Sunday, June 29, 2008

From There to Here, and more

Cricket dozes (I love her "Edwardian Dandy hair" markings!)

So I had a wonderful time in the Twin Cities. You know how, if you haven't seen a BFF for oh say 20 years, and you get back together...the conversation picks up as though you'd just gone to get the mail and come back in. I got there, I moved in (well, I know it was only a few days, but a girl has to have her book bag, her knitters' rolling case, her knitting basket, her music case for tapes, CDs, tape player and CD player, her little box o' drugs required by old age...what am I forgetting? OH! a few clothes) and we broke out the knittin' and it was Game On! Now, the truth is, the staid, respectable, calm, knittin', writin', readin', museum-guidin' historical-reenactin' cat lady you see before you is NOT the same free-thinking, heavy-drinking, college-student roaring hippie as I was when we were college girls.

Well - she is. I mean, I *am*, but older, mellower, and dare I say cooler than I was. I do believe I've cleaned up good. So has Auntie Barb. Her life has been more professional and "real" than mine in many ways, but our bond is in no way diminished. She too shares her home with two cats (Cricket and Lilly). She too works at a museum (demonstrating spinning, among other things). She too reads a WHOLE LOT. And we like the same foods. So Wednesday evening and Thursday were spent engaging n a variety of those pursuits, accompanied by non-stop talking. Non-stop. Oh - we share another quirk: both nights we were up past 2:00 a.m.

This is Lilly, she of the Probable Maine Coon heritage; she was checking me out and therefore not displaying her breathtaking tail.

Barb figured the last time we actually spent a few days together was 22 years ago; I can't remember, so suspect she's right - and yet, once we were settled in, stretched out, and had yarn and needles in hand, we picked up our conversation as though it had been interrupted for lunch. I was there from Wednesday to Sunday, and can tell you straight up that I left with a determination to repeat the experience pretty soon. For one thing, we didn't get done all we'd planned to do. We didn't, for example, get to the Star Wars exhibit - so I can use that as the excuse to go back before it ends. And there are meals we didn't get to.

There used to be a Chinese restaurant in Minneapolis called The Nankin. It had been there since three weeks before God, because it had been my Mom's favorite eatery since she was a young woman. Barb and I loved to go there, especially for their "Pressed Duck". WELL! Sit down and shut your mouth!! Seems there's a new restaurant run by someone who used to be at the Nankin - and rumor has it that THEY MAKE PRESSED DUCK, the same recipe ! I can tell you, I am SO packing Barb into the car and going there...furthermore, my sister tells me it's near Rudolph's, home of the finest barbecued ribs constructed on this earth. (Disclaimer -- that's other than the ribs made with sauce created by my Lovely Daughter .)
On Friday morning, I arranged to get together with my sister, who lives in Minneapolis. To my ecstatic delight great relief, it was very easy to get to her house from Barb's. The directions went something like: Take the major road from Barb's. It turns into the major road that goes over the river. When you get across the bridge turn right and proceed to Sister's house. (It's a different bridge than the one I always took before - remember the horrendous bridge collapse? Yeah, that one.) So I got to my sister's as though I knew where I was going too.

We headed back out to go to my nephew's house; he lives near Lake Calhoun. Every once in a while there are beautiful lake views on the blog of Chris , a fellow knitter-Minneapolitan who is owned by two cats. As you can see, I got to ride in Big Sister's convertible ! I might have ridden in a convertible before, but I don't remember where or when. Sister loaned me a sunshade like hers, and I felt....gee, I guess the best word to describe it is snazzy . Yep, I felt snazzy. I tried to adopt a casual "I-do-this-all-the-time" look, but you know, I don't think anyone noticed. Everyone who drove around us probably figured I rode around in convertibles all the time. Still, I thought it was a lot of fun.

When we got to Nephew's house, we opened the door and his four-year-old son rushed from the back of the house - and flung himself into MY arms!! (I think his grandma was non-plussed for a moment...but Nephew explained that a) he had told the lad we were coming; b) he HAD seen me before, though it was a while ago; c) I WAS with his grandma, and therefore probably OK. I asked my sweet great-nephew if I might take a picture of him, and he said "Sure!" So I did:

Is this not a major case of Four-Year-Old-ness? The truth is, he's a wonderful boy, as pleasing in manner as appearance, and I hereby issue a warning to the mothers of all three-year-old girls in Minneapolis: there is a true heart-throb among you; in about twelve years, pay attention!

There are also adorable twin sisters, age two, who were rarely moving slowly enough to get a good picture of, but imagine bright, enthusiastic, energetic little girls and you have it. Nephew and I discussed the fact that my children and he and his two sisters are, while not "estranged" with all the negative connotation, pretty much out of touch. My family is really small - my sister and I each have three children. Our parents are gone, our aunts and uncles are gone -- as he said, "It's pretty much just US." So we've made a promise to connect via the innerwebs (how DID we survive without it?) and my kids were delighted at the thought of being in touch with their cousins, too.

We had a nice lunch, Big Sister and I. We're getting together at the end of the month at a hotel in LaCrosse - not as far a drive for either of us as our own homes. (Also it's a "time away", which is fun.) She's bringing her two BFFs from high school, who put up with me tagging along as the nuisance Little Sister, but I've always liked them. It's going to be a very fun time, and I'll report back.

"But Dale-Harriet, did you go anywhere else?" Why, matter o' fact, we DID! And just where do you suppose a couple o' old knitters might go? On a YARN CRAWL! (This is what you were waiting for, n'est-ce pas?)

We first visited The Yarnery , which is actually in my old neighborhood. Now it's pretty much yuppified. My $87/month apartment is now a condo and probably a LOT MORE than that. (It had a fireplace, leaded windows, high ceilings - such a deal! Willie and I were married there, in front of the fireplace.)

One of the funnest things? Well, since her eye surgery (the reason for my going up, remember?) she can see COLORS better! She said it's like a layer of old yellowed wax had been removed and she's appreciating the clarity and brightness a whole lot. Can you imagine a nicer place to sit? I managed to resist saying "I'll have two of each, please. I had visited this shop on an earlier visit, and they're dear to my heart: they saved a signed copy of the Yarn Harlot's book for me. It's a very comfortable shop, and the ladies are helpful and outgoing. It's impossible to get out of a LYS without buying something but I had promised myself to Be Good. (Remember that promise as you keep reading.) But I DID find a row counter thingie you can wear around your neck, which has a LOCK on it! That, ladies and gentlemen, was a must-have, and godsend. I'm doing a Dr Who scarf, remember? This is one very cool thingie. (Barb was sore in need of point protectors too, and found her favorite kind.)

We also found another shop, not so far from "home base": Borealis Yarns . Barb didn't think she'd been before; we both figured we be there again. Can you say "Every time I'm in the Cities!"?

OK - when I got to this wall, I practically made a spectacle of myself, falling to my knees and sobbing. Well. That might be a bit extreme. Let me say this: that is a whole LOT of Cascade 220, arranged in that delicious rainbow-oid effect -- and right next to it, the same thing in Lamb's Pride worsted. Those happen to be my two most favoritest yarns for stuff, on account of I love the colors, it's all genuine off-the-sheepie wool , I get the best stitch definition from it, it's easy for me to use, and it doesn't break the bank. (Unless, you know, you DO buy two of every color. NO I DIDN'T!) But I almost got a case of Roaring Hives thinking about it. And that was the FIRST wall I saw! There are a lot o' walls in there. I admired, I cooed, I ogled, I stroked...I was fine, until I got to this one:

This is a Wall of Noro. Allow me to repeat that. A Wall of Noro . I was struck dumb. Transfixed. Hypnotized. I gawked. I gawped. I bought. What can I say? Now...see that basket at the bottom? Noro SOCK YARN. I've heard about it, I've read about it - I wanted to get down and ask for its autograph. Now, my "socks" are the kind in the pattern book for Teaching the Slow-Witted; I see those beautiful socks knitted by the pros with Eyes of Reverence. But you know - even my idiot socks, made out of Noro sock yarn, are going to be eye-watering. And I'm making a pair for ME ME ME. {ahem. excuse me.} So a skein of it went to the counter where it waited for me.

Here's another shot of that wall:

And yes, I bought some. Some of those shelves are Noro "Silk Garden"; confronted with it like that, just sitting there in all its sultry, mysteriousness, (I swear I caught the faintest hint of patchouli and finger cymbals) I could not resist. And you know, fair's fair - so I bought some of the regular Kureyon too. Now, before ye judge me harshly, (and the reason there's no picture of my plunder) is because some of it is for the Lovely Daughter. Don't you always bring something to your little girl when you go away? Heck, I brought home three hearty catnip plants and a pair of sparkly balls for my furry daughters. Fair's fair.

All in all, "a good time was had by all."


Anonymous said...

Borealis is The Best. I love that place, even though I have only been there twice.

You must come see me this summer. We have the 2nd best rib joint on the planet (that's allowing for everyone else to have their favorite; we have #2).

Chris said...

Sounds like you had a great time!

Yarnhog said...

What a great trip! I love reconnecting with old friends.

Miss T said...

Seriously, the Nankin? Pressed Duck was the only good thing on the menu! I used to go there just for that, and I missed it when it closed.

sheila said...

I LOVE Cascade 220 and Lambs Pride Worsted! IMHO, Lambs Pride makes the BEST mittens (a tie with Peace Fleece). I haven't tried Noro yet - it seems a bit scratchy for something so pricey.
Sounds like you had fun!

MX said...

I'm sure sorry to have missed that adventure. AND I want that convertible!!!