Greetings From On High

I arrived in Denver last night  (see you all later at the Tattered Cover – although to be fair, Dave Barry is also speaking at the Tattered Cover in Denver tonight, and I’d totally get it if you were going to see him.  I sort of want to go see him instead of speak myself.) Trips to Denver for me are marked by a wild fatigue, a headache, swollen hands and feet and the knowledge that whatever twist of fate made me five feet tall… that’s as far off the ground as I’m meant to be. The altitude simply doesn’t agree with me.  I know that you’re not supposed to experience altitude sickness until about 8000 feet, but my particular body didn’t get that memo, and I woke up this morning and winded myself trying to get a glass of water and an ibuprofen, and I went straight back to bed. I’m feeling better now, but this afternoon I have wicked big plans for a nap just to make sure I’m on my game for tonight. If I am ever the Queen of Denver, I’m going to get the whole state a little of that air we all enjoy so much other places.   The last few days have been marked by being out of my element, geographically, since yesterday I was in Phoenix.

Phoenix (although Changing Hands in Tempe was where I gave the reading, and I can tell you with a great deal of confidence that it’s pronounced “Tem-pee” not “Tem-Peh”) is an amazing place if you’re from Canada. First, you don’t need a coat. Yay verily, they look upon the coats and do not know what they are. Similarly, the landscape looks like something right out of a Wile E. Coyote cartoon.  Dig this –

cactushangin 2014-03-10

It’s a cactus, and they were everywhere, acting like it was no big deal to be a cactus. (It is totally a big deal. I couldn’t stop looking at them, and there was a totally dodgy moment in the shuttle on the way to the airport where I would have got the guy to stop, except there were about five other people on the shuttle who didn’t seem to know cactus were a  really big deal, so I curbed my enthusiasm and quietly Kinneared  the thing.)

The bookstore was wonderful too, and as usual only the coolest people came out to play.

tempemiddle 2014-03-10 temperight 2014-03-10 tempeleft 2014-03-10

(I don’t know why that middle one is blurry.  I blame the briefest of coffee shortages. Also, Canadians? Note the absence of coats.)  As usual, everyone is amazing, but let me show you two knitters in particular. (Actually, I can only show you two, but let me direct you to a lovely blog post about the event by Antiquotidian. I love it, and not just because she failed to notice my height.) First, Hazel –

hazelfirstproject 2014-03-10

Hazel gets mad first project props from me.  I think she did more than well, for someone at the beginning of her journey.  Ten years from now her skill is going to be scary.  Ten years from now… she’s going to be Hannah.

hannahhuppah 2014-03-10

That there is Hannah and her Chuppah. She knit it for her wedding, and it took a year, and it’s amazing. Nothing short of amazing.  The best part though was that while she was holding it up like that, and we were all falling all over it, I heard someone behind me say “That shawl really got out of control” and I just about laughed out loud. Out of control indeed.

It was a grand evening, and I was so thrilled to be there, and Phoenix, thanks for the sunshine and the good time.  It was hard to leave – but leave, I did.  For now, I’m off to knit a little (and take that nap)

adrianaknitreknit 2014-03-10

I’m unravelling Adrian and knitting it into Adriana, and it’s not too bad, as long as you don’t like to feel any kind of a sense of progress.



87 thoughts on “Greetings From On High

  1. I got sick my first time in Salt Lake City, and it’s not as elevated as Denver. (Of course, the fact that I was there for a job interview might have had something to do with it.)

  2. We drove into Denver area from Iowa. I could barely move the following day while there were others (younger…much younger) out rock climbing. Apparently, it’s a wives tale that you can avoid altitude sickness by flying in. Beautiful Chuppah & Hazel rocks!

  3. Wow – that chuppah is INSANE! And beautiful, too, of course. I’d be similarly agog over the giant cactus.

    (Also, I kind of hate to tell you this, and suspect you already sort of know… but here in Victoria, BC, lots of people are not wearing coats. It’s not quite Arizona hot, but…. it’s not the same kind of winter. And yet, it’s still Canada 🙂 )

  4. Wow…that chuppa is fabulous!! And only a year? I think it would have taken me at least three. Now that’s an heirloom!

  5. 8000 feet? Somebody might have that stamina, but definitely not me! When I went to Colorado Springs, I kept *almost* drifting off to sleep, then jolting awake and feeling like something was standing on my chest and I couldn’t breathe 🙁 A few years later when I went to Denver, I got some kind of vitamin supplement from my doctor to take ahead of time, and it REALLY helped with the altitude sickness. Can’t quite remember – internet says Vitamin B & Vitamin E are both good. Maybe find a good health food store nearby?

  6. I live in Salt Lake City and have many a friend and family member visiting who got attitude sickness here. It just happens. Drinks lots of fluids and get plenty of rest.

  7. Adriana is going to be gorgeous. As for the rest of her history, leave it behind. That Chuppah is beyond words. As for the fingerless mitts – first knitting? I couldn’t wear my first mitts. Well done Hazel and Hannah!!

  8. Loving following this adventure and I remember how tough a book tour is on the author. Love your Denver comments, air is a little thin there. Just had a call from DD#2 who is supposed to be there to see you tonight, and the knitters are already gathered in the chairs! It’s only 3:30!
    Think my book will be there unattended for you to sign, sure wish I was there with it!!

  9. I had the same altitude problem at 6300 feet in Albuquerque. I felt at the end of the day that I was wearing one of the lead aprons that dentist use when giving x-rays.

  10. Drink lots of water and keep safe. Wikipedia says altitude sickness happens at high altitude, defined as 1,500 to 3,500 metres (4900-11500 ft), and the lowest point in Colorado is 1100 metres (3317 ft) — next to Kansas.

  11. i really wish i could be with you tonight, feeling good or not. sadly, i gotta work and make the moneys rather than spending them on a four hour trip! break many legs, have a ball, and drink water, not beer. (sorry bout that.)

  12. You inspire us every day with your writing and craft, and I think it’s awesome that so many people ce to hear you speak and bring you inspiring projects. It’s like they are paying in forward…. Or backward. That chuppah is nothing short of see inspiring.

  13. Oh Steph I feel your pain with Denver and it’s altitude. I was there last month, and not only had the altitude sickness (Im only 4 inches taller than you! 😉 ) but as an asthmatic, it was too dry for my lungs! Drinking a TON of water helped by leaps and bounds!

    Have fun tonight!

  14. WOW! You are actually shorter than me???? Finally someone under 5’3. I didn’t think you were that short. Tempe may be great but So/Calif is better, not too hot, not to cold…just right. And Hannah needs to start a tutorial on how to knit a Chuppah, because I was looking to knit table cloth in the round, and that center is perfect!! Love it, good job Hannah.

  15. So glad you liked Tempe. I am a southern California girl who ended up in Arizona. The wiley coyote cacti are saguaro (sa-waro), and the arms start out as little bumps called pups. They take 50 to 100 years to grow a pup, so the many armed cacti are REALLY old. If you get down to Tucson one of these days they have a national park dedicated to the saguaro. It is a lot more interesting than it sounds! Happy knitting!

  16. Join the unravelling club! Tomorrow morning I’m set to undo the last two days of work. After wet-blocking a piece in progress, I discovered that my gauge was off. The cacti are a big deal, but the lack of coats, boots, gloves, and hats is even more stunning. It’s supposed to snow here later in the week. Again.

  17. Now, since you washed the vest, will you wash the 4th skein too? Sorry to see you having to unknit something that far done. Loving your book tour, even if only via the internet. Don’t see NE Florida on your tour. No coats needed here either!!

  18. It happens the other way too. If I go to a lower elevation I forget to breathe and then I gasp. I wish I was going to the talk tonight. Have a fine time and drink water, eat bananas and sad to say, avoid alcohol unless you love the hangover from hell.

  19. I am dying of envy and a deep desire to be in Denver to hear you, instead of in Grand Junction getting ready to wash supper dishes. Your books make me feel bold, able, *knitterly,* even – how much better the personal touch must be! Have a wonderful time in Colorado! (And it’s over 1000 feet lower in elevation over here on the western slope! Come see us next time!)

  20. Water water water water water…….and an ibuprofen or two. I had all my visitors a bottle of water when I pick them up at the airport.

    On the other hand, it takes less alcohol to affect you. Good or bad thing, so be careful.

    Welcome to CO!

  21. My 5ft 9 inch granddaughter’s first project was a baby blanket for her youth pastor’s new baby. She did a wonderful job and is working on another one for her cousin. I was crushed when I realized that I was not going to be able to come to Tempe to see you. Perhaps next time. Looking forward to reading your book.

  22. FWIW, baking directions start ‘high altitude’ at 3500 feet. Water, rest, and water.
    Hannah’s chuppah is astonishing, both for size and for its beauty!

  23. The chuppah is sure to become a family heirloom, with Hannah’s kids, grandkids, and greatgrandkids all using it!

    And two to three inches of Adriana IS progress!

  24. If you had had but a little more time, we would have shown you that oranges and lemons and limes and grapefruits and kumquats and pomegranates grow in people’s yards and the kind souls who tend them would let you pick them (no one ever finishes a tree by oneself). They grow as happily as the cacti so long as you can get them water (you can harvest the cactus fruit as well, but the learning curve is a bit steeper).

  25. Wow! Warm weather, a cactus and knitters with bare arms!!! I have a hard time believing you took those pictures a few days ago… Sigh…
    Forget what was, Adriana is absolutely gorgeous and it will make you look tall, slender and sophisticated! Knit on!!!

  26. Go Hazel! I was ten when I started knitting, too, and yours is way better than the loopy plain rectangle I knitted on a long car trip that was when my mom taught me.

    The chuppah is just amazing. Wow.

    And Stephanie? With that color of yarn you can’t go wrong no matter what you make.

  27. I understand about Denver being too high an altitude. I’ve had three week-long conferences there in the past several years. Even with lots of extra rest and enough water that my back teeth are floating, I _still_ have a headache starting about two hours after I arrive until the day after I get home. I suppose if I was there for more than two weeks, I’d acclimate, but shorter than that, unfortunately not.

  28. Had I paid more attention to the schedule and not been laid up sick today, I would have bullied the roommate into driving me down to Denver to see you speak tonight.

    I’m sorry the altitude got to you — it always gets me when I come back from home at sea level. Drink LOTS of water. I hope you feel better and travel safe on your next stop on the tour!

  29. We were once in Denver for a student event with a teacher who insisted that the key to preventing altitude effects was to drink water. Constantly. She met us at the airport with a case of bottled water in the car. We didn’t have any bad effects, but we weren’t sure if it was the water or being so busy looking for a restroom or using one, that we just didn’t notice.

    And can you put me in contact with Hannah? I think I know someone who might want to rent the chuppah. That is just fabulous.

  30. Steph – never left a comment before, but felt the need. I just finished the book and while I am not a parent (I admit to being too selfish for that), I was very moved. Thank you.

  31. Sadly, I cannot travel into Brookline tomorrow to see you for my fourth time. Best of luck with your signing…we love you here. Storm coming, so be sure and find your coat.

  32. I don’t care what they say about altitude problems- I lived in Salt Lake for a few years and I had so many problems adjusting to life there! At 8,000 feet it was hard but my body adjusted within a week- but anytime I went over 10,000 I got slightly ill. You might just be super sensitive.

    Also, I’m hoping to maybe see you on Saturday in Pennsylvania. We’ll see if I can make it!

  33. Wow! I can’t stop staring at that Chuppah!!! What a precious heirloom she will have for generations to come!!! It brings tears to my eyes to think of the legacy she will someday leave to her family. I sure hope they will appreciate her talent and treasure her handiwork.

  34. That ONLY took a year?? I’ve been working on a vest for two! (Well, sort of…it’s hibernating…I don’t want to talk about it.)

    My grandparents live in Arizona; visiting them is a strange and marvelous experience. I live in Florida, which is about as different from Arizona as I imagine Canada is–no snow, but Florida is a land of lakes and thunderstorms. There are colors that I always think of now as cactus-green and sand-orange/brown/tan. It’s a wonderful palette. If you’re ever lucky enough to go after the spring rains, in the two weeks or so when everything is blooming (pinks! reds! whites! purples!)…take the camera.

  35. Not to be unkind to anyone, but Adrian and Adriana are too similar to stand on their own as titles. I have known women named Adrian. It would have been better to note under the title which is for men and which is for women.

  36. EEEE!!! Way to go Hannah! I have plans to knit that Chuppah for my wedding as well, and I’m so happy to see it turned out so well for her 🙂 (I’m just waiting until the fella gets off his duff and proposes before I start knitting. Sort of a quid pro quo on the commitment end).

  37. There is a lady in one of your Arizona pictures there with something I can barely remember exists – bare feet with sandals!

  38. I live in the Colorado mountains (my house is at 10,500ft). Unfortunately, too far from Denver for me to see you talk, especially with the winter storm we’re having today. Like others, I recommend lots of water and also (if you eat them) bananas. As weird as it sounds when you feel out of breath, light headed and panicked…take slow deep breaths. If you feel out of breath or a dizzy, take a long, deep inhale a few times. Pay attention to your breathing for a little while. Also, watching the alcohol or keeping in mind it will hit you harder helps. Enjoy your short stay! Maybe I’ll see your plane fly overhead as you are whisked to your next destination 🙂

  39. Holy Chuppah, batman. Also, my husband had the exact same problem in Denver. I didn’t believe him and, being a big meanie, forced him to drive me up into the mountains and to ski Vail with me.

  40. I didn’t know that altitude is not supposed to affect you below 8,000 feet. Every summer I go to meditation in N. CA. at 6,000+ feet and I almost always get sick the first couple of days. Sick like in to die for throwing up headache – then it passes and I’m fine.

  41. Spent a week in Colorado last summer at a friends cabin. Everyone should have such a generous friend. Best advice ever, besides water, drink Gatorade. I drank it all day and night. Made all the difference….last time we stayed there, I got sick on day 3. Last summer, no problem. The carbs and electrolytes in the Gatorade are what does it, plus you are hydrating yourself while you do. Of course, you will know where all the restrooms are between Eldora, Boulder and Rocky Mountain NP!

  42. The chuppah leaves me speechless. I can’t imagine knitting that whole thing. Hannah, if you have children, don’t let them near it until their weddings!

  43. I flew from Roch, NY to Chicago, to Denver, to Albuquerque last winter, and acquired the altitude sickness during the three hours I spent in the Denver airport. It took a day and a half in the thin air of Albuquerque, drinking more water than a body has a right to in a water-supply-challenged community, to get past it, the extreme fatigue that went along with it, and get on to enjoying being in NM. I hope the oxygen supply is kinder throughout the rest of your travels!

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  45. But, but, but…we LOVE you here in Colorado! Truly, we’ll have a little oxygen tank waiting for you in DIA as you land that you can just take like a backpack, yea, we’ll make it totally look like a Gucci bag so no one even knows you’re puffin’ O2. Puulleeezzzee don’t stop coming to Denver!

  46. I couldn’t believe that you were coming to Tempe and I was not only out of town, but out of the country! So sorry to miss you at Changing Hands! Next time….

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