Sunday, October 21, 2007


Party on the Patio

And just about everywhere else, apparently.

Oh, what a week I've had! I have a few pictures but of course they're at home and I'm not.

I won't lie and say I'm putting them up tomorrow 'cause I have a very busy day ahead of me, but sooner or later there should be ... well, something.

I love being precise. Yup, that's exactly the thing I love to be. Or maybe not.

I suppose we could start with Monday and Tuesday but they involved work and weren't all that interesting. (There, they're dealt with). Wednesday I renewed my driver's license (having discovered in, oh, June that it had expired in January) and then hied me to a nunnery. Or perhaps to the train station -- it's so hard to tell the two apart.

I then boarded the Amtrak-which-is-not-a-train and headed for Seattle. The only problem with this was that I had misunderstood the website for Amtrak and thought I was getting on a train, with a refreshment cart or a dining car or something. At least somewhere I could stretch my legs a little and buy a bottle of water or a coffee.

No such luck. The Amtrak-which-is-not-a-train (I'm a little bitter, apparently) turned out to be a bus. Fortunately I had packed a bag of nuts in my luggage the night before and had also made a quick trip to the convenience store in the train station (you see that word there? "train"? this was part of the reason i was deceived.) and had purchased a bottle of water, some Cheetos and a large coffee. Truly, without those there would more than likely have been blood all over the pretty upholstery of the very nice not-a-train.

There were only 19 passengers and it was all quiet and comfortable and such. I had a moment of panic when I realized that I had to write out a customs declaration and that they required a destination address. I, of course, had left the house without an address or a phone number as I knew the ladies who were picking me up at the station (Elaine and Leslie) had my cellphone number and would call me if they were delayed. A little fancy footwork was performed and everything was taken care of in good time. There was a huge lineup at the border, there being two not-a-trains in front of us, however it didn't take a lot more than an hour or so and we were well on our way.

By the time I got to the train (see? there's that word again) station in Seattle I was so hungry I could have eaten a vole salad sandwich. Fortunately I wasn't required to prove this and was taken out for some very tasty fried fish accompanied by some very tasty and very garlicky fries. (apparently my favourite type of ethnic food is "fried". i'm so culturally adventurous and stuff.)

Prior to our fairly-early dinner, we had made a brief trip to the bookstore where we nabbed ourselves copies of Crazy Aunt Purl's book and informed the somewhat dubious staff that they were going to need more chairs. Way more chairs.

Upon returning to the store to hear Laurie speak, we discovered that a) the early purchase of the book was a really good plan (they ran out) and b) they needed more chairs.

Way more chairs.

Laurie was entertaining and funny. She also, as promised, talked and talked. It was amusing watching her try to remember if she had answered the question, what the question was and, in some cases, whether there had been a question at all.

I'm never writing a book.

I have no idea why I was arrogant enough to think that I was the only Canadian knitblogger who would make the trip. I know by now what we're all capable of, and yet I was still amazed to run into Ande and Mandy. I've met both of these most excellent ladies before in person and completely embarrassed myself by forgetting Ande. My only excuse is that a) she's thinner and b) she's done something different with her hair and c) she pronounced her name differently than I had been pronouncing it in my head and I didn't even understand what she said at first.

Gaile was there too, and even though I've met her several times (she and her splendid boy helped me move house) it still took me quite some time to clue in that she was there (yes, she had told me in advance that she would be). I then felt it would be best to lean over several people and poke her with a dpn while rubbing my ass on the very nice complete stranger behind me. The same complete stranger I had been poking with my knitting needles for the previous ten minutes.

I'm so damned gracious and socially polished. Hey, at least I didn't barf on anyone. Some days that's all you can ask for.

I then spent two days hanging out with my friends and being covered in animal slobber. No, Elaine and Leslie are neither animals nor slobbery, however they have four very friendly dogs, one large and friendly cat and one large cat who I think eats Jehova's Witnesses for breakfast, but who finally came around to the realization that he was indeed a lap cat, and that my lap was a good place for a cat to spend a little time.

The other cat snuggled up to me both nights and helped me with the big words in my book. He was pretty pissed I didn't want to watch TV but I'm strict about that kind of thing on a school night.

We spent some time visiting two wonderful fibre stores. I don't call them yarn stores because there is so much more than yarn at both of these establishments. Purchases were made at both places but I was very restrained. One skein of Malabrigo something or other at Church Mouse in incredible mermaidy blues and greens (I'm not going to knit with it, I'm just going to put a leash on it and pretend it's my pet) and a good selection of spinning fibres at Weaving Works (Wensleydale, brown BFL and some Coopworth. Corriedale too, I think -- about 3 ounces of each.)

I returned with regret to Canada (not that I don't like the place, I just wanted more holiday) and immediately discovered that if you're planning on going out, actually making arrangements for childcare is a good idea. All three of the people I tried to get hold of couldn't help out, so I callously abandoned my family yet again and headed out for dinner with some old friends. I hadn't seen at least one of the women (possibly two) for over 30 years.

I staggered home at close to 4am. Unfortunately I had to work at 8. I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to be an at-least-marginally-responsible adult, but you sure wouldn't know it from my behaviour that day.

It was fun, interesting, and in some ways difficult. This whole "worlds colliding" thing is hard for me and has left me with joy, relief and an indefinable but nonetheless sizeable burden of sadness.

I don't understand it, myself. It's not that we were all old and wrinkly. We seem, in general, to have aged pretty well (even me). It's not even that I discovered that a couple of us didn't make it through in one piece (I have a small amount of grieving to do.)

I'm sure further navel-gazing will occur. I likely won't blog about it. Even I can't stand naked in the middle of the street all the time.

And now I'll end this here, seeing it's about five miles long and it's now well into the day after the time stamp says I wrote this.

Tune in tomorrow for "Head In A Whorl: Ass In A Sling -- the tale of my first fibre workshop/talk/thang"

I'm glad you had a blast in Seattle. Sometimes it's good to get out there and blow out the pipes. Heh.

I'm sorry to hear about the grieving, I hope everything will be okay.
Not even a dictionary of swear words? Even if we say pleeeeze?
Fried food IS ethnic. It's American. We do rancid grease like nowhere else.
I grok the indescribable sadness. I don't know what causes it either, and it irritates the fixer in me to know that I generally just have to acknowledge it and let it do its thing. I hope it does it fast.
I'm so glad that Seattle was a good (if FAR too short) vacation. I feel your frustration with the not-a-train -- what would you expect from a TRAIN station? Sending sadness processing thoughts your way...
Dude. I didn't even get a mention.

I am horrified, and will possibly spend the rest of my day laid out on my fainting couch, sobbing into a pillow for my lack of fame.

I am very glad you posted about the spinning thingy, I worried it had passed without a mention.
And I'm glad it was fun.
Worlds colliding and sadness? Yes. And I have to say, I'm finding your "vacation" exhausting. International travel, varsity drinking, public speaking? At least I know you sat down with a book.
I'm happy to hear you had the opportunity to check out my two favorite LYS-and-mores while here. We are spoiled down here with our abundance of fiber options, but we do share well.
Nice to hear you had a great time. Sorry about the loss part though, hope you get through that smoothly.
Damn. Sorry about the not-a-train. I looked it up and it did imply that at least *some* of the runs were by train. Asswipes.

Glad you had a good time and were able to startle the store folk with the serious, "Way more chairs...", incantation.
That's the thing that's always stopped me from ever seriously contemplating running away to Vancouver by train - the bus thing. What, there are no rails connecting anywhere at that point? I have this awkward tendency to get carsick, unless I'm driving. I always get this vision of crossing the border barfing, which, you just so attractive when dealing with international relations. And god forbid I should ever imitate the elder Shrub.

But glad you had a good time seeing Laurie, however you got there and back!
I missed this post first time round, can't imagine why since I am a regular worshipper. Fried food is the ethnic food of Scotland, you should know that - deep fry it and put it in a sandwich. I once said to a friend that I don't really like fudge, it's too sweet, and she looked at me disapprovingly and said 'Are you s-u-r-e you're Scottish?' My enthusiasm for fried food in sandwiches reassures me on this point.

And I crossed that US/Canadian border by train on one trip and swore I would never do it again. While the scary ladies and the less scary dogs were checking us, a leak broke through in the roof of the train above me, and cold water poured onto my lap, but I was too scared to move out of the way in case they started questioning me again. Ah, happy times.

And I'm sorry to read about the ones who didn't make it; I had one of those updates recently too and it's hard. You feel for a while as if you're standing alone in a cold, bright light.
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