Time Out

Last week my Mum asked me if I wanted to go up to the rented cottage our family has been fond of for years.  I declined.  I had too much to do, too many things to organize, was too far behind on email and should stay here and ride my bike because The Rally is in two weeks and I’m starting to have a terrible cramp when I think about it.

My mum pretty much ignored everything I was saying, and said something along the lines of “Whatever, see you Tuesday.”  I got off the phone stunned, and spent the next few days trying to figure out how to cancel. (It’s really hard to cancel when you’re not sure you agreed in the first place.) I talked to my sister and she said “Whatever – see you Tuesday” and so Tuesday I just got in the car and left.  It seemed easier to play along.

ferry 2014-07-11

sunset 2014-07-11

For the record, I love the cottage. I love Georgian Bay, I love the rocks, I love the sunsets and the sound of the wind and I love watching out for poison ivy and walking to the lighthouse and there’s really only two things that I don’t love.  I don’t love backing onto the ferry to get there (I am very bad at driving backwards, and live in fear of ramming the ferry, which I’ve never done but still worry about all the time) and I don’t love that there’s not really any mobile service or internet up there.  I say there’s not really any, but the truth is that there’s just enough to be a tease.  Someone will get a text out of the blue, and nobody else will have service, and then it will disappear before you can answer.  When I first got there I had enough internet to post to instagram, but it never surfaced again – except as I was driving along one of the roads to Big Sand Bay, and I could hardly use it then. I’ve expressed this to my mum a few times, that if there was internet I could come for longer.  More than just 36 or 48 hours, because if I could work while I was on vacation then I could take more of them.

bigsandbay 2014-07-11

noogbisan 2014-07-11

That one got me a stare, and that look my mother saves for when she thinks I’m missing the point.

crowdedasusual 2014-07-11

lake 2014-07-11

As fast as the trip was, it was worth it.  A freezing swim in Georgian Bay, I read an entire book in a day (The Rosie Project– grand fun, I recommend it.) I knit on the socks that I threw the last pair under the bus for.

sockdstarry 2014-07-11

(Starry, Starry Night Socks.)

I had fun taking pictures of the finished Emperor’s New Scarf too.

scarfhang 2014-07-11

Erin thought that it looked like a tree.  I do too. I’m completely in love with it, and every single chain of crochet was totally worth it, and it did get easier as it went along. By the end it was only taking me a few minutes to do each one, and I hated it less.  I’m still not saying that the crochet was fun for me, but I am saying that it wasn’t too hard, and that I love the finished scarf so much I’d do it again.

scarfdet2 2014-07-11

It looked so at home up there, blowing in the breeze.

scarfdet 2014-07-11

All in all, it was a beautiful 48 hours, and I even got a chance to set up the tent that Jen and I will share on the rally, and I made sure that the air mattress I bought fit inside.  (I had to buy a new one on account of the fact that last year I took my knitting into the tent with me, and my dpn poked a hole in the air mattress. The only reason Jen didn’t kill me that night was because she’s a knitter too. This year we have a “no needles in the tent” rule that seems reasonable to both of us.  There’s not much that can make the rally harder, but sleeping (or not sleeping) on rocks is right up there.)

mumchecksit 2014-07-11

My mum tested it for comfort. She says it’s quite good.

Now I’m home, and chained to my desk for the day, and getting ready to spend my weekend in the service of the Rally.  I think Jen would agree when I say that we grossly underestimated the time commitment of being Team Leads.   We’re sweeping two rides this weekend.  The first in a car, and the second on our bikes, and the combo means that other than when we’re sleeping, we’re serving the cause.  It’s a wonderful thing that the rally does, and I feel proud when I think of the good it does in the world, but man.

I’m going to knit the pants of off August.

PS: Because someone will ask, the stop sign is in Ojibwe. The cottage is on Beausoleil First Nations land, so the signs are in the language of their nation.  It’s like how in Quebec the stop signs are in French.  Canada’s big on language. 

PPS. Thank you very much.  Thanks to the generosity of knitters, yesterday I met my fundraising goal for the Rally.  It’s been a hard year, and meeting that goal actually made me cry – and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I did set that goal a lot lower than in previous years, knowing that things are tough all over, and I’m just so impressed and honoured to know the lot of you.  Stand by for present-o-rama in the upcoming weeks. The generosity on that front has been staggering as well.

PPPS. Only because there have been some emails asking – Yes. Last year my total came in at $50 000, which is more than double where I stand now, and yes, the needs of PWA are the same, or greater than last year.  If you were planning on giving, please don’t let the fact that I met my goal stop you.  You can pledge me here, and I have two things to tell you. First, if everyone who reads this blog or follows me on twitter or instagram was able to give $1, that total would be staggering. Don’t think that a small donation doesn’t matter. We’re knitters, we understand how one little thing together with many other little things adds up. That’s what knitting is. Second, for the next little bit, a generous knitter who prefers to remain anonymous has pledged to match donations up to the incredible sum of $2000. Her letter was beautiful and kind and everything decent about people, and I’d like for her generosity to count as much as it can. Thank you all.  As big a commitment as this ride is, it does no good at all without you behind me.  You are, each and every one of you, amazing.


72 thoughts on “Time Out

  1. Pingback: Time Out | Yarn Buyer

  2. I am curious about how you pump the air mattress. My family of 4 did a bike rally with 2 queen sized mattresses and our brand new battery operated pump was slow and whiny. Sometimes I had to shake it a little to get it to work. And in a 7 night trip, 2 mattresses required 8 size d batteries.

    • On my own, I use the silly battery operated pump you did – but on the rally we have generator pumps.

  3. I don’t travel by bike, but I do use an ‘air hammer’ manual mattress pump, which always has me swearing a bit in the middle, but then is finished before I know it.

  4. One thing I liked about the donation page this year was the option to make a monthly donation. $10 a month is a lot easier for me to do than $120 all at once.

    That’s another great example of a little bit by a lot of people over time – is a lot of money.

    I am so proud to sponsor you and your team – it’s a wonderful thing you are doing.

  5. So next year if you can’t go on your vacation, may I instead? I’m small, knit, and can be quiet if I must. Glad you did get away for a while. Seems like heaven.

    Sorry I can’t add more to my previous donation, but our county has the second highest per capita rate of HIV/AIDS in California, and Food for Thought gets one of my larger donations every year. We must support all the fabulous organizations where we can.

    I thought your socks were called Scary Scary Night. Seems appropriate considering the knitting involved.

    Good luck on your sweeps and rides. And thank you, Canada, for honoring your people and their cultures.

  6. So glad you got away for a couple days. I am also so glad that you met your goal and that I was able to help in a small way. I know about fund raising. I am doing a walk for Alzheimer’s research in Sept with a team from my work. I now have $427 and a goal of $500. Oh so close. I hope you get more donations and it is great that you have matching funds too. The best to you and your team. You are awesome for doing this.


  7. I’m finding I don’t decide as much as watch what I do and decide that that was OK. Muscle memory, & all that. Looks beautiful. I miss Michigan, here in California. Maybe next summer…..

    • Yep, it’s tough on the nervous systems of the bikers, but I generally wait till close to the end and give to whoever’s farthest behind.

      • Rams, I give a little early on, then do the same towards the end. Fiscally similar to a sweeps ride (and a lot easier on my body)>

  8. Tis the season for fundraisers. I’ve had to take a hiatus from knitting and crocheting for my church’s festival. So many worthwhile causes, so little time and money to do as much as I want. I’m sure this is true for all of us.

    Love the sox. Even better I loved the scarf. The colors are great but the pattern is amazing. Like you, I took a mini vacation today. After work and trying to find a commercial refrigerator and freezer and helping to make up 25 gallons of spaghetti sauce, my vacation was an hour bubble bath while listening to the book on cd that I started. 1 disc = 1 hour and now I have to get the laundry done so I can carry on tomorrow with a visit to one of our nieces to meet her new baby girl, deliver the rest of her animals from her shower gift and see if I can offer any help with the baby for her to get some sleep and try to ease some of the baby blues she has. The shower gift was called into the jungle and I didn’t get the tiger or monkey done. They finally are.

  9. How beautiful a place! I’m glad you could go, even for just two days.
    One of my son’s classmates this past school year is Ojibwe. I don’t think she speaks the language much, though.

  10. FIFTY…THOUSAND…DOLLARS?! Last year, you raised FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS?!! OMG!! They should be carrying you to Montreal this year on one of those Cleopatra bed things! 🙂
    Just wondering… how is the rest of the team faring? Have they all met their goals yet? Should we be putting our pledges behind them also?

    • If you click Steph’s link it takes you to her page, which then has a link to the team page, where you can click each name, see who’s there, who’s behind and serve as an equalizer. Yea.

  11. Seems like the new socks are the perfect antidote to the perhaps-overly plain-vanilla ones!

    Glad you could get away for a few days to such a beautiful spot. Hope there was lots of peace and quiet — I know I never slept more soundly than when visiting relatives who lived on a farm about 30 miles form Nowhere! While I can understand your complaints about lack of cellphone and/or internet access, maybe that is something you should embrace. Make sure your important others (Joe, lovely daughters, Ken, cat) have a landline number for you, and that the landline number has an answering machine or voice mail. Then, forget the cellphone, and plan on a day or so spent catching up on the ‘net and e-mail once you’re back home. Don’t worry about work, unless you are writing a new pattern or a chapter for a new book (those don’t need the ‘net, just a laptop or tablet or a pen and paper!) Instead, enjoy the peace and serenity, knowing that you are recharging your batteries to take on your everyday world again.

    And overly plain-vanilla socks are OK if they help you fall asleep easier at night!

  12. Somewhere in August, can you answer the question how to make double-knit socket that can actually fit a foot? Serious question.

  13. I’m so glad you liked “The Rosie Project”. As a Melbourne girl it was a lot of fun to read. Shortly afterwards my second child was diagnosed as autistic, just like her older brother, and I went back and re-read the book, and it helped.

    Can’t wait for the movie!

  14. Your mum and sis are wise not to let you skip downtime. And I agree that being off the wireless grid awhile is a GOOD thing. My first time in Mexico, I could use net only at school, and my grown kids were forbidden to call unless it was an emergency that I could actually DO something about like wire money or fly home. The second time, two years later, my hosts had wi-fi and I agonized over U.S. Political news, got trivial e-mails and felt distracted from my mission of conquering basic past-tense verbs.

  15. I think you’d get more donations if the payment page made them easier. Specifically, I’d suggest setting up a way for people to donate using Paypal. I know I am MUCH more likely to chip in a buck or three if I could just quickly pull it from my account with a few clicks, instead of typing out all that info and going to go find my credit card. Just a suggestion!

    • You can donate using paypal. Once you get to the actual payment page, it offers you the choice of credit card or paypal.

  16. This post motivated me to donate $10 to Jen, as anyone who can put up with a punctured air mattress and still go out and ride the next year deserves my support.

  17. Your Mum had your number years ago and uses her force for good. I take notes whenever she puts in an appearance.

    Okay, coming down to the wire. I generally wait till the end (you’re welcome) to donate, so I can see who needs it most. As co-leader, Jen took a big burden — going to throw a few bucks in her helmet. (You are all going to busk for us, right? )

  18. Lovely post. great pics (I have to get to Georgian Bay one day), and now I want to knit those socks!
    And yes, the kindness of strangers is truly an inspiring thing and very tear worthy!

  19. well, thank goodness for people who know us through and through. Even triple A-types need to get-away, breath some fresh air, flop and drop, regenerate the tiniest bit of energy that is not immediately expended on one of a hundred projects! Looks like a gorgeous break away!

  20. Have at last been able to donate, and am so glad you got a chance to get away and decompress before the next couple weeks’ endeavors!
    Huzzah to the matching donator!
    And finally, those socks! Gorgeous!!! Tempting…

  21. I’m studying for the NYS bar exam right now. I too, am going to knit the shit out of August. I haven’t had more than 2 hrs of knitting time per week since mid-June. It’s driving me crazy!

    • Good luck, Stacy. Good thing I wasn’t a knitter when I was studying for the TX bar exam 30 years ago: I never would have passed (though I would have had some lovely Finished Objects).

  22. The photos are gorgeous!

    And it was fun to donate to the Rally a few weeks ago. Giving leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling!

    I decided to donate to someone on your team who appears to be a non-knitter. I wanted him to get a boost. But then I could be completely wrong. Maybe he churns out amazing stuff…..

  23. Love the socks! I’m looking forward to your posts during and after the ride. I put in a bit to help get that matching donation. 🙂

  24. Your photo made me miss our annual trip to Manitoulin. We’re staying home this summer with our newborn, so maybe she’ll get to see the ferry next year! Knitting in the wind on the top deck of the Chicheemaun is always a fun challenge 🙂

  25. I’d love to donate something, but you can only use your credit card 🙁 don’t have one… I do have a paypal acount, but that doesn’t seem an option?
    Any other ways? thirty stamps on an envelop? 😉


  26. good luck on your ride and for organizing a wonderful fundraiser to assist me to participate in a small way. I was able to pay w/ paypal 🙂

  27. In Bangkok we have a hotel/resort that gives a discount to locals who turn in their smartphones for the duration of their stay. I think it’s brilliant although I would be super sad if I missed the one time in the month that my daughter contacted me instead of the other way around. You can be away for a bit, and some stuff goes away on it’s own.

    Congrats on meeting your goal. Know I’m cheering you on and hoping my good wishes and donation bring you strength and stamina as you ride.

  28. When we were at DD’s college orientation weekend I was über-stressing about a return call taking forever to happen. I moved less than a foot and had 8 missed calls. Yeah, spotty reception.

  29. I didn’t have much to give but as you pointed out, every little bit counts- especially when it’s being matched. So, my few little stitches have been added to the fabric. Thanks for taking this on. It’s monumental!

  30. You’re right. If we all support you, even in a small way, we can make a huge difference. I’m sorry I didn’t donate earlier. But I’ve done it now. Thank you so much for doing the ride so many of us can’t do!

  31. Finally figured out what it was about those socks. They’re pretty. But–gear shifting socks. Starry starry night, certainly, but also, gears. Steampunk, too, if one used metallic colors, but right now they’re saying bicycles to me.

  32. I donated using PayPal from the UK, no card details needed at all. Love your blog Steph, good luck with the rally 🙂

  33. Stephanie and the team. Hard times are here. I am sorry. All I can donate is my love & support to you and your team. I don’t even have the extra dollar. I’m sorry to have to say that yet I wanted you to know that I am hoping that next year will be different for me. Much good luck to you all.

  34. Man, I am glad you’re done with that scarf! Not that it’s not beautiful in it’s own way and you did a lovely job on it but I have Trypophobia, a fear of holes. They’re just…gross. Rain drops in snow, a group of coffee stirrers or straws, whack-a-mole. Ick!

    Each time I saw a picture of thescarf, I would try to avoid it by scrolling as fast as my little fingers can or trying to cover it with my hand, to no avail. Quite a testament to your blog though. Hated those holes but couldn’t stop reading!

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