Not too old to ride a bike

Today is my birthday, and yesterday, walking with Elliot and talking about things (mostly dinosaurs, he is predictably still obsessed) I told him that it would be one more sleep until my birthday. He asked three questions, the first was whether or not I would be having a dinosaur party, and the second was “Grammy, when you have your birthday, will you be old then?” I told him I would be older, but not old. He gave me an eyebrow that said he wasn’t entirely sure I was right. Have you ever heard that idea that old to you is whatever twice your age is? To a four year old eight seems old, to a twenty year old forty seems long in the tooth… I see now how that I am 53 that really stops working but the point is that to Elliot, I must seem as old as trees. The third question was what I would like for a Birthday present – but he didn’t give me a chance to answer, he just said “Oh I know, yarn.”  While he’s not wrong, I have my eye on a little something else this year, and I bet some of you can guess it.

I’ve been slow to write about Team Knit this year, because what’s up with the Bike Rally has been (like everything else I am so exhausted) completely up in the air and that makes writing (about anything really) so hard.  Here in Ontario, we’re just beginning to open up.  Shops opened this week at 15% capacity for the first time in months, outdoor dining (for distanced tables of four) started too – salons might open sometime in July… Canada now leads the world in the number of first doses administered, but only a few of us are fully vaccinated, so not too much has shifted, especially as we try to outrun the Delta variant – one dose isn’t much protection against it.  Only 8% of Canadians have had a second dose and that’s pretty awesome considering that 88% of the world can’t get a first one.  I am a fully vaccinated (almost, I got dose 2 a week ago) human in a world where a global vaccine shortage is epic and I am so grateful, and fantastically privileged and I know many people reading this blog would love to be in my position.  On the other hand, watching the US is (with all possible love) like seeing another planet through a telescope at the moment. The last 18 months have been a time of great contrast for so many countries and – as I’m sure most everyone in the world would agree, it is so tiring to defend or explain the different approaches our countries have taken or why I can’t get a haircut or hug a friend and why even though so much is wide open in the US, the Bike Rally doesn’t know if it can ride again this year.  All that considered, I’ve sat down to write to you a million times and then just thought “maybe I’ll wait and see if things are clearer in a bit.”

Well, things are a bit clearer now -we won’t be riding our bikes to Montreal this year. We don’t know what restrictions will need to be in place in August, but a group of hundreds travelling large distances is possible but unlikely, but for sure Rally leadership can’t secure everything that’s needed (permits, contracts, campgrounds) based on “maybe?” The Rally has decided that there will be three sets of local rides in the three areas most riders live –  Kingston, Montreal and here in Toronto.  Riders will get up in the morning, ride a local route, in groups as small or large as they have to be, then come home and sleep in their own beds, and do the same thing again the next day.  It’s not the Rally, but it’s better than last year, and hopefully this will be the last time that we have to stay safe at home.

I’ve been thinking about that idea a lot, being safe at home.  Toronto has had a longer stay-at-home order than just about anywhere else in the world, did you know that? The phrase “Stay home and stay safe” has been a constant reminder for the last 15 months – and for the most part, that is what we have done. It has been lonely and difficult for us all to be separated from each other and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t changed themselves to cope – turned inward, turned more outward, knit themselves a small mountain of socks,  but it has been worth it, and most I know have been grateful that they have a home, that they are safe in it, and that staying in our nice safe homes has been all that is asked of us to save lives in our communities.

So, this was on my mind this week when the Bike Rally had a Virtual Town Hall, to announce what was going to be possible for us this year, and we learned that we’d need to stay home a little longer. I was reflecting on it- how much I want to leave home at this point, when a speaker from PWA started talking. He spoke about things I knew about PWA through this pandemic, like that the needs of their clients (who are still dealing with the last pandemic) have increased across the board. They’ve needed more help with food, with money, with finding electronic devices so that their children can do online school, with accessing government resources,  clinics have been closed across the city, doctors have only been seeing people virtually, except in emergencies… clients have needed the services that PWA has provided more than ever, and as needs have increased they’ve had to find new and creative ways to do that with less.  He also described something I know that PWA is very proud of- which is that they’ve managed to stay open as an essential service – distributing food through the essentials market and continuing as much as they were able, given restrictions. He called them a “scrappy little agency” and I felt so proud of how they’ve been able to respond to unprecedented demand, and so proud of all of you for the role you played last year in funding them.

He also said something I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.  He talked about this concept of staying home, and then said that a heartbreak and hardship for so many of the clients is that for them – PWA is home. It is where the family they need is, where the family that cares for them is, where they are safe, where they are respected and loved unconditionally – where they are understood and can meet the challenges that HIV presents without experiencing stigma or shaming. No matter who they are – and I’ve spoken about the diversity of the clients before -HIV’s main risk factor is a lack of power (think women, indiginous people, LGBTQ+, people of colour… the list goes on) PWA finds a way to flex, figure out what they need and provide that direct, practical, intentional support in their lives. For so many clients, PWA is the home they have needed through this hard time, and this pandemic has kept them from it.

As restrictions slowly loosen, Team Knit is able to leave our homes,

and we’re doing it to make sure that the clients of PWA have one to go to.

(That’s the first time Team Knit has been together in person since our “mini-rally” last year. None of us are fully vaccinated yet (Cam and I almost are!) so we have to keep our distance for a while yet. When we finally are able to close that distance, it will be the first time since the last full Rally almost two years ago.)

It got me thinking that even though Team Knit won’t be able to take the show on the road this year – at least not far away,  we can still do our very best to inspire donations to PWA by committing to do as much as possible to make all the magic happen. We’re planning to get as creative as we need to, though who knows what that will look like. As restrictions change, we will too. Team Knit this year is once again:

Me (You knew that)




If you click on our names, it will take you to our fundraising pages, and for my birthday if you wanted to give me any gift at all, and if you’re able,  I’d love to see all of Team Knit closer to our goals.

I’m happy to do Karmic Balancing Gifts this year- is anyone keen to? Let me know, and I’ll set it right up.

(PS. It is a rainy day here, so no gatherings (our indoor gathering limit is still zero) but I am officially planning to spend the entire rest of my day knitting.) 

72 thoughts on “Not too old to ride a bike

  1. Donation will be next, but I just wanted to say: 1) how wonderful it is to hear from you; and 2) how much I agree that the US (where I live in one of the most “open” states) must be really hard to see from your place, because it’s really hard for me to see and I’m here. The contrast between our countries may have never been clearer than the past few years . . . so many people will NOT help keep others safe.
    So, I’m over here with my mask on in solidarity (and safety), trying to do what’s right.
    Thanks, Stephanie. I’m looking forward to the day when Strung Along can resume and we can all gather safely. In the meantime, just keep biking!

  2. Fully supportive of the Bike Rally’s decision and I understand the letdown because so many things are being cancelled for the second time, just when we thought we had a chance at normalcy this summer. Great to hear that Team Knit is still participating in this weird and wacky way. Wondering if there will be Bike Rally yarn though?

  3. Echoing Judy’s comment; as difficult as it’s been, kudos to Toronto to keeping people as safe as can be under the current order. I’ve known (and lost) friends and family affected by this pandemic, yet there are far too many persons here in the States refusing the vaccine while returning to pre-2020 normal. While so many others elsewhere would jump at the chance.

    To brighter topics – wishing you a happy birthday and a year ahead of health, hope and happiness. Our heartfelt thanks to you, and to TK, for all that you do for so many. You lead the way no matter the circumstances with dignity and grace; stay safe and strong. (Touch the sunglasses – how apropos for your bright year ahead.)

  4. What a lovely day to share with you! Today is my (6th) wedding anniversary and I’m happy to send some financial love your way (and to the other three as well) to make sure PWA keeps helping the ones in need.

  5. Happy Birthday, Stephanie and Many Happy Returns!

    Enquiring minds do wanna know, however: ARE you having a dinosaur party? Which dinosaurs will be coming?

    Great to hear from you again. I so miss your daily posts…
    Bonne Anniversaire!

  6. Happiest of birthdays during this most trying of times. I am hoping that The Vaccinated outnumber the Un very soon.

  7. Happy Birthday! Sending a special birthday donation to Team Knit, split nearly equally between members! 😉

    As someone who lives in the PNW part of the US, it has been very interesting to experience the pandemic in a much different way than many other areas of this country. I have thought of you often as an additional experience to compare with.

    Thank you for continuing to hold up the PWA as a worthy and essential organization! Happy cycling!

  8. Earlier today I said to my daughter, “The Harlot hasn’t posted yet,” modestly omitting the “and it’s OUR birthday.” My wise child said, “Give her a little time.”
    Have a lovely day. We are happy to contribute to PWA.

  9. Happy Birthday, Steph! Elliot us a clever little dude. Some kind if ride is surely better than none. Here’s to better times.

  10. Happy Birthday and happy riding! I’m so glad there’s at least something of a rally; my thanks to all who are doing it.

    And so very glad you got your second shot.

  11. Happy birthday! Here’s to health and happiness in the year ahead – plus good friends, food, wine, coffee and YARN.
    Very happy to make my annual set of donations to Team Knit. You are giving a lot. The world needs more scrappy little agencies who care so much about their clients.
    I was not aware of the organization working with UNICEF to direct vaccines to the disadvantaged until I saw your post. Thanks for that information too.
    It’s been quite a year since the last rally. So many have lost so much, here in Toronto and around the world.
    I can hardly wait for my second vaccination. Getting close!
    keep very well
    Lisa RR

  12. Happiest of Birthdays, Stephanie. I hope you and your yarn had a fabulous day. A donation was made to Team Knit as a small gift. -KrisSWKnits.

  13. ¡Feliz cumpleaños! Hope you got all the yarn (string, thread, rope, dental floss, etc.) you wanted! (Was Joe able to help Elliot wrap that triceratops for you?)

    And, of course, GO TEAM KNIT!

  14. Happy Birthday!! Thanks for the reminder of our privilege… I have not had the most productive of work days and would have spent the evening grouchy… time for an attitude adjustment!

  15. Happy Birthday. It has been a strange year plus some.I’m one of the many fortunate in USA with both shots and actually traveling again. Heading out tomorrow to Bainbridge Island for the homecoming of Grandchild #2. My timing for #2 has been pretty amazing. He was born 10 weeks early and I was asked to visit as backup while the other grandparents were away. Now he will be coming home, 2 weeks before his original due date, the day after I arrive. I get to have a sleepover with Grandchild #1 now four and a half years old.
    After I pay bills I’ll squeeze out some extra for PWA and Team Knit.

  16. Canada does better than the US in so many ways on medical matters that I have a hard time understanding your government’s response to this pandemic. Can someone explain how, with a whole year’s advance notice, the universities and government labs weren’t mobilized to produce a Canadian vaccine or to purchase more doses in advance from abroad? It made me so angry when my own government decided to donate vaccines to Canada, but initially only those that had proved to be problematic: AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson. You followed all the rules and we followed far fewer of them, so it seems unfair that anyone in the US who wants a vaccine can get one while you’re still under lockdown. Hang in there – hopefully we can all learn from this experience and do better next time (because there will be a next time).

    • Canada used to be a major producer and supplier of vaccines to the world, but some years ago a conservative government shut down that work, sold the equipment and redirected the funds elsewhere. And so now there’s a pandemic, we are negotiating to import vaccines. It’s infuriating! In world terms, though, we are still very privileged.

    • Anyone in the US can get a vaccine because our country paid for them prior to them being developed. It was a brilliant move! We are all very fortunate that the vaccines were fast tracked and approved so rapidly. I am very grateful to those who gave of themselves and entered into the research studies during the development and testing of these vaccines. They had no guarantee that these vaccine trials would be safe. It is also wonderful to hear that people who had the virus are still carrying antibodies as many as ten months later! I feel uplifted by all of this.

  17. I think that what this pandemic has brought home to me is the differences of people’s experiences, not only on the large country scale, but also on the small neighbor to neighbor scale. Hoping that we can all find common ground when this is all over, and that we can support/respect each other until then 🙂

  18. Waving HI from the Kootenays! So glad to hear you’re still over there in the East, “keeping on”. Look forward to seeing you at a fiber event sometime soon. Now to go donate and looking forward to seeing your Karma gifts.

  19. Sent a donation to Pato. I have been tossing, caressing, and thinking of curating my stash. I knit hats, hand warmers, mittens, and socks, yet I have sweaters worth of lightweight Shetland wool. If anyone would be interested in fingering weight shetland karma would suggest that I move it on. Available in aqua and turquoise–hand me downs from a friend who spent the 60s in Scotland.

  20. Speaking as a citizen of a state whose reaction to a governor trying to keep us safe was to plot to kidnap her, I think your comment is breathtakingly restrained; while I’m glad that steps are finally being taken to globally distribute vaccines, I wish we could identify each denialist and airlift the vaccines they’re ignoring to our beleaguered longest allies. Dagnabbit. I am, however, like everyone else, delighted to see you and Team Knit back, and my first contribution will be there soon. Sheesh.

  21. Happy Birthday!

    Canadians are apparently smarter and nicer than we Americans are — too many people never got with the program. Too selfish.

    I will be donating again this year.

    • Canada has plenty of vocal anti-vaxxers, including in Toronto, as well as plenty of politicians who fell short in their responses to covid. Unfortunately, less-smart and less-nice humans span the globe.

      Luckily, so do people like Stephanie and her friends. Happy birthday, Stephanie! I’m happy to contribute.

  22. Happy Birthday to you! Sending you all my warmest wishes to you and cheers to returning, even slowly, to ‘normal’ life.

  23. Oh yeah, bring on the Karmic Matching!! Woohooo! (Just in case that hasn’t been clear yet, with all of these lovely and polite comments…!) 😉

  24. Happy birthday, dear Stephanie. Donation will come when I manage to get my computer and my credit card in the same room (we just moved and are unpacking). May your year to come be especially blessed and healthy. I’m a fan of Karmic Balancing Gifts, but am willing to wait another year if this is just one thing you don’t need to do. We love you and we understand the strange feelings we’ve all been through during this pandemic.

  25. Congratulations and best wishes on your Bike Rally. Please let me respectfully add a comment on vaccination south of the border. Vaccinations are available free of charge, to the best of my knowledge, for anyone except very young children. You can now get vaccinated in pharmacies, as well as clinics, and some places are offering free beer and lotteries. The problem with vaccines is not cost or availability, but rather anti vaxxers and those who think the virus is a hoax.

  26. First, Belated Happy Birthday!

    In case you haven’t see this website, I think you’ll like it:
    Example: Laughter is not the best medicine, knitting is. It leaves you in stitches.

    IF and only if you feel you have the time and energy for it, I’m up for Karmic Balancing Gifts. I just found 3 skeins of Cascade 220 fingering 100% Peruvian Highland Wool which need a new home (my stash is embarrassingly huge…)

  27. KARMIC BALANCING GIFTS–for sure!! I still have a basket I volunteered two years ago containing 12 beautiful skeins of quality sock yarn like Regia and Opal for 12 generous people, with a thirteenth skein as a bonus for someone to be picked at random from the 12. All I ask from you Steph is 12 names and addresses, preferably in the US please, and I’ll get them on their way.
    All my love to you and your sweet grandson, the same age as mine and just as obsessed with dinosaurs. Teddy in Tacoma

  28. Happy New Year to Stephanie!
    I’m digging the dinosaur yarn party concept! Hard to believe Eliot is talking, yet conversing….the world was on hold but the kids kept growing and changing our world. Ask Eliot to deliver all the birthday hugs from all the Harlot’s well wishers. Best present I can think of.
    Thank you for reminding us that there are people that RELY on others for each day. Thank you for supporting PWA and for doing the Bike Rally. Maybe the whole family can ride next year…wasn’t it Sam that started this in your house?
    Just as you’ve been watching the US, shaking your head in amazement, there have been many of us watching Canada, doing the same, thinking “why can’t the US follow their example of caution and common sense?”
    The weather is warming and I’m sure it’s time for the Harlot to hit the High Seas with Captain Hubbo.
    Wishing you beautiful joyous moments in each day of the year ahead.

  29. Happy Birthday! Donation going to Team Knit today!
    Being fully vaccinated is SUCH a relief, I haven’t had a vaccine anxiety dream since – you know, where you are at a huge party and no one is masked, or you have forgotten your mask and everyone is staring….

  30. Happy Birthday.

    We celebrated my dad’s 79th birthday in December and we had a dinosaur birthday party and it was AWESOME. (It was just our tiny pod all together with extended family zoomed in) but still it was dinosaurs and it was joyous! (Only our dog was not a fan, the Tyrannosaurus rex balloon was too much for her!)

  31. Happy birthday Steph from across the pond, hope you had a lovely day. Here in the uk the vaccine program is romping along thanks to lots of fabulous and dedicated staff but this virus seems to be one step ahead, no one is safe till everyone is safe.
    So everyone stay safe and well and please look out for your neighbour wherever in the world they might be.
    With love to you all Steph x

  32. What is screamingly frustrated that in my county, vaccinations seem to have stopped at 42% of the population having at least one shot. Because I’m in Florida, and that’s all that want to be vaccinated. They’re *easy* to get here – walk into any drugstore, or even some grocery stores with pharmacies, and a few pop-ups like churches. Even in your doctor’s office. They’re trying to talk people into getting them. Meanwhile there are millions of people who would happily wait in line to get one if they had a chance. How the heck did a virus, and vaccinations, become politicized?

  33. Happy birthday! And it’s great to see the gang together again, and I SO admire how PWA has kept going through such a terrible time. I for one am RELYING on there being another Karmic Balancing Gifts for the ride – I’m sorting through this stash that is about twice as big as I would ever be able to knit (this and other realities I have faced during the pandemic isolation) and was looking forward to throwing them into your mix. Go Team Knit!

  34. Happy birthday, Stephanie. I’m so pleased that there can be at least a version of the bike rally for PWA this year. This year my wish for you is ‘normality’, or at least as close to it possible in this changed world.

  35. Happy Birthday Stephanie – I get such joy from your writing and have been donating on behalf of each member of Team Knit for many years. Hope to continue for many more!

  36. Belated happy birthday to you! I will be making donations to all the members of Team Knit.

    I am also looking at my SABLE and have some donations to make to the Karmic Balancing stash. Please let us know if that’s happening so I can pull them out to let you know what they are. Right now there’s three skeins of Baby Twist from Alpaca With a Twist in colourway 434 (grey) that would love to help with balancing the universe. Who knows what else may pop out?

  37. Happy Birthday! I remember finding out my mom was 36(?) – I was afraid she was not long for this world 🙂 She lasted another 45 years. Still not long enough.

    That’s good news that you’ve gotten the 2nd shot. I got my 2nd on May 15, and even though I still pretty much stay at home yet, it’s nice to have the peace of mind when I do go out. While I can understand hesitancy about the vaccine (new technology, and parallel testing that took months not serial testing that takes years), I’ll never understand the outright lies used to discount the it, or any other vaccine. And then there are those who still totally deny covid is even a real thing. sigh….

  38. Firstly, Happy Birthday a little late!! Secondly, since I had a recent small windfall, I donated to all of you in the spirit of paying it forward. God Luck. You are all inspiring and awe inspiring. I miss String Along more than I can say and I hope one day that will be back as well as all the things you are missing. Our world here in Idaho has brightened a bit with most things being open and unrestricted. It’ll get to Canada too….soon….hang in there …

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  40. When the two daughters of my middle child (my second son) were about Eliot’s age, I asked them “How old is your father?” One of them answered, “Eleven”. Surprised, I then asked, “How old is your mother?” And their answer: “Forty”.

  41. One of the Facebook art pages I follow posted today about Max Alexander, an artist who knits moths. They’re beautiful! Take a look if you have time.

  42. Good news that more people in Canada and the world are being vaccinated.

    “Canada now leads the world in the number of first doses administered” ?? check your numbers. Not accurate as a percentage of population or a a total number.

  43. Just wanted to say that since reading your post, I have been thinking about the dinosaur birthday party concept.
    Next year would be a great year for many folks to have dinosaur birthday parties.
    I’m working on my ideas! I have until next May for mine …

  44. Dear Stephanie,
    I have a karmic balancing contribution this year. It’s a set of KP Palette in a rainbow of colors.

    I did email you but I saw that you were off on a lovely adventure.

    I’m ronantheknitarian on rav, and the trade or sell tab on my stash page has the set tagged with bikerally.
    I’m rooting for you and your team.

  45. Happy Canada Day from your friends to the south! Hopefully it won’t be much longer before we can all move about more freely– and even cross the border.

  46. I’m in the UK where things are a bit more open. I went to a 25th Anniversary party last weekend which had been postponed from last year. There were around 100 people at the party in outdoor marquees and gardens. Since the party, at least four people that I know of have tested positive for Covid. Most of them are under 25 years old (there were only 9 young people at the part, 3 of them have the virus). It’s a very timely reminder to take care, stay home and look after ourselves and our loved ones. The adult who tested positive has had both vaccines. It’s my birthday in a couple of weeks and I was hoping to have a get together with lots of friends, but I think I’ll leave it for this year. Better to be safe. Take care everyone x

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