Sunday, March 09, 2008

escape from Chthulu's grasp

The course is finally over and I've spent the weekend trying to reshape the pieces of my shattered soul. If I were still living in Seattle, I would have gone to Dad Watson's Pub (the local McMenamin's; I love their beer); their beer is an excellent glue for the reassembly process. My favorite beer of all time is their Workingman's Red, which is a seasonal ale and should be going on tap anytime now. However, I won't drink and drive, and there is no reason to drive 30 miles and not get enough, ahem, glue.

I lamented this to Oscar when I picked him up at the transit station and he suggested going to Spar Cafe, the newest member of the McMenamin's pub family. Sure, why not? So we drove down to Olympia (also 30 miles, but to the south), found parking without any trouble (on street! free! within a block of our destination! on a Friday night!) Sadly, our luck in parking was offset by bad luck in the beer department because not only was Workingman's Red not yet available, so were most of their others. Newcastle Brown? Out. Porter? Out. Stout? Available, but badly poured. But it still served its function, and Oscar and I wandered around downtown Olympia for awhile. It seems a very pleasant place. Oscar really liked it and said that maybe we should move to Olympia.

There is one other known cure for soul reassembly, and that's a yarn crawl with a friend. Yesterday, Ms K and I went to Churchmouse Yarns and Tea on Bainbridge Island. I'd never been there, but Ms K had and was dying to go back. We took the bus to Seattle, and then the ferry over to the island and then walked to the shop. (You may think that we opted for mass transit and foot power because we are eco-freaks who really care about reducing our carbon footprint. That may be partially true but the real reason is that we both hate to drive.) The weather was pleasant (overcast but not raining); it was less than a 10-minute walk from the ferry to the heart of the village; just enough to warm us up for the beauty and spectacle that was Churchmouse.

It really is a wonderful yarn shop. While it's true that in this age of the internet, you can buy just about any yarn from anywhere you choose, an LYS (local yarn shop) is still very special. I have yet to see a monitor that can reproduce the depth of color and stunning beauty of Hand Maiden's yarns, or the softness of a merino yarn. But the best thing about this shop was its customer service. Everyone was helpful, knowledgeable, and very professional. (Yes, I have been in a LYS where some of the staff didn't even know how to knit or crochet.)

Poor Ms K was having an existential crisis, though. She had planned to do some serious stash acquisition, but nothing really called out to her. Oh no, she bemoaned. What is wrong with me? Am I losing my enthusiasm for knitting? I adopted my knitting sensei persona and did my best to counsel her. Do not worry, grasshopper, I told her. This is a phase through which all knitters pass. After the first flush of joy of learning the craft, the knitter goes through a stash acquisition phase, until she reaches a point where the stash is great enough for project ideas to take over. This is the phase you are entering now.

She did seem to relax after that, but perhaps it was due to the rapid consumption of delicious pastries and a wine tasting soon after.

By the time we got back to Seattle, the sun had come out, and we met up with her husband and walked over to So Much Yarn, where she found some yarn which sang to her (as did I), and then, thoroughly relaxed and with my soul restored, we headed home. It was an absolutely wonderful day.

Thank you, Ms K!

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