I’m not sure my mother is sincere

Hello poppets! A quick one from me before another day passes without posting… I’m writing to you from San Francisco. (Well. That’s a lie.  I’m writing to you from the airport in San Francisco where my flight is delayed, and that’s not really like being in San Francisco. Being in San Francisco would be cool, and this, is not.) I’m here changing planes to make my way on home, after a whirlwind trip to teach and speak for two days at the Knitting Guild of the Desert, in Palm Springs.  (What? I was in Palm Springs and I didn’t tell you? Yeah, that’s right. It was a gig for the guild, and if you weren’t a member, well, that was it for you. If that’s not a lesson about joining your local guild, I don’t know what is.)

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It was one of the neatest trips I’ve taken in a while, and it proved something that Jen and I have been trying to put into words. We’ve been saying that we think that business trips (she travels a lot too) don’t have to be the way they so usually are.  That it doesn’t have to be that you go to (insert name of cool place here) and do your thing, and then come home and everyone says “Wow! You’re so lucky to have been (insert cool place here)” and we smile and nod and agree, but really, we didn’t go to (insert cool place here) we went to the airport in (insert cool place here) and we go to the hotel in (insert cool place here) and we go to the meeting rooms in (insert cool place here) and when we leave, we know nothing about (insert cool place here) and you all think we’ve been there, and really we’ve just been to another Marriott.

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Jen and I have both been trying to fix this for a while, but it’s really hard.  The only reason we’re getting to go (insert cool place here) is because it’s our job, and well, you still have to do your job when you get there, and that’s sort of a pain in the arse if you’re really into sightseeing. This time though, I’ve got it.  The secret? Get up at 4:45am. You can do all sorts of crazy things in the morning, and still do your job.

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Palm Springs is one of the most interesting places I’ve been for this weird job in a while.  There were lovely knitters, clever students, the guild president wasn’t just fun, she was an accomplice, and I got to swim in hot springs, visit an oasis, see cactus, find a tiny lizard, stand on the San Andreas Fault and swim OUTSIDE in JANUARY.  (Most of this happened very much before work – and yeah, I was in bed by 8:30 or 9 each night, but who cares.) It was truly a good two days to be in this industry, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. (That could have been because it was 25, not -25, but you know what? If that coloured my impression of how wonderful those knitters were, that’s fine with me.)

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I sent my mum a picture of me swimming OUTSIDE, and maybe a few pictures of a cactus, and a picture (or three) of flowers blooming, and me in a tee shirt, and then she sent me this:

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I’m not sure shes actually going to be waiting at the airport.

112 thoughts on “I’m not sure my mother is sincere

  1. If my family is any proof that humor starts at the Northern Plains (Dakotahs) and just keeps going. Twin realities of hardship and the need to get along I suspect. Getting along improves the survival rate, I have been told.

    So pleased you experienced some of our desert – wondrous and special it is. jdu

  2. Yeah, any place like [insert name here] that has hummingbirds is a place worth going to, and is a place worth exploring at 8 am. Glad you had a great business trip. Hope your Mom shows up for ya.

  3. Love that you got to do some exploring while in Palm Springs for work. And, your Mom is too, too funny! But, my burning question is: Did you find your sock that was left behind that day?

  4. Can so totally relate to being to a bazillion airports/hotels and not much else. :-/ Wish ‘they’ would get the teleporter working properly. Maybe then I could get to see more than just the inside of another airport…

  5. I see where you get your sense of humor from…your mum! My son is a corporate pilot and has the same kind of response from people about all the great places he goes. They don’t realize a hotel room and the airport is usually the extent of his “sight-seeing.”

  6. Your mother is a Hoot! We are having Canadian postcard weather here in Winnipeg too and I am really enjoying your lovely (and warm-looking) photos. Swimming outside! Wow!

  7. Pingback: I’m not sure my mother is sincere | Yarn Buyer

  8. Not even the promise of cactus and hummingbirds could get me up at 4:45 am. My husband frequently arises at that hour and I just pull the covers back up over my head. California sure is pretty though.

  9. We vacation in Palm Springs. Love to see the flowers, Palm trees and mountains. Such a boost to the spirit. Your mom is a hoot!

  10. So cool, and so warm! Hope you have a parka packed in that luggage for when you get off the plane. Safe travels. Loved the vicarious trip to California.

  11. Too funny! I live here in So Cal so I take the cactus and palm trees for granted. 77 is too cold for swimming! I’m so spoiled, I know. Glad you enjoyed Palm Springs though. I think the Arizona dessert is even prettier. I also traveled a lot and did a lot of hotel sightseeing. So I know what you mean.

    • 77 is too cold for swimming?!?! I’m feeling like I’m made of much sterner stuff than I thought. Wisconsin winter is similar to that described in Steph’s mom’s text

  12. Lovely for you to be in the warm and the sun. Although we had cold sun here today which made it a beautiful day. The trees in the second picture look like some Dr. Seuss animals standing there. Can’t decide whether they’re looking at me or flashing me. Very interesting in either case.

  13. I, too, have only been in San Francisco’s airport, but I don’t usually fess up to that limitation. We flew from Houston to there, then changed planes to fly to Vancouver for an Alaskan cruise…could it have been 24 years ago? Yup! Time flies when you are knitting!

  14. I know that it is not always possible, but when I traveled on business, I would try to arrive at [insert name of city] a day early, just to site see. When I first started taking an extra day for site-seeing, it was after the event, but I was much to tired to enjoy the extra day. Worked out much better going early.

    • Me, too, Barbara. Sometimes I can arrange to stay with some real people who know the area and will let me live with them for a day or two: church, club or social connections, airbnb or something like that. It enriches the experience a zillion-fold.

  15. Oh this will give you lovely memories for years. I still remember the time I was swimming in Key West in February – beautiful balmy 80F . . . . then had to go back to Salt Lake City where it was -4F that week.

  16. OMG that is so hysterical! Really hysterical! I decided, when I was doing a lot of traveling, that I would take a day off just for me on each trip and sometimes a whole weekend. I visited one or two places that I had read up on before leaving for the trip.

    If the weather was nice I would walk a couple of miles after work. I returned home refreshed and ready to get back to work. I mean, when would I have been there again and be able to check out a few places.

  17. I don’t know if anyone else uses this term, but after many years of business travel, I refer to this phenomenon of [insert place name here] airport, hotel, rental car, strip mall all looking the same as being “lost in generica”. There have been many times when I’ve been driving from hotel to office and thought, “what town am I in, again?”

    Glad you got some of our mid-winter sunshine.

  18. That is what job travels do to you, home to airport to *hotel to class to hotel repeat until time to go to airport to home.

    It is nice to be able to take some unfettered time to take an extra day, but that is not always possible. Though I would rather arrive the day before being onsite somewhere so I can get in a good night’s sleep and stay over for a night before flying back home, that is not always possible.

    Hopefully you can get in more times with some unfettered time and be able to sneak out a few times for some fresh air and new sites.


  19. Don’t you love living in the eastern time zone and visiting pacific time? I’m always up at the crack of dawn, but want to go to bed at 9 pm. And that’s just not what you do in Las Vegas.

    • Exactly! When we visited Disneyland from Pittsburgh, it was SO easy to be first ones at the gate every morning, because their 5 am was our 8 am. Of course we couldn’t stay awake to see the fireworks until the very end of our trip, but you can’t have everything…

  20. What a great post! I, too, travel a lot and for a few years now I have made it my mission to be able to say, “Yes, I was in (cool place) and I did . . or saw . . or experienced (cool thing).” I used to hate it when someone said “Oh! You went to India!” and I would either have nothing to say, or talk about work, or it would sound like I was complaining because I hadn’t done anything.

    So – I am in Australia, and the cool thing is a diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef. That makes the long trip and all the hard work worthwhile, and I have something to talk about.

    The best part is that it has really changed my attitude about travel. Now I plan the cool thing first, and then the work and the yucky parts of travel don’t seem so bad because I’m going diving! hiking! or whatever the cool thing is.

    It’s a great plan!

  21. I love your mum!!!! And as I sit in my hotel room across the street from the office in NYC, and eating Chinese takeout, I can totally relate to your post!! Not sure I can get up at 4:45 am to sightsee, though… That’s some dedication!

  22. And here I was, dealing with SNOW FLURRIES in FLORIDA and you are SWIMMING OUTSIDE!! (Okay, the snow flurries were just a few snow flakes (at the 8th floor at least) and drops at ground level…) I love your mom!!

  23. I’ve seen a lot of airports and Marriotts, too, but my son lives in California, so I have actually SEEN San Francisco! Meanwhile, we have postcard weather here in Vermont, too …

  24. Having lived in a non-cold climate (Tucson) for a number of years, I can vouch for the fact that relatives, loved ones, and friends tend to get surly in a direct ratio to how cold their temperatures are. Even ones who supposedly “love” you, or who “gave birth” to you. They get nasty when you try to share winter weather photos with them. Were I you, I’d keep taxi fare handy, along with back-up phone numbers (maybe pick people you didn’t send those pictures).

  25. Your mother is the best…I can see where you get your sense of humour! What she said helps to take away that snarfy feeling I get when people show me amazing hummingbird pictures, whie I am still wearing my snow pants and two scarves indoors. (love from Ottawa, where it was warmer today at -26).

  26. “If the car will start. . .”????? WTF??? I thought every Canadian was required to have a dog sled and a pack of Huskies!!! I think your mom is getting soft. (This from a Chicagoan who has often thought of getting a snowmobile for winter commutes.)

    Glad you enjoyed Palm Springs. Too bad you didn’t get to do more sightseeing. Suggestion: When you have to change planes in a “destination city” like SF, maybe you should try to do an overnight stay there and take in one or two “must-sees” before you get on the plane home. Just an idea. . .;-)!

  27. Hi – We went to Palm Springs last year and loved it. I think the restaurants made the freshest, most delicious salads. And the museum was a truly lovely experience. I loved the metal privacy fences around the houses too. And the boutiques. And breakfast places. Overall, +++. Glad you got to experience it too!

  28. Great pix of the desert…those cactus palm things look like something out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Glad you had some time to walk about.

  29. Looks like someone took you up to the oasis cluster of palms up in Thousand Palms Canyon (pretty much due north of Palm Desert).

  30. Your mom is a hoot! Love it! And the photos–wow. Anna’s are the hummingbirds around here, I just never see them sitting, y’know, still.

    And I’m wondering how long your layover was, and whether Millenium does deliveries and if not, takeout that I could bring you next time. Chocolate–we could definitely get good chocolate to you. Tcho’s is the local startup trying to take up where Scharffenberger left off after selling out to Hershey’s.

  31. I, too, just returned from a lovely trip to Southern California and didn’t miss the deep chill of New England for one bit. We had your lovely Canada deep chill minus the snow. Mum has a brilliant sense of humor.

  32. Oh wouldn’t that be a fun place to visit! I love the hummingbird and the cacti. Your mum is so so funny. What a delight! Welcome back to normal. It was -19F here yesterday morning and is predicted to be -21F saturday morning. Brrrr.

  33. You have described work-related travel perfectly!!!! Looks like your trip was lovely. I think your mom’s text, however, is even better. She is a character! I guess we know where you get it from?

  34. Beautiful experience! The early morning is my favorite part of the day and it’s definitely perfect for sightseeing – nobody is around and you enjoy the freshness of a new day…

  35. Your mum & mine must have been made in the same works — mine was prone to funny snarkiness too. Love the photos! Right now pictures of sunny views are the best we can hope for; it’s been cloudy like FOREVER here. Thanks!

  36. Loved your pictures. Made me homesick. I’m an Arizona girl myself, grew up with palm trees in my front yard, and mountain vistas in the distance. Somehow the MidSouth (Memphis) is not the same as the Desert SouthWest.

  37. Your Mom is priceless. Believe it or not, we here in sunny Tucson awoke to fairyland outside our window on New Year’s Day. A lacy blanket of snow covered bushes and trees and the saguaro cacti looked like white-topped green candles on the giant birthday cake of the Tanque Verde valley. I celebrated with a morning walk to enjoy the treat that was gone by noon.

  38. When I traveled for businessI I got to the point where I tried to get in to the other city super early (easier if you are flying west because of the time zones), or fly out the following day (late in the day) so that I had a block of time that I didn’t have any responsibilities besides amusing myself.

  39. Ha! But, in your mom’s defense, yesterday was one of the most beautiful winter days I’ve EVER seen (and I’m no spring chicken — and I’ve lived in some pretty winter places!). Judging from Instagram photos, it was that way all across middle upper North America. Mom has your best interests at heart!!!

  40. Great push for Guilds. Unfortunately I can see your Urbaniteness coming through. For those of us in small town and rural Canada its probably a 4 hr drive over several mountain passes to get to the nearest one. I don’t even have a LYS anymore. It closed last year . Again a 4 hr. drive A lot of us make do with what we can

  41. Thank you for the lovely post. You have absolutely the best job in the world — I am so glad that you had a beautiful business trip and that you found an accomplice! Thank you for putting in a plug for joining local guilds — I love ours (#5)! I am sure your mother was absolutely sincere.

  42. Your comment about business trips reminds me of something John Lennon said about traveling while performing. I don’t recall it word for word, but it was something along the lines of someone asking him, “Oh you were in Amsterdam? What was it like?” His response was, “It was a taxi and a hotel and another taxi and a cheese sandwich.”

  43. The photos are amazing, makes me want to add Palm Springs to my places to visit list. Your Moms text truly made me laugh out loud!!

  44. LOL – your Mom and mine are related. Though I will say I went for a run (here in Toronto) yesterday and it was beautiful. A perfect, cold, sunny, blue sky Toronto winter day. No sarcasm at all.. but I was dressed correctly for once!

  45. With a little determination and a little less sleep, there’s a lot you can cram in even on a business trip.

    I note you don’t mention swinging by the Palm Springs nudist colony…..>:-)

  46. I love Palm Springs. I was just there over Christmas and the desert is just lovely! did you see a road runner? because they are my favorite! Also on my favorites list: eating oranges off the tree, hot tubbing outside under palm trees, and the fact that a “winter storm warning” means that it’s going to rain. LOL Much better than Manitoba….

  47. What? What did you say? I’ve recently moved back to California and live an hour from Palm Springs. There’s a Guild? And you were here? I’ve searched and hadn’t found one. Boo hiss me. Sorry I missed you (I have seen you at the Tatteted Cover and so enjoyed), and I’m off to join the Guild.

    Your mother is hilarious and as a mom myself, I say good for her!

  48. CT (Conncticut USA) has been lucky this far. NO snow accumulations at all. I guess you can say the same for Palm Springs CA too. lovely photos. Keep knitting and tell you mom HI for us!


  49. I looked through your pictures and laughed with delight. We have family there, and could identify where you were in each picture. We love that country. Advice…..just don’t go there in the summer & expect such enchantment. : (
    Thanks for being you.

  50. Palm Springs in the winter is lovely!! Glad you got out to see the palm trees. BTW, there is lots to do in Tacoma when you are there next month. The Glass Museum should be on your personal agenda!! And Seattle is a treasure chest, but don’t expect to swim outside :>

  51. Your pictures are making me homesick. I grew up in Joshua Tree about 30 minutes away from Palm Springs. I am so glad you loved your experiences in the desert. It is nice to know there is a lovely knitting guild so close to my hometown too.

  52. Wait! What? There are guilds for this crazy knitting thing?! there are other people like me?! In my own town?! Must go research…thanks for the tip!!

  53. SF Airport???!! I am 10 minutes from there! Next time, send me a message and I’ll give you a whirlwind tour of The City. I’ll even call in sick at work, I admire you that much. Bon voyage.

  54. Stephanie, I had a wonderful two days of knitting immersion thanks to you! I am so much more confident about understanding the different kinds of yarn, counting rows, and using a running marker (just to name a few of the many tips you gave). Your beautiful photos remind me of why I love living here in La Quinta (city, not the motel). I hope you come back to our Knitting Guild of the Desert next January, and I hope you bring another after-the-workshop joke!

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