A day off

Today is my birthday,* and I plan to spend it doing things that I like**, with people I love, and as is the sometimes tradition*** around here, someone else wrote the blog for me today.  I found this amazing thing in my inbox this morning – a beautiful birthday present from Ken that made me cry.  He’s been with me for 33 of my 48 birthdays, and this sort of thing is exactly why.  Ken’s wildly overstating some (well, most) of my qualities here, and leaving off the part where I make him and everyone else crazy, but that’s just another reason to love him. ****


Because she doesn’t work on her birthday, I thought I’d share with you what Stephanie looks like in my head:
meyoung 2016-06-14

(Note from Steph: I think I’m about 25 there. This is one of the terrible things about people who’ve known you for years and years. They have all the damn pictures.)

Okay, she looks like this too:

meyoungnot 2016-06-14

But when you’re old like I’m old (I’m much older than Stephanie, so this is in no way to imply that she is old), there’s a multiplex lens on everything, especially people, and you see not just what they are, but what they’ve been to you.

This blog, which I gifted to Stephanie so long ago because she so clearly needed more people to talk to about knitting, is more than simply a blog. It’s a community. The message that Stephanie takes from knitting is that small actions add up to large outcomes, and that is the backbone of this community that collectively has raised (and continues to raise) over a million dollars for Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders. It’s a community that has surprised, delighted and flabbergasted the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation’s staff, volunteers and clients, who are all so fortunate to have made your acquaintance. All because Stephanie wanted to do more, and knew that as a community, you could do so.

Stephanie has given me a life I thought I would never have, held to a higher standard, filled with more love and more fun, than I ever would have or could have believed. That’s what she does, really, she gives, more than anyone I’ve known, to a degree that even I, after all this time, find incomprehensible. So much more than just friendship, she has given me my life.

Our relationship remains 999 cranes.

All my love, Stephanie.



* If you wanted to give me a present, a donation to the Rally would be pretty amazing, and the icing on my virtual birthday cake – which would be kinda great because I don’t like actual icing.

** That includes knitting on the Great White.  3.5 rows to go, 3 days to deadline. Unless I break my arm in the next ten minutes while sitting quietly at my desk, I think I got this. Actually, let’s not say anything like that.

*** Ken did it last in 2004, then over the years, my Mum, my girls, my sister and Jen all took turns. I must be getting really old to have wound around back to Ken again.

**** There are a lot of reasons to love him. Ken is not just the reason this blog exists, he’s also the way this whole family got into the Rally. This year – despite a fall from his bike that resulted in a separated shoulder, he’s riding again, and Team Leading. If that impresses you, you can say so through his donation link.

139 thoughts on “A day off

  1. Happy birthday – enjoy doing all the things you love! The fact that every year someone can write something so glowing and loving about you pretty much proves that they’re right and you’re, well, too judgy of yourself. 😉

  2. Happy Birthday to you Stephanie! You are so blessed and so inspirational! What an awesome family!

    I am proud to share the same birthday with you.

  3. Happy Birthday! I think you are around to Ken again because your Mom & the girls might just be a wee bit busy with wedding plans right now. May you have a wonderful day and a fabulous year, filled with family, friends and love — and all the knitting you can fit in

  4. Happy birthday to my birthday twin! And thanks, Ken, for that lovely post! Good friends are the best gift!

  5. Happy Birthday Stephanie! I’m quietly cheering you on as you complete Ishmael, and I know that it will all work out, as it does, and you will have the best birthday ever!

  6. Happy Birthday Steph! May all good things come with yarn and wine for you this year. And you can’t ask for better friends than Ken.

  7. Happy Birthday!!! I will gladly make a donation in your honor – you make this world a better place, and I’m know this for real because I took two classes from you last fall at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Fest. I could have listened to you talk about knitting and the world and life for days. 🙂

  8. Happy birthday & thanks to Ken for giving you the blog, which I think of as a gift to us. (whew!) Ken, you’re a keeper!

  9. Happy birthday! Have a most wonderful day, filled with lots of love, surprises, the works!! Thank you for being there, for being you!

  10. Happy birthday, Stephanie. Amazing post (as were they all) in tribute to an amazing woman. Blessings for the year(s) ahead; wishing you health, love, happiness and may you find the best is yet to be.

    And, Ken – thank you, again, from the Blog. Best birthday gift ever!


  11. Happy Birthday, Stephanie! I hope you enjoy a wonderful celebration. Glad you’re taking the day off and hope you’re doing whatever you want to do with whomever you want to do it.

  12. Happy, happy birthday! How blessed you are to be so rich in friends and family – I read Ken’s post and had a few tears, and then I clicked on the other birthday posts and cried a little bit more.

    I hope that you have a truly wonderful day. I’m going to knit on a sock and sip some tea in your honour.

  13. Happy birthday Steph. <3 And Ken, thanks again for the bog, and it's my firm belief that everyone should have one really good friend. It seems Steph has found that friend in you. <3

  14. Happy Birthday Steph!! What a lovely tribute. I hope you have a fantastic day (and get lots done on the Great White — if that’s what you want)!

  15. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Steph. Hope you are having a fantastic day. Big White is nearing the finish line. All will be well for Meg’s big day.

  16. Happy Birthday! Needles and cashmere raised to your health and happiness.

    Thank you to Ken for the wonderful post. A contribution to his Rally link to follow in gratitude.

  17. Wishing a joyful birthday to someone who gives us all so much joy! (And personally I’m *dying* to see The Big White, so I hope you get plenty of knitting time today!!) Enjoy and good health to you!!

  18. Best birthday wishes, Stephanie! And my thanks also to Ken for the blog post today. Donation done. 🙂

    And good luck with the shawl. Every confidence that you will succeed and it will be absolutely beautiful.

  19. Happy birthday to an amazing knitter, author, and person. I am lucky to have met you in person a few times, and you were nothing but nice to me. Thank you for all you do!

  20. A very happy birthday celebration to you! May each day continue to bring much joy and purpose. (Enjoy the wedding !)

  21. What a heart felt and wonderful tribute! Happy birthday to a unselfish human being who truly wants to make the world better. Enjoy your day, friends and family and coming to the end of the BWT!

  22. Ahhhh, Happy Birthday, Stephanie! You are the reason I learned to knit or rather your blog. It’s been a gift for, not just you, but for all of us who read it. Thanks to Ken! Best gift ever!!

  23. On this day, your birthday, I thank you for the gift of … you. For years of reading, in your words, what life’s blessings and challenges are – all laced with humor and insight. And for Ken whose words are like a warm comforter. May you have the Happiest of Days!

  24. Happiest of birthdays to you, oh most amazing person! Thank you (and Ken) for reminding us of the abundance of love and for doing all that you do to help us refocus in difficult times, not just with words (delightful words!) but by giving us the means to channel our energy and resources to share that love! Have a most wonderful week!

  25. A very Happy Birthday, Stefanie. May it be filled with yarn, family, knitting and laughter. And thank you, Ken, for giving Stephanie a break and for writing such a beautiful blog.

  26. Happy birthday to you and me! It’s my birthday today too. 🙂 Every year! Wishing you many more years of love from family (which is growing again soon!) and a great year of Blog and yarny things. I helped yesterday. 🙂

  27. Happy Birthday Stephanie, and what a wonderful friend you have in Ken. Thank you for enriching my life through this amazing community. Looking forward to many more years.

  28. Burthday* Blessings from the Antipodes! Have a wonderful day. XXX

    (*putting the U’s back in all the words. Even the ones that don’t need it)

    • It’s an honoUr to meet yoU, neighboUr frUm DoUwn UndUr!! (ThoUght I’d throUw in a few Unnecessaries, too!)

  29. Happiest of birthdays! I donated to Cameron the other day and will donate to you later…. you and Ken are so lucky to have each other. And on that note, thank you Ken, for the blog – whoever above said it was a gift to us is right! Going to knit now …..

  30. Happy Birthday, Stephanie!!
    I am inclined to agree with Ken. I don’t think he’s inflating the truth all that much.
    Enjoy your knitting time!

  31. Happy Birthday Stephanie! Hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends 🙂 It was awesome meeting you at the Strung Along Retreat recently.

  32. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now. I can’t figure out why you are so *negative* about yourself! I realize that I don’t know you, but even someone who doesn’t know you can see you are a beautiful and wonderful human being! Have a great birthday, and don’t be so hard on yourself – you are FAB!

  33. Happiest of Birthdays, Stephanie!! Sending my wee giftie to your donation page.

    It’s all your fault that I knit socks — many, many thanks!!!

  34. Happy birthday Steph, here wishing you a wonderful day filled with joy and all the things special to you.all the way from sunny Tasmania (well the sun is out but about 5 degrees so a tad cold)
    Cheers Karen

  35. Happy Birthday, Steph. Beautifully said, Ken. May we all have such deep and abiding friendships in our lives, as you have with each other.

  36. Happy birthday Stephanie! Wishing you a day and evening of joy, family and friends. You and Ken are so lucky to have found the best, kindest, and givingest (I know there is no such word but I say so today) friend.

  37. Happy Birthday, Stephanie. You are a beautiful woman, through and through! And man, are you a hoot to read. Thank you for all the laughs.
    I wish you many, many more birthdays to come.

  38. Happy Birthday and wishing you many more!!
    May the wedding be as wonderful as it should be, with your gorgeous shawl wrapped around your gorgeous daughter. Photos to come, we hope.
    I’m also a relative newcomer to your blog, and just an average knitter too, but I just love to read of your antics – you’ve got such a great writing style.

  39. Happy Birthday Harlot! I have just realised that I totally forgot my friends birthday today, I’m going to have to blame baby brain as everyone has had their cards late or not at all since his arrival!

  40. Happy birthday! Its mine too (only it was yesterday because I’m in Australia). I was horrified to find out I shared my birthday with Donald Trump and I couldn’t find anyone nice that shared it too. But you do! Yay!

  41. Happy birthday, dear Harlot, we love you so! Blessings to Ken for writing such a lovely blog today. Loads of positive energy and even a prayer that the Great White shall soon dazzle forth in glory. Wishing you a fabulous year to come!

  42. I hope you had an awesome, amazing and wonderful birthday! I’m not sure, well actually, I have absolutely no idea what the significance of 999 cranes is, but since Ken said it, it must be a good thing! Happy birthday, Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee!

  43. I was just made aware that it’s your birthday today and I rushed over here to post a happy birthday on your latest blog post and, boom, it’s your birthday and you already know it! How ’bout that?! Hope you had a wonderful, cake-filled, yarn-yummy-enough-to-eat-filled kind of day! XO

  44. Happy B-Day, Steph!! May lots of good things come your way this year! (You did blow out all the candles on the birthday cake in one breath, didn’t you?)

    Seeing Ken as your guest blogger was great. Next year, maybe Joe, even if he’s taking dictation from Millie??

  45. Happy Birthday Steph! Enjoy your next trip around the sun! And Ken, thanks so much for this blog post. I’m really glad you gave the blog to Stephanie so long ago – it’s given me great joy, some really good info, lots of fun and inspiration! You guys are the best!

  46. Happy Birthday, dear woman! Have been following along since what feels like the year one. May you enjoy the day and the year like no other! And to Ken, too!

  47. Happy birthday!!

    I just wish I could meet both Ken and you in person — you both sound so lovely I am sure it would be the most fantastic privilege!

  48. Happy Birthday and many more to come. I love days when you can do just whatever you want, enjoy. You should try that 25 year old’s hairdo again I quite like it on you. Maybe punk it up (spikey bits?) You look lovely in that photo. Ah to be 25ish again eh? ;-D

  49. Happy birthday, and may there be many days throughout the year hold the blessings of your family and friends. I so appreciate you being a part of my life and that you continue to enrich so many.

  50. I love the quote, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” Enjoy your special day. I hope it’s one for the memory books.

  51. Happy Birthday! It’s such a wonderful and amazing thing to have a friendship like the one you have with Ken. I just got back from spending a weekend with my oldest and dearest friend from high school and you are absolutely right. They have all the pictures! I hope you had a wonderful day and a great week! In my family you get a special week, not just a special day, so you can continue to celebrate!

  52. Happy Birthday Stephanie!
    Ken is an amazing friend. I gave what I could to both MSF and the Bike Rally, but I did it a while back so it was an early birthday present for you and them. I wish I could ride with you or volunteer out in the field with MSF, but since I can’t I give what I can when I can. I hope your birthday is filled with family, friends, love, cake and of course knitting. Once again hugs and Happy Birthday.

  53. June 14 is my birthday as well. I started the day with knitting, then played a round of golf. I finished the day with dinner in a hip new restaurant with my family. And I wore a “It’s my birthday” sash and a cake-with-candles top hat for most of the day. June 14 is a great day and I’m very happy to share it with you. Happy Birthday!

  54. Sorry to be late with my best wishes for your birthday, hope you had a day full of joy and good (if knitting Big White counts) things!

  55. Happy Belated Birthday! Here in the U.S. June 14th is flag day – and my beloved Step Dad’s birthday. Amazing how so many amazing people were born on this day – it must be extra special.

  56. Happy birthday!

    I was sitting here trying to figure out what movie star that picture was of until I took a good look at it and realized of course it’s you with shorter hair. I don’t think you have anything to complain about in the picture department. (For the record, I think you look lovely now too.)

  57. A VERY happy (if belated) birthday, Stephanie! What a charming tribute from Ken – and thanks to him for getting this blog going. Wishing you many more knit-filled days!!

  58. Happy Birthday, Stephanie. Enjoy your day.

    By the way, I did a double take at the photo and wondered why Ken put a photo of young Melissa Gilbert in his post. Thanks, Ken, for sharing.

  59. Happy belated birthday, Stephanie! And to all the others who share her birthday as well. Lovely post, Ken. I hope Great White is nearing completion and will soon be ready for blocking.

  60. I’m the last person on earth who would tell anybody what to do with their hair (being on the receiving end of that nonsense for most of my life). But that short do? It’s lovely.

    I wish you a birthday of every good thing you can imagine.

  61. First off, let me just say that after years of not knitting (don’t ask), I start knitting again; and its even on your birthday. What a coincidence! Secondly, Megan is a beautiful young women and is very lucky to have such a loving mom! And third, I feel waaaaay out of sync here. Its been years since I’ve knit and read the yarnharlot. I have a lot of catching up to do! Lastly, Happy birthday, and enjoy your much deserved day off!

  62. One can never have too many birthdays or too many friends. I love that you give yourself a day off, what a great idea! Happy Birthday Steph!

  63. Loved this and had to re-read all the others. Belated happy birthday – I hope it was wonderful and that the “great white” had much progress on a non-work day!
    (And I’m registered for Knit City and I got into your classes! Yay me!)
    P.s. the treble clef is not a “music note” but it’s the closest thing shown, stupid people-detector!

  64. Happy Birthday! I never realized before how much Megan looks like you. Hope you have many more, and you get to enjoy your day and everybody sends you lots of love.

  65. (sniff) What a nice tribute.

    Steph, you’re an inspiration to us all. At my writers group I often point out that I knew this woman on the knit list years ago… she wrote pee-your-pants-funny posts about her girls and her life in knitting. Everyone told her she should write books. And now she’s a multi-book-published-New-York-Times-Bestselling author who has raised more than $1m for MSF/DWB. And she writes knitting humor. Knitting Humor on the NYT Bestselling list.

    You’re an inspiration to all of us. Happy birthday.

  66. You have been a part of my life almost as long as I’ve been knitting, so about eleven years or so, and I never get tired of reading your words. Happy Birthday!

  67. Happy Birthday, Stephanie! And thank you Ken for all you’ve helped create here. And for giving her more knitting time on that shawl while you typed.

  68. Happy Belated! I’ve been so busy I haven’t checked the blog in a few days. As always, an amazing few minutes filled with humor and so much love for what you do and those around you. Thank you for that and I hope you had an awesome day (or week – I believe in lots of celebrating and cake too) ! And since I’m a few days late, I see that the ‘big white thing’ is finished. Mind-boggling amazing!

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