Happy Birthday Mum!

The Birthday Parade continues over here at Chez Harlot, with today being the birthday of our esteemed Matriarch.


Mum is seen here wearing her brand spanking new Silk Vee, which fits and looks lovely on her. (You didn’t really think that I was giving up on knitting Birch because it was hot, did you? I mean, c’mon, I laugh in the face of heat, I embrace air so thick you can see it, I mock humidex temperatures of 36/97. I care nothing that my hair is the size of a VW bus and I can scarcely knit for the enormous shadow that my freakishly frizzy hair throws across my work…I, I…Okay. It’s a little warmish. I’m knitting mohair anyway. I thrive on adversity.)

Kindly ignore my Uncle Tupper lurking in the above photo. We have a problem taking good pictures of Mum. She looks lovely for about 2 seconds, then looses patience and looks away or talks. Really, the talking is the problem. Luckily, Tupp has been her brother long enough to know how to handle this McPhee trait.


That’s really what it takes.

The top 10 reasons you should wish my Mum a Happy Birthday.

(Yeah…I know. Same format as for Ian. It’s hot.)

10. The Silk Vee fits. (Ok, that’s not really about her, but I’m really happy anyway.)

9. Mum is looking for her lost keys. I can write this in the present tense because I know that wherever she is and whatever she’s doing right this minute, if we asked her for her keys we would be waiting a while.

8. Mum could run a country and never have unrest. She’s the best mediator in the world, empathetic, respectful, honest and assertive.

7. There is no point in arguing with my mother. (See above.)

6. I have never seen my mother panic. Not once, and you have no idea what we’ve put her through. (Scroll down to point #2 from Ian’s birthday, then use your imagination, then know that you are underestimating us.)

5. Mum makes a wicked ice cream float. (Oddly, I didn’t know this until she was a grandmother. Funny that.)

4. Mum had 4 kids in 5 years, then raised us first while being hampered by a spouse with divergent goals, then on her own when he…er….”moved on”. While she did this, she also got a degree from University and worked full-time to pay for the costs of the aforementioned 4 kids. Plus she did laundry. (If you are a mother of little ones, please know that the sharp intake of breath and then the low whistle that escaped you is normal and a healthy sign of respect for how totally tough that must have been).

3. She makes good cake, doesn’t knit and somehow leads a full rich life anyway.

2. Damn she’s funny.

1. She taught me about being practical, about being decent and about working hard. She also taught me how to write an essay, why you wash towels alone and what you do about slugs in the garden. Mum showed me that you can do absolutely anything if you can get a book from the library that shows how and that women are…well. I feel proud to be one. Mum also taught me manners, that you can’t have too much bleach, and that it ain’t a party ’till everybody’s dancing.

Happy Birthday Mum. Hope you still have pie.

76 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Mum!

  1. Happiest of Birthday’s to your special wonderful inspiring Mum, and many more!!! She models her lovely hand-knit top beautifully. It’s been said daughters become their mothers. Today, on such a momentous occasion, there is no better compliment to send to the both of you.

  2. Either the top blocked to the required underarm to shoulder measurement, or Mum is really short. Either way, the top looks fabulous on the Birthday Girl.
    Thank you Mum, for giving us Stephanie.
    Happy Happy Birthday.

  3. Happy Birthday Mum! I guess some of the world’s best people were born on this day because it’s also DH’s birthday and I consider him to be a great person.
    Steph, The silk vee is divine and perfect for your Mum.

  4. Happy Birthday Mum and Ian (missed that Saturday post, you tricky gal)… the tank fits perfectly! My mom also raised 4 kids born w/in 5 years, some of it in the absence of her s.o. (or, sob as she would say)…

  5. Happy Birthday, Mum! Thank you for bringing Stephanie into the world and raising her to be the amazing woman she is. Obviously, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Blessings on the whole family!

  6. Happy Birthday to the Harlot Mum! That Silk Vee is extremly flattering on her–both the fit and the colorway. Great choice!
    Just as an aside, that Tupp has got some major hands.

  7. Is Uncle Tupper’s right hand — the one we never get to see — wearing the mitten he got for Christmas?
    Did he ever get the second one? I can’t remember….
    Lucky you for having such a great mom, and congrats to your mom for raising such a great pair of kids!

  8. I can attest to The Matriarch being funny. I met her ages ago, through work and instantly wanted to be her best friend. Then a couple of years later, I met her daughter, who became one of my best friends. It took us 6 months to realize that I’d met her mother. We’re obviously not as smart as Bonnie.
    Tillykke med foedseldagen. The tank looks fantastic.

  9. Happy Birthday to Stephanie’s mum! Considering two of my dearest friends were also born on June 13, I know Stephanie’s mum must be a great, great person! 🙂

  10. Happy Birthday, Mum. I bet you are as proud of your daughter as she is of you. Cheers to both of you!!

  11. Geez, I just love moms…Happy Happy Birthday to yours. She looks beautiful in her tank!

  12. Happy Birthday to Steph’s Mum! For all ten reasons and also because … well, you’re Stephanie’s mum. Which is rather special. 😉

  13. Wow-what a mom! I think raising two with a great guy has been challenging enough, but 4? I especially like that she knows about libraries where I not only read about strong women but get lots of great knitting ideas and patterns. OK it helps that I work in a library too. Have a great birthday, Stephanie’s mom. And the top looks fantastic! So glad it worked out but we knitters know how to persevere, n’est-ce pas?

  14. “It’s not a party till everybody’s dancing.” Ohmigosh. Quick, slap a TM sign on that before someone else starts making the t-shirts and bumper stickers. I, myself, may have to take up needlepoint — or get a tattoo (not dissimilar,) I love that phrase so much. I kiss your mother’s tiny [dancing]feet.
    And the way you get rid of slugs, of course, being beer, all of her advice has a certain unified-field theory to it. (Stop me before I start picturing jar-lids of dancing slugs.)

  15. Happy Birthday to the Martiarch! It sounds like she is a truly amazing woman. I am glad the tank fits, you must have gotten the extra length needed with blocking.

  16. Happy Birthday to the Harlot’s Mom! I’m so pleased that such an amazing woman who looks fabulous in the tank shares her birthday with me. Huzzah to June 13!

  17. Happy birthday to Mum and Ian – looks like they both had a good time (Ian’s stern gaze in the birthday picture doesn’t fool me), and Mum looks stunning in her vee. 🙂

  18. Whoa ! – you almost lost me there at the “doesn’t knit” part but I can overlook that. She still sounds great and thoroughly deserving of a wonderful birthday.

  19. is that “wash towels by themselves” or wash towels…..alone.”? and what DO you do for slugs?!?! i agree with the bleach. so much information i’m going to have to start a notebook…….

  20. Well, you didn’t say it was for your Mum. She looks marvelous in that top and glad it worked out. Happy Birthday!!!

  21. Hey — June 13 was my dad’s birthday too. Um. . .you sure had a lot of Geminis in that house!

  22. Happy birthday to your Mum! I have a feeling that if they could have ever met your Mum and mine would have had a damn fine time together.

  23. Happy Bitrthday Stephanie’s Mom! My sister and I have a theory that the knitting /craft gene usually skips a generation. I did in our house. Now I just washed the towels with a pair of Family Guy baby Stewie boxer shorts – and this is wrong????

  24. Happy Birthday to your Mum! What a beautiful gift you’ve made her!
    Just opened The Stitchery catalog I received in the mail today and there, on page 64, is the bookbookbook! I’m so proud of someone I’ve never met! Go figure.

  25. Wow. Go Mum. More a sharp gasp than a low whistle–I did four kids in under six years and there is no way I could have pulled off what she did. Wow. Happy birthday to a wise and kind and hardworking one who raised her children well.

  26. happiest of birthdays to Mum!
    May your flowers grow so tall in the garden, that you can’t see the weeds for them; and may your kitchen and heart never want for fullness!

  27. you wash towels alone so the fuzzies don’t get all over everything!!! I used to think it was because of germs, but then you’d have to wash everything alone wouldn’t you…hmmm….

  28. Happy Birthday, Mum! What an extraordinary woman. Many happy returns (and the Silk Vee is positively lovely).

  29. I hope your Mum has a wonderful, wonderful birthday! She sounds [almost] as wonderful as my Mom . . . which is just about right! We celebrated my sister’s birthday on Saturday, which brings our family to the end of “Birthday Season” (running from May 11th through June 7th). Obviously our families have a LOT in common. And, not so incidentally, happy birthday to YOU, too! (Tomorrow, right?)

  30. Here’s a loud cheer for your mother’s successes; it is inspiring to know each and every woman who does it right, despite all odds and oddities. We’re reinventing our gender together, this era. It’s so good that there have been *some* pioneers that went before us, smoothing the way and pushing aside some of the boulders.

  31. Wow, what a great lady. Happy Birthday to your Mum. She’s quite an inspiration. And looks fantastic in that top.

  32. Thank you, my dear daughter, for your best wishes, the wonderful pies, and your kind words. Although the key thing could have been left out. (see point 7) And what kind of an idiot would knit when her daughter can make her a top like that?
    I am NOT answering laundry questions on my birthday, so I’ll leave that to you.
    I’ll send you MY top 10 tomorrow.
    Love , Mum

  33. Didn’t have time to read the other comments, so if it’s been said already, forgive me: Like mother, like daughter.

  34. Happy birthday, Harlot’s mum! I love the picture of her with her brother Tupp … your family sparkles.

  35. Happy Birthday Mum!
    And THANK YOU … thank you thank you for being a wonderful mum, and for raising a wonderful Harlot! You have enriched our lives beyond measure!
    BTW, Nice Silk V!

  36. hey; your family fit another birthday, and a very important one, in between my family’s birthdays. good goin!
    Happy Birthday Mum of Beauty
    (watch out for the Tupp)

  37. Wishing the happiest of birthdays to your Mum!
    The tee looks lovely on her. I think I’ll have to make one for my Mum now that I see how lovely it is.

  38. Happy Happy Birthday to harlot’s mum and bro.
    The tee is verrrry nice on mum.
    Busy lady 4 kids in 5 years but can you believe my mom had 9 in 10 years. dam newfs never heard of birth control, lol

  39. Yes, I too need to know why towels must be washed alone. What havoc have I wrought lo these many years washing towels with other things?

  40. Happy birthday Harlot mom! Fun to see her (you’ve got her eyes!) and uncle Tupper too. I’m a little envious about your weather, in Oslo, Norway we have 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit), it’s a crappy summer.

  41. Happy birthday, Mum, and congratulations on raising someone so worthy. (Why do you wash towels alone? They DO eat socks, but….what?)

  42. What an amazing woman and “mum”. I love the pictures. So glad the tank worked too. Happy Birthday Harlot Mum!

  43. None of what you have told us about your mother is surprising. Why? Because we have come to know in you so many of these same traits.
    Happy Birthday to Mum. And a job well done!

  44. Happy (late) birthday to all!!
    And I’m dying to know…why do you wash towels alone?? I just did all my laundry and I’m a little frantic thinking I did it wrong…

  45. I am a little bit behind on my blog reading, but still wanted to say what a great tribute to your mother.. and I certainly can relate to her challenges raising all of you alone; her case was more intense than mine and she deserves all the praise and more, and of course well deserves the lovely top!

  46. Happy Birthday, etc., etc.
    Okay, now that that’s out of the way, what DID you do about slugs? Beer pit, salt? Nasty bits of honey and mohair?

  47. Stephanie-
    I just finished reading your At Knit’s End. I feel like you’re my best friend. Thank you for your humor and your inspiration to knit.
    I’m on my way to China tomorrow for 3 weeks-to study the culture (I wonder if they knit over there?) I will take my needles and knit a ribbon scarf for tour leader.
    Do you ever make it to the Seattle are? I’d love to get your book signing schedule.
    Confession: I’ve only knitted about 30 scarves in the last year – one sweater when I was a teen knitter–but I need to expand. Any suggestions on for to knit next after everyone you know owns one of the scarves?
    Sending you good wishes and fine health.
    One of your many fans,
    Nancy Wilkinson

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