Why I Love Folks in St. Paul

Update: Hattie, thank you SO much! I’ll be in Atlanta this weekend, but I’ll definitely come again! And we sold the bike! Huzzah!

This morning it’s snowing. And the weather guy on the radio said, “We could have it worse, we’re actually pretty lucky… They got 2 feet in other parts of the state!”

And I love that. The realism, the gratitude that we’re not being dumped (with no hint of gloating), and the ‘sit up straight’-ness of the tone of the announcer.

I’m not so nuts about the snow, but it’s a testament to how much Max and I have come to love our school walk that we’re gearing up to stroll that mile to Randolph Heights right now! And picking up a friend on the way! Hardy stock, these folks.

On Friday – when it was 60 degrees – we went to the batting cages (Gerry watched, and I could tell he was just chomping at the bit to hit a few, but not with his back or bones…)

And then Gerry found a bike on Craig’s List for Hannah (unfortunately, she’s outgrown the lovely Peugeot that we bought her last year…)

And now we’re selling that same bike from last year, improved, on Craig’s List!

So we scooted on to Woodbridge and snapped up a Schwinn for the girl! Yahoo!

Gerry is working on getting my end-of-last-summer bike purchase (a used 3-speed Sears) up and running for me (I still mourn the theft of my Motobecane last June…) Maybe it will stop snowing by May and we can ride them?

Local Knitting
Last night I went over to a Dunn Bros Coffee where I’d been invited to join a group of knitters who meet at various places. The woman who asked me had invited me before, but I’d never been able to make it.

It was a very nice group – but there was definitely sort of a sense of, “Who IS this person …?”

I’m afraid I didn’t make matters better when I took it upon myself to show one woman why her stitches were twisted every other row. What can I say – I couldn’t stop myself.

But it bordered on inappropriate. Thankfully the victim of my impromptu knitting lesson took my injection of expertise graciously! I stayed for a few hours, and it was a lovely place to be for a while.

Driving home I felt sad. It was such a nice group, but a new group (to me) and I’m not part of them. Yet.

Agent of Loneliness
And then the blueness in the car began to swamp me. This usually happens when I’m on the edge of getting a cold, and – voila! – I’m sniffling today.

I just feel so darned responsible for the stabs of loneliness that everyone in my family still feels. We’re making friends, it’s true, and the ones we’re making are absolutely lovely.

But sometimes you make a friend and then they kind of fall off the face of the earth (life overtakes them) and you find yourself wondering, “What happened? Was it something I said? Something I did? My breath?”

We each of us in the family have had that experience this year – as does every human being. With experience you begin to realize that this is something that we all do to each other, this falling off the earth thing, and that makes us take these episodes in stride. It’s hard, but it’s perfectly understandable. It’s easier to forgive something if you’ve made the same mistake yourself.

Thankfully both kids haven’t had this happen much, but I sense that we’re all sort of withdrawing – not being as outgoing as we’d been in New Jersey (where that outgoing-ness is met head on by other folks.) Atticus is lonely, that’s for sure…

Perhaps it’s the transient nature of living in the NYC area – folks there evolve into people who make friends more easily simply because they MUST. Swim or die.

Here so much social interaction is family driven, so many folks have friends from 10, 15, 25 years ago, that there just isn’t the need to open up the circle for new people to jump in. So when we’re invited over to a friend’s house for a game party (as we were on Saturday), or when I’m asked to come and join knitters (like last night), or when Hannah gets a call for a sleepover, it means so much to us. Which is another reason I love folks in St. Paul. And Minneapolis, too…

Now we just have to find a play date for Atticus.

Translation to Work
This is akin to the feeling I get when I’ve taught at a venue, but I’m not invited back. Positive comments from past students run about 80 to 1 compared to negative comments (but then again, folks who write to me are a self selecting group…)

But when I’m not asked back to teach at TNNA or Yarnover or a similar venue, it makes me so sad. I thought I did a good job – the comments from folks were really positive…

The grown-up, not-getting-sick me knows that a LOT of factors go into a decision, and I’m invited back to places a LOT more than I’m not invited back. The me with tissues stuffed up both nostrils and a slight fever takes this and runs with it… Forgive my lapse into the pity pool. I’ll dry off now.

And like a wasp in a window screen, the few nasty things from mostly anonymous sources find this tiny hole in my self confidence and squeeze through. I hate wasps.

But I love the folks in St. Paul.

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