve had some last minute cancellations for the April Strung Along Retreat, so we’ve got two spots available. We’ll let you know now that June is looking full, and November is full, so if you wanted to launch off for a spectacular treat, this April might be your chance. We’d love to have you. Email Debbi or I at strungalong@yarnharlot.ca, and we’ll set you right up.)

(PPS. We’re still accepting goodies for our goodie bags – if you’d like to put something in them, that same address works. We tweet, instagram and Facebook all our goodie bag stuff, it’s not a terrible way to show off what you do.)

 

 

 

Let me sum up

Well poppets, a lot has happened since we saw each other last.

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Our lovely visit with Joe’s parents continued, and we did lots of fun things – including a bus trip to Guadalajara (great city) and then on Friday morning we got up really early, and we went to the airport so we could fly to Mexico City and then on to Toronto, and we checked in for our flight, and we went to the gate, and we started to wait. We waited until it was supposed to be time to board. Then we waited a little longer.  After a little while, they announced that they were going to start boarding in a few minutes, and that confused us a little bit, because there was no plane at the gate. Still – we had three hours to make our connection, so we didn’t get sweaty about it.  After about another fifteen minutes, I went over and used my very dodgy Spanish to gently ask how it was going. Did they expect a plane soon? En cuántos minutos?   “Viente” the nice lady said, and that’s twenty, and that seemed fine. We would still make our connection.

Thing was, in twenty minutes the answer was still twenty (and I was wracking my brain to be sure that the word for twenty was what I thought it was) and twenty minutes after that the plane finally arrived, and Joe and I (the two of us had been getting progressively twitchier this whole time) heaved a sigh of relief.  We signed into our Air Canada flight online so that the short time we had to connect would be smoother, we talked about how we’d have to hustle, but it would be just fine… we texted with Joe’s Mum about the most efficient route through the Mexico City airport, and then, hearts light, we boarded.

Then we sat there. We sat there for about 15 minutes, and then the Captain came on, and he said a lot of things very quickly in Spanish, and I thought I understood him, but then I realized that I couldn’t possibly have. I’d caught “tráfico excesivo” which seemed clear, and then I’d heard something about eleven o’clock, but what was happening at eleven seemed wrong. It was ten then, and it’s only an hour long flight – so, was the pilot confirming that we were going to arrive at 11? That would be just fine for us. Our flight out of Mexico City left at 12:45. Joe and I can run any airport distance in an hour.

I thought about what words I know in Spanish, and then I leaned over Joe, and asked the guy next to him what time we were going to leave, and he said eleven. “Dejar a la once?” I asked, and he confirmed. We were going to sit on that plane for an hour before it moved, and that is exactly what we did. We sat there until about 11:10 and Joe and I knew it was over. We were going to miss our connecting flight. Sure enough, we landed at 12:20, we got to the gate at about 12:45, and that was the time that our other flight was taking off. Honestly, we both considered freaking out, but it seemed really counter productive. I mean, what’s the point? We’d catch the midnight flight, or worst case, one the next morning. Whatever. Stay loose, we told each other, as we trotted through the airport to find our bags.

Thus began a day of a pretty seriously craptastic nature.  We collected our bags and went to the airline counter. Nobody was there. We went to another counter and asked around, and they sent us a million miles to the airline office. Nobody was there. We came back down (the Mexico City airport is as big as the city of Chicago) and bought a SIM card so one of our phones would work, then installed ourselves at a restaurant that said they had WiFi so we could start sorting it out. It turns out they didn’t have Wifi – so while Joe went back to the SIM card place to buy us another one, I used our working phone to call Air Canada. I waved Joe off confidently as he left, quite sure that the nice man on the other end of the phone was coming back momentarily with a reservation on a flight in just a few hours.

When Joe came back twenty minutes later I was off the phone and had a largish glass of wine. There were no flights. Not that day, not the next day, not the day after that. “What are you talking about?” Joe said, sliding into his chair with a shocked look on his face.

“March Break in Canada.” I said. “Spring Break in the States, Easter Break here. There are no flights. Not until the 22nd. Five days from now.”  Joe stared at me like I’d lost my mind. “We’ll go to another airport” he said. “We’ll fly to Houston, or Atlanta, or …. ”

“There are no flights.” I said, trying to make him understand. I’d told the Airline representative that we were willing to take any flight – anywhere – any time, even drive somewhere else,  and the answer, after checking everything he could think of, was that there were no flights. Still, we’d only checked one airline, and it seemed to us that there had to be a solution, so- determined to be cheerful – we paid our bill and moved on to another restaurant that claimed to have WiFi but didn’t – and then finally went up to the airport hotel and asked if we could use their WiFi, and 45 pesos later, we were online, and discovering that there really were no flights. Joe dealt with the insurance company, and I continued searching until I found an exorbitantly expensive flight home on the 21st – but that got sold out while I was asking Joe for our credit card. An hour later I had found another one, and booked that instantly.  Shortly after that we managed to find a hotel, and then crossed the airport again to (somehow – turns out I know more Spanish than I thought)  manage to get some paperwork from the airline that had been two hours late and started the mess, and the whole time we took deep breaths, tried to be really nice to each other and reconciled ourselves to the way things were. We were stuck in Mexico City. We were hemorrhaging money. Neither of these things was changeable by us. We decided that it was all going to be about attitude, and that if this was the way things were going to be, and clearly it was, then well, we might as well make the most of it.

So we did. We worked for a few hours ever morning and evening (since we were supposed to be back at work)  and in between, we went everywhere. We climbed the bell towers of the Metropolitan Cathedral, and stood on the roof while the bells were ringing, we walked through cobblestoned streets and found a Mexican Vegetarian place. We drank Mescal. We found out what agave looks like.

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We went to museums and to monuments and lots of churches and climbed two thousand year old pyramids. (We did that along with tens of thousands of people. Who knew that the spring equinox was the most popular day of the year to climb the thing?)

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We saw Our Lady of Guadalupe, we walked and walked, we learned (ok, I learned) that Clara Parkes wasn’t kidding a few weeks ago in Texas when she told me not to touch cactus, even carefully.

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I finished socks.

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ONline Supersocke 4-fach Neon Color #1718, my basic sock pattern.

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I started some other socks (Agatha Socks, and I love them)

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and last night, after making the most of getting stuck, we and our good attitudes finally caught a flight from Mexico City to New York, then New York to Toronto, where we fell into bed.  Tomorrow, we fly again.  There was supposed to be five days in there, rather than one, so excuse me while I unpack,  repack and chat with the worlds top knitwear model.  I’d better find more yarn, too.

We are so good to our parents

Over the last few years, both Joe and I have found ourselves with Snowbird parents, of a sort. My mum is pretty good at it, she rents a place by the ocean in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, for a month each winter. Joe’s parents are really good at it, and they have a place in Ajijic, Mexico where they come for several months a year. For a few years now, I’ve been going to be with my mum for a while every time she goes, and Joe’s been making a point of visiting his mum.  I go to my mum, he goes to his, divide and conquer – it works really well, except that he doesn’t visit my mum, and I don’t visit his, which is a shame because I really like Joe’s parents, and he really likes my mum. Still, we had it all under control.

Then this year my mum rented her place for slightly different dates than she usually does, and that ran into two work things that I had to do – and so my daughters all went down to visit my mum, and Joe planned a trip to his parents, and I… didn’t.  That was until a few weeks ago, when Joe realized that if we tweaked things just a little bit – if he came and went at slightly different times, then I could go with him. It seemed too good to be true, but it was, and on Sunday afternoon (having wrapped up an awesome Birthday Bash for Ken) we got on a plane and flew to Mexico City, and on Monday morning

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we got on another plane and flew to Guadalajara. A short-ish drive from there, and we’re tucked into Joe’s Mum and Dad’s house in Ajijic, and we get to stay until Friday Morning, and we are having a pretty nice time. We are living like retired, snowbird Canadians for five days, and that means that for the last 24 hours we have been the youngest people present just about everywhere we’ve gone. (This is a refreshing thing to try in your late 40s, and I highly recommend the feeling it gives you in a bathing suit.)  Today we went to some hot springs, and last night out to dinner, and right this very minute, things are very tough indeed.

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That’s a finished Capture, hanging on the chair in the background.  (You would not even begin to believe how fast things dry in Mexico.) Two skeins Woolfolk Far, one skein silk cloud, and I’d show you a modelled shot except it’s 28 degrees and nobody here is putting that on their body.  You would not even believe the way that mohair sticks to sweat. (Maybe when we’re back in Toronto I’ll enlist the Worlds Top Knitwear Model.)

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It is soft, and gorgeous and perfect, much like visiting your in-laws is,  in my case.

Mañana, Knitters.