Alternate Ending

Leading up to my birthday this year, I was a little bummed. While I don’t usually work on my birthday, this year I was supposed to be at the Strung Along Retreat with my dear friends Debbi and Judith, and a hoard of knitters I adore. I’d thought I would be sipping a spectacular glass of wine, toasting Debbi (her birthday was last week) while I showing everyone at Port Ludlow the latest pictures of my beautiful grandchildren, and did a job that I really enjoy. I imagined that when I got home I’d have a big party with all my beloveds around me. Obviously the stupid pandemic (and a few other knots in my metaphoric skein) meant that things were going to be very different and it was really getting me a bit down.

Since things really got wild over here a few months ago, I’ve made the decision to put my friends and family first, to cling to them and try to be nice to them and try to make this hard time a little easier, and doing that has brought me a lot of happiness during the lockdown, or as much happiness as you can have in a lockdown. It turns out that this is a family trait. There have been a thousand little kindnesses we’ve extended to each other during this time and I’ve been so grateful for all of them. My favourite part of all of it is watching the people in our family who neither need nor particularly want these kindnesses bestowed upon them accept them with a tremendous amount of grace, understanding that sometimes it helps the helper more than the helpee. There have been occasional mismatches, but mostly I am proud to tell you that this family has freakin’ nailed it as we navigate the hardship of a pandemic/loss/separation triple whammy. (Can you have a triple whammy? I know it’s a sports reference but I’m not sporty enough to have the nuance of it.)

I didn’t know what this birthday was going to look like, but I am an adult and I was prepared to make the most of it, but this family – oh, they are divine, and in the end I received such amazing gifts. First, my girls and Ken and Joe came up with an amazing plan, and it was so funny and charming that I laughed my way through the entire afternoon.

They got in touch with everyone that I’ve been missing and sad for, and came up with a scene of fantastical proportions.

 

Every hour, another few darlings of mine turned up in my back garden, and I had a physically distanced visit with all of them.

Every hour Amanda and Joe cleaned the furniture, put out fresh bowls of snacks (separate for every person) and and trotted out drinks in disposable cups and glasses of champagne, and every hour all day we sang Happy Birthday and had cupcakes.

 

Every 60 minutes. (I was careful to pace myself on both the cupcakes and champagne, realizing early that this could end in disaster.)

Through they came, a parade of all my favourites, and by dinner time I was overwhelmed with happiness, but it didn’t stop there, oh no, it did not.

The greatest gift I received this year (oddly, from the province of Ontario) was that Ontarians were allowed to expand their social bubbles. It’s not perfect, you can only have 10 people in your bubble, and no person in Ontario can be in more than one bubble – there’s a massive element of trust and monogamy, but that day, for the first time in months, our family was together.

It wasn’t perfect. Ken and Pato remain outside our bubble (their living arrangements mean they’re automatically in other bubbles) but I was with Elliot and he was with his Aunties, and the whole thing was as much a celebration of the family as it was my birthday. We lingered together long in to the evening, Elliot asleep in Grammy’s big bed upstairs, talking and eating and sitting in the garden under the twiklelights, all wondering how we’d ever managed without each other for so long.

I thought watching Elliot fling himself into the waiting arms of his aunties would be my favourite part, or even holding him in mine… but it wasn’t. Do you know, as the girls grew up and starting from when they were very little, I made a decision. it was a tricky one and one that has taken years to reinforce, years to implement – and years of quietly working things out so that they sort of had no other options, but I wanted my daughters to be each other’s best friends. I know that being sisters isn’t perfect, and they all have relationships outside the sisterhood, of course, but I wanted them to be close, to depend on each other. To be a team, if nothing else. This worked. I don’t know if they are each other’s besties, exactly, but they are a united force, and they depend on each other to a very great degree.

Watching them be able to embrace for the first time in 87 days was the best gift I have ever, ever received. I know we had to be apart to protect each other and our communities, and for the sake of vulnerable people and none of us could imagine doing something that would endanger someone else’s mum, not after we know what it was like to lose mine, but watching them console each other after so long… I can’t believe now that we did it.

We all pine for having our family all together, and for a time when we don’t have to sit so far from those we love, but that Sunday? It was perfect, and I mean it when I say it was the perfect gift, even though Elliot made me a pipe cleaner bracelet that is clearly going to fit right into my wardrobe.

 

It all came right as I thought I couldn’t take a minute more. For those of you who still can’t be with the people you love, hang in there. It’s worth it, and maybe it will be sorted by your birthday.

Finally – so many of you have asked about the Bike Rally – it being sort of traditional to donate to the ride if you were feeling the urge to give me a present on my birthday – so here is where we are at.

It’s not happening. I mean – of course it’s not happening. How could it happen? A group of 450 cyclists and crew (a bunch of whom are immunocompromised) travelling together from one province to another? The province currently isn’t allowing groups of more than ten people to gather, the campgrounds set up are only at 50% capacity, and the city of Montreal isn’t issuing permits. Of course it’s not possible. We’d kill people and spread the virus. The Rally is supposed to help, not hurt so this year we are trying to take the Rally virtual.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am not consoled by virtual events. I am too clever and I suspect you are as well, to think that they are even remotely the same, that they scratch the same itch. That said, it is a heartbreaking truth for PWA that as our event goes virtual, their needs remain not virtual at all – in fact, the pandemic has meant that they are seeing an increase in the number of people with HIV/AIDS who need support now, and a reduced ability to fundraise, thanks to the cancellation of Pride Festivals and with many donors being under financial strain. To boot, it is far more complex to provide those services with the restrictions we have in place. Clients who had jobs that were helping might not now, clients with support may be missing that now, and clients with children are now under additional strain, with no school, childcare or camps. The needs rise, and the fundraising goes down, and so here is where Team Knit is at.

We talked it over and we decided we would ride the Rally anyway. Not together, and not all at once because the restrictions won’t allow it, but we decided to cycle 600km between now and the end of August. Then we looked at that goal, and we decided it wasn’t lofty enough It wasn’t… hard enough. The Bike Rally exists as a fundraiser as sort of a contract. We commit to doing something difficult, and you commit to supporting us, and tootling along riding a paltry 600km (I cannot believe I just typed that) doesn’t seem… inspiring, does it? It didn’t to us.

We talked it over again, and now Team Knit has decided to (oh I can’t believe I’m typing this publicly)…. cycle the equivalent of the rally each month for three months. June, July and August, and let me tell you that seemed crazy, and then we started trying to do it. All four of us still have jobs (thanks for the Patreon you lot!) and then Ken fell off his bike and hurt his knee (he’s going to be okay don’t panic) and there are no organized rides and we can’t ride too far from home because there’s no infrastructure for it (like bathrooms or food) and we can’t really be together, and… it turns out it’s really hard. Super hard, but we’re going to try, darn it – because no matter how hard it is, it’s easier than having AIDS during a pandemic, and PWA needs a way through the next year.

This year, Team Knit is the old faithfuls. (Photo taken last year when we were still allowed to touch each other.)

Me
Ken
Cameron
Pato

I know that things are tough all over, and I know that it’s possible all you can send us this year is luck and love, and we appreciate that a great deal. I know too that usually now I would fire up the Karmic Balancing machine, and I might yet – but I wanted to get a feel for what you all thought first? I know I’m tired of quarantining or wiping down packages, and I know that it would be an extra trip out to the post office for me to send something to someone now and while things are starting to be less scary in Canada (and I have been to the post office once) we’re still supposed to keep our public contact to a minimum.  I know so many of you are in the US- the epicenter of the world’s pandemic, and that with hundreds of people dying every day still – you might not feel comfortable going to the the post office, or getting a package. I am wiling to consider it if it seems or becomes reasonable, but don’t want to facilitate a system that gets anyone hurt – that’s so totally not what the Rally is meant to do (despite Ken’s banged up knee.)

Let’s think on it, and I’m open to feedback in the comments – thanks for being there. Let’s try to find a way to be nice to as many people as we can, with the minimum amount of risk.

You know, someday we’ll all read about this year in books.

173 thoughts on “Alternate Ending

  1. I think the Karmic Balancing should be virtual too; you might send a personal note or Hey, how about an autographed picture of you and the rest of the team? But no trips to the post office. OK, now I’m off to donate in honor of your birthday.

      • There’s also a lot of amazing designers out there who are willing to donate patterns. That would be seriously cool and completely virtual too.

  2. What a wonderful party for your family to have for you. Glad you got to expand your bubble, and hug your kids – and have them hug each other. Virtual hugs

  3. Happy birthday, Stephanie. You so deserved a day filled with loving surprises, and I’m very happy for you that it could happen. You are blessed with your family (you don’t need me to tell you that), but they are all also blessed to have you as part of them. Perhaps the glue that holds you all together? What a wonderful day it must have been.

  4. How about Karmic IOUs? Donors could email a coupon good for whatever, to be claimed once things open back up again? We could still look at pictures of the knitting goodies people pledge. Last year I won an on line sock pattern; can’t get more virtual than that! I say set your goals and go for it! But don’t kill yourselves in the process. 600 km total would be fine by me.

    • That’s what I was thinking! I would commit to mail whatever I would end up offering as a karmic gift to whoever draws it THE VERY MINUTE we could all be sure we would be safe at the P.O. Or, I could just donate. Or, why not both?

  5. i am so glad you are supporting this cause virtually, and in a meaningful way.
    it isn’t a small thing you are doing. thank you.

  6. I didn’t realize just how much I missed (and currently miss) my close friends and family until I read this and came face to face with the fact that it’s been 3 months since I hugged any of them, and I have no idea how much longer it will be. I am very lucky to have my husband, daughter and parents in our own little bubble, but boy do I miss …well…everyone else. <3

  7. I teared up reading this. I miss my friends, and video chats just aren’t a substitute. At least my husband and cats are keeping me company.
    Happy birthday!

  8. happy birthday!
    We’ll get through this (barring the Giant Meteor), and get to tell the youngers about the Year We All Stayed Home.
    (I get out once or twice a week – for groceries, for collecting mail from the rented box, for collecting prescriptions. Even once a week helps a lot. I do wonder about the people wearing their masks below their noses, though….)

  9. We share a birthday, Stephanie, and mine was somehow amazing even though I didn’t get to hug my kids or grandkids. But everyone phoned and we laughed and talked and people sent flowers and there were gifts that arrived, and fun on line, and all in all it was just one of the best birthdays I’ve had. It’s a big one this year, and my youngest son (of four) told me “Mum, 75 is nothing to flick boogers at!” And he’s right. But I still feel like me and I am happy that you had such a lovely birthday too! And I will donate to the ride group no matter how you do it, or how far you all ride. Ride on, Team Knit! We’ll all be here rooting for you as always! 🙂 Happy birthday Steph!

  10. Happy Birthday, my dear birthday twin! This post did me good, and as soon as I saw the photos of your girls my heart gave a leap and went sailing — those images show absolute joy (tinged, of course, with sorrow).

  11. Happy birthday! So glad that your birthday wish came true and you got to bubble with your people. I’m so looking forward to Sunday when I get to actually, physically, HUG my parents…! They live about an hour away, which has always been “close enough to make the effort; far enough to make excuses”. Not being able to “make the effort” has been harder that any of us could have imagined. I mean, face time chats over a glass of wine and knitting/sewing have been great, but they’re just not the same. 4 more sleeps! 😀

  12. Happy Birthday Stephanie! What an amazing birthday. The picture of your girls brought tears to my eyes. My sister was supposed to fly out for my birthday in May but had to cancel. It would have been the first time I got to spend my birthday with one of my sister’s in twelve years. Now I am looking forward a road trip to Michigan to see them this fall.
    I think you need to not worry about Karmac Balancing gifts. This year is so out of the ordinary, I would rather see all that postage go to the cause as well. I’ll be donating after the first of July.
    Did I miss seeing a link for the donations through my teary eyes?

  13. Happy Birthday! So glad it was a beautiful birthday. I’m with Lee Dodd on the Karmic gifts. It never was about the possibility of getting a gift anyway so post red dress pictures to brighten our day & call it even.

  14. What I would like to see is karmic balancing gifts in the form of a year of a Patreon membership. Those who usually donate gifts and those of us who don’t can pool together and surely we can give at least 5 or 6 I would think. So those who are picked can get something of real value that they don’t have to pick up at the post office.I have really enjoyed it so far (got my swatch done on the second try) and am looking forward to more. Yes I know you might make a few bucks on it but that’s ok, you have been sitting near a big fat karmic vacuum and could use a little balancing.

    • Huh–that could work!! We’ve got two good ones so far: red dress collector card photos (“get the whole set!”) and Patreon memberships…sounds fun already!

      You can RIDE together at least some of the time, can’t you?? That’s in fresh air, and not so close together…

      • We’re on a roll here. Let the Postal service rest and go with these ideas. I’m a patron and it would be a GREAT Karmic bLancing gift. Love the IOU idea too. Who cares if it’s 2021 before they can be distributed. Looking forward to a sweet treat – how can that ever be wrong.

    • Ooh, this Patreon membership idea sounds like a good one. It could even be just a month as a teaser, with a raffle for a smaller number of one-year options. Which reminds me, I need to sign up for a Patreon membership anyway, just for the chance to learn from YH and maybe finally pick up some lever knitting skills.

  15. If you think about how much training you did in previous years I’m sure it would be more than 600 km month for June & July then you have a whole month of Aug for what you normally do in a week!!
    Not that bad if you think about it that way
    Another birthday surprise !!
    The Red Dresses are a must though

  16. I’m so happy that you were able to celebrate your birthday with your loved ones. To me, the most beautiful sound in the world is my children laughing together.
    I will be donating a bit extra to the bike rally – both in honor of your birthday and in memory of your sweet Charlotte.
    I think I speak for many when I say that no Karmic balancing gifts are needed this year. Being able to help some of our fellow human beings is all the good Karma needed. Our world needs healing and good works are a good start.
    Happy birthday from my bubble to yours

  17. It sure it dusty in here.

    I love that you’re doing a virtual rally — you’re absolutely right that the needs are still very much there, and while we’re all disappointed that events we love are canceled, it’s a good reminder that others need our help more than ever. Good on you.

  18. Happy birthday with so much love!

    You always give more gifts on your birthday than you receive. This year it was a gift of hope.

    Thank you.

  19. My husband is asking men who have their nose out if they routinely cut the tips off of their condoms and then points to his nose. They generally laugh and cover up or walk away quickly from the weirdo. Either works.

  20. Thanks for sharing the story of your birthday…you’re right, it sounds so, so perfect. THOSE PEOPLE really know and obviously love you, right down to the little dude who has either noticed his Granny’s favourite colour-range or shares her preferences!!

    Total, excellent pay-back for the Easter knit egg porch bombing =)

  21. The picture of your three girls together made my week. The party was perfect in every way and a beautiful reminder of what’s truly important.

    Along those lines, I plan to make a donation to the Bike Rally even if you and the team don’t ride a single metre. My family has been among the lucky ones whose income didn’t dry up during the lockdown so I must pass on our good fortune to others in need. However, it wouldn’t be the same without a red dress picture, photoshopped or otherwise!

    As for Karmic balancing, I’m sure it’s a lot of work and maybe you don’t need it this year. But I do love the idea floated above of Patreon membership donations. How about Ravelry pattern gifts? Or gift certificates for Etsy or other yarn shops – so many small businesses are having a rough time and it could be a win for them too. I’m happy to help, whatever you come up with.

    (Noooo, I have to touch the eye! Doctor Fauci would not be pleased )

  22. Happy Birthday! Thank you for sharing pictures and stories; it sounds like a wonderful day 🙂

    The virtual bike rally is a great idea, but really, 600 km total is fine with all that’s going on in the world (And then I had to touch the World to post!) I’ll be donating 🙂

  23. How about cycling on Zwift? Unfortunately, that means some start up costs for Team Knit to all have the equipment, but that does eliminate the issue of not being able to ride far from home. A thought. My husband has been doing virtual rides with Zwift, and there have been some fundraisers on there too.

  24. Your family truly defines the word “thoughtful.” The massive amount of love and care that went into creating this event, it’s as if they knitted you a party, with every thought of you along the way being like a stitch in a big ol’ blanket of love. (Kind of sappy and a bit of a metaphorical stretch, but you get my drift.) And I picture Great Grammy Bonnie and Beautiful Wee Charlotte together clapping their hands with glee watching over the whole thing.
    And yes, as much as a Virtual Rally can’t come close to the energy of the real Rally, wouldn’t it be a grand challenge to demonstrate what Team Knit and its supporters can accomplish in terms of donations and participation despite (or maybe even because of) these strangest of times. I love the idea of virtual karmic balancing gifts, especially for those not yet comfortable with the post office scene. Patreon subscriptions, patterns on Rav, gift cards from local yarn shops that could use the support, etc. are all ways that both support the rally itself but have the added bonus of helping out some members of the fiber community that could certainly use it. I’d love to kick it off with a year’s subscription to your Patreon and also a gift certificate to Cowgirl Yarn (the most charming shop ever and located in Laramie WY), so just give the word and I’m on it.

    • Glad you had a great birthday. What a nice surprise!

      Totally agree with her suggestions as I’m fortunate enough to have a good retirement pension.

      I’ve been ordering patterns, books and yarns on line (as well as being a Patreon supporter) to help support the indie fibre artists since so many have lost financial support during this pandemic.

      And of course, I will continue to donate to the cause. Just be sure to take care of your health!

  25. Happy Birthday a little belatedly. It sounds like it was a wonderful day. Here in Manitoba we are a little ahead of you in terms of size of groups (25 people indoors or 50 outdoors) but social distancing is still supposed to be in effect except for people in your own household so I’m a little jealous that your girls got to hug.
    I will certainly donate to the Virtual Rally and virtual or no Karmic Balancing Gifts are fine with me. (I take part every year in the Walk for Alzheimers which was virtual this year; it was my most successful year of fundraising to date. So I suspect that your Virtual Rally will do fine.)

  26. A belated Hippo, Birdie, Two Ewes! Glad you survived getting run over by Elliot, and that The Ladies got to hug each other (and, presumably, you). Amanda and Joe deserve a Noble Peace Prize for this!

    What is that gorgeous, colorful bit of knitting that matches your pipe-cleaner bracelet?

  27. I would give a donation no matter what the circumstance. At the beginning of the lockdown — March 16 to be exact — I got a raise at work, and I can definitely work at home–it was just a pay-grade thing and I didn’t particularly ask for it. So I’m giving small donations here and there whenever someone asks. All good.

  28. Wishing you a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY Stephanie. You got the best gift of all – love :-).

    My vote is for no Karmic Balancing gifts. That is not why I donate 🙂

    hugs
    x

  29. I can hardly type this as I am in tears (of happiness for you)!!! What a wonderful birthday that sounds like! I am so grateful for you that you were able to join bubbles for your birthday- your family being able to do it in particular MADE MY DAY. I can’t join bubbles just yet (I’m in Toronto too) as the only one I want in my bubble is my mom, and she is still “stuck” (safely I might add) in her Retirement Home. I am also in healthcare, and so don’t want to risk it with all my extra exposure! Give your daughters another hug for me, and enjoy. My birthday is in November, so I will remain confident, with fingers crossed that I can hug my mom by then!!

  30. The photo of your girls hugging made me cry. I’m an only child, and if I miss hugging my friends as much as I do, I can’t imagine how much they’ve missed each other, especially having started quarantine right after such a heartbreaking loss. I’m so happy for you that the family is mostly back together, and what a wonderful idea for your birthday to last all day!
    For the rally, you four could stay home and those of us with funds would still happily give. But if you insist on riding, and if you’re indeed open to randomly recognizing donors, how about taking that virtual too? Any creators and companies that have virtual goods (patterns, ebooks, or even video tutorials or class recordings) could easily send out gifts with the understanding that recipients won’t redistribute them, and no one has to go to a post office or put a package of yarn in quarantine before ripping into it. Thank you for continuing to support people with AIDS, and thank you for letting us support you!

  31. Happy Birthday! And it’s nice to read all about how it truly was a happy one. Cheers!

    Re the Bike Rally, I will happily contribute. As for karmic balancing gifts, for those who are able and comfortable with “physical” things, perhaps that could be something to note in the Subject line (both for donor and donee). Just a thought.

  32. Sending belated well wishes for your birthday; it sounds amazing. I second (tenth? twelfth?) the photo of your three terrific ladies is beyond priceless. Virtual rally sounds safely awesome and anticipate the Blog will astound with their response, as always. Virtual gifts – a la Patreon or Ravelry – are one solution; that’s really not why Team Knit garners such support.
    Wishing a kinder, gentler year ahead for you and yours in hopes that the healing might begin. Namaste.

  33. Thank you for the happy post. It made me cry a little – I miss my kids so much but we live in Texas USA and things are just not safe here so we are staying completely locked down in our family – except those of us who have to work – and they are being as careful as they can possibly be. Happy Birthday!

  34. Like so many others have commented, I too cried at the picture of your girls! I get to see my sister on Friday, for the first time in months, to celebrate my birthday.

    I agree that virtual Karmic balancing gifts makes sense. And in total agreement with Sally Ball (she is my best friend after all) I will also pledge a year of Steph’s Patreon, and a gift certificate to Cowgirl Yarn, in Laramie WY (yes they do online). Sally is correct, it is the most wonderful yarn happy place!

    Happy Birthday, Stephanie! June babies rock! You are an inspiration to so many of us, your spirit, your love of people and your belief in Family (which isnt just blood). Oh and there is that knitting thing…!

  35. I love your writing. I look forward to every blog post. I’m so glad your birthday was celebratory. I’d love to know how you’ve engineered a friendship between your daughters. That’s so important and special. I will, of course, support the rally. And would love to be eligible for a karmic balancing gift. It’s fascinating hearing about the Canadian way of dealing with the pandemic. And so sensible.

  36. Happy Birthday Steph. We had 2 family birthdays very early in the quarantine time frame, so could only gather as a family on Zoom. Wasn’t quite the same and it felt very sad at the start of all of this. We have another next week and are hoping at least some of us can gather in person even if it is 6 feet apart.

    I, too, hoped I would raise my girls to be best friends. Like you, one never knows that, but the do rely on each other and talk al lot more often than I think I was aware of. I am one of the fortunate ones who has all of my family within 30-45 minutes of each other. So in normal times we are always able to be together in person.

    Hugs to you and your family – looks like your family managed a perfect celebration for the times we are in.

  37. Happy Birthday Stephanie!!!! What a fabulous birthday – your family came up with such a clever idea.

    I would say skip the karmic gifts.

  38. So glad you were able to have such a meaningful birthday celebration, Stephanie. Somehow, we’ll get through all this.

  39. Go Team Knit! I think the solution for karmic balancing already exists in what some have done in the past: gift certificates! So-and-so has won a pattern from such-and-such, or a skein of yarn from this vendor or that vendor. That’s going to take a little more from others, rather than from *us* donating skein and bag gifts, but I think it could be done.

  40. Happy birthday! So glad you and yours had a wonderful day.

    I would say try to be okay with skipping karmic balancing gifts this year.

  41. Too busy to read all the comments, so apologies if duplicated!
    Congrats on expanding your bubble. So glad the core family can be together again. We have had some socially distanced family picnics, and they have definitely saved our sanity. Fabulous that your family thought of your wonderful birthday party.
    As to Karmic Balancing, I would suggest “virtual” gifts – e gift certificates, digital patterns, etc. which would allow the recipient to choose the type and timing of their gift. Also, I’m not sure anyone would hold you to Karmic Balancing this year anyway!

  42. Is “knee” a new euphemism? ‘Cause that’s not the part of Ken’s anatomy that he mentioned on Instagram. Anyway, I’d vote for letting the karmic balancing this year be actual karma — I really doubt anyone’s doing this for the chance of winning a prize (though I grant what you said in another context about the blessings on the giver.)

    Anyway, thanks for showing us your glorious birthday. Worth it? You bet your knee.

      • Deni!

        I miss coming into Lettuce Knit and talking with you. You were always such a fount of knowledge and creativity!

        What are you doing these days? Hope this finds you well,
        Maura K

        • I’m sorry but you have the wrong Deni. I’ve never been to Lettuce Knit and don’t know where that is. I am in Snohomish WA. I’d love to meet you though!

  43. A belated happy birthday to you!
    I contributed $20 to each of your team. I’m also ok with no karmic gifts. As others have said, it’s not why I do this. All the best to y’all.

  44. I was at the Port Ludlow Inn this weekend because it was their first weekend open and it felt the safest to go when there haven’t been any potential germs there for 4 months. For the most part it was lovely as usual. But they removed the following from the rooms, which was a little disconcerting: coffee pots/mugs, wine glasses, tv channel cards, bath salt jars. It made sense for them to be gone in a way…but I really missed scooping out bath salts with the little shell! They’ve spread out the restaurant’s tables into the our buffet room and the sun room, too. I saw a few knitted pieces still hanging around so that was lovely. 🙂

    Nikki

  45. Happy birthday! What a wonderful birthday, indeed! How special to be able to spend time together w/the people you love most in the world and to be cherished in return!

  46. My husband is in charge of quarantining the mail – so we don’t get mail on Thursday because Thursday is Sunday with the 4 day mail quarantine. That makes sense , right?

    I am willing to donate to the bike rally without any type or kind of gift – not necessary at all.

    Thanks for what you all do.

  47. What a lovely birthday! What kindness and love! I’m so happy for you that you finally get to be with Elliot and your girls again!

    Everything virtual sucks now. I’m just over it. But, you’ve created a good challenge for Team Knit! As a cyclist I respect that challenge. It’s achievable, like the Rally, but not easy. Personally, I wouldn’t participate in the karmic balancing, but I respect others wishes if they would like to.

  48. My state still isn’t open to outside visitors (in theory, I’m sure many aren’t following the rules), so I haven’t seen my kids in a great long while, and won’t see one who is in CA until it’s much safer to do so. Plus, I run a food pantry and have been working right along, so I’m not exactly a safe person for them all to be around anyhow. I loved your post. I mostly am okay with being just me and my working at home husband, until I’m reminded how much I miss my people. Your country is gang-buster at figuring out this pandemic. We could take lessons here in the US. Happy belated birthday from the blog XOXO

  49. So happy that your birthday turned out to be such a delight. No one deserves it more.

    As for the rally, I’m among those stateside who are fortunate enough to continue to have work, although diminished. I will contribute what I can, and I think you’ve got more than enough carry over karma without the balancing gifts.

  50. Is someone cutting onions in here? Did I forget to dust?

    Thank you so much for sharing your family with us. Happy Belated Birthday!

  51. I works all donate a karmic balancing gift. I also like the idea of virtual gifts like donating a ravelry pattern or something like that! Happy belated birthday it sounds like it was a pretty special day!

  52. Happy Birthday! What a wonderful, happy celebration, thank you for inviting us in, too, and I can’t wait to get to hug my grandkids. I so loved the description of Elliot diving into everybody’s arms.

    Much love to your family and your team. You guys are amazing.

  53. Your magical day was a beautiful birthday gift! We have been Zooming with our family each week and it has made such a difference in my outlook! I love the idea of virtual karmic balancing gifts. I would be willing to donate a gift certificate from my nearest LYS. It could be used later if the winner wishes to wait. They are great at mail order! You stay safe, please!

  54. Glad to hear you finally got to spend time with family and friends.

    My birthday is the 15th and I was finally able to see my DH after being apart for 4 months (since the day before Valentine’s Day). He’s been working about 8 hrs away for a few years and decided not to be traveling back and forth. I have some health problems and he didn’t want to put me at any more risk.

  55. Happy belated birthday! I’m so glad it was wonderful. I’m not going to stop donating this year just because you can’t ride to Montreal which always struck me as brave, heroic, and insane. It may be a little smaller since there is so much greater need in my community for support for food pantries and soup kitchens

    As for karmic balancing gifts, I love the idea of the photo of everyone in red dresses. That way everybody could get a karmic balancing gift!

  56. What a beautiful joyful post. I am so happy you had such a great birthday.
    I wish I had enforced sisterly love with my two daughters, try as I may they just don’t seem to like each other (at 18 and 21). They can get along in the same space, but there is always a little walking on eggshells so that no-one gets set off. It’s sad, but is what it is.
    As for virtual events, I agree with you that it is a sad substitute BUT I feel like it is better than nothing! I am doing a virtual Trail Challenge in Colorado (USA). 488 miles of trail running (ahem, walking) over three months. It is something fun to get me out there. Good luck on your ride lady and I will be keeping tabs on what you will be doing for fundraising!

  57. You could make the karmic balancing gifts be Ravelry patterns if your donors are willing to change from yarn to that. For me parcels don’t worry me, but then by the time anything makes it to NZ it’s well and truly past the bug’s lifespan.

  58. Hello and Happy Birthday,
    I would love to still support your team and the great organization and cause. I do not need to have the chance at a karmic balancing gift so I think you should just encourage us all to donate as usual and ride as much as you can!
    Prayers for all of us will suffice

  59. I would like to donate but can’t find the donate button..Happy Birthday Stephanie. We have no family near here, my dear sister lives in the US and my brother in Calgary..my daughter and grandsons are on Vancouver Island so my birthday was a non event. I am so glad that yours turned out so lovely.

    • You can click on any of the hyperlinked (blue) names that Steph listed near the end of her entry. Those will send you to each rider on the PWA site and the donate button is on the right side of the screen. 🙂

  60. This might have been the most heartwarming, eye-filling, lovely thing I’ve read all of quarantine. Your family – blood and adopted – is so very, very beautiful. I’m so glad for you.

  61. I am so happy about your birthday (tears in my eyes). What a wonderful family you have made. What a beautiful person you are.

    Of course allow us to give to the rally. No karmic balancing of any kind is needed. Giving doesn’t need to be acknowledged. Karma comes anyway without recognition of the gift.

  62. Definitely up for donating to a virtual rally.

    So glad you got to see your lovely family. My daughter had her 11th birthday under lockdown here in the UK, but we could have up to 6 socially distancing people, outside, in total, and it was… enough. A lovely day, in fact, and a definite reprieve from where we thought we’d be at.

  63. I definitely want to support your TRIPLE rides!!! Where is the donation link? Perhaps you’ll be busy enough with that so that Karmic Balancing can take a sabbatical. While I’ve been delighted with the one Karmic Balancing gift I received, I didn’t feel deprived the years I didn’t. A new silly joke: Do you know what happened to the two silk worms who were racing? ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************ANSWER: They ended up in a tie …

    • Oh, aaargh! And: if you click on their names in the blog post above, it should take you to each of the four individual donation pages…yes?

  64. No matter what your decision is on Karmic balancing gifts, I will be making my usual donation this year although it might have to wait until September. I’m so happy that you had such a wonderful birthday. You have such a wonderful family.

  65. Oh my heart. That picture of your girls hugging sent me to the tissues before you even explained. I am trying very hard to do the same with my girls 12 and 15 and have seen them dance a duo every year for the past 5, this year there is no duo, BUT they are still sharing with one another and will one day understand as your girls clearly do. Love to you and yours.

  66. Crying here. What a gift. What a fantastic, perfect day. And, because, like you, my super secret mom plan has always been for my girls to be a team, I noticed and loved and bathed in the joy of that picture of your girls right off. What a gift, indeed. Thank you for sharing this, on a day when I really needed it.

  67. Happy Birthday! I’m so glad you and your family were together.

    Re: Karmic balancing gifts. How about through the gift option on Ravelry, and thereby support designers and LYS?

  68. What a wonderful birthday! I love what you wrote about your daughters. I have always tried to foster that sort of relationship between my son and my daughter. They are about three years apart. My house is a meeting point for all of us. I’m really sad (but excited) that my son and his girlfriend are moving to New York in August, because it means we won’t all get to see each other as often. I’m really looking forward to having everybody at my house again soon and watching my kids interact with each other. 🙂

  69. Thanks for sharing the birthday party photos!
    Just lovely – and obviously a LOT of fun for all.
    Glad your social bubble could expand at last for those overdue hugs.
    Looking forward to making donations for Team Knit as usual, even or especially for a virtual ride.
    I keep reading about how overloaded the food banks and other agencies helping the disadvantaged are this year. Happy to help!
    I think no karmic balancing gifts are really necessary this year, but if it works out to be able to manage virtual gifts then that seems perfect for 2020.
    looking forward to hearing more about your bike rides!

  70. Happy, happy belated birthday, Stephanie! I will be supporting Team Knit this year. I am so happy for you that you finally got the chance to be with your loved ones once again and that they all made your day so special! (Now I have to figure out who is chopping onions in here…)

  71. I do not know how to reach you about Patreon. Even though I am a member, I am not able to see the videos. I did see the first one about your office. I do get notified by e-mail that you have sent one to me. When I open it, all I get is to please join. This is very discouraging!

    • In the email do you get the graphic that looks like a video ready to push play? If so, try clicking on it, as if you were pushing play–should take you to the real video (where you’ll have to push ‘play’ again)…

  72. Dear Steph-
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful birthday celebration! Choked me up! Of course your family would do this for you and it’s just breathtaking. I’ve heard that other places are allowing these social bubbles and I hope we can get them here soon (Minnesota USA) so I can hug my sisters and niece. We are close like your daughters, though one is In CA and we can’t see each other because she helps our mom who has cancer (she’s doing well, but of course is at high risk).
    And OMG what you guys are doing for the rally! You are incredible. I’d say don’t worry about the karmic balancing gifts this year.
    As always, I’m so grateful for all you do and share with us. HAPPY BELATED BDAY!!!!!!!!!

  73. Re: Karmic Balancing
    I propose that we just add a wee bit extra to our PWA donation and/or donate to a local charity that needs a boost in Steph’s name as a birthday present.

  74. Just do it! Those who are comfortable with karmic balancing gifts will do it and it may help them feel “normal”. In the US we can send without leaving our homes. Pay online and USPS picks up from your home.. This is an audacious goal that only team knit could aspire. Go, go, GO!

  75. Tears and laughter while reading your post, as is often the case. Happy belated 🙂
    I will donate anyway, even if Team Knit doesn’t ride and there are no magical skeins of karmic fuzzy wonder flying around.

  76. Dear Stephanie – so very happy to see and share your birthday celebration. Thank you for your generosity in sharing it with the blog.
    You have made such an incredible, long-lasting, INDELIBLE impact on knitting, on so many lives of the knitters who have come together over the years, because of you.
    Happy Birthday!

  77. I have donated to the rally, just as I do every year, but it’s not because you actually do the ride or the karmic balancing gifts. It is because you write this wonderful blog, completely for free and this is my way of saying thank you for that. The blog is all the karmic balancing I need, it brings me so much joy to read it.

  78. I’m sorry to hear there’s no Rally, as I FINALLY have something to offer for your fabulous Karmic Balancing Gift game…but yarn doesn’t go bad if stored properly, right? I’m in for whatever Team Knit chooses to do!

  79. Many, many happy returns of the day.

    No KBG’s needed, though getting a note from the rider receiving the donation would be icing on the cake of feeling good for supporting the cause.

  80. Happy Birthday! What a great birthday. What a gorgeous back yard – good thing your birthday is in June, not March!

    We donate for you and the cause not for the gifts. I would still donate either way.

  81. Just want you to know how much your posts mean to me, especially these days. They help me to know how to navigate my world and to feel grounded. They fill some of the gaps. And they inspire.

  82. What a super birthday surprise and the best kind of gift…that of time.

    Not that I am afraid of packages, but I don’t need a gift to donate. The karma is in the giving.

  83. I will be happy to contribute (payday is next Friday; I’ll remind myself), and otherwise I just need the good karma; no gifts necessary. To risk sounding sappy, this blog is gift enough. Also, I’m wondering if you’ve been sniffing too much fiber because 600 km per month boggles my tiny brain. 🙂 So proud of you!! <<>>

  84. I don’t know that gifts are needed though they were delightful. Maybe a “thank you” page with a list of names?

  85. Happy happy, Stephanie! May this year bring many wonderful gifts like the picture you posted of your daughters reuniting.

    Karmic rebalancing is fun but unnecessary. A lot of folks who can just want to support important services that enable dignified survival during unprecedented times. Please please don’t feel you have to do triple rides —one of your teammates has a broken knee; one should not have to strain and struggle for basic human rights. However, if the arduous exertion helps you and your team weather this extraordinary era then go for it. It’s summer after all and cycling is a perfect way of physical distancing. See how I can argue both sides?

    Thank you, too, for Patreon. Not sure if my crabbed hands can handle size 3 sock needles. I’m mulling it over, but I’m still picking up useful bits of knowledge from the videos.

  86. I think karmic balancing gifts are too hard on everybody in the current environment. (Actually, I think your commitment and hard work more than balances the karma, but hey, that’s me.) 🙂 I’m just happy contributing to something that helps others in a material way.

    Having said that – Some folks place a higher value on acknowledgement, which is totally appropriate and OK, so I kinda like the idea of a “thank you” page. It avoids contact of any kind, and spreads that positive acknowledgement around. This is also good karma, yes?

  87. Happy belated Birthday Steph. I’m glad to hear that you had a lovely day and that things worked out so well. 2020 is being a horrible year according ro almost everyone you talk to. Us too. Sending a big bunch of hugs.

  88. No, no,to the Karmic Balancing don’t risk post office or any other thing. You can do that later on twice as much if you want to but now is not the best time. Happy Belated Birthday. I’m in PEI only 27 people so far and all are cured. We are so lucky. Take care my knitting friend

  89. Listen: as an LGBT+ individual, we know what happens when a virus goes unchecked through a population. We’ve survived so far. We can do it again.

    Avoid the gifts this year. We’ll be fine without them.

  90. I cried through this whole post. I cried with envy (I miss my people SO MUCH), I cried with joy for you and your family, I cried with soul-deep gratitude that there are people like you and yours in this world, willing to shoulder burdens and work hard for the betterment of others. Thank you for being such wonderful humans. I’m so glad you had the birthday you deserved. <3

  91. Have sent a little donation. We’ve been supporting the Rally for Idunnohowmany years, but we’ll keep doing it as long as you do. Thank you for this. Thank you for the amazing friendships, kindnesses, and caring that you spread among so many groups of people, knitters and otherwise.
    Blessings to you and your family, by blood and by love.

  92. Happy birthday! Your family gathering looked awesome, and what a neat full-day celebration!

    For Karmic Balancing the digital way, I love the ideas above, and will happily donate a bunch of pattern downloads from my Ravelry shop for winners!

  93. Happy (belated) beirthday! This is one you’ll remember forever, for various reasons, but mostly for the love you all share.

  94. I’d love to see how much we can donate without the incentives. I always found “prizes for donating” a bit odd, anyway. Let ‘karma’ take care of itself 🙂

    Happy Birthday!

  95. Happy Birthday! It looks like a beautiful party.
    I turned 50 in April and it was not what I had envisioned. I am alone in my bubble so the celebrating was all virtual (and you’re right, it’s not at all the same). So I decided I’m taking this whole year, considering this whole year my birthday. A proper half-century celebration. This means I try to find delight every day, I am extra kind to myself, and I allow goodness to fill me. I recommend this.
    I’m glad there will be fund raising and I know that you all want to provide effort but, speaking for myself, I do not need you to do so much striving. I would happily hand over a donation even if you did not put foot to pedal.

  96. Happy birthday! Thank you for sharing your birthday celebration! So glad to see your family able to get together and celebrate!

    Like others, I don’t care how far your team rides for the Rally–as far as I’m concerned you could just ride around the block a few times–I plan to donate either way.

    I don’t think you have to offer karmic balancing gifts, but if you want to the virtual gifts would be fine–an online pattern, etc.

  97. I was in tears reading about your birthday celebration. I miss hugging my kids and grandkids more than I can say. We live in California so…… not too much (none) hugging. I’m so happy yours went so perfectly.
    I don’t think I’ve met anyone who would object to receiving a package at their door which could ‘cure’ in the garage but you or others having to take them to the post office makes absolutely no sense. I think, pass on the karmic gifts this year. Happy Birthday!!

  98. I sent a donation for PWR and really don’t need any karmic balancing. Having the team continue in its own way is gift enough! Thanks for the birthday story. It was lovely.

  99. I cried for your girls just now – because I got to hug my sister too this weekend. Hasn’t happened since Feb 20 and it was a tearful reunion.

  100. We don’t have to do Karmic Balancing Gifts, but couldn’t we do virtual ones? Patreon memberships, giftcards to yarn stores/small businesses, Zoom classes, virtual fiber fest market pass, gifting a Ravelry pattern either with a dollar limit or the giver’s choice, etc. It’s not as thrifty as rehoming some poor languishing yarn from deep stash, but I don’t think anyone would mind because it’s about the feeling of mutual giving, of helping the cause and also making the day of a fellow knitter by saying, “Hey, I appreciate you and I see you helping too and it’s awesome that you’re here (virtually) with me because none of us can do it alone.” I think we’re smart enough to do this if the Karmic Balancing Gifts multiply the momentum and ultimately encourage more donations.

  101. I have supported Cam since he joined you, and I was wondering how you would all manage this year, thinking I should maybe donate directly to PWA. But I got his email, and since you asked: I think this year it would be fine if you all just took the time to be with people you love. I don’t need you all going to extremes this year to encourage me to donate, now that I have the link, the means, and the knowledge of how badly funds are needed. Others’ mileage may vary …

    • chrisgail, your spam link to a post for a commercial enterprise that epitomizes dishonesty is completely inappropriate in this community, which honors honesty and trust.

  102. Like many others I did cry tears of joy at your lovely girls and your wonderful creative family celebrating your day! I am really impressed by the creative suggestions people have for karmic balancing. However, I am not sure that you need to be worried about karmic balancing. If you feel you Must do something. I love the ideas that include notes and pictures. Mostly, during this time, take it easier on yourself! Things are hard enough as it is!

  103. Personally, I’d really like to buy some patterns for others as a karmic balancing gift, with the patterns specifically being from BIPOC designers. For me, this feels like the perfect way of navigating both COVID and supporting Black Lives Matter by actively giving money to BIPOC designers, and also getting their patterns more out there.
    Thanks for the wonderful post about your birthday!

  104. I like to help, especially during this crazy time. I’m lucky to live in a country that had much luck during this pandemic (living in Germany) and I have a job that allows me to work from home which is important because of home schooling which is strictly forbidden here usually so it’s a huge challenge. – If I decide to give something I don’t wait for something in return, ok, nothing else but good karma maybe.
    I decided to give a bit to all 4 of you, allthough it’s your birthday. I hope that’s ok.

  105. It was not sorted in time for my birthday, but I got a Zoom call with the folks I love. I’m glad you got to embrace yours, and they each other.

  106. Your family represents the gold standard in how to handle challenge. You are all an inspiration to manifest kindness and commitment to those things which matter most.

  107. Lovely post, your family seems very special indeed. I pray that grace and healing come to you all. And as a mother of adult children, I can affirm with you that what I deeply wanted was for them to be mutually supportive and connected through their lives.
    As for the KBGs, well, they have always charmed (and tempted!) me, but please!! At least for this year, “Don’WorryAboutIt”!!

  108. After thinking some more about Karmic Balancing gifts, I still want to see the red dress pictures, but I like the ideas of a pattern with all or part of the proceeds going to PWA or Karmic Balancing Patreon memberships. I also like the idea of just doing something to bring a little light in the world right now without any kind of reward.

    Happy birthday, Stephanie. I hope this year brings you and all sentient beings much joy and good health and prosperity. Whatever the new normal is, we’ll all just have to knit together one stitch at a time.

  109. I am slower than anything but I would totally be willing to send out some Karmic Balancing gifts. I’ve done some heroic stash diving this month and sold a bunch of stuff. I’ve totally learned how to print postage online and use the drop box. After months of slow service due to high infection rates our service is coming back strong and like many US folks I really want to keep our postal system going. Part of that is using it and paying for postage!

  110. Hi Steph. I have three grown daughters as well, I think I mentioned it. They are each other’s supports, rocks, and wonderful friends. They have other friends… but when things are tough, they turn to each other…I was determined that I would make that a happening thing, and like you, I did not give people the choice to take the easy way out. We worked things out together. I am so grateful. Love them all to pieces, and our 5 grandchildren. Don’t go to the postoffice for virtual karmic rebalancing. People don’t need you to do it, and many of us here in the US are scared to go as well. Be safe. Kiss your loved ones…and know that you are loved.

  111. I have been reading you for years now, but rarely commenting. For almost as many years I’ve thought about providing a karmic balancing gift. This year, I’d like to follow through.

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