All’s quiet on the Western

All’s quiet on the Western front. I’m writing this to you from the back garden of my house where there is blissful silence.  It’s actually so quiet next-door at the renovation site, that for about 2.6 seconds I considered texting my neighbours (who have – very intelligently, fled the country for the worst of this) and telling them that if their contractor is billing them for today, he’d be a liar, but then some other part of me asked why I don’t ever want to be happy and keep ruining on opportunities for joy, and so I got a cold drink, put my feet up in the sunshine and let it go.

A big part of the book gets put to bed today, and soon the days left to work on it will be in the single digits. It’s such a crazy time. I sort of think that writers don’t belong in public at the best of times – but writers on deadline? We’re horrible, awful human beings who only care about one thing. If I had a dollar for every time in the last few weeks that I’ve told someone that I can’t do something because I am writing a book, I would be able to have a renovation like the one next door. If you gave me another dollar for every time I said it resentfully while implying that my book is the most important thing that could possibly be happening in the world, then I’d get a renovation like the one next door, and I’d be getting a contractor who showed up on a Friday. 

It’s almost done, and I can’t wait, and I’m so happy that the rally’s almost done for this year too. I don’t know what’s making the training so much harder to face this year (yes I do, I just didn’t want to mention the book again) but it’s been a challenge that I’m anxious to finish. Tomorrow and Sunday Jen and I will do our back-to-backs.  It’s two days in a row that you ride a century, and it’s a training landmark that I live in fear of  – which makes no damn sense, because the rally itself is six centuries. Jen and I had originally decided that when the time cam for the back-to-backs, we would make it nice, because we are smart.  We would ride a hundred kilometres away, then stay at a B&B for the night. One with a hot tub, and a swimming pool and we would go for a beautiful dinner and have this fabulous sleep and then ride the other hundred home the next day.

Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re going to do, because it turns out that we are completely delusional lunatics with families and full time jobs and people who depend on us and one of us is still nursing a bit and the other one is writing a book and a few days ago we came to our senses and pulled ourselves the hell together. Now we’re getting up early tomorrow morning, bolting 100k as quickly as we can, and getting home in time to finish work and make dinner and the next day we’ll repeat it. Done. Whammo.  After that, the training tapers off, because we’re so close to leaving. From here on, it’s about just maintaining our fitness and "seat worthiness" (which is a nice way of saying that your bum doesn’t complain too much about hours in the saddle) and that means that crap like last Sunday never needs to happen again. (I’m still not over last Sunday. It rained so hard on us and we were so wet that every time I sat on my bike seat, it squeezed all the water out of the padding in my bike shorts and sent a flood down my legs and into my shoes. By the time I got home my feet were these little white prunes. It was pitiful. I really hope it doesn’t rain on the Rally.)

Until something gives around here, knitting and I are continuing our clandestine, sneaky relationship. Being with my knitting right now feels like having an affair – we meet quietly, when no-one is looking, and I take my satisfaction quickly and slink off, all while hoping that my editor doesn’t find out that we were together.  (Actually, I think the editor is onto us.)  I can’t wait for us to be together.

Soon my pretty. Soon.

A few gifts? You bet. How about this lovely thing?

It’s a handmade tree of life pendant from Wren, who’s really very talented, and I hope that  Eileen G thinks it’s as lovely as I do. 

Everybody know Jaala, from Knitcircus? She’s doing these sock yarn gradience  things,  two matching balls of sock yarn that change colour over the course of the ball? I think they’re great.

and Jaala has chosen two sets, one each to Angela W, and Natasha G.

Enjoy your weekend everyone. I’ll be on my bike.

1,133 thoughts on “All’s quiet on the Western

  1. Hey! I’ll be on my bike this weekend too! Seattle to Portland. 202 miles baby! Where’s my knitting when I need it?

  2. Good luck with the century, hope you’re getting an early start because the temps look a little crazy both afternoons – you may be wishing for a little rain to cool you off!
    BTW you really must stop showing these incredible yarns (the gradient sock yarn – amazing!). Stash is already taking over my house and you’re just not helping!

  3. Yay! I will look forward to that! Thanks to Jaala for her generosity! And thank you, Stephanie, for your dedication to a great cause!

  4. Things have a way of working themselves out…Good call to enjoy the silence while settling your mind with your knitting… Hope the weather cooperates on your speed training run…

  5. Do you have a special Rally project planned? Something to look forward to and that you will have the energy to do at the end of each day?

  6. My “middlest” gave me that tree of life pendant for my birthday this year. It is one of the loveliest pieces of jewelry that I own.

  7. I’ve ridden in rain like that to work, where you feel like you’re sitting on a sponge, and water sloshes in your shoes. The worse part is when you have to pull on your still wet gear at the end of the day and cycle home. I remember one May where it rained EVERY DAY. I wasn’t dry for a month. Ugh!

  8. Last year, while I was working on report cards in June, we had our carpets removed and hardwood floors put it. The shaking and discombobulated labrador retriever and I huddled in my office while the workmen upstairs ran the air pressure nail gun for three days. The dog kept her ears pressed tight to the sides of her head, but I didn’t have that option. I just kept telling myself it would all be worth it in the end. It was, but I never want to hear a nail gun ever again. I hope your neighbour’s reno is soon done (or at least the noisy part.)

  9. I do, in fact, know Miss Jaala 🙂 She’s quite lovely and someday, when I have money again (or, perhaps, when I’m back home in Wisconsin in a couple weeks), I’ll get my hands on some of her yarny goodness 🙂

  10. Lovin’ the little bit of sass coming out with this particular knitting, Stephanie. Every think of writing a “different” kind of knitting related book? Hint of turned ankle and all that intrigue…

  11. Jaala is lovely, isn’t she? I first met her at a corporate function hosted by our husbands’ mutual employer, like 8 years ago before KnitCircus took off and long before her dyeing business. I had no idea at the time that she was even a knitter, though the lovely shawl she was wearing at the time should have been a clue…

  12. Hmmmm…I wonder what could be making the training harder this year? Could it be the rain? The book? The RAIN? The fact that you’ve done it already & can’t delude yourself into thinking that you’re only nervous because you’ve never done it before & it CAN’T be as challenging as you’re imagining?
    Hang in there…you’re in the home stretch on the book AND the rally. I’m just happy I made it to Friday this week!

  13. Probably not an original idea, but if you and friend had a two-seater bike, the one in the back could knit and peddle while the one in front steered!

  14. well, may the trysts be sweet with the sticks and string. hmm, maybe the blog knows someone who knows the contractors and in the ‘name of the book’ they asked them to give you a day’s peace..? Have a painless as possible ride.

  15. Please, please what is the yarn you are using to knit those rainbow type striped socks in the latest posts? I would be eternally grateful for the name.
    Thank you.

  16. The idea of water wringing its way out of my chamois padding and dripping into my shoes is just too awful to contemplate. I share your hope for no rain during the Rally!

  17. Knowledge isn’t always power. Keep slipping off to have that affair. Your family values some form of even keel.

  18. I’m impressed by the pendant. What are the stones — quartz, amber, topaz???
    Good luck with the training and stay safe. We had some gorgeous weather here in Chicago today, which should be heading your way. At least one day this weekend should be nearly perfect for bicycling.

  19. You know what else will make you happy? Go peek at Andrew & Brandon’s fundraising pages… You bring people together, Steph.

  20. I got back on my bike today after a long hiatus. It urge felt good. I’m working on a gray Amiga for my middle daughter, trying to steal a moment here and there to knit. It was going great until I found hole 3 inches back where I had picked up a stitch. I finally pulled up my big girl panties and frogged back. When I quit sulking and get a minute I will be back up to speed. Good luck on your rally, sounds like fun!

  21. I got back on my bike today after a long hiatus. It felt good. I’m working on a gray Amiga for my middle daughter, trying to steal a moment here and there to knit. It was going great until I found hole 3 inches back where I had picked up a stitch. I finally pulled up my big girl panties and frogged back. When I quit sulking and get a minute I will be back up to speed. Good luck on your rally, sounds like fun!

  22. We’re in the middle of our back to backs for the Cascade Lakes Relay. Walking.

  23. Your editor will never start about sneakely knitting, because he thanks heaven for a bit of saneness. Training for a bikeride while your book has a deadline? What is that woman thinking of, he must think, if only she remebers to knit a few needles each day, all might end well for me (and her). Spend the money you safe from not staying a night and eating a nice dinner, prepared by someone other then you two, at someone who can ma ss age your back and legs and arms into lovely preparedness for a 6k ride, have fun, watch the road and other roadusers (in case you have to break) wear your helmet, cushion elbows beforehand with whatever bandage you can find and ride the snot out of those 100derds of miles, you could do it knitting socks, you can do it now! If not, feel like an olympic athlete: to do it is more important than winnning.

  24. IO forgot, maybe the reno next door ens before you return home from the big ride of 6K.

  25. Check out Adaptil products for your cat. There are a number of stress relieving products out there, but this line had plug-ins, collars and spray. Your vet can find you more. It takes times to work, but it is something to consider. I work at an animal hospital & have heard a lot of client reports of these products helping their pets. My prayers are with all the rally riders! (And for dry weather)

  26. OMG! I won something! I think its fabulous and can’t wait to see it in person! Thank you, Wren and Stephanie.

  27. I ride to raise money for our regional Cancer center and I did a century during hurrican bertha.. in 1996. Your description of how wet you get when biking in the rain was spot on. the toes, wet, wrinkly and white, white white. and the dirt that is sprayed up your “skunk line”… that dirt never comes out. This year, I only rode 35 miles.. but raises a bunch of money! (and that is what counts!)
    your shawl is gorgeous as are your socks. Good luck with the back to back centuries. next year for the B&B with spa, hot tub and scrumptious dinner. safe riding and do tell me that your book is going to be available on Kindle???

  28. Don’t identify with the bicycle pain and fear. Worked great for me last time I fell at a stop light while still clipped in. I’m not the one looking like an idiot picking gravel out of the side of my body! I’m the one watching that happen!

  29. Dear Stephanie, I just have to tell you a quote out of our newspaper today; a radio columnist and great explainer of all kinds of animals and green things in nature ( to those who can not distinguise a cow from a moo) said the following and suddenly I knew what bothers me lately, it is no longer being able to enjoy nature thoroughly, now I will again, because I will know the difference. He said: “in the past we had loads of nature, now we have less, but in came a whole lot of environment”. Yes, I can again “enjoy” the smell of cowdroppings in spring, sure sign cows are out again, without thinking of the possible pollution of ditches because of modern feedingmethods in winter; one is nature, the other environment. Please enjoy as much f the nature you are goin to rally through as you can.

  30. Wow. I really like the gradient yarn. It looks like the perfect thing for a baby sweater! (Yup, still on a baby knitting kick.)

  31. Stephanie, You have my great admiration and respect for
    all that you do. I started donating monthly to Doctors
    Without Borders a couple years ago because of you and your
    I know you will have those gorgeous striping socks knit up
    within a day or so, and I, too, would like to know where to
    buy this yarn and what the name of it is.
    Safe travels on your bike. You’re amazing.

  32. I read 7/11 and 7/12 back-to-back today and laughed til I cried – thanks so much!

  33. I am stuck on “finish work and make dinner…” Takeout was made for days like this, Stephanie. Really and truly.

  34. If anyone doubted that there is in fact a Harlot Effect, two skeins of Regia Nation 5399 just sold on eBay for $37.00!
    Wish it had been me who won. ;o)

  35. The gradient yarn is sooo beautiful I am beyond excited to receive one of these amazing yarns!! Thank you so much for the lovely oportunity!

  36. Yeah, so yesterday I was standing on the patio area at a coffee shop talking to a friend I ran into. A woman who was the only one on the patio, sitting 6 feet away, called over and told us she was “on a writing deadline, and I came out here for quiet…could you please move?” I nearly choked on my tongue.
    Dang writers on a deadline.

  37. I also read the two posts back to back and can slighly commiserate (and thanks for the laughs 🙂 ). The painter is at the house (for the past two weeks). I have been evicted from my room (along with 75% of the stash (yarn and other crafts). At least he isn’t noisy, but ohhhhh- the smell!$! (Oil based paint for the trim).
    At least you can sneak in the bit of kntting between writing, biking. I always feel better when I can see some progress (lately its been a freshly weeded flower bed).
    Enjoy the quiet while you have it. When the neighbors show back up, they will still have to live with a lot of dust and other finish issues that will drag on – and on -and on … not being able to find personal items and ‘where are the forks and why aren’t the spoons in the same box?’.
    By-the-by …. I saw some suspicious posts (one by loans??) that looks like !SPAM! .
    M in NC

  38. Knitting time is like medication for me. I can’t skip it for long or there will be consequences. Luckily the side effects are tolerable, and other types of medication could be more expensive. Your editor understands, I am sure of it!

  39. My son (completely grown) has been wanting, forever, “rainbow socks with individual toes.” When I saw your first post using the Regia yarn I knew that was THE yarn. I read further and found it was discontinued. Alas. Trolling around on EBay I found two skeins (!) with only two hours left in the auction. I jumped in, paid too much, but now have the perfect yarn for my baby’s socks. The really funny thing is, your blog was mentioned as the place to go to see how the yarn knits up. You’re everywhere! Thanks!

  40. ive been quietly watching your sock take shape and i have to say, that yarn is really gorgeous. shame its discontinued and practically impossible to get hold of (i know, i’ve tried already), i wish regia would reissue the range, the yarns are really nice.

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