Payback, Baby…

Evidently I can’t get that last episode of the Sopranos out of my mind. I actually think that what did him in was the onion ring – massive coronary, right there in Montclair (or wherever they were…)

Yesterday I got to pay the universe back a little bit for the myriad times I’ve been ferried around new towns by kind folks – sometimes in blizzards (hi Shelley!) – but usually just in a car… [rimshot] Thank you ladies and gentlemen – I’ll be here all week…

Amy Singer – la Knitty as we call her – was in town to speak at the Minnesota Knitters Guild and is also teaching a lace class. I volunteered to be her wheels, and after a false start at the airport (a perfect storm of mis-labeled luggage pickup and BOTH parking garages being full and my cell phone running out of power at the exact moment when Amy found her bags…)

Finally our eyes met as I drove by Door #3 again, and she was in my car in minutes!

We did the cook’s tour of St. Paul, starting with my home – an intro to Gerry (tired, but in good spirits – yesterday was a odd lot day for him, always a joyful experience) and then we dropped her bags at the hotel.

On to a wonderful lunch at Dixie’s (there’s a TRAIN in the ceiling!), then a little more driving around and finally coffee at Dunn Bros. on University before arriving at the Textile Center. Can I just say that this center is one of the really amazing resources that fiber lovin’ folks in the Twin Cities have?

The most gratifying part of the day was seeing how much Amy loved St. Paul (we didn’t get over to Minneapolis, that’s today) I know that I loved this area when I visited last year, I know that my family loves it, but it’s very special to see someone new come to town and see all the beauty and earnest, crunchy goodness that I see.

I – we – feel incredibly lucky to be part of this town.

Amy’s talk was based on her new book – No Sheep For You – and she was very informative and entertaining! There is SO much I don’t know about – everything – and the talk cleared up a lot for me.

I loved her explanation of non-animal fibers, how the fibers are spun / extruded and finally spun to create non-wool yarn (my mom used to work at a Viscose Factory during the war, so let’s just say I have a much more personal feeling toward Rayon than Amy does…)

Oddly, there was a 10 minute break between the intro and Amy’s talk – but she rallied. I’m thinking it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a warm up act for these guild appearances – maybe I’ll start hitting the road with her…?

The line to have Amy sign her book was long and incredibly well mannered. I was hoping for a Who Concert type of rushing of the stage, but everyone was very well mannered. This ain’t no Cleveland. (sorry, This ain’t no Cincinnati…)

Then I drove Amy back to her hotel, we went across the street for a late dinner (I talked us both into salads – this is a singular event and must be noted!) and a cosmo (Amy) and a Blue Moon (me) later she crossed the road to her hotel (against the light – for SHAME you Canadian, flaunting our laws like that!) and I drove home to watch the Colbert Report with my honey. All in all, a magnificent day.

Amy even snapped a photo of a PT Cruiser for me – there are an inordinate amount of them here, and I’ve started photographing all the ones that I see for a future photo essay – “The PTs of StP”

Today I’m picking her up from her class at Needlework Unlimited, and we’re going to have coffee with Jennie (la Potter) because Amy – having exceptional taste – loves Jennie’s stuff as much as I do. I may even walk Amy over to Minnehaha Falls (she thought I was joking…) for a stellar cap on the day.

This evening the kids have a playdate with new friends – Hannah watching the soccer game her friend’s playing in, and Maxie playing with that friend’s little brother at the cool playground next door.

Did I mention it’s sunny and in the 70’s here today? And Atticus is groomed? And Gerry put together a wire shelf in the basement? All around good. I worry that he wears himself out (Gerry, not Atticus) but I hate to hound him about it. A fine line to cross between cautious wife and harridan.

I am remiss in now mentioning the exceptionally BEAUTIFUL flowers that arrived from Soho Press. I know Tanis was behind the whole thing – thank you Tanis! They’ve been on our dining room table and they make all of us feel happier and loved – which is exactly what you want a nice bunch of sunflowers to do!

The lovely emails and very kind donations we’re receiving are heart-warming and very humbling. Gerry and I just stare at each other when new emails come in, and I can read the look in his eyes, “How can I ever pay these folks back?”

Believe me – we both KNOW it’s not about financially paying it back – but when we’re given this much care & love from friends (known and unknown) it makes us realize what pikers we’ve been at times when we could have been more generous.

I think the best we can do is say, “Thank you!”, live the best lives we can, and make sure that in future we’re the first to join in any barn raising we pass.

Thank all of you so much!
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