Where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain

This is how many cabs and lines it takes to go from Chicago to Oklahoma City.

Schictook726

This is how long the plane ride is.

Chictook725

I arrived in Oklahoma City yesterday, and dudes, I can’t even tell you what a good time I had. I don’t know what I was expecting…since all I knew about the place was the song, but it wasn’t this. This place is terrific…and flat (wow is it flat) and hot. It was so hot yesterday that as Jayme and I tried to walk just a few blocks through the city, I was moved to profanity. I kept trying to articulate the exact way that it was hot and ended up failing (since it was too hot to think) and being reduced to four letter words that I hope conveyed the remarkable impact. It is obvious to a newcomer to Oklahoma that this place is much closer to the big ball of fire in the sky than Toronto is and the heat has a quality that’s hard to describe. Toronto gets that hot, and Toronto is far more humid…but the wind of Oklahoma adds a characteristic that’s breathtaking. It’s like standing in a convection oven.

I’d complain more, but I come from a place with a 58 day summer.

I loved it.

Here are things you may not know about Oklahoma.

1. On election day (which it was yesterday) you cannot purchase liquor in a store or restaurant. This was explained to me with enormous sympathy by the bartender at the Bricktown restaurant I went to.

Okcanaal

That’s Bricktown. See the canal? Who knew Oklahoma city had a canal? That’s #2.

I staggered in out of the heat, sank into a chair and said the only thing a Canadian can say when transported that far in this heat.

“Beer please.”

That’s when he explained to me about the law. I thought it a wonderful expression of the importance of sober democratic reflection on election day, and asked him what I could have.

Nobeerok

Seriously. Bud is exempt. Turns out that 3.2% beer is considered “food” and can still be obtained. (Having drunk the first Bud of my life now, I can see why. With all due respect, it’s really more like beer scented water. I drank it with enormous grateful enthusiasm regardless.)

3. Every single person I met in Oklahoma was absolutely charming. Absolutely. Funny, witty, kind…hospitable. These people are fabulous. Even the cab drivers were exceptionally entertaining.

Some Rangers came up to me while I was taking sock pictures, and for one moment I thought I was busted. (I don’t know why. I’m sure this sock thing is just stupid, not illegal, but I respect authority.) Turns out that they just wanted to offer to take a picture of me with my sock…if I wanted. I explained how it worked instead.

Okrangers

Oklahoma Park Rangers.

4. The Oklahoma City Memorial is exceptional. My pictures don’t even begin to do it justice, so if you haven’t seen it, do click and have a better look. The site of the building is marked by two enormous gates, one at one end marked “9:01”

901Ok

and the other “9:03”

903Ok

These two gates surround the time of the explosion, 9:02, and look forward and back on that moment.

Okchairs

There is one chair (some big, some small…for the children) for each person who died that day, and each is inscribed with a name. There are a terrible number of chairs.

It is a remarkably beautiful thing, and Oklahoma should be really proud of finding a way to erect something so beautiful out of something so ugly.

5. Margaret from Gourmet Yarns, Susan and the Oklahoma City Knitters Guild and Anita from the library are clever, capable, funny and throw one heck of a party. (They are going to be a really hard act to follow.)

Behold! The knitters of Oklahoma! (And quite a bunch from out of state too.) Click these to make them bigger.

Okknit4

Okknit3

Okknit2

Okknit1

The absolute high point, the point I’m still laughing about today, the point that will stay with me for all of my days and bring light to my life when I am an old, old lady, was when this huge group of spectacular women (and a few men for good measure) rose, powered by state pride and a clear and glowing love for the place that they live, Rose to their feet, carried by I don’t know what and sang. Do you hear me? They sang. The sang loud, they sang proud, they sang

Oooolahoma

OOOO-KLAHOMA!

I’ve got to tell you, I was reduced to helpless laughter and insane glee. I could scarcely stand, scarcely breathe. People, it was better than Broadway ever did that song. Way better. Take me now. For I have heard knitters sing Oklahoma, and it was fan-freaking-tastic.

6. You can get a sunburn in Oklahoma in about six minutes.

7. Oklahoma has great alpacas. I know this because there was some in the keen basket (shaped like Oklahoma) that they gave me last night. It’s a great basket full of tastes of the wonderful fibre things that this state has to offer. (Other stuff too.) It’s almost as good as the song. There’s even a washcloth with the state of Oklahoma knitted into it. (When I remarked how stunning and generous and completely great the whole thing was, and how totally overwhelmed I was by the pride people had in the place they lived and how I couldn’t believe they had given me stuff, one of the knitters said “Oh that’s nothing. You should see us a Christmas. We go all out.”

(I laughed for an hour.)

8. Look at this. Three generations of Oklahoma knitters.

3Genok

That’s Annette, Phoebe and Baby Trixie. (I don’t think we have proof that Trixie is a knitter, but she shows great promise. )

9. Here’s Marianne.

Marianneok

Marianne’s the lady from the comments whose been counting down the days until the first day of school for me. She’s exceptionally kind and thoughtful, and she knows what I mean.

10. There are too many wonderful knitters in Oklahoma to name. I’m missing so many, but there was Cassa, Susan, Chris, Heidi, Rosemary, Missy, Regina (the Oklahoma stitch markers are brilliant), Mellanie, Emily…They all turned out not to be imaginary friends at all, and I couldn’t be more grateful or impressed or totally in love with this place. I’m going to be sorry to leave…

Which I will. My flight is at 2pm, I’ve got to pack (I need to hurry) and I’ll see you in Mesa. (PS. I know I’m not answering email, I’m sorry. Bear with me. If it’s urgent, email again. I’m snowed under in the most spectacular way. If you’re one of the knitters looking for the peacock yarn from yesterday, there’s a link to Suzie’s Etsy shop in the comments from that day. )

147 thoughts on “Where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain

  1. What? am I really first?
    Oh, your descriptions take me back and make me feel nostaligic for my days in the Texas panhandle. . . good thing you included the convection oven reference so I could remember one of the reasons why I left!

  2. ooooooh… first comment… now I can’t wait to go to Oklahoma. When are you coming to upstate New York??? (I mean besides Rhinebeck.) PLEASE?

  3. I can’t believe I might be the first commenter today! Loved your entry, loved hearing how Oklahoma made you feel so good. I was there only for a day, in 1979, when my brother Dave was participating in a softball tournament. They lived in Wichita and we drove to Oklahoma. you ain’t lying about the heat! (That was the trip I went on and forgot to pack underpants. I had bras, but no panties. Thank God for KMart is all I’m saying.)

  4. It is impossible to say how good it was to have you visit. Come back soon! (We’ll make sure to have some beer set aside…)

  5. That bit about the memorial brought tears to my eyes. It’s terrible that I had forgotten about that briefly in all the terrible stuff going on around the world today. Thanks for reminding me, I won’t forget again. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go close my office door and have a quiet sob.
    See you tonight. I’ll be the one with the red nose.

  6. “Beer scented water” Yup. that’s the best way to describe 3.2% beer.
    Oklahoma is going to be tough to follow… onl six more days until Aurora. (not that I’m counting. or stalking. or anything.)

  7. So I clicked on the memorial link and toured that site. That’s incredibly beautiful and I had no idea it existed. Thanks for showing me.

  8. Wow. I really want to go to Oklahoma now.
    I’m sorry you had to drink Budweiser. If you come back to the greater DC area, I’ll bring you a Heather Ale. It will wash all memory of the Budweiser away. If you can’t come to DC, er, I’ll leave the beer at Juno’s for you.

  9. Great talk you gave last night in OK. Whenever my BF and I take a road trip, upon coming back and crossing the state line, we say “Back to the blowdryer!”

  10. It was great to see you last night. I have a blast! It was great to see all the other knitters too! Also my sock is better then just okay now. I am a tad sad to see I didn’t get my shinning place on your blog as I was hoping.
    Please come see us again, but next time come in late fall. It will be cooler then.

  11. Looks like a fabulous time. Wyoming isn’t as hot as OK, but you can sunburn in under a minute (we are close to the sun around here!). Wait until you get to Mesa if you think OK was hot.

  12. I love Oklahoma! My Jacob was born and raised in Tulsa, and I really enjoy going there for visits. People- strangers even- are incredibly, noticeably nice and charming and helpful. I didn’t know there was no liquor on election days, but I was surprised to find out that you can’t get alchohol at the grocery store (in CA, booze is just easier to come by, I suppose). And thank you for including the link to the memorial in Oklahoma City. It is an amazing place; I saw it the first Thanksgiving after 9/11, and it was so moving and beautiful.

  13. In California we have REALLY excellent grapes that are turned into really excellent wine.
    We have REALLY excellent coffee beans (from other countries) that are turned into most excellent PEET’S coffee which we will brew for you.
    In California we have knitters that long for a Harlot to come to Sacramento!!!!
    (I did email your agent woman/person/booking lady but haven’t heard anything back so I am resorting to the old California food/wine temptation routine)

  14. Oklahoma: all that and the Flaming Lips, too. Who knew? Arizona re-defines “hot.” In spite of that, I hope you enjoy yrself.

  15. I’m so sorry you had to drink Budweiser. If you want good beer, you really have to come to Colorado. You could drink for days without having the same delicious beer twice. Yum! (Although you can’t buy it on Sundays…only 3.2 on Sundays)

  16. Good morning! What a wonderful blog to wakeup to. I have never had an incling to visit Oklahoma. Until now. I’ll have to go. Just not in the summer, and definetly not on election day. See you in Portland in September, I’ve got the kid-sitter all lined up. Safe travels.

  17. Oh, yeah, I forgot…all beer in Utah is 3.2
    Someone may have to make a run to Nevada to get you something besides beer scented water…
    Or, I could just ply you with my spiced mead!

  18. I’m loving the marking of time by how much sock/shawl is finished! Although it is a tad scary that we do that much sitting and standing around waiting when we travel!

  19. My family has always called 3.2 beer “three-two monkey piss.” Sounds like you hit the jackpot!
    So when are you coming to Ohio–specifically, Columbus? There are several really neat yarn shops here….

  20. Poor, wilted Canadian! Stay indoors in Arizona, or you’ll die.
    There’s good beer in Portland, I believe. You have something to look forward to.
    I am so jealous of those park rangers. I volunteer on a beach in Central California, and offer to take pictures of visitors all the time. If you go see the elephant seals while you’re in California, look for me. I’ll be on the north end of the beach, but only 3 days a month.

  21. Last night was absolutely thrilling…you know how sometimes a period of moments last a really long time? well, those few moments I spent with you…
    didn’t, they zipped by with incredible enormous speed and all I can hope for is that someday in my old age all the information my brain gathered will replay it slooowly, to savour…not that it wasn’t a total thrill, it was. I also went into ‘deer caught in headlights’ mode,(knowing this might occur I had already had ‘that’ talk with myself about being cool, calm, etc,) and just went ahead and spazzed it up, as evidence the pic, and obviously having a great time. Hoping you ‘found’ everything and will enjoy it all. So sorry there was no yarn.
    40 days

  22. You should do a travel guide for knitters Stephanie! All the places a knitter should go, or inspirational places for a traveling knitter.
    You’re really in for the heat now, going to Mesa. I lived in Flagstaff before this, and even though Flagstaff isn’t hot, I would take an occasional trip down to the Pheonix area.
    I can’t wait to see what you say about Albuquerque. That’s my home town!

  23. I love that they sang to you! And thanks for sharing the monument. Wow.
    And thanks to you for all the time you put into including everyone and their links in your blog. That’s a lot of work!

  24. I am soooooo sad I wasn’t there!! I wanted to go but I’m about 4 hours away from Oklahoma City and it was either not go or quit my job (translation: no more money for yarn – oh, or food for my family). My family thinks I chose wisely but I’m glad you had a good time and I wish I had been there.
    Jill

  25. I was in OKC in May. I took almost the exact same pictures you did of the Memorial and Bricktown. They’re on my blog in “My Pics” on the left. How sad there was no beer for you on election day. How sad that you were subjected to Bud.
    The Memorial moved me to stunned silence. It was like the bombings were yesterday.

  26. In Albuquerque, I definitely know that election day drinking is allowed, probably even encouraged if you’re the winning candidate. Heck, you might even get away scott free if you get smashed and drive your car into a pole…the mayor of my small college town got hammered, pulled over and didn’t even do jail time or pay fines, and got elected again the following week. So maybe election day drinking bans would be a good idea.
    Looking forward to seeing you in Albuquerque, make sure to eat some Green Chile!

  27. The fact that Bud is exempt from the alcohol prohibition further supports my refusal to drink it. they make it with rice, you know. Which is just wrong. Commiserations for having to drink it. But thanks for confirming that I am right to refuse.

  28. I have been sloth like, it’s not that it’s to hot here. Why,it’s still cool enough at night to bake a batch of cookies.It’s the late nights, summer nights,baking,and the G’n T’s.Ahh warm summerginnights.
    Most enjoyable to arm chair travel with you.You get to see some great sights.The rangers, right out of the yogi bear cartoons.Did you go to Jelly Stone Park? luv denny x0ox

  29. You ain’t seen HOT yet, hon, if you’re heading to Arizona. Good luck, and drink lots of fluids. Unfortunately, alcohol is not recommended, so Bud should be fine, lol!

  30. beer scented water… I am laughing through my tears. You do have a way with words, ya’ know. Chortle. The rest is very interesting too, having never been to OK — kinda makes me want to go there, on a non-election day.

  31. Thanks again for coming and speaking to us. I’m so glad I made the trip from Tulsa! It was a great evening, despite the heat.

  32. My sister and I are both going to be in Mesa to see you tonight. We are going to arrive 2 hours early, and I’m still worried it won’t be early enough! And do listen to the others about the Phoenix/Mesa heat. I tell people it is like walking into a furnace when you leave a cool building. The heat just knocks into you.

  33. Having grown up in Budweiser City, otherwise known as St. Louis, I can attest that even the “regular” Budweiser is gross, but not nearly as bad Bud Lite or Busch. Have you heard the canoe joke? No? Well, it’s a little blue…. Heck, here goes: How are Busch Beer and making love in a canoe alike? …….. They’re both f&*%$^ close to water. I think every St. Louisan must know this joke by the age of 12, and yet they continue to drink the swill. My brief summer in Colorado turned me on to what beer should be like. I even had a new years resolution to drink only beer that I couldn’t see through – it was a great year.
    Good luck with the rest of your tour – hope the weather stays nice for you!

  34. Great to see you! Trixie told me on the way home that she wants to knit socks now. Did you whisper something to that effect in her ear when you were snuggling her? (Great pic of you two up on my blog, btw.)
    We CAN’T WAIT to see you again – next time we’ll make it a non-election day. And maybe not over a hunnerd degrees F.

  35. Reading back through the comments, Jodie had a fabulous idea. Book 5 should definitely be a travel book for knitters!

  36. Oklahoma City is a marvelous place. I had one of my best work conferences there about 5 years ago – the people are as nice as hell and great fun! Good to know you didn’t melt in the heat.
    Love those rangers!

  37. Stephanie….we had a wonderful time last night, we truly loved having you. I wished it had not been so loud last night, I could barely hear you talking!! Karen and I talked on the way home about how mesmerized we were with watching your hands move while knitting.

  38. Beer has less alcohol here in the states then in Canada. Everyone I know that is Canadian complains about the taste of beer here. Glad you enjoyed Ok City. I think you may need a voice recorder to record these kind of moments, like getting sung to.

  39. Would you believe, according to most people I know, that of the two “big” cities in Oklahoma (OKC and Tulsa) that OKC is boring?
    I just moved from Tulsa to Austin, TX (can’t wait until Saturday), and if you think OKC was great, Austin is a million times better. Seriously. Best. City. EVER.

  40. Man, I’m SO bummed! I could have gone to OK City (except for being sick out of my gourd) *sigh* maybe next time.
    Oklahoma is pretty in the Fall and not so hot =)

  41. Calling Budweiser “beer scented water” is extraordinarily generous. The stuff isn’t even that good. It doesn’t smell like GOOD beer, that’s for sure, even at full strength. I say this as a St. Louis resident (not native). I’m not a popular gal here.
    Remember, if you get to Texas, to ask for Shiner Bock. A beer that deserves the name.

  42. So glad you liked Oklahoma! I love that place – moved there from England when I was six, then up to Minnesota when I was nine. It was the best place *ever* to be a kid!

  43. Oklahoma heat is insanely difficult to explain to anyone who has not been there. The convection oven was how I described it to my family back in Pittsburgh as well. And if you thought the sky was big and the land was flat, try coming from a hilly place like Pittsburgh to Oklahoma to live in the middle of tornado season. The sky looks a LOT bigger with those towering thunder clouds in it.
    And I agree with Jax up there. Ask for Shiner Bock. I miss it now that I moved back to the ‘Burgh. πŸ™

  44. I so enjoyed my time with you last night, that I immediately called my sister upon leaving the library and told her to RSVP for your upcoming trip to Austin, TX. (Steph, if you thought the blow-dryer that is Oklahoma City is hot, just wait until you hit Texas in August.)
    You are just as charming, witty and TINY in person as you appear on your blog.
    I was the woman who was wearing the *gasp* purchased cardigan. You asked if I have “commitment issues” because and have not brought myself to knit a sweater. Socks, caps, scarves, and throws, but no sweaters. Yet. I swear it has something to do with Oklahoma having only five cold days a year. There is just something about knitting when it is 195 degrees outside…
    I, too, was stunned when you asked us to do “the song” and one of the women in your audience actually started in, “…Brand new state, gonna treat you great…” It had been years since I’d heard our state song from the beginning.
    The part of the singing I most enjoyed was all of us throwing our fists in the air and shouting YEAH! at the end, right after “You’re doin’ fine Oklahoma, Oklahoma, O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A, Oklahoma, O.K.” I was never more proud.
    We are a great bunch in Oklahoma. I just hope if you ever visit Oklahoma or The City (as the folks here call Oklahoma City) again, that you will allow one of us to be your guide. We will show you some of our other beautiful sites: The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, The Oklahoma City Capital, The Oklahoma City Zoo (voted one of the best small zoos in the country), Norman, or Stillwater, Oklahoma – home of the Sooners and Cowboys (our football teams and the colleges that support them). There is so much to see and do in OK that I wish you had been here just a little longer so we could have shown you more.
    While I have always felt that the Oklahoma City Memorial is beautiful, I continue to hope that it does not always define who we are to those who do not live here and that what happened on that awful day will not always be the event that shapes our State in the eyes of a Nation or the world.
    As you learned first hand last night, we “Okies” are so very much more.

  45. Stephanie, it was nothing short of wonderful to finally meet you “in person” last night (even though I was so verklempft that you knew who I was that all I could do was squeak at you and probably said nothing but dorky things)! And my sock is totally starstruck at meeting the Traveling Sock, too.
    I soooo wish I could make it to Austin on Saturday . . . and so glad that we made the trip from Dallas last night.

  46. What a delight and honor to have you with us last night–I’m not sure any other booksigning will have such a rockin’ feeling.
    (I’m glad you posted the pic with the hand gestures. That’s the best part.)

  47. Well, I just went outside for the first time today, and was surprised that it wasn’t as bad as I expected. So, sorry Stephanie, you might miss your chance to experience the full “walking into a furnace” effect of AZ in the summer. It’s still pretty hot though. πŸ™‚

  48. Truly, the knitters singing The Song for you is one of the best things I’ve ever read about. It must have been so much fun! I’d be more jealous execpt you’re only gonna get 3.2% beer scented water for the next couple of days, and Mel’s bringing mead to the SnB tonight. So there.

  49. Oh, oh…we only have 3.2% beer in Utah but it IS better than Bud…just sayin’. It won’t be election day and those of us in the ‘know’ can get you a ‘real’ beer.

  50. I second the person above who said you should write a travel guide for knitters. I would buy that immediately.

  51. Having spent a few years living in Oklahoma (closer to Tulsa and yes, the I lived there when the bombing occurred), I can attest that OK people really are a good group πŸ™‚
    However…6 minutes to sunburn? Easily under 5 here in Arizona. If your plane leaves at 2, you’ll probably be hear around 2 AZ time (same as California time) and you’ll get that great “wall of heat” when you deplane at Sky Harbor πŸ˜‰ Maybe we’ll even have a special monsoon for you tonight (we had a doozy last night!).
    See you tonight! I have sock, book and camera with me at work so I won’t forget any of them!

  52. Oh, I am so sad today because I will miss you tonight in Mesa. I hope you don’t melt in this heat, although today is much cooler than a week ago (by about 20 degrees). I will finish my first trekking sock tonight and cast on the second in your honor.

  53. You thought you could get sunburned quickly in Oklahoma? Good luck in Mesa. Canadians should use SPF 465 in the Phoenix area.

  54. It was so wonderful to meet you last night! I was the second of the two Beverlys in a row and I took a pic of your sock with mine. (She’s all puffed up and lording it over the other humble WIPs now.) I didn’t mean to get a shot of your cleavage, but you were signing that book and bending over. Sorry!
    By the way…
    1. 3.2% Budweiser beer in Oklahoma on election day – $2.50
    2. Four skeins of Cascade 220 bought in a dizzy moment after getting the Yarn Harlot to sign my book. – $29.97
    3. Seeing said Yarn Harlot reduced to a fit of giggles as we (very proudly) sang Oklahoma! to her. – PRICELESS

  55. Oooh, I’m so glad you liked OKC! Sorry ’bout the beer thing on election day — I had no idea!
    (I’m the one from Alaska, though, so I don’t vote here…)
    Next time you come I’ll buy you a “real” bear at whatever establishment you like, how’s that?
    Oklahoma loved you, too. Thanks for coming!

  56. Love reading your travel posts. You know, if this knitting thing doesn’t work out, you could always get work as a travel agent or PR person. Just a thought. And another way to describe a HOT and HUMID day – at least here in St. Louis – is that when your walk out your door, you feel like you’re walking into warm jello. Isn’t THAT lovely?

  57. This was one of your best blog entries yet. The comments on Budweiser even made my husband laugh. (In college we went to OKC a few times for conferences, and always made to drive our own beer in from Texas- so we didn’t have to drink 3.2%)
    I’m so so excited you are coming to Hill Country Weavers in Austin- it’s my favorite yarn store and I can’t wait to see the blog entry. The only problem is I now live in Iowa. I SO wish I could see one of you talks.
    Glad you didn’t get “busted” for sock pictures πŸ™‚

  58. AH AHAHAHA on the bud thing. Beer scented water, indeed. That’s what happens when most of the fermentable sugar comes from rice. Man, that stuff is ass.

  59. I’ve never really thought about visiting Oklahoma before, but it sounds great! I wish I could have been there to hear everyone sing. And I love the picture with the rangers–I bet they don’t realize they’re famous now.

  60. Thank you for writing! You are a joy to read. I hope you also enjoy Mesa, I only wish I could attend….why don’t you hop on down to Tucson? πŸ˜€
    Hugs,
    tammy (a Tucson Knitter)

  61. If you think Oklahoma is hot, you’ve got another thing coming when you hit Mesa, AZ. But, as we used to say there, it’s a dry heat.
    And now you can say that you’ve never been to heaven but you’ve been to Oklahoma.

  62. I got married in Oklahoma and my honeymoon was in OKC. I didn’t realize I missed it until I got misty eyed reading today’s entry.

  63. *blinks*
    Beer is FOOD?
    Damn. I wish someone had told me this before. I’d have been having a lot more lunches.

  64. The Memorial made me cry. Thank You. I need reminding sometimes about things that are more important.

  65. You realize what you’ve done: now everyone will want to sing to you. I have no idea what (MAAAAAAA-sa-chu-setts somehow just doesn’t have the same ring to it), but I can’t be the only knitter thinking, “Damn, why didn’t we think of that?” Cuz we’re not Oklahomans, that’s why.
    Give up nookie for yarn? A question I would ponder more deeply were I not too old to have to choose. Sometimes old is good.

  66. I am so glad my Mom flew in from San Antonio to Squidsit, so that Chris and I could drive from Dallas to see you in Oklahoma City!!!! You were soooo worth it!!

  67. Wow! Those faces in Chicago are just plain weird.
    My Mom was born in Oklahoma and lots of family still living there. Mom hasn’t been back since I was a baby but still speaks fondly of it. Me, I don’t remember a thing πŸ™‚
    Love your blogging on the road and the traveling sock

  68. 3.2 beer (a/k/a horse piss) sucks. But, unfortunately, that’s all that’s sold in the grocery stores here. The state controls the sale of the good stuff.

  69. I believe it was my senior year in high school in Indiana that our yearly musical was “Oklahoma”… To this day no one from my high school in that era can hear the name Oklahoma without BURSTING into song.
    Really really cool that the people of Oklahoma feel the same way.
    πŸ™‚

  70. Just wait till you get to Texas! If you think the people in OK are OK, well….you’ll see!
    Honestly can’t wait till Saturday! And the offer of a Kirby Lane Queso Consumption (and Longneck liquid lapping) still stands for Friday!

  71. Two *fantabulous* posts, Stephanie! I just visited Chicago for the first time last month myself, and totally agree – fantastic city. Plus arrrrr-gyles bit had me in hysterics, as I love the TLAPD site. (Didja ever note Cap’n Slappy and Old Chumbucket are here in OR? LOL.) And OKC, well…priceless. Totally exuberant. *Loved* the singing bit!
    Now – fellow Portlanders. How many of us, after reading this entry, are having the same idea – as we’re the microbrew capital of the US – that we should bring Steph some samples when she appears here? We’d better coordinate this beforehand, or I foresee her trying to figure out what the hell to do with enough bottles to stock a bar…

  72. Please don’t pass out from heatstroke, Stephanie, I’d really like to see you here in Portland in September. Wish you were here, the high was 81 F today. So nice after that 104F/40C last weekend.
    Heh, Monica, she’s got to use all that empty space for yarn, not beer. Though she could probably stock up nicely.

  73. Just checked out the pic of you and the lovely Trixie on Phoebe’s blog. Are you wearing a skirt??

  74. too poor for OKC, too poor for Austin. Surely we could show you a good time in Dallas, where we have heat, yarn and beer (not always in that order). Just saying

  75. Jo-Are you going to be at Kerbey Lane on Lamar or 183? Just to avoid confusion.

  76. A skirt indeed. Clams got legs!
    This is the moment where I stand up and add that my Norwegian great-grandfather had the good sense to land in Texhoma and spent the rest of his life happily thawing out. His daughter, on the other hand, (speaking of big sky) married a Michigan man and was so oppressed by trees that she had to walk to the top of the hill just to get a breath below her second rib.
    Austin, the bar has been set low. Bring on the longnecks!

  77. I am so glad to read your accounts of OKC, which really is just a hop-skip-jump from my town, near Wichita, Kansas. (When are you coming back to Kansas?!) Anyway, if you want hot and wind, we have it here, and it’s far flatter in Kansas that Oklahoma! You are the most upbeat traveler EVER, especially in these temperatures.

  78. I’m glad you had such a great time in OKC. You will love Austin, it’s a great place (used to live in TX). Definitely pick up a Shiner Bock – you won’t be disappointed – I miss the “National Beer of Texas”. Can’t wait for my recycled yarn shawl to meet your traveling sock when you come to CA. It’ll be worth the travel time to hang out with everyone. Hope I make it – I’ve got quite a ride – and I’m notorious for getting lost…safe travels Stephanie

  79. LOTFLMAO!!!
    I agree with you about the beer. Beer scented water! hahahahahahaha!

  80. Budweiser? All you could get was Budweiser? You poor thing. No problems of that sort when you arrive in Portland (but you already knew that.) An embarrassment of beer riches here in the PNW. In fact . . . I think I hear a cold one calling now . . .

  81. Damn! I wish I could have made it. I’m glad you liked Oklahoma though. I was born in OKC, and raised (and still live) in Tulsa. (now you must come and visit Tulsa)

  82. Alright, alright with all the beer-cheering. I see nothing from the acknowledged beer capitol of the free world. Milwaukee, knitters, Milwaukee. Macro-brew, micro-brew, even our root beer kicks soda butt, to say nothing of beer-scented water. Here’s the thing, we also have a great airline that flies directly between Toronto and MKE (Midwest Airlines – I don’t work for them, but the best care in the air ain’t no lie!). Steph, it doesn’t get better or easier than that. The only down side I see is lack of progress on the ol’ shawl. Easily remedied by extra time in Brew-town. Think on it.

  83. Yes. It’s true. In Oklahoma we have more fun than decent women ought to have. Now the word is out we can concentrate on making the next trip a little less brew-less. Now I think of it, I will personally guarantee you an adult beverage of your choice* on premises at the temperature you desire.
    Thank you so much for coming to our town. Please come again any time!

  84. Great blog today! The monument pictures are so moving. I can see all of us ramping up to outdo Oklahoma – you’ll have to start packing extra bags to take your gifts home. The children will have to be boarded so you can have their bedrooms for storing things.
    Hmmm. Now, what can we in CA get for you that will stand out? A pet alpaca? Knit the world’s largest washcloth? Give me some time….

  85. You have such a great take on traveling…I mean, if I’d been subjected to that heat, you could hear the bitching all the way back to the foothills, that’s all I’m sayin’…(of course, it’s 110 here today… I’ll bet you can hear me bitching in Oklahoma City when it comes right down to it…)

  86. Way back in 1974 (when I was a wee lass of 14) my parents moved us from Virginia to California. Our
    Chevy Malibu broke down in Elk City, OK, and we had to stay three days at one of those funky motels where the pool has a slide and all the cars are parked in the center and the rooms circle the parking lot. anywho, those folks were so very, very kind to my family and 32 years later I still remember OK fondly.

  87. Stephanie, thank you so much for such a wonderful evening! Honestly, Missy and I had stomach palpatations all day yesterday because we were so nervous at the possibility of meeting you. After having done so, I can say without a doubt I’m putting you at the top of my list of “famous people I’d like to invite to dinner.” Your graciousness to those present, and especially the two of us, will not be forgotten. We’ve always felt you were a friend we just hadn’t met yet, and to finally meet you was just proof that we were right.
    Thanks for giving OKC such a great plug–I think you need to go to work for the local Chamber of Commerce!
    Have a great trip and stay cool! We hope you’ll come back and see us again.

  88. Hi Stephanie, Anita here. I so enjoyed your presentation and the reception last night, but this morning at the Read About It taping was just as great! What a fun time we had with you and I’m so glad I got to introduce you!! (I was once part of an audience that sang Oklahoma to a bluegrass band from Switzerland. They still talk about in their shows!) Hope to see you back here again in the near future. stay cool…

  89. Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming to OKC! And seriously, be glad you came this week and not last week…it was REALLY hot then! πŸ™‚
    Your talk was funny and amazing! And thank you for staying until every book was signed (and believe me, everyone, the line snaked all the way around the store and back on itself). I was near the end and you were so funny and gracious, like I was one of the first people in line, not one of the last.
    And now, let me set the record straight πŸ™‚ Bud ONLY because it was election day. Other days, we can get you future visitors something better, I promise. And adding to the list of must see places from above: the OKC Art Museum with the largest collection of Dale Chihuly glass, and Bricktown which is laced with canals like the one pictured above and you can ride boats all around them.
    Of course, we have to sing our state song proudly (and Susan told me how we made you laugh when we all automatically stood up in unison to sing it). And hi to all of the out-of-staters from last night. I was amazed at how many hands when up when Anita asked. I hope all of you had a great visit, too!

  90. I got to see the Peacock yarn in person the other day, since Susie is a friend and was in town. I’m so delighted that you recognized her excellent skill. And I’m even more delighted that you will be in Ann Arbor on Sunday. I will be so happy to see and hear you in person.

  91. I am so impressed that you get to do so much of the ‘see the sights’ when you travel on what is after all business. Good for you. Whenever I’m traveling on business I always have meetings from breakfast on and end up arriving at my hotel at 10 at night too tired to even order room service. I saw more of Chicago in your blog than I have in two in-person trips there. Thanks for the Oklahoma City Memorial pictures. I had no idea it was so well done, and eerily beautiful besides.
    ps Please do come back to New York/New Jersey!

  92. I lived in Oklahoma for a number of years as a girl, and was there a lot in my twenties for work, and reading your post brought back many nice memories for me. The sky is just different out there, isn’t it? Amazing. And the heat is different too.
    When I was in elementary school in Oklahoma, we started every morning with an assembly of the whole school. Every morning, we said the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, sang My Country Tis of Thee (the national anthem being deemed “too hard for little kids to sing”), and then sang “Oklahoma” complete with a hearty “yay!” at the end. I still remember every word of that song. πŸ™‚

  93. I wish I could have come, but I am so glad you got to experience how great it is here in Oklahoma, despite the heat, and how great the people can be. Maybe next time you’ll come to Tulsa. Have a good one in Arizona.

  94. yo.Rachel H. I beat you home from S.nB. tonight ha ha
    Oh hi Steph. Me and the big H. have this wee thing going on right now…. don’t worry we’ll get over it soon………maybe. or . not. luv dennyxoxoxo

  95. The pictures of the Memorial are amazing. Such a sad thing. I still lived nearby then.
    I’m glad you enjoyed Oklahoma City, it was great reading this post. OKC is just a few hours from where I grew up in North Texas. You totally pinpointed the heat!
    I can’t believe I’m admitting this, in the midst of the comments, but I actually prefer Bud Light. And I’ve lived in Oregon for several years now and tasted the microbrews. Huh.
    πŸ™‚

  96. I am soooo sad I missed you. I wanted you to come to Kansas so bad(ly). Kansans are nice too πŸ™‚ And it’s just as hot and flat here. Maybe another book book book tour. I also wanted to venture south (3 hour drive) but just couldn’t schedule it. Glad you enjoyed the great mid-south-west. The memorial is amazing, isn’t it?

  97. I think it is just plain old HOT everywhere in the USA right now, especially the mid-section. From Wisconsin down through Texas it is as hot as your car engine after driving through Hell. No fun to knit in outside. No fun for mothers of pastey, bleached-out, white-haired little baby boys who have only one word in their vocabulary–“go!”–and bang on the front door all day long begging you to take them out even though they will be melted into the sidewalk in a quarter of a second! Glad you have found wonderful people and places to enjoy while suffering under the blazing sky! Any chance you might stop in Iowa someday?!

  98. Great to hear you in person, you’re even funnier live. which is hard to believe.
    So fun to see you laughing hysterically at a bunch of Okies singing a showtune!
    So sad about the freaky OK liquor laws.
    So great to read your account, not just of Oklahoma but everywhere you travel. I must add my ‘ditto’ to those suggesting a knitters travel guide! I’d buy it!

  99. It was so much fun having you in Oklahoma yesterday!
    I’m glad to see that you had a great time too, although it appears as though you might have possibly seen everything that Oklahoma City has to offer for sight-seeing in one day! Even if this is the case, I’m sure everyone who was (including me!!) there hopes that you come back soon!!
    Wahoo!

  100. I wish I’d been able to eavesdrop on what those Rangers said to each other before they talked to you. πŸ˜‰

  101. Great. The rivalry between those in Texas and those in Oklahoma is great. This should be interesting when you get to us in Austin on Saturday.
    Speaking of Austin – we’re having an “afterparty” Saturday afternoon to celebrate your visit! So if anyone reading this is going to be in Austin, let me know if you will be joining us! (There is a post with details on my blog.) I want to give the restaurant an approximate head count by Friday afternoon. I promise there will be beer there. And margaritas. And air conditioning!
    Guero’s, 1412 S. Congress, a block away, across from the Congress Avenue Baptist Church. Everyone is welcome! 1:00 until the last person leaves!

  102. I’ve been making my husband read your posts about Canadiana, because he tells me the same things. He agrees that certain degrees of heat can only be conveyed with profanity and treated with cold beer. He especially enjoyed your Canada Day post!

  103. Stephanie, How about a picture of the twins in their sweaters? I cast on for a seemingly tiny Dale sweater and it was huge!
    Mary

  104. Thank you for perfectly capturing in words the people and weather of OKC. (Convection oven — I’m still laughing.) I moved from there 13 years ago and always felt I fell short in explaining to Virginians why I miss Oklahoma. What a lovely post!

  105. πŸ™ You toured within a few hours of me and I missed it??? I need to keep better track…
    Come to Kansas, Harlot! Come to Kansas! πŸ™‚

  106. Oh dear. So sorry about the Bud. I do apologize. It is the beer of our people, but that ain’t saying you should actually drink it.
    I wouldn’t mind if it really tasted like beer-scented water–that sounds so….refreshing-but it’s that undertaste of, um, SKUNK that really bugs me. Tastes like it’s gone off, ya know? If it were a draft beer you’d ask the bartender to check the lines, you know?
    I could go on. Console yourself with this: it’s not nearly as bad as MILLER.
    xoxo Kay

  107. Stephanie, I love it when you go on the road. I never tire of reading your amazing and wonderful (and yes, funny) descriptions of the places you visit. You’re not only knitting socks on these trips, dear, you’re knitting us all together–we’re each a little stitch in your latest project–those who read your books, those who come to see you when you visit and all of us when we read your blog. We are now all knitted together. Thanks. I really can’t thank you enough. From the bottom of my heart. Looking forward to seeing you in September in Seattle. Mary B

  108. Thank you so much for coming to OKC! We’re still giddy over it (and blogging about it!). And how nice it’s been to read these comments, particularly ones from people who used to live in Oklahoma or who have traveled in Oklahoma. I moved away in my early twenties, only to find that I missed this beautiful state and these wonderful people. And the sky! Thanks for mentioning our sky–it really is big and expressive. Thanks again and happy travels!

  109. I wish I could’ve been there, but no time for me to commute f/Tulsa. I’m so pleased that you had such a wonderful time! I worked in downtown on and our parking lot was across the street, so I got to watch when they were building the Memorial and even the construction workers seemed so reverent that were working on it; it’s an impressive spot. Bricktown’s a lot of fun, too; were you at Chelino’s (sp?)? It is wonderful Mexican food. I hope to see you in Tulsa sometime.

  110. Steph – I am going to share your love of Oklahoma with some of my Okie online book friends. They will love your love of their state. Counting the days until you come to Seattle. And hoping the great weather we’ve been having hangs around until September for you!

  111. What a wonderful experience! The reception, I mean. The heat is awful and not being able to get a decent brewski to recover from it is just wrong. But then you’re in the land where there are entire towns that are dry (no alcohol at all).

  112. Your post was so full of joy and fun about Oklahoma that it made me want to jump on the next plane. Seriously, I had no idea it had a canal or was so much fun. I will definitely not go on election day if the only thing to drink is Bud. It is nasty watery crappy beer that my friends and I used to drink in high school because it was cheap and you could drink a lot of it without getting sick. It was rumored to have horse urine in it. However, it had a tendancy to disrupt your intestines by the next morning resulting in the dreaded “Bud-Mud.” I will say no more.

  113. I visited my mom in Arkansas in the last week of July in 2003. Coming out of the airport in Oklahoma City felt like someone had taken a feather pillow, thrown it in the dryer on high for an hour, and then shoved it down my throat. To a dry Alberta prairie girl, who has actually been to Mumbai, India, and Toronto, it was the hottest, most humid experience I have ever had. (Okay, it might be tied with Mumbai.)
    So I know what you mean. Thank God for air conditioning!

  114. I have a feeling I know that kind of swearing- I did the same thing when I realized my dad-in-law planned our tour of Illinois wrong. We were in southern Ill. while you were in Chicago- big sob. I also threw my knitting at my husband when I remember this act that evening. I also swore when I realized that I was alos going to miss you when you are in Austin- we won’t be back from Ill. because hubby changed the tickets. He is ceratinly like his dad in the planning department.
    If you think it’s hot in Oklahoma, wait until you get to Meas, and then Austin. Your tour planners should have planned a cooler time of year- Sept./Oct. Have fun and drink plenty of water.

  115. I saw RED STRIPE!!! That’s Jamaican, so am I!!! YIPPEEE!! I feel your pain, it’s blazing hot out here too, you don’t even want to think about even twitching the slightest millimetre or you’ll break out in floods of sweat. The fan and an air conditioner are constant companions. Drink lots of water don’t want you dehydrating on us.

  116. Yes I must say that memorial is one of the most touching I have ever seen ( pictures of). The children of Beslan and Aberfan deserve such a memorial .In fact all the children killed in this World in conflicts and terrorist attacks leave little chairs empty and hearts broken beyond repair.

  117. We have lots of very friendly knitters in Billings, Montana!!! Though we’re having a strange heat wave here too. I think the Oklahoma memorial is one of the most touching things and agree about the beauty that came from the ugly, though I didn’t know about the small chairs.

  118. The comment about bursting into song made me laugh. If I had a nickel for everytime my husband and I have sung Oklahoma to annoy our kids, I’d be wealthy. Can’t wait to see you in Ann Arbor, Stephanie! I don’t think we can top the singing πŸ™

  119. Yay, you made my mom want to try to knit again! And she even took my dad to the yarn store! He was terrified by someone working wth DPNs, until I explained it to him, and he thought row-counters were silly, until I explained those to him. If course, my mom likes to put herself down and say that she’ll never get as good at knitting as I am, which we all know is silly. I’m not even that good, she just hasn’t actually done it yet. πŸ™‚ So thanks for inspiring her, and thanks for the Stash Enhancement if she gives up on it again.

  120. Stephanie thank you sooooo much for coming to Oklahoma City. It was so amazing to meet you, and I would have commented sooner but I swear I’ve just been crazed from the excitement. I got some new sock yarn just before I saw you and got them started at the library. They will always be my *Harlot* socks. And now to scroll back up so I can find the adorable Trixie’s picture! Come back soon!

  121. Steph, thanks so much for coming to Oklahoma and then writing about it so eloquently. I’m so pleased you had a good time. You are just delightful and meeting you is something I’ll remember forever.

  122. The park rangers made me laugh.
    The memorial made me cry.
    The singing made me laugh again.
    Thanks for the visit to Oklahoma. Can’t wait to see you in Ann Arbor on Sunday!

  123. Seeing you in Mesa last night was fabulous, and I’m looking forward to your perspective on the evening. Sorry that Arizona has no stirring show tunes!
    Have you ever considered television? You’re a natural. If I knew someone at HGTV (House and Garden Television), I would tell them immediately.

  124. I normally very much enjoy your blog entries. This one blew me away with your compassion and joy. Thank you for calling attention to the Okla. City memorial. I’m glad I could experience it if only through a website. Words just cannot express…
    Thank you.

  125. Just catching up because I was on vacation for a week. We went to visit OK in early May (from home of Northern NY!) and we also went on the canal ride, and visited OKC Memorial. Of course, I knitted a sock on the way too. I never thought of OK as a tourist attraction, but my brother, who lives in the state, teased us to go visit, and we traveled 1500 miles in 5 days going all over the state. The weather was much better that time of year. No tornadoes either ! Oh, and Turner Falls was great, downstate OK.

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