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Monday, April 28, 2008

Oh, Canada... A Knitters Adventure In Toronto- More Big Girls Knit Book Launch!

A knitting adventure? Is that an oxymoron? I can assure you, it's not. (Contrary to the border guard who giggled on my explanation of the trips purpose.) I know- because this weekend I had one. An international adventure of epic proportions. I went to Toronto for the More Big Girls Knit Book Launch at Lettuce Knit! Which just so happened to coincide with the DKC Knitters Frolic. (Yes- the border guard also thought that explanation equally, HILARIOUS.)

I know, I know- I went to the first launch and wrote about it already. What can I say? It was such an amazing experience, I wanted more. That's exactly what I got. MORE. More of the same- and yet, something even better.

What really struck me this time, was the people and the knitting community that is Toronto. Walking up to Lettuce Knit- was a thrill. I'm a long time reader (ok ,stalker) of YarnHarlot, Amy, Jillian,(ok- a fellow Michigander- but in her heart, she's Torontonian) Jen, Indigodragonfly and a number of other Torontonian knit blogs...all of whom are Lettuce Knit regulars. Ocassional skeptic that I am, I had wondered if it was all hype. I wondered "Could it really be that great?" I also wondered how the regulars would respond to a loud, foreign invader.

Actually- I was a little (ok, a lot) nervous. I mean- these people actually know each other! They have a history together. I didn't want to feel like a third wheel- or a party crasher. Worse yet, I didn't want to feel like a knit-reject. Clicks (or should I say cliques?) are an international phenomenon... one I've experienced before, and don't like. But not this weekend. Not with these knitters and not at this shop. By the end of the evening- I felt like one of the girls. (well except I talk funny, apparently...)

I should back up a bit. The day had started much earlier, however, at the Frolic. I met Danielle and Indigodragonfly and we were quick to hit it off. Danielle and I could just about keep pace with each other in the verbal arena. (I think we near wore out Indigodragonfly!) And at one of the first booths we visited together, Indigodragonfly and I discovered we're fibre (that spelling is for my new Canadian friends) twins! (Which could have led to fibre fights, but didn't, as we're both quite sweet;) We quickly developed a rather symbiotic relationship- helping each other buy yarn.

Between the Frolic and the launch party- we hung out for a bit and talked - then I was invited to dinner at "The Big Fat Burrito". The infamous haunt of Lettuce Knitters! I had the most incredible steak burrito- which I shared with a homeless guy. (politics aside- we have to find an answer (answers) to homelessness...just sayin') Then, we walked to the shop for the launch.

Lettuce Knit is located in Kensington Market. Which- is just that- an amazing "find everything and then some " kind of neighborhood/market. The doors are open- goods of all sorts are displayed on racks and stands on the street. There are luscious fruit stands are on every corner. (At one stand the mangos were so irresistible- that a little guy, probably 4 or so, kept swiping one off the table, to try for a taste. Mom kept putting them back and telling him "no". However, like a tiny comedian, he kept reaching for another. FInally, in a Mom's desperate move of distraction- she held his arms over his head, laughing. The brilliant creativity of Kensington must have rubbed off on him- as he immediately leaned forward, mouth open, and bit a mango ""bobbing for apples" style! (I immediately fell in love with him, as well, and would have tucked him into my bag had it not already contained a lifetimes worth of yarn!)

Kensington Market was a sensory overload of the very best kind, with no sense was left un-touched. My nose was treated to a caucophony of aromas. (A pretty good trick, as I lost much of that sense, to a nose job years ago) The scents shifted from delightful to obnoxious within just a few feet. The scent of fresh (mostly fresh anyways) fish, bread, fruit, meat and humanity all created a tapestry of scent that will be forever etched in my mind and entitled "Kensington Market #5."

In addition to sights, textures and scents- there was music both lyrical and lingual, everywhere! It poured from the doorways and from street performers. Voices added to the music in both barter and chatter. It was truly amazing. It was life, concentrated. I think it was there, that I fell in love with Toronto. (I was also glad to have someone leading me around, or I'd have wandered aimlessly -albeit contentedly- for weeks!)

Still nervous- (me, anyways) we made our way through people and sights. I thought maybe it was the burrito when my stomach flip-flopped with nerves as we came up to the street that houses Lettuce Knit. Then, I saw it. There were knitters everywhere, on every step of the porch and on chairs, in both the front and backyard! They were smiling, chatting (knitting- of course;) and helping with projects and color choices. There were kids eating cupcakes, giggling and performing. (kids love an audience, and in these knitters they sure had one;) There was much passing of babies, and I could just about hear ovaries bursting with ripened eggs at the sight of them. (They were truly, that cute;)

The atmosphere was great. Energetic and fun. It was like Sesame Street came to life. (If Sesame Street suddenly became a bit PG 13;) I started shopping as soon as I got in the door;) The shop is tiny- but LOADED with the very best of knitterly goods. Soon- a fabulous Irish band arrived, and started playing the most beautiful music! Within minutes of arriving women were again transformed by the designers magic. There were cupcakes. There were sweaters. There were door prizes! (I won the most incredible Jordana Paige Knit bag!-see pics) There were knitters everywhere. It was fabulous.

Beyond the shopping potential and pure eye-candy of the place, there was a pervasive feeling of home. My nerves over how these knitters would receive an outsider, were totally unfounded. It was an amazing group. Everyone I met, had a story, design sense, a sense of humor or creativity that was remarkable, and they were quick to share them. (many had all of the above!!) A hotbed of design and designers surrounded me. I had a few questions about patterns (as every yarn I saw was begging to be immediately knit-up) when I threw them out to the group- each was met with, "Well, ask____ she's over there, she designed it!" I was amazed, and a little (ok, a lot) awe-struck.

After my visit, I think I have a better understanding of knit-community and what it can be. I can see how this atmosphere of synergy encouragement and creativity have birthed so many designers and artists of color, texture and word. I was sad to leave Lettuce Knit- the Knitty crew and MBGK Team . I will miss them and the Toronto they enjoy. But, they've inspired me to get involved in my local knit community and see what it can become. I mean- if Canadians can tolerate me... maybe a few Americans can as well;)

More after I catch up on laundry-- (is that even possible? Probably only if my family spends a few days in a nudist camp- which ain't happening...)

PS- HAPPY BIRTHDAY DENNY!

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Friday, April 18, 2008

There are no popsicles in h*ll.

Youngest child: "MOMMY! I want a popsicle!"

Mommy: "No, it's almost time for dinner."

Youngest child: "I will eat my dinner-I promise! - I'm STARVING for a popsicle."

Mommy: "I said, NO."

Youngest child: "PLEEEEEEASE?" (voice pitch rising to a whine that only dogs can hear level...)

Mommy: "You can have one after dinner, not now."

Youngest Child: "MOMMY, I NEED a popsicle!"

Mommy: "If you ask me again- you won't get any after dinner, either."

Youngest child. Arms crossed. Brows furrowed. "You are the devil".

I've been a mom for over 18 years I thought I'd heard it all.... I've been called a lot of things.. but really now, The Devil? Hilarious. Told you- there are no popsicles in h*ll, because apparently I am the devil and do not allow them.

Mental note- Next week buy nasty tasting sugar free popsicles.... that'll teach him.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Garbage Jenga- Winner takes all (the trash out)

garbage jengaShoe boxes, sushi containers, empty coffee cans, paper toweling of nefarious sorts. Empty milk bottles, dirty bamboo chopsticks and a few vaguely-recognizable foodstuffs.

Each object, precariously perched upon the other, a leaning tower of garbage- a haz-mat situation in the kitchen- really- a rousing family game of Garbage Jenga.

What started as a necessary kitchen garbage can, has become a family past-time. Each day's game of Garbage Jenga offers a chance to win. The game grows through out the day, every family member adding to the tower, bit by garbage-y bit. Each one quietly backing away from their last addition, afraid the meer sound of their footsteps could lead to jenga-tastrophe.

The rules of the game are simple: Whom ever placed the last item on the garbage pile prior to it's toppling, is the tortured soul who must: (cue the scary music) TAKE OUT THE TRASH.

It's truly amazing to see the engineering skills employed to reinforce the garbage tower. Please note the turned up edge of the garbage bag that gives just enough additional room in the can for items to be slipped into the sides without adding to the height. (It's the height that gets them-every time.) I have explained countless times- that the energy exerted in reinforcements, arguing (about who's turn it is) and studying garbage tower engineering is considerably more than what would be required to simply TAKE out the TRASH... but alas... they disagree.

And so- each day..the game begins anew. An empty box- coffee grounds, a candy wrapper, a broken toy or *gasp* a pile of old schoolwork at a time...

Just one question? Garbage Jenga- does this count towards our one million minutes of family game time?

I will refrain from describing the argument that ensues over who has to replace the garbage bag with a clean one...or who has to pick up the garbage that inevitably drops off the jenga pile and onto the kitchen floor as it's being bagged.. let's suffice to say it's not a pretty sight. Really- I have no clue why my extremely intelligent family seems to be incapable of taking out the trash without waiting for a trash-alanche or my (loud) complaints.... but there you have it- just another adventure in motherhood, you gotta laugh to survive ;)

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

On Spring Teases and the Biodegradability of Dog Poo (Or lack thereof)

The sump pump is running and my allergies are in full, sinus attacking bloom. It would seem that Spring is attempting to Sprung. (sprang? spring? Whatever.)

However- I'm not yet convinced that it's here to stay. I am jaded. I do not trust Spring. I live in a land where Spring likes to tease. Spring arrives for an hour or two in the morning-- all sunshine and green...and then flees to somewhere that the snow has abandoned, by noon. One day it's 60 degrees and sunny, the next day, we get a dumping of 4 inches of snow. The chances of a thunderstorm and a snowstorm are about equal in any given day. In Michigan, Spring is more of an "in the moment" thing than an actual "Season."

Spring, is also attacking Mothers. It's doing it's best to make us look bad. We promise a park trip and the weather immediately turns sour. We plan an indoor activity... and the sun pops out and demands attention. If it snows and I make my kids shovel... the rest of the snow will melt by noon. (Which I did last week--- and will never hear the end of.) If I don't make them shovel... the snow will solidify into a mass of dirty ice that could only be compared to the driveway's attempting to turn into a comet--- and my kids will slip on the way to the bus stop. Of course... they will then say: " Can I sue my parent for a slip and fall accident?" and: "You said it would melt, mom." To which I offer the lame: "I guess, I lied."

As of today- the snow is nearly all gone. The sun is shining in my backyard, I grabbed a cup of coffee and joined the cat in front of the doorwall to soak up the sunshiney goodness through the glass. Once my eyes adjusted to the brilliant light.. (takes a while after the long winter here in Michigan...) I noticed the dog poo. Perfectly piled little gifts our beagle has been leaving us all winter long---like left over Easter eggs found in July, they are not a welcome surprise.

What I do not understand, is this: A winters' worth of garbage that blew through the yard, is gone. The papers and bits of plastic that blew out of frozen garbage cans before they could be emptied into the truck...are all gone, blown away by the Spring breezes (read: near gale force winds) or somehow melted away with the snow. The left over fall leaves have disappeared, becoming one with the grass, as they should. The yard looks pretty good aside form the mud, until you look closely, thats when you'll notice the poo.

Perfectly preserved little piles, dotting the yard. The one thing that is naturally biodegradable (it's already halfway there- for pete's sake, it's been digested!) remains. The poo piles. WHY does dog poo- not biodegrade? Why does it last through snow and ice and rain and sun and global warming and global cooling and sleet and hail all seemingly, un-changed? I don't get it.

I have no answers. I have no spiritual analogy... only preserved piles of poo. And the task of assigning my sons to clean them up.... which they are already arguing about. They have offered munerous suggestions in regards to the poo:

1) Leave it until the "Lawn guy" comes and the mower will turn it to mulch.. (Ummm no- that's a good way to lose a lawn guy)

2) Let's call it a science experiment and see what happens to it. If we document it carefully maybe it will someday win us a Nobel Prize.

3) The grass will grow and cover it.... (It will... until one summer day we turn on the sprinkler, instantly re-constituting the poo-piles into slippery death traps...which will of course be the day the youngest want to run through the sprinkler...)

4) Haz-mat? (Ummm a possibility)

5) Can we move? (a thought to consider...)

A final thought.... there MUST be some chemical or industrial application for this (seemingly) indestructible and renewable (daily) resource.... cars running on dog poo? Roofing made of dog poo? Bricks made of dog poo? I don't know....if only I could come up with something....and patent it... and sell it.... then I'd be able to pay the "poo patrol" to come and take care of it for me.....*sigh*.

Until then.... I'll knit.... in front of the doorwall basking in the pseudo-Spring sun, with the cat.... our eyes on the sunny-blue sky... not the ground...the ultimate in poo -pile denial;)

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