A Much Better Idea

Every year I invite Kate and Carlos to a Levee. A Levee is sort of a uniquely Canadian gathering or New Years open house.  It’s almost always done on the first of the year, and we’ve celebrated together in this way for a couple of years, and it’s been awesome, so a few weeks ago I called up Kate to invite her, and Katie said she had a much, much better idea. I listened to Katie’s idea, keeping in mind that she’s my husbands sister, and this means that she’s a little tiny bit of the crazy that runs in his family – and trying to remember that I’m a little tiny bit of the crazy that runs in mine.  Kate said, essentially – "Let’s leave.  It’s snowing, it’s terribly cold, the winter isn’t going to quit anytime soon, and …. let’s go."  Carlos was in the background yelling "Let’s go NOW" and so I took a deep breath, tried hard not to be me, who is the kind of person who really hates last minute plans and always finds fault with them, and turned the plan over to Joe and Katie. 

So it happens, dear ones, that I’m writing this to you from a patio near the sea in Cuba, where we’re making a different kind of snowman.  I’m a little bit sunburned, a lot tired, and I’m having the best ever time.  Joe, Sam, Kate, Carlos, Lou and I wish you all the best from here.  More tomorrow.  I’ll tell you all about it.

Happy New Year.

130 thoughts on “A Much Better Idea

  1. So that’s where you’ve been! Good for you for going with the flow, relaxing, and embracing it (I know that can be a stretch sometimes). Happy New Year, and enjoy your fun in the sun!

  2. I’ve been wishing people wonderful adventures and delightful surprises for 2014. Looks like you took me seriously and got a head start. Wishing you a wonderfully refreshing vacation. And more of those good adventures and surprises for the rest of the year.

  3. So happy thinking of you and yours feeling sand between your toes! Wishing you and your wonderful family~good health, unbounded inspiration, and all the special fibers you desire 😉

  4. I was checking regularly to see those finished knitted gifts and all the time you guys were flying off to the southern latitudes. Have a ball and best wishes for the New Year to you and yours. I’ll just keep on checking. Does Carlos have family in Cuba?

  5. Happy New Year, Stephanie!
    What a great way to celebrate. Thanks for helping make 2013 fun, funny and filled with reminders of love and caring. May 2014 bring you even more Joy, Love and Peace.
    Happy New Year!!!

  6. Way to celebrate Harlot!!! Enjoy! And wishing you the best king of new year there is! Thanks for all the laughs and inspirations.

  7. I completely understand about going to the beach during the end-of-year holidays!
    One of my favorite Christmases ever fell on a trip to the Bahamas. The Christmas morning service was held on the open-air basketball court with the ocean visible behind the nice, made-up altar. Chairs had been set up on the court so that we avoided sinking into pure sand.
    The funniest thing was that everyone understood that we should dress up a little even if we were going to the basketball court. So you didn’t see flip-flops or beach coverings over bikinis. Instead, people wore long Bermuda shorts or floor-length khaki pants or casual summer dresses. And a local church came, conducted the service and shared their Christmas with us. I loved it!

  8. Happy New Year to you too!
    I bet all your readers in Winnipeg in particular are gritting their teeth – this is the second coldest December since 1893 🙂

  9. As an American, I think New Years on a beach in Cuba is just as much a very Canadian way to spend a holiday as a traditional Canadian Levee. An American certainly can’t just up and go to Cuba for a little getaway vacation, only a Canadian can do that. 🙂

  10. Sounds like Kate had a great idea and is doing exactly what is needed. Time away and time with family some place warm and sunny. Love the sandman.

  11. It’s -19f/-28c up here and it’s warmed up. And a whole lot of white. There’s nothing here you won’t still be able to see in a week or two. You are doing us a service by speaking of sand and sea. The Blog thanks you! Happy New Year!

  12. If you go south a bit more and then go half way around our globe, you’ll find us doing the same on the beach as you. Best wishes for 2014!

  13. Oh, my God, and here I have been cleaning my house and thinking of you and muttering “begin as you mean to go on.” Which is not to say you aren’t!
    Happy New Year!

  14. Have a wonderful time! Enjoying a warm beach sounds like heaven so soak up as much of that warmth as you can. Happy New Year to you and yours and a wonderful 2014 to us all!

  15. All right! Being in a lovely warm place at the beach and making snowmen out of sand is a great idea. I hope you and your family and friends have a wonderful time and a very Happy New Year 2014!

  16. I am soooo jealous! Here in the Windy City, we’re looking at a total accumulation of 2-6 inches of snow!
    The Blog needs to see some pictures of Lou enjoying the beach and the surf.
    And I hope you and yours (including Ken and Millie!) have a very happy new year!

  17. Well that is awesome! You have worked your tail off and deserve that vacation, and I’m all for a bit of crazy in a family when it’s that kind.

  18. Hi, Steph,
    Great sandman.
    Your sister-in-law doesn’t sound crazy to me at all. I think she’s a keeper. And you have a Spanish speaker in the group to translate for you. Sounds very sensible to me. Do it every New Year!
    We would like to see how the knits came out when you get back, BTW. Have fun, drink extra rum for me.
    Julie in San Diego

  19. Love, love, love Cuba! So jealous! Have the best time! I did not find any yarn in cuba, but lots of hand made stuff to buy, enjoy and Happy New Year.

  20. Happy New Year! Have a wonderful time in the sun and ocean with your family. Your timing couldn’t be better because it’s very cold and going to snow. I’m so jealous! Your trip explains why we haven’t seen any pictures of your latest projects yet LOL!

  21. Have a great time and think of those of us freezing up here in Canada (but just for a moment)! We’re heading to Cuba in a couple of months. Let me know what it’s like.

  22. ….can I come too..?
    Wow – I always envy you people who have snow & cold at Christmas and New Year’s……
    Posted by: Cathy at December 31, 2013 6:52 PM
    No Dearest Cathy…envy us not! But RUN like Steph did from this depressing weather! We in CT USA are about to get smacked with 11 to 18 inches of cold, blowing, white stuff we have to shovel out of the way to get anywhere.
    Florida, Cuba, anywhere warm right now is a spirit lifter and if we in the NE USA and Canada could all escape…we would!!

  23. Oh, how fabulous! What a wonderful way to start a new year. Relax, you’ve certainly earned it!
    Have a great start to a new year and the rest of your life!

  24. Happy New Year, Stephanie! Seering in a new year in a new way seems very appropriate to me, especially from the vantage point of Northern NY, which is very cold. 😀

  25. Happy New Year! Your spot looks much nicer than mine – howling wind and rain here, but yarn and family and a jigsaw (it will get finished, dammit!) inside.

  26. I guess I am a bit like you Stephanie, I don’t do last minute or surprises. BUT I am so glad you did. Enjoy yourself and family.

  27. Happy New Year!
    I have a friend from NZ who first introduced me to the concept of “visiting winter” because she lived in an area where they could drive to the snow, and leave when they had enough. So, enjoy your break because you will need it in upcoming months.

  28. As the owner of two dogs who neither travel nor board well, I am envious of your ability to pick up and go – enjoy the sun and sand, and Happy New Year!

  29. I’ve been busy waiting for those pics of warm woolen wonders but as we’ve been enduring below zero temps (without the wind chill…and it has been windy)…I so enjoyed the “snowman” instead…well for now anyway. Happy wonderful new year to the Harlot family (by birth, marriage, friendship, and readership)!

  30. What a wonderful idea! As one who is hunkered down in Manitoba’s Interlake, suffering through this detestable cold weather that is colder than the North Pole, I am envious of your smarts in getting away while the getting was good. Not at all envious of the beach, or Cuba, as neither appeal to me; but applauding the fact that you are resting and enjoying a nice vacation. I got mohair/silk laceweight for Christmas so I’m a happy woman and not easily swayed from my knitting. To everyone else: stay inside, stay warm.

  31. Steph,missed your usual holiday posts, but can understand why you didn’t do as many this month. I live near the beach in So/Calif and really wouldn’t have it any other way. Two suggestions: Have a Happy New Year; and consider moving to So/Calif. There are plenty of knitting communities here!! BTW, do you ever make appearances in So/Cal? Preferrably San Diego area? Please????

  32. Yay, you!! I absolutely love this. The tiny little bit of crazy on both sides of the family seems to have some very, very good ideas. Happy New Year to you and yours.

  33. I have to admit I whimpered just a little bit… I’m going out to shovel the driveway and the front walk as soon as Old Man Winter lets up. 🙁 I do wish you and yours a very Happy New Year though! Don’t forget the sunscreen!!

  34. Sorry Stephanie, but I agree with Maria. You are an outspoken woman, so I am a little surprised to hear you’re giving your money to an oppressive regime. 🙁

  35. Sorry Stephanie, but I agree with Maria. You are an outspoken woman, so I am a little surprised to hear you’re giving your money to an oppressive regime. 🙁

  36. Sorry Stephanie, but I agree with Maria. You are an outspoken woman, so I am a little surprised to hear you’re giving your money to an oppressive regime. 🙁

  37. Happy New Year. Good for you!! I’m sooooo jealous!!!!! I’m waiting for the snow to stop so I can finally go out and shovel-again, ugh.

  38. Happy love-filled New Year to you and your family. Just knowing you are in Cuba (wow) makes my heart lighter and feet warmer :).

  39. It’s good to do things sometimes that are outside of your comfort zone! And if you are going to do something “scary” I think an impromptu tropical vacation holds promise for a lot of fun! Happy New Year!

  40. You left Canada for some place warm? How smart of you! Hope you have a wonderful time and enjoy the sun, sea, sand and warm! Happy New Year! Marvelous!

  41. Happy New Year!- even if it is a bit late :).
    As I sit hear in on the East Coast, the winds are howling outside and the official airport reading says the windchill is 11 Deg F! You need to give Katie and Carlos (and Lou) a BIG HUG for their wonderful idea. A tropical beach holiday certainly beats the blizzard warnings that the North East is dealing with this morning.
    Hope your holiday stretches long enough to miss the worst of it …. AND your flight(s) home are calm and orderly (remembering the tale of the return trip from NC one month ago).
    M in NC

  42. “tried hard not to be me” – is probably the best advice I’ve heard, even though you didn’t mean it as advice. I think I need to step away from my automatic reactions to stuff and just go for new things.
    After all, that’s how my sister got me started on sock knitting!

  43. Thanks for the information about Cuba. I enjoyed learning about their health care, education and lifestyle. Any idea why there isn’t any knitting? Were there any yarn shops or was yarn sold in the market along with other supplies? Do they crochet mainly with natural fibers or acrylics? Thanks for sharing your vacation with us.

  44. Stephanie: I truly hope you enjoyed Havana. Were you able to travel outside the city? I think you may be a little naïve about Cuba’s gov’t. Would you REALLY give up your freedom of choice to live under a dictator? I have nothing against national healthcare and believe we are very behind the rest of the world in that regard; however I would not give up my choices for anything. As far as 100% literacy, where did you find that statistic? Surely, there are at least 2 people in Cuba who can’t read. I believe you should do more research about Cuba before you make such blanket statements. If everyone is so happy there, why on earth do they get on leaky boats to come to the U.S.?

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