A good day in Cowtown.

Calgary has been a hoot and a half. No unintentional nudity, I didn’t get lost, the folks are nice and not to many of them had read yesterdays blog before coming out last night. (Timing is everything.)

Getting off the airplane I was greeted by two of Calgary’s “White Hats”

Welcometocalgary

(Don’t they look like Calgary? You couldn’t get those two anywhere else. They were really cute about holding the sock, though the lady did say “People from Toronto are really strange….” as I walked away.)

I checked into the hotel yesterday after an absolutely uneventful trip from Edmonton (What were the odds on that?) and immediately took the sock for a walk around this pretty, pretty city.

My Mum and my grandparents lived in Calgary (on the base) for a while and I’m just the sort of dork who thinks that it’s cool that some of my furniture used to be here, especially my piano, which has lived lots of places in Canada. I’ve actually been to Calgary before, but I was 8 years old. There’s a lot I remember about that trip, but I was 8. I remember the hot tub and pool that my grammy and I swam in on the top of the hotel (anybody know what hotel that is?) and I remember my grammy convincing me to feign a tummy-ache so that we didn’t have to go to a business dinner with my grampa. It was brilliant. After he left we got a disgusting amount of junk from the vending machines and snuggled in the bed watching old movies. (I did get a tummy ache then.) My grampa caught us too…but I was 8 and she was beautiful and he forgave us everything.

I don’t remember if I saw the tower

Calgarytower

but I made sure that the sock did. The Calgary tower is where the Olympic flame burned during the “88 winter games. (Speaking of winter, I’m freezing my arse off. The high here yesterday was only 16/61 and I’m trying to layer summer dresses and tee shirts. My hands keep going numb. This is what happens if you pack when it’s 40/ 104. Your luggage reflects your hometown. Is Toronto still steaming?)

I also took this shot,

Notout

which is a lousy attempt to show you the aboveground paths that Calgarians can take all over the city without going outside. You could totally get all over the place without ever breathing fresh air. That’s got to be totally brilliant in the depths of a soul-threatening February. Toronto has something similar (called PATH) but this one is way more extensive.

We (the sock and I) reported for duty at McNally Robinson, and I laughed at myself. (Pretty hard actually) Can you believe I thought no-one would come?

Cal1

Cal2

Cal3

Here’s local blogger Gina

Gina

and Morgan

Morgan

and Cate? I met Tallguy and he’s darned nice. (Then again, so is everybody in Calgary.)

After the event, Gina, Morgan and Dana took me here….

Unicorn

Calgary’s oldest pub, where “The Unicorn” was playing on the stereo. We sort of wondered if knowing all the words to the song was a bad thing (There’ll be green alligators, and long necked geese…and humpty-backed camels and chimpanzees….) but decided it was just really Canadian to know that song on a molecular level. My sincerest apologies to Canadians who know have the Irish Rovers in their heads. I drank local. (Good beer guys.)

Momentarily I’ll throw myself out the door and onto another plane, headed for my last stop, Winnipeg. I’ll be at McNally Robinson there at 7:00, and then it’s one more sleep until home, home, home.

Joe? Don’t forget to buy dishwasher soap.

80 thoughts on “A good day in Cowtown.

  1. Calgary is cool…glad you had an uneventful flight after yesterday’s um, eventful one.
    I bet the sock will be glad to get home too!

  2. Almost home! Hooray!!! Enjoy your family, and sleeping in your own bed. I’ll bet the sock is psyched.

  3. Almost home! Hooray!!! Enjoy your family, and sleeping in your own bed. I’ll bet the sock is psyched.

  4. You deserve some rest after that. I knew there would be knitters there. If you say you will be there, they will come.
    πŸ™‚

  5. I love that Unicorn song, too! (I’m not Canadian, though, unfortunately.) Did you know that the lyrics were written by Shel Silverstein?

  6. “No unintentional nudity”
    In other words, given this post and the last one, there might have been INTENTIONAL nudity on this trip and you’re not telling us about it?
    We’ll have to interrogate the sock.

  7. It’s August and you found someplace cold? So so very jealous. And anyplace that allows you to go outside without actually going outside? Brilliant!
    Have a great day!

  8. I was only going to comment on how friendly and sweet those two greeters look, but then I saw *the sock* being fondled by more than one young lady in McNally Robinson. Oooh, that sock is a chippie, hon. Once you get him home, I just KNOW he’s going to disappear again to dally with his admirers. After all, now that he’s been fondled by the pretty ladies (and gent) in Calgary, how can he just settle down into a monsockamous lifestyle in TO? Best knit him a friend, ASAP.
    Enjoy the return to home, and family, and the familiar!

  9. Ah, Stephanie! My Gilli-Hook buddies told me how much fun it was at McNR in Calgary…if it hadn’t been my wedding anniversary, I’da been there too…but there’s only so much one can ask of a spouse!!
    I think the hotel you might have remembered is (was?) the Ramada Inn right downtown (8th Ave and 6th St. SW)…I know it does have a rooftop pool.
    Is your sock related to Ed-the-Sock of MuchMusic fame? I seriously hope not! LOL!
    Hope I get to meet you next time you come to Calgary. Meanwhile, travelling mercies for the rest of your adventures. πŸ™‚

  10. I have GOT to go to Canada! 61 in August? We don’t even get that low at night anymore…

  11. Steph,
    Today is National Underwear Day πŸ˜‰ In honor of that and your adventures outlined so wonderfully in yesterday’s post I’m off to buy some new and weed out the old ones… JUST in case πŸ˜‰
    Yay! Home soon!

  12. There’s a movie called WayDownTown that was filmed on the premise of a group of people holding out on going outside because they could get from home to work using Calgary’s walkway system, with each of the characters betting two months salary. Dark, but fantastic (it’s one of my faves).
    Oh, and if you have too many needle holders already, it could go towards the TSF gifties. I forgot to thank you for starting that up when you’re in Edmonton; it’s completely inspiriational.

  13. Next – Winnipeg? My hometown.
    Check out Ram Wools when you are there. It used to be my LYS when I lived there. Unfortunately it is in an industrial park – quite a way from downtown – but I’m sure if you ask someone, they’ll take you there.
    Agassi Beer – if you want to drink local (Bison Blonde Beer, Catfish Cream Ale, and Winnipeg Kolsh).
    Linda B., in Ottawa

  14. The story about you and your grammy made me cry-I miss my own grandma, even at 32. But I just love, LOVE the “White Hats”, they are fantastic!

  15. Did you do the hand motions to “The Unicorn” while you were singing? I miss my Gram now too! She was the best. Funny, I was expected to conform to her world – she didn’t conform to mine. So at the tender age of eight, she took me to see Marilyn Monroe in “The Seven Year Itch.” The most amazing part for me was that Marilyn Monroe kept her underwear in the freezer because it was so hot outside…. Hmmm seems like a recurring theme here- underwear….heat..amazing grandmothers…..

  16. Did you do the hand motions to “The Unicorn Song?”
    And, amazing about Grams isn’t it? I spent a lot of time with my Gram. She expected me to conform to her world, not the other way around. So when I was eight, we went to see Marilyn Monroe in “The Seven Year Itch.” I just remember that Marilyn Monroe was so smart -she kept her underwear in the freezer because it was so hot outside. Hmmmm- English major detects recurring themes – underwear….heat…grandmothers

  17. Unfortunately, “The Unicorn” maggots around in the brains of non-Canadians, too. But so much is explained by learning that Shel Silverstein wrote it — presumably not the Where the Sidewalk Ends side, but the Giving Tree side. (I swear he had an undiagnosed character-changing stroke, there.)

  18. I’m so glad you enjoyed Calgary! I appreciate you bringing me (us) pictures of home…
    I lived on the Base for about 3 years shortly before it closed. It’s now been completely restructured with new roads and housing, or so they tell me, although apparently the war museum (the nicest one I’ve ever seen) is still there.

  19. When my sister was living in Vancouver I was supposed to take the train across Canada & visit her. The snot came back to Buffalo before I could make the trip.
    So thanks for all this posting, I can now take my trip across Canada vicariously through you.

  20. One of my favourite movies is set in the paths of Calgary – it’s called Way Downtown, I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it before. Enjoy Winnipeg – I had a great time when I was there last spring visiting a friend. I discovered the Winnipeg happy hour, with cheap (especially compared to Toronto prices) pints of good beer.

  21. Now you’ve done it! I’ll be humming that song all afternoon, and my coworkers already think I’m several fries short of a Happy Meal. But I’m glad to hear you kept your clothes on in Calgary, anyway. πŸ™‚

  22. Yes, it’s not just the Canadians that are raised on a diet of Irish Rovers and Unicorn songs – there are a few enlightened Americans as well (my parents being two). I could sing that song in my sleep, and probably will be, now that it’s stuck in my head. Thanks so much.
    πŸ˜‰

  23. I love you blog! By the way, even though I’m not Canadian, I am completely familiar with The Unicorn and the Irish Rovers. My dad, who also is not Canadian, turned me on to them. I think they’re wonderful, in a very silly way. πŸ™‚

  24. I remember that song! Holy cow, now I’m going to have to go look up the lyrics, just so there are words in my head instead of “hmm mmm mmm mmm”.
    I was in Calgary in 89, and loved it. Snow on the mountains in August. I live an hour north of Mexico, and I totally grok the steamy thing. I miss the north. (There are only so many knitted things one can wear here, when it gets down to a bone-chilling 60 degrees in the winter.)

  25. Pink. With a cowgirl on the arse. Oh Mercy!
    So glad you enjoyed Calgary! Come back anytime, and bring the cowgirl.

  26. I don’t know about Toronto, but I live in NY right by the Canadian border and it’s pretty dern hot at this moment. The only breaks we’ve had in the weather have been the occasional cool night. Longing for fall…

  27. It’s not just Canadians who know that song. I’m a Midwesterner and I’ve known “The Unicorn” song all my life.
    Following your travels has been simply fascinating reading. Glad you’re in the home stretch.

  28. Here I am in SW PA and you now have Me singing along with you…. I think it’s cool your piano was played all over Canada! Calgary and the American Southwest — just never know where you’ll see white cowboy hats (my husband has a Silverbelly Stetsen, does that count!?)

  29. OK – what’s with the Unicorn Song? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it, but I am on my way to Napster to figure this out.
    Do you think it’s a Canadian thing?
    Yay for home! (Make sure that Joe actually DOES the dishes.)

  30. Wait just a hot second, is The Unicorn Song an Irish drinking song? The only version I could find was by a group with an unspellable name starting with B…from an album called “Songs of Ireland”. Huh. Anyway…

  31. nice recovery Steph. thanks for the song and: i just told my daughter about your hallway excursion. she was reciently locked out on her third story balcony for about three hours but at least she was dressed.
    marie in florida

  32. Wish I could be there in Winnipeg to see you tonight…I’ve been known to drive there (3.5 hours each way from Fargo) for the day to visit Ram Wools but today’s a weekday and I have to work…boohoo. If it was a Saturday I’d be there for sure…next time make sure you’re there on a Saturday, OK?

  33. “No unintentional nudity”
    I pondered the possibilies of this phase
    1) no nudity intentional or otherwise
    2) reference to previous unintentional nudity
    3) intentional nudity (as roggey speculated)
    4) you know something about Calgary I’m unaware of

  34. I am coming out of lurkdom…drawn out by the Unicorn song….I live at the beach in NJ and one of local bars used to have a sing-along and always had a contest with the unicorn song and you had to do the hand motions as they sang it and they did it faster and faster…and once I won and I got a t-shirt. Did I say beer was involved? I love your blog. I wish you could would come to NJ. And now I will just fade back into the shadows……

  35. I am coming out of lurkdom…drawn out by the Unicorn song….I live at the beach in NJ and one of local bars used to have a sing-along and always had a contest with the unicorn song and you had to do the hand motions as they sang it and they did it faster and faster…and once I won and I got a t-shirt. Did I say beer was involved? I love your blog. I wish you could would come to NJ. And now I will just fade back into the shadows……

  36. I laughed so hard at the reading last night (in Calgary, in case you’re having trouble keeping track of time/location) that my neck muscles hurt on the way home! I didn’t stay to try to meet you for several reasons:
    a. I didn’t want to impose (i am SO Canadian)
    b. There was a crazy long line
    c. I had knitting to do at home.
    I did have a blast though, and, everytime you asked if there were any questions I wanted SO BADLY to ask you if you had had another Edmonton incident in Calgary, or if you had been able to remain clothed when outside your room, or, at least if you were not able to be fully clothed outside your room, if you had the camera and/or sock with you.
    BTW, it was 35C last week. Sorry. AT least with the rain and cold no one stayed home to mow their lawn.

  37. I am coming out of lurkdom…drawn out by the Unicorn song….I live at the beach in NJ and one of local bars used to have a sing-along and always had a contest with the unicorn song and you had to do the hand motions as they sang it and they did it faster and faster…and once I won and I got a t-shirt. Did I say beer was involved? I love your blog. I wish you could would come to NJ. And now I will just fade back into the shadows……

  38. I am coming out of lurkdom…drawn out by the Unicorn song….I live at the beach in NJ and one of local bars used to have a sing-along and always had a contest with the unicorn song and you had to do the hand motions as they sang it and they did it faster and faster…and once I won and I got a t-shirt. Did I say beer was involved? I love your blog. I wish you could would come to NJ. And now I will just fade back into the shadows……

  39. I’m not even Canadian and I know that song by heart. It’s a generational Irish-heritage kid thing…i.e., I’m getting freaking old.
    And just a wee note: your carded “this is merino, and this is…uh…something else…” spins up beautifully. I think I need a carding lesson. My llama is carded but needs to be turned into more of a roving state if I am to retain my sanity.
    Oh, oops. That probably means I need carders. The balance sheet for convincing Spiff this is a moneysaver is getting harder to fake….

  40. I’m not even Canadian and I know that song by heart. It’s a generational Irish-heritage kid thing…i.e., I’m getting freaking old.
    And just a wee note: your carded “this is merino, and this is…uh…something else…” spins up beautifully. I think I need a carding lesson. My llama is carded but needs to be turned into more of a roving state if I am to retain my sanity.
    Oh, oops. That probably means I need carders. The balance sheet for convincing Spiff this is a moneysaver is getting harder to fake….

  41. I think your commenting thing is hiccuping. I appear to not be the only one stuffing the ballot with a couple of comments…

  42. That was hilarious. You poor dear, now you know why our mother’s always had us paranoid about wearing clean underwear.

  43. “long necked geese”?????
    I always thought it was “long neckies”….as in giraffes!
    Bad Canadian! LOL
    Your grammy sounds cool.

  44. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who can’t pack for a climate different from home. I once decided to visit my daughter in Minneapolis on the way home from a trip to Miami. My daughter decided to host a little dinner party so that I could meet her friends, and the most suitable thing I had–well, it had been quite suitable in Miami. I nearly froze for the whole evening. And that was while we were INSIDE–

  45. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who can’t pack for a climate different from home. I once decided to visit my daughter in Minneapolis on the way home from a trip to Miami. My daughter decided to host a little dinner party so that I could meet her friends, and the most suitable thing I had–well, it had been quite suitable in Miami. I nearly froze for the whole evening. And that was while we were INSIDE–

  46. Shouldn’t it be Shel Silverstein also running through one’s head? (Although he isn’t the Rovers, he did write the song) Right?

  47. Cats and rats and elephants and sure as you’re born, none so lovely as the unicorn…Thanks for putting that in my head all day!!
    It’s a lovely 17 degrees here in foggy downtown Saint John, NB. When are you coming out east with your bookbookbook?

  48. Dear Stephanie- Enjoy the cold “Knitting weather” while you can- you haven’t lived until you’ve read Shel Silversteins “The Toy Eater”. I want it to be my eulogy- and the Irish Rovers bring back fond memories- how about “Pig and Whistle”?????

  49. “some cats and rats, and elephants, and sure as you’re born, the loveliest of all was the unicorn!” i’m 2/3 irish, i’d better know the rovers! and i’m a geeky american, lol

  50. In Bologna, they have all these great portico (I wonder what the plural is? portichi?) for staying out of the hot Italian sun. Me, being a snow-blooded New Englander, remarked that they must be nice in the winter. My family just looked at me with a “how dumb can you be?!?” kind of disdain. πŸ™‚

  51. I have to say, that story was wonderfully funny yesterday. I even made my boyfriend read it. πŸ˜€ I’ve eaten at the Unicorn, it’s very nice.
    The only problem with the Plus 15 (the name of the overhead pathways) is that it’s notoriously difficult to navigate. You look out of the window at Eaton’s centre, see the building across the street, and when you next find a window you’re looking out 8 blocks away.

  52. Drinking the beer is one thing, but actually SEEING The Big Rock, that is quite the experience. πŸ™‚ One of my favorite memories of my trip to Calgary. Thanks for letting us all travel along with you (and the sock!) vicariously. πŸ™‚

  53. No one mentioned to me that there would be drinks afterwards!! That would have been a blast! So glad we were able to show you that some parts of Canada do have comfortable weather, rather than that hot muggy sweltering sauna you call TO.

  54. Oh, Steph, our Irish band sings that song (complete with hand motions). I did learn it from “Scotts on Parade” which is an OLD production radio show (that I heard from an Ottawa/Hull broadcasting station) waaaay back in the 1970’s. They did Irish and Scottish stuff, so of COURSE the Rovers were showcased at times.
    I, too, am wondering at the possible intentional nudity.
    “There were green alligators, and long necked geese,
    Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees,
    Cats, and rats, and elephants as sure as you’re born…the loveliest of all was the Unicorn.”
    (fuzzy llama, funny llama, llama llama duck!)
    Oh! Shel Silverstein: a FANTASTIC book for kids is his “Falling Up”. It is a MUST for a birthday party for which you’ve no IDEA what the kid would want. Very awesomely funny poems and illustrations: (pardon the bloghog here)
    Snowball
    I made myself a snowball
    As perfect as could be.
    I thought I’d keep it as a pet
    And let it sleep with me.
    I made it some pajamas
    and a pillow for its head.
    Then last night it ran away,
    but first, it wet the bed.
    (copyrighted)

  55. Hey, it ain’t just Canadians that know “that” song. My dad LOVED the Irish Rovers, and played that song over, and over, and over and . . . well you get the picture. I know what song I’ll be singing all day.

  56. I’ve nearly kicked myself a hundred times since Tuesday for not driving the 5 hours to Calgary to see you there. Looks like it was a hoot. At the time, I couldn’t justify it: $80 US in gas (that’s alot of yarn!) Now, I’m regretting it. Like I really need $80 more worth of yarn. I missed you at Powell’s in Portland by a couple of weeks, and considered driving the 10 hours to Seattle to see you at my first and favorite yarn store: Weaving Works. Oh well, at least I’ve got the bookbookbook.

  57. I’ve nearly kicked myself a hundred times since Tuesday for not driving the 5 hours to Calgary to see you there. Looks like it was a hoot. At the time, I couldn’t justify it: $80 US in gas (that’s alot of yarn!) Now, I’m regretting it. Like I really need $80 more worth of yarn. I missed you at Powell’s in Portland by a couple of weeks, and considered driving the 10 hours to Seattle to see you at my first and favorite yarn store: Weaving Works. Oh well, at least I’ve got the bookbookbook.

  58. I’ve nearly kicked myself a hundred times since Tuesday for not driving the 5 hours to Calgary to see you there. Looks like it was a hoot. At the time, I couldn’t justify it: $80 US in gas (that’s alot of yarn!) Now, I’m regretting it. Like I really need $80 more worth of yarn. I missed you at Powell’s in Portland by a couple of weeks, and considered driving the 10 hours to Seattle to see you at my first and favorite yarn store: Weaving Works. Oh well, at least I’ve got the bookbookbook.

  59. Unicorn!!! I grew up listening to the Irish Rovers, I have them on vinyl, tape and CD. I still listen to them! So cool!
    Stacey

  60. Unicorn!!! I grew up listening to the Irish Rovers, I have them on vinyl, tape and CD. I still listen to them! So cool!
    Stacey

  61. Unicorn!!! I grew up listening to the Irish Rovers, I have them on vinyl, tape and CD. I still listen to them! So cool!
    Stacey

  62. Unicorn!!! I grew up listening to the Irish Rovers, I have them on vinyl, tape and CD. I still listen to them! So cool!
    Stacey

  63. Unicorn!!! I grew up listening to the Irish Rovers, I have them on vinyl, tape and CD. I still listen to them! So cool!
    Stacey

  64. Next time you give the Are You Really Canadian Quiz, you should ask for the refrain from that song. It’s as molecular as the Smarties.
    And one little thing I can share: if your luggage is checked in, the plane won’t leave until you’re there in your seat, beacause they won’t let luggage fly withou its human counterpart. Exposives and stuff. They’re scared enough to wait for you to show up. At least that was our recent experience when we were stuck behind that family when there were visiting Green Bay, Wisconsin. That mom is rude, isn’t she?

  65. Was I ever disappointed to see that you were to be in Calgary the night I drove from Calgary to Cranbrook, B.C.!!! Glad you enjoyed it, although next time you absolutely must go see Knit One Chat Too, it’s my favorite yarn store in Canada -simply amazing. Absolutely rent Waydowntown – my favourite movie as well – you gotta love Don McKellar in this one, he’s so whacko!!! PS – The picture of you with Amy/Indigirl in Vancouver also includes one of my best friends, Mandy, aka Yarnageddon (www.yarnageddon.com).

  66. I so enjoy reading these. I don’t often get to knit as I own a restaurant and am too busy for my own good. Reading the stories and seeing the pictures give me such a lift. Thank you so much.
    Now, I think I will go upstairs and see if I cant find the Irish Walking Scarf I started 2 years ago now. Maybe I could get a row or two in before something else breaks loose.

  67. I so enjoy reading these. I don’t often get to knit as I own a restaurant and am too busy for my own good. Reading the stories and seeing the pictures give me such a lift. Thank you so much.
    Now, I think I will go upstairs and see if I cant find the Irish Walking Scarf I started 2 years ago now. Maybe I could get a row or two in before something else breaks loose.
    Sherry from Coeur d Alene USA

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