Riding the Bike with One Pedal.

Category: road trip

Miniature Bottle Collectors, Prostitots, and Knitters.

It’s interesting to stay in a large hotel that caters to groups. Long, long ago, when I first started in advertising, I became aware of a whole universe of magazines that cater to what we call “vertical niche markets”. No, not those markets. Magazines like, “Spudman”, or “The Gobbler” – designed to communicate pertinent information to someone growing potatoes, or raising turkeys. There is absolutely something for everyone, and the internet only proves that more and more.

Hobbies have their own idiosyncracies. For instance, the very same weekend 100 devoted knitters descended on St. Charles, so did a group of international miniature bottle collectors.  And kiddie pageant-goers.  Now, I was intrigued by the little bottles – at first confusing the gathering with an opportunity to buy wee bottles of alcohol, but all their little rows of colored bottles, with unique stoppers and corks – it was a whole subculture devoted to their hobby. The other one? Dubbed “the prostitots” by those who had been there last year, I have to admit, it was disconcerting and a bit sickening, seeing the made-up face and hair of a 20-year-old woman wobbling above the body of a 7-year-old. I just don’t get it. Fortunately, most of those families were in the other hotel, so the cross-pollination was limited. Oh, and there was also a marching band there, and a few wedding/bachelor/bachelorette parties.  One of my weekend highlights came on the last day in the hotel, as I urged my fellow knitters to look to my left, so they could see the five-foot-tall inflatable penis passing through the lobby. (Next favorite highlight? My roommate Pat chirping, “I rode down the elevator with it! I’ve never seen one with a smiley face before!”)

I had a fantastic time. I took two sock-design classes, one with Cookie A. and the other with Wendy, of WendyKnits. I made new friends, connected the dots between Plurk and Ravelry friends to their real-live faces and voices, and got to shop at The Loopy Ewe. I drank margaritas made with Herradura, and snagged some Ted Drewes from the snack station. (They really spoiled us with the snacks. Ooof.) And then I returned to reality, and the re-entry into the atmosphere was tough. I’ve been slammed at work (thus no blog) and some of my mojo is missing. It’s like I’ve got a knitting-weekend hangover. A YarnOver, as it were. I’ve still got to organize and put descriptions on my photos, but I’ll give you the few I’ve done thus far….

Me with Wendy. She is a blast, and it was great to meet after all that Plurking:

Me with Wendy!

My roomie Pat. She rocks. She also now goes by Ricia. Ricia rocks, too.

Spring Fling Roomies!

Karen (I love this picture because not only do I adore Karen, it’s like she’s posing for this very beatific book cover, and I’m crowding in, ruining the shot. True to form, of course.)

Spring Fling

Kym (her husband joined us for dinners, and I adore him, too. They need to come visit us because JWo and Chuck would hit it off like nobody’s business.)

Spring Fling

Lori – I so wish I’d known her when I lived in St. Louis. Like-minded and boy howdy, could the two of us cook up some trouble together.
Spring Fling

Helena – what a fascinating life she’s had. After traveling the world with the Foreign Services department, she just wants to retire and settle down in Wisconsin. I also was witness to her first-ever shot of tequila (Patron, of course! Would I steer a gal wrong?)

Spring Fling

And then there was a little bit of Loopy Ewe shopping….

Spring Fling Purchases!

Duet sock yarn in Pickled Peck, YoYo CashSport in Hulk Smash, Scarlet Fleece in Poodle Skirt, and the miniature sock blocker peacock. WITH the gifted bag from Keri, 3AM Enchantments!

Keri is such a sweetheart, a couple months ago she emailed me about finding some skull beads. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a good online digging detective project (zombies!), and she was so happy with the results, she made me a project bag! Knitters are the awesomest. And I finally met Ms. YoYo (Alyson) and her hubby Travis. Stupidly, we didn’t take a picture together, but I have this one of her hanging out with Cookie:

Spring Fling

…and then we were spoiled with some Spring Fling swag….

Spring Fling Loot

Namaste Knitube bag, Loopy Ewe mug, Schaeffer Nichole yarn, WendyKnits pattern, Laura Nelkin pattern, temporary tattoos & Loopy Ewe pin.

That’s all I can muster for one post – of course, there are more stories (Trader Joe’s shopping!) (one cah-razay lady who had the hugest chip on her shoulder about Ravelry!) but that’s gonna have to wait! Howdy to all my new pals, and I really understand why you start waiting for next year the day you leave.

Hello, I Must Be Going!

Well, I am heading out tomorrow to St. Louis, to attend The Loopy Ewe’s Spring Fling. Knitters (and spinners!) will be flying in from all over to attend, including three amazing teachers – Wendy, Cookie & Anne – and then the dyemaster herself, Claudia, of Wollmeise.   I’m also excited to finally meet Sheri herself!

But the excitement doesn’t stop – there are going to be sooo many people there to meet, greet, hang out with, knit with, laugh with, all of it. I’ve made so many ‘internet friends’ between Ravelry and Plurk, I know it’s going to be a bit of an overload to match everyone’s little avatar and personality up with their real-life selves. Plus you have the thin sheen of anxiety that goes along with travel and big groups – did I pack everything? How’m I going to carry all this stuff? What if everyone hates me and I spend the weekend in my car, weeping? You know. The basics.  There is also the chance I’ll be breaking bad news to my husband, because George Clooney is shooting a movie in St. Louis, and a group is already planning a sushi dinner on Friday night…at the location where Mr. Clooney has been spotted every Friday.  I’m just saying. George probably has had his fill of tall, willowy model-types, and he might just be looking for a rotund, short, brassy sort of  knitter to round out his experiences in life.

(Probably not.)

(But when my co-workers asked if I’d knit him socks, the answer was an unequivocal, bellowed, “HELLZ YEAH!”)

Meanwhile, work crazes on, and it’s whack-a-mole times.  Partly because of the vacation time I’m taking (all whopping 2.5 days of it, whoa nelly!) and partly because the demands are there – this business has a crazy broken roller-coaster-ness to it, where things are slow and plodding and then suddenly you’re hurtling along at 100 mph and hoping your cart doesn’t go off the rails when you crest the top.

I’ll also be going to Trader Joe’s while I’m in STL – I can only hope that they ask for our zip codes when we checkout, as I know the Kansas City contingency plans to hit their store close to our hotel pretty hard before we drive home on Sunday. Listen up, TJ! Kansas City wants/needs a store (more than one would be awesome!) and we want it NOOOOW! (I’m bringing a cooler. And shopping for co-workers –  Three Buck Chuck, of course.  Perfect for the aforementioned roller coaster!)

James will be selling more tomato and pepper plants this weekend – a couple varieties have sold out already, but he’s got loads of great plants left. Cherokee Purple seems to be the hot tomato this year (yes, Virginia, there is a cutting-edge even in the gardening world!) and he has oodles of those.  It will keep him busy & off the streets while I’m gone, I know that much. EMAIL  him at jworley1@ HOTMAIL [dot] com if you have questions or want to place an order! Yes, you have to type out his  email, but it’s faster than leaving a comment – my computer access will be very limited.

So I’m off – I’ll be Plurking from my Blackberry, certainly, and then I’ll report back next week with pictures & stories! See you then!

Hallo!

Anymore, what with the global village shrinking to the size of a pea, combined with my own personal paranoia, I no longer announce when I’ll be out of town, or say, home alone, because even with my trusty shotgun, three black labs, alarm system and some high-quality knives thrown in for good measure, there’s just something smart about telling folks AFTER the fact that we got out of town.  Which we did,  under the guise of catching a lot of spoonbill, which sadly, did not happen, but for the first time in my life, I did go fishing at 5 a.m. In the rain. I just clutched my fishing pole and hoped my husband’s vision wasn’t allowing him to see me nodding off. (No such luck. I married Mr. Eagle Eye.) I will say this: Never was I happier to have had Lasik.  The next day, we got about a mile out & the engine clunked-kaputt. It seemed to be something gas-liney, so yours truly squished the black gas line bulb pump thingy all the way back, and the next morning, I had a panic that my knitting life would be forever altered, as my left hand wanted only to contract into a claw-like state. The Wo worked hard on fixing the gas line, but it proved to be something beyond just a line, and so there was no more boating for us.

But all was not lost. We ate well, we napped, the dogs had a GRAND time, they made us laugh, and I got some knitting done.  And finally finished “In Cold Blood“, and then re-picked-up “Then We Came To The End“, which is probably a whole lot more entertaining if you don’t work in advertising in the midst of  recession, seeing as how it’s all about agency life and layoffs after the dot-com bust. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still entertaining, but it resonates with that “holy-shit-he-nailed-that” kind of shock, rather than just a chuckle. Plus the doom-and-gloom and paranoia and fear are right on the money, which isn’t necessarily the greatest pick-me-up! But dammit, I’m gonna finish it so I can finally read “The Watchmen“! That also bears a little foreboding for me, as it was recommended to me by a good friend who told me it reminded him of my dad. I bought it, but it’s waited patiently for over two years for me to read it.  I’m not sure where the parallels will be, but I’m at least ready for them. I wasn’t ready on my drive to the lake, as I was having a joyous Jackson Browne sing-along (could I use more hyphens today? I shall try. Post-haste!) and suddenly I saw my dad, reacting to the song lyrics in “Before the Deluge“, telling my mom, “That’s us! You hear that? Journey! Back to nature!”  How he loved Jackson Browne, and felt a kinship from that music, felt so understood in his ideals and desire for a better world. And oh so many times we listened to that song in particular, straining, trying to figure out the word “rouge”….we thought it was “glitter and the glue”, and I thought of how much the internet sure would have helped back then, and through it all I cried, mourning so many losses, including the fact that I had no idea in those moments, how much they would mean to me later.  It’s still a bit boggling, how you can go for days and weeks and feel like there’s so much progress, so much healing, What A Good Job We’ve Done With Grief, and then with just a click of the Viewfinder, you are reduced to a sniveling pouting heap of pulsing raw emotion and pain.

Well, two years ago, I’d have listened to the entire Jackson Browne anthology and cried for hours. Instead, I switched to Weezer and the dogs & I had a new sing-along, and they asked if they were going to get some candy with their pork and beans, and I told them I was the greatest man who’d ever lived, even though I am still a woman.

So! A mini-vacation. I’m back at work, and my non-portable knitting project is almost done – Sheldon the Turtle – ohhh, he is adorable.  And despite the woes,  Hubs’ motor is hopefully being fixed as I type, and he’s enjoying his greenhouse puttering with a bajillion seedlings of peppers and tomatoes and eggplants.  Spring is springing, the daffodils are ready to burst, and everything always, interminably, moves forward, and only once we are there, down the road,  will we know what innocuous  moments from today wait to surprise us.

Yarn Deal & Teh Gout

I met a fellow Ravelry knitter this morning in the parking lot next to Gomer’s (which has been remodeled, btw, and I was a little sad to see the old-timey charm go). She had seen my Rowan Linen Drape listed as for sale or trade, and after a few emails conversing, we agreed on a price, place and time. It seemed kind of funny, like a wacky drug deal, and there we were, in the blustery gray morning, handing over yarn for cash. She was very nice, and said her husband had asked her if she felt safe, going off to meet a stranger in a parking lot. She told him she was going to meet a KNITTER. There is a difference, usually. And frankly, if I were ever going to have a business nearby at my beck and call for help, it would be Gomer’s. Those fellas that work in there look like they could take down an angry rhino, with their bare hands.
She also told me she reads my blog (Hi Joyce!), and it will never cease to amaze me just how much I panic for a minute, when I meet people who say that. Because I simply assume I offend at least 75% of the universe in some way, shape or form, with my beliefs, my politics, and let’s face it, my potty mouth. It’s super bad. Way fuckin’ bad, in fact. I love to swear! So I always worry for a split second, until I remember, it’s a choice. Just like my little brandishing yesterday – you choose what you do or don’t want to see, read, think, acknowledge, and no, turning away from it doesn’t mean it goes away, but that’s the beauty of all these options. You can look at fuzzy wuzzy kitties or you can read some really frightening shit and wonder how the world continues to rotate with such stupidity or evil residing inside it.

I have no idea where that was going.

Yesterday, I had a vacation day, of sorts. Poor Wo, he has Teh Gout. He’s had episodes before, but we both thought his toe was out of joint. Ya know, as you get older, things just don’t always snap right into place in the morning, there’s creaking and stiffness and a little popping noise here or there. But this time, it was excruciating. So I dropped him at work, and returned to get him at noon, so they had time to get him a sub. We then went to one of those Minute Clinic thingies, because the Urgent Care on his insurance? Is totally fucked up. Gah! I wanted to walk down there and have a chat, I got so pissed. I called before 8 am, and after a long conversation, it was determined that since he was not a PATIENT of one of the doctors at the Urgent Care, we needed to wait and call back after 8 a.m. Uh, ok. So I did that. And was told that Urgent Care did not begin until 5:30 p.m. I started to ask where they got their definition of the word URGENT but instead hung up in a fit of pique.
Have we met? Do you know me? Do you know how little patience I have for being dropped into an Escher staircase? I rip that shit up.
So off to the CVS we went. To discover they will not diagnose such things, no, no, no. Great concept, folks, not sure if we’ll ever false-start our way back there, though. Especially because this one is on Raytown Road, and I really, really hate Raytown Road. I’ve ended up on it, lost, more times than I can count, including late at night with my pal Liz, when we asked the Anthony Kiedis-look-alike how the hell to get OUT of Raytown, and he had no solid advice. I don’t like it. Negative associations stick with me.

We then headed off to the Emergent Care over in Lee’s Summit. Now, no offense to my pal Joyce, or anyone else who lives in any nice suburb, but GODDAMN I HATE THE SUBURBS. Specifically, I hate driving around in them trying to find things on newly constructed roads in subdivisions that house all sorts of odd businesses, like “Dental Studios” and businesses with names that mean absolutely nothing about what they do – “Ramaflam”. (I made that up, but you know what I’m talking about.)
By this time, we’re halfway around the metro, and that puts me right near a CostCo (one of my original destinations for the day), so James signs in, and I head off to shop.
I buy myself roses, and a space heater, among general necessities. Light my fire, babeh!
Retrieve the Wo, and drive to the closest CVS (I scoped it out on my way to CostCo). Get him major anti-inflammatories, and also major Vicodin. While scripts are being filled, we park at Sonic and get some ice cream treats, because really, it’s been a rather arduous, not-fun day, and the Wo feels bad for upturning my vacation day, and I feel bad because I’m grouchy, but then I also feel bad he’s in such crazy pain and there’s nothing I can do about it. So I do what I can, and drive him around and get him drugs and make sure they’ll treat him before I leave him to go shopping (because I LEARN). So he got that new “sticky bun dough Sonic Blast”? And I was all scoffy-scoffy, eewwww, I bet it’s gonna be bad, it sounds weird, Hello, My Name Is Negative Nelly, and then I had a bite of his and HOLY SHIT I WAS WRONG.
Y’all have to go try one of those things. Iff’n ya like cinnamon and pecans. And the dough is like cookie dough, in case you, like me, who have experience with these things and know, from previous experience as a baker, that a big ol’ bite of yeast dough, no matter how sweet, fucking sucks and sounds like a nightmare in an ice cream treat. And that is what I thought they meant by “sticky bun dough”, because I am literal and I think I know what’s what.
And sometimes, I am wrong.
But not about Palin.
Or Teh Gout. Or Gomer’s, or The CostCo, or the common thread that weaves 75% of us together, and there’s an even bigger binder thread that weaves us fiber-freaks together with our love of yarn.
Now, I have some mittens to knit, because it’s colder’n a witches titty in this house.

It’s A Small World After All….

OK, I’m going to start by saying THANK GOD this is finally DST weekend. Because I got up at 7 am, to go to Liberty, to a craft show. Not your run-of-the-mill craft show, no, but a craft show with kick-ass good crafts. It was a lot of fun, and I did a good job of shopping, both for myself and for others. There were lots of unique finds, and we spent about an hour, toodling around the building, saying howdy to our buddy Ana, and making our purchases.

After that, we made our way to the Old Mill Stitchery, which carries some nice yarns (lots of Berroco), and has some stitchery-type things, plus a HUGE room for wool rug making. I fell in love with a small rug, and then instantly fell out of love with it once I saw the price tag. ($700. It was drop-dead gorgeous, but certainly not going underfoot at that price!) I got a cute little kit with wooden bowls designed to use up your leftover sock yarns, and it was pretty inexpensive.

Then it was time to find something to eat.  Beth wanted breakfast-y food (it was 10:30) and Laura & I really didn’t care, we just started eyeballing things as we were driving through the big shopping area up there. B saw a Steak & Shake, and since we knew they’d not only be open, but they’d serve just about anything, I turned right…. and moments before making that turn, saw “The Corner” in the opposite direction. So we did a U-turn, because lawd, if you haven’t ever been, they make cinnamon & sticky buns the size of your head. And all the food is good. Which is why there’s always a wait.

The beautiful thing about knitting is that it gives you patience when you need it. We had our name on the list, estimated wait was half an hour, and we sat outside on a bench, all three of us with our knitting. Chatting back and forth, jumping each time the overhead PA system sprang to life, knitting the minutes until we were called. Suddenly, a man crossing the parking lot looks over at us, and starts waving and shouting “HEY THERE!” We are all instantly confused, thinking surely he must mean someone else. Within thirty seconds, though, I realize, this is a former client of mine, and his name jumps into my head, and I find myself waving back saying, “Well, Hell! Hello there, Danny!” He comes over and shakes my hand and introduces himself (uh, I remember you, I said your name!) and we exchange pleasantries. He goes back to his wife, they head to their car, and we’re left chuckling about our confusion and the randomness of me running into someone in Liberty (which for those following from another location, this is a northern suburb, approximately 30 miles away from me, and not someplace I frequent.

Then,  a guy walks buy, and I look at him, and say, out loud, “That’s Chip! Hi, Chip!” Because it is CHIP from Kansas City SWAT, and I’ve not only met him, I have his autographed picture. Beth starts laughing. Chip turns to look at me, and I realize I’ve done all this out loud. “Hi Chip! We met at Jimmy Johns a while back, how ya doin’.” He is kind enough to go along with this and even mentions the correct location, saying he remembers, and hi, how ya doing today, and are we waiting to be seated, or have we already eaten? Which would be rather funny, to have eaten and parked ourselves on a bench to haaaaang and knit, but ok, it’s not like my stream of consciousness is going to correct yours, Chip, you could crack my head open WITH YOUR MIND and a TEASPOON. He goes in to check on the wait, returns, gets his wife, and we all nod at each other again like we’re old pals. I’m hoping to be able to use my ever-growing connection to Chip, SWAT team leader, for more blog fodder down the road, I’m just putting that out there right now.

We had a fantastic waiter (Charles) (he’s in charge) (I love him), great food, and an all-around successful, entertaining morning. I’m sleepy, so I should get a nap in before I head off to the festivities tonight – also up north, but more towards the west this time.

I realized as I was typing that it’s November now, but October marked the ten-year anniversary of my move to Kansas City. I think I came here mid-month, for my job. And every year I’m here, the universe seems to get just a tiny bit smaller. But ever so much more colorful, and ever so entertaining. I love it!

Sunday Quickie…

I have both my bosses showing up on my doorstep at 4:50 a.m. tomorrow. Yes, that’s right. A time one normally associates with PM and GOING HOME.  Knowing them, they’ll be early. Knowing me, I’ll be scrambling. We’re going to NYC (unfortunately, not on a direct flight), and while I would have preferred the train (sleeper car, of course), methinks it would have taken a lot longer.  The only flight back was Tuesday evening, so it will be interesting to see how we occupy our time on Tuesday (there is one scheduled appointment, but I have been pulling to be dropped off at a yarn shop. Anywhere in the five boroughs.)

I haven’t flown in a couple of years, so today required a trip to Target, to get the prescribed zip-top storage baggies, and then some snacks (because I will forever be scarred from another work trip, where our only sustenance was Coors Light & Slim Jims in the back of the mini-van!) Granola bars are our friend! And I got some nut/berry mix & some Ghirardelli chocolates. I will also have to hide them from my trip mates, as they will undoubtedly NOT have planned accordingly and would mooch me out of everything in seconds flat. You’d think we were heading out in covered wagons, and I’m afraid of running into the Donner party!

OH but talk about one trashy encounter after the other at Target. Lordy. I poked my head down the pool toys aisle, hoping for a kickboard or something similar, and was suddenly in the presence of The Trashy McTrashersons. Mother, Child, Grandfather, and Grandmother, and every adult was wearing a flashy bluetooth headset. Every adult was also shouting every word out of their mouth. The mother was calling for her son, and started doing the counting thing (ONE!) and grandad then yelled THREE! adding (loudly) that HE DOESN’T BOTHER WITH THE FIRST TWO NUMBERS and then the kid came flying around the corner and they all were screaming at the kid, at the prices of everything, and how everything would be on sale anyway and I just had to leave.

I decided to get myself some handkerchiefs for the trip, as it is going to be sweltering, and it’s apparently archaic for ladies to carry them, so I was in the men’s department, and I turned around and two guys had their shirts off, trying on t-shirts. Not A&F model guys, or young hot guys, but two swarthy sort of characters with paunchy bodies and apparently, no time to be wastin’ with dressing rooms.

I had to get out as quickly as possible.  And now, since tomorrow morning will be here before I know it, I am off to shower and go to bed. Wish me luck flying & travelling, and most of all, success with our meeting! It would be, to quote Cartman, kickass…..

Holy Whipstitch, Batman!

Gosh, I was toying with rolling through my weekend events backwards, but I’m more likely to forget things if I go that route. So, fair warning, this is going to be a loooooong post, because lots happened & lots of miles were traveled, and there’s just so much to talk about! And there are pictures! Go grab something tasty to drink, and put a little Pete Yorn on the iTunes, and read along…..

Saturday: I left the house, late, to head to El Dorado Kansas. Now, if you’re from the general area you know that it’s not pronounced the way Texas says their city. It’s El Do-RAY-do, a long “a”. I put that in as a snippet of trivia, and because my Auntie Karen couldn’t believe her ears last week when I said it. I’ve never been west of Lawrence or Topeka, driving, so it was an adventure! It rained pretty much the entire way, sometimes a downpour of biblical proportions, sometimes a light drizzle, so my OCD got a workout adjusting the wiper blades to the perfectly correct calibration based on the varying degrees of rain. I went through the Flint Hills, which were stunning. Breathtakingly beautiful! I love how this country has such wildly varying terrain and I am always awed at the new things I’ve never seen before. These hills were a color of green not ordinarily seen in my everyday life. I was blown away, and inspired to dye some yarn, quite frankly. I then tried to take some pictures, but alas, was unable to capture exactly what my eyes saw.
Unbelievable Greens

Big grey sky, rolling hills, little lagoons and ponds dotting amongst the undulating earth. Simply gorgeous.
Sunshine is Somewhere Up There!

Oh the rain.
Rain on the Toll Road

I finally arrived at my destination, and met Laura, to get started on seaming up the afghans for the folks of Greensburg. We could’ve used a few more hands, but with a little instruction, Susanna, Laura’s 11-year old daughter, was put to work on an afghan with me & we were able to finish the 56-block blanket that day. I started a second one & will get that done soon! There were two television stations covering the event, and I caught one snippet feature on the 10p news that night – Kyra was seaming & looked up at the camera and said “hi!”!!!! Laura is going to bring a bunch of sorted squares to Kansas City & work with Cindy at the Studio to get them seamed up by volunteers here – I know there are numerous folks who’d love to pitch in locally, and with enough helpers, we’ll have the survivors of that devastating tornado at least wrapped up in some local, national & international love in no time!
Completed Afghans for Greensburg

Our Seaming - Purples & Pinks

OK! Are you still here! Good! We’re only one day into the monologue! At the end of the day, I toodled on in to Wichita, taking a very circuitous route, because I was not clear on how to get back to the highway, so I made my own route. It was ok, but a bit longer than it should have been. Then, I hit Wichita, and frankly, Wichita? We need to talk. The fact that all the roads have not one, not two, but THREE highway numbers? And your signs are sometimes placed at varying degrees of closeness to the actual exit? Well, let’s just say that if you’re trying to discourage people from living there, this is an excellent way to do it. I ended up sailing north again, and because I had printed off, um, like, 5 different map scenarios for myself, I realized pretty quickly I was no longer headed towards my bed & breakfast. So I got off on 13th Street, and deduced I could head west on that street, catch another highway & go back south. See, I didn’t want to turn around and find myself back at the intersection where it had all gone badly the first time. Plus, who doesn’t want to do a little exploring?

Let me tell you this much. Thirteenth Street? It definitely has an abrupt line where it goes from one socio-economic class to one quite its opposite. I can’t find a picture of it, but I about threw my neck out when I sailed by what could arguably be called a castle. The biggest building ever. Ornate, lush grass, and the omnipresent gates. The gates were big. High. Sturdy. Some of the gated communities had little guard houses (with guards!) and I was surprised. But then it quickly became clear why. The drop from Big Money to No Money was steep and fast. I was in the ghetto in a matter of blocks. The vast divide grows wider between the have & have nots. Me? I just wanted my interstate to appear, rather quickly, and I finally made my way to the B&B.

Which was nice. It’s a little odd, having your bathroom down the hall, but since I was the only guest there (in the upstairs, anyway, one couple was in the basement suite), it wasn’t an issue. I went out & procured some of the Absolutely Worst Vietnamese food I’ve ever had, gahd, what a dreadful disappointment that was, and then took a jacuzzi bath, read my book & crashed like a grand piano on the sidewalk.
(Oh god. Wichita. Please. You need good Vietnamese food. I’m so sorry!) If I had more time today, I’d be eating V. food to make up for the horrid, godawful meal I had. I shudder!

The next day, I proceeded to look for Target. I wanted to get a different pair of shoes, and perhaps just wander my familiar, favorite shopping place. My map? Outdated. I found Wal-Mart, and KMart and a whole bunch of other big box stores, but no Target. I finally pulled into a QuikTrip (I love the universal experience one gets at the QT. Clean, friendly, NICE.) and was told how to find the new, moved Target. I then went to Twist, the wonderful new yarn shop, and met up with the Crew from KC – Beth, Kyra, Kristin, Ruth, Jimmi, and there were knitters from all over. We had lunch & then it was off to the Yarn Harlot book signing/speaking engagement. What fun! But oh mah god, my butt. The seats were made for 1940’s-sized arses, and they made thunking or creaking or whining noises, which makes a big gal a mite nervous when she squeezes into one, and so I am proud to say my ass muscles are practically sculpted from the hour-plus suspended clenching as I braced myself for the moment the entire seat broke apart. Fortunately, old-timey seats may not be comfortable? But they are sturdy as hell. Iron and wood. Here’s Jimmi & Kyra during the waiting period.
The Most Uncomfortable Seats In The Universe

Stephanie is truly a delight. Her talk was funny, there were so many things we knitting fanatics understood and the connectivity exists, no matter how wildly different we all are. I will say we are different. There was one woman who had a small stuffed sheep, and she made it clap at times, covered its ears at others, and sat it on her shoulder while she waited in line. I’m going to leave it at that, except I will say I’m really glad nobody in our party was doing the same thing, because I might have to say something and it could result in a knit night fricasee of beanie-baby proportions and discussion of age and what you do in the privacy of your own home versus my line of vision. Back to the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie was so kind to stay as long as people were there, waiting for books to be signed. Our tickets were numbered on the front, and we were under the impression that was the order we’d go in – and woohoo! Numbers 9-16! But no. It was the numbers they stamped on the back when you entered. Numbers 100-113! Boohoo! But actually, it sorta worked out. We hard core knittahs hung around to the bitter end, and that’s when all of us, including the Yarn Harlot, got punchy. I have pictures to prove it. And she’d heard of PlazaJen! It was like my other famous Canadian encounter, meeting Bryan Adams, without telling him I’d had a sex change operation and if he also read my blog. Only better. Loads better. Because Bryan DOESN’T KNIT.

First, my Chevron Scarf, in the hands of Canada’s most famous Knitting Humor Writer:
Yarn Harlot! With Chevron Scarf

I got to pose with Second Sock:
Me with Famous Sock

(I am wearing my Mystery Stole! Many people came up to me and showed me where they were in the knitting. It was fun, and the perfect venue to make its big debut.)

I Kinneared her feet. It seemed fitting.
Kinnearing Her Feet

Then, I started taking a bunch of pictures when Kristin was meeting her, and Stephanie might have made a comment about she sortof was feeling like she was having a stroke from all the flashbulb flashy flashing. Sorry. I didn’t stop, and then the ladies got into posing. There was even some voguing. Here, they are doing a photo shoot for a Sears catalog:
They Are In A Sears Catalog

There are more pictures over on Flickr, and I’ll leave you with this one. While she never actually said she wanted to punch me, this photo sort of implies perhaps she might, and I also think Kristin looks like she would completely back her up in a Wichita Minute. Ah, fame, how drunk you make a BFF.

On Retrospect, She May Be Threatening To Punch Me In The Face If I Don't Quit! It! Now!

See, now, there was more, because we had to drive home? And we stopped for dinner at a Village Inn in Emporia – and that had loads of hilarity, too? But I can’t type any more & I need to order a sandwich before my webinar starts. The real world has crashed back around me, but I had a super-duper weekend and I’m glad I did everything I crammed into the weekend! (Except the Vietnamese food. Gah. It’s going to take a long time for that memory to fade…..)

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