Friday, October 26, 2007

Heartbroken No More

I told you about how heartbroken I was to miss the Yarn Harlot's appearance in Marlton, NJ. I spent that same weekend bummed that I wasn't at Rhinebeck. I've been reading all your blogs about how much fun you had, and felt left out. Not So Swatchy posted great pictures from her trip to Rhinebeck, including one of the Yarn Harlot waving at me, which definitely helped although I must admit to still feeling a little sorry for myself.

Then yesterday, I got a surprise package from Not So Swatchy and Swatchite Vicki (or shall I call her minion?). Lookee:


From Poland, she brought me candies (I love the one called AHA!), yarn, and that pretty wooden box. But that's not all!


I also received two wee glass owls. Vicki and I agree that the small one looks like Hedwig (the favorite owl of every Harry Potter fan). But that's not all!


A hat from Rhinebeck! I will wear it with pride. But that's not all!


The hat is AUTOGRAPHED by the YARN HARLOT to ME! *boggle* Thank you, Vicki. You made me feel very special, and far from left out!

Monday, October 22, 2007


Howdy Knittah!

So by now, everyone is posting about how awesome Rhinebeck was, how gorgeous the weather was, and how fun the whole experience is. Well, I hope you're not tired of posts like that, because here's another one!

We arrived Saturday morning a little later than expected, and were in the parking farthest away from the main entrance - we were right up against the fence! Luckily, the ground wasn't too wet, so it wasn't a muddy mess walking up to the entry gate.

We'd been in the car for a few hours, and decided to stop at the restroom before diving into the piles of wool. This restroom was the cleanest, happiest public toilet you could ever hope to find. The (hilarious) bathroom attendant was saying things like "Gotta pee? Come see me!", so of course we had to tip her, and she was kind enough to pose for a picture with me.

(Her gloved hand was clean, really. Also, I am adventurous.)

Once that was taken care of, we were off! There were so many buildings, barns and tents full of everything a knitter could want, it was hard to decide where to look.

There were lots of animals around, of course.

Obviously, there are more than just sheep and wool at the sheep and wool festival!

There were also lots of people to see, and I met a lot of interesting folks. (Being a bingo square is a great way to meet people.) I didn't catch this young knitter's name, but she was super cute, and clearly we got along.

In the author tent, we went looking for our favorite knitting humorist.

Stephanie was delightful, charming and witty, as usual. I have the honor of being the third Swatchy to make her acquaintance.

We also came across Anne of Knitspot, who was absolutely adorable, and gracious enough to stop shopping for a moment to chat with us and take a picture.

We met many more people, but the last photo we have is of Mayarn and Jess of Ravelry fame. It's easy to see how Ravelry has become such a friendly, happy, amazing site, with people like this creating it.

Everything about Rhinebeck was better than we could have asked for - we're already making plans to head back for 2008. =)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

So Close, So Far

Part of our ongoing series on life with CFS.

Everybody here at Travels With Swatchy loves the Yarn Harlot. We love her so much that both Swatchy McPhee and Swatchy (the original) have gone to see her. Now she is coming close to my neighborhood.

This Friday, YH will be in Marlton, NJ. I will be just over one hour from Marlton, NJ. But never the twain shall meet.

I cannot drive because of CFS. Going out at night is extraordinarily difficult for me because of CFS. I have been very ill this week, with pain and brain fog especially, because of CFS. And on top of all of that, I made a promise to some of the dearest women in my life that I would spend the weekend with them.

Celeste lovingly badgered me into emailing the Yarn Harlot to see if we could meet up in the afternoon. I was hesitant to ask for that kind of special treatment. Because YH is incredibly awesome, she sent me a very kind reply and actually apologized that her schedule was too crammed for a separate drive-by hug.

If you only understand one thing about life with CFS, understand this: I am unable to travel one hour by car to see the Knitter that I admire more than any other. This is what life with CFS means. I am so close, but may as well be a world away. The number of events (large and small) that I have missed is far higher than those that I have been able to attend. My energy is scarce, and I am still learning to prioritize how I spend it. (Feeling like crap + a promise to my family) / nighttime outing = no Yarn Harlot for me.*

There will be another time, I tell myself. I say that a lot. Does it ease the disappointment of missing out? Maybe a little. Maybe sometimes.

*Noricum, are you proud that I did math?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ahem... Devon neglected to mention that there are two pictures of US in Crazy Aunt Purl's flickr album as well!


See the picture of the crowd in LA? Can you spot me? Y'all, I am FAMOUS!


Well, I have been waiting til y'all commented on my other posts to post the BIG SURPRISE, but I guess I'll just have to throw it out there.

I. Met. CRAZY AUNT PURL!!!! She had a book signing here in LA and Devon, her friend Amy, and I all went. It was so stinkin' cool. She is just as awesome in real life as on her blog, and she just LOOOOVED me! Devon gave her our postcard so maybe she'll even come check out the site! We emailed her a copy of the picture and she emailed us back. Cause, you know, we're friends now. *buffs nails on shirt*
P.S. She mentioned porn twice! Hahahahaha....

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Utah? No, YOU tah!

We decided to relax and detox from Las Vegas in lovely St. George, UT, home of Devon's friend Callie. We did lots of hiking!

The desert is SOOO different from home in NJ. There are these HUGE rock sandstone mountains everywhere, and the air is so, so dry. There's NO humidity and it never rains -- great for hair but your throat gets so dry during the night.

Callie's family keeps their shoes outside because there's not even DEW!

We went to Snow Canyon's sand dunes -- the sand is as soft as powder, I loved curling my toes up in it.

Except for the scorpions!

Oh, they only come out at night, don't be such a sissy.

Then Callie, Devon, and I went to Zion National Park for a nice long hike. I remembered my hiking shoes this time! The red mountains are so incredibly huge you can't even comprehend.

Utah's a beautiful place to visit but I don't think we could stay there. The grammatical errors in the newspaper alone almost made my head explode! But Callie was a fantastic hostess and we had a wonderful time. Next up, the piece de resistance!

Vegas, Baby!

Let's just say, What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! ;)

Tee hee... you got lei'd!

The San Francisco Treat

Hey all! Prep here. San Francisco is one of Devon's favorite cities, so I was really looking forward to checking it out. We got to meet a few of Dev's online friends, which was great, and just chill out and explore on our own a bunch, which was very relaxing. Here are some pics:

Outside the Embarcadero Ferry Building, in view of the Oakland Bay Bridge. We like this one better than the Golden Gate because the Ferry Building is filled with tons of great food and cute stores!

Devon's FAVORITE thing about SF is the food, so of course we had to go to her favorite hole-in-the-wall taqueria, Pancho Villa, and get some delicioso carne asada quesadillas. Ole!

The BART is such a super easy, cheap, nice public transportation system even DEVON could figure it out (and this is a girl who grew up an hour outside NYC and has never ridden the subway alone). Good thing I was there to hail cabs though, or we would have been stuck trudging up and down those city hills all day long...

What a great trip -- we can't wait to go back! Berkeley has joined Portland on the short list of places we might move to. See you soon!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"I love Oregon!" ~Celeste

(Note: I wrote this post on 9/29 but Blogger was being a pain so I just uploaded it today. Sorry! ~D.)

Hi everyone! Swatchy Prep here. My good friend Swatchy Hugs and I met up in Portland, OR this week to visit our friends Korin and Ruby. Celeste used to live here, but it's Devon's and my first time! We LOOOOOVE Portland! It's such a cool hippy city. Devon likes that she can wear cargo pants and fleece and fit right in (preppy purse notwithstanding - you can take the girl out of Jersey...)
Yesterday we went to Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. Hugs did a hike to the bridge, but I hadn't brought my hiking boots so I stayed in the car. They told me it was gorgeous though!

Haha - get it? GORGEous? Hahahaha...

Devon, I told you to stay in the other room! Anyway, the falls were SO BIG! It was definitely unlike anything we've seen on the East Coast.

Later, we headed over to Powell's, the largest independently owned bookstore in... the world... or something cool like that.

in Rehoboth? Hahahaha! Devon, no one else will think that's funny. You had to be there.

They have bike racks outside (It's SO Oregon!) with the names of all different books on them.

Today we drove out to the coast (after a coffee stop, of course -- OR coffee will make a coffee drinker out of anyone), and visited the AMAZING Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park. I can't even describe how beautiful it is, I'll let the pictures do the talking. And then we grabbed a local brew at a cute little pub -- coffee isn't the only thing Oregon does well!
Devon and I departed for San Francisco and Celeste and Hugs headed to Vegas, baby! We'll miss them!! (stay tuned for updates... including one from Prep that just may knock your handknit socks off)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Warsaw, and Fiber Fests

Howdy Knittah!

So when we left off, I was leaving Bialystok, heading to Warsaw for a little while before my flight back to the States. We took the train, which was pretty fun. It wasn't particularly crowded, so we had a compartment all to ourselves.

It's not a very long ride, just over two hours, and it goes even faster if you have some knitting to work on. (That's a Monkey sock, in STR Lightweight, in the Moss Agate colorway. They're for Vicki's mom.) The countryside is pretty, but it was very grey and foggy, so all the photos we took came out somewhat fuzzy looking.

We got to Warsaw, dropped off our baggage and then headed into town to find a yarn shop. A short bus ride brought us to a metro station, and we went just a few stops on the subway.

Across from the station exit was this huge building, which was built by the Russians back in Communist times. There wasn't time to go inside to the observation floor, but it was still very gloomy out, so I doubt that we missed much.

The yarn shop was... interesting. Usually when you walk into a yarn shop, it's inviting, lots of pretty colorful yarns to reach out and squeeze. I think this was pretty typical for a Polish yarn shop - all machine spun yarns, nothing hand-painted.. Nothing that made me go "Ooh pretty!" It was a tiny little shop, and all the yarns were behind a counter, so we had to ask everytime we wanted to see anything up close.

After buying some basic sock yarn, we went off in a more touristy direction, heading toward the Old Town. Here's the Polish equivalent of the White House.

Nowy Swiat is a larger boulevard which has lots of fancy little boutiques, galleries, and shops. It's normally very pretty, but the combination of weather and construction took away from the experience a bit.

The Old Town was pretty as always. For a long time, I didn't realize that it's actually not that old. At the end of WWII, it was basically reduced to rubble, and has been painstakingly rebuilt, using the old plans, and incorporating as many fragments of the original buildings as they could. It's really impressive, and quite beautiful.

After a very long day of flying, waiting, and lost baggage, we made it back to Buffalo. Happily, there was a small local fiber festival going on the next day. There were lots of llamas, and no ducks, but we were still humming this as we walked around.

Along with yarn and fiber (and llamas), there was a sheep shearing! The sheep was remarkably calm about the whole thing, even after it accidentally got nicked.

That's it for fiber festivals for now, but in just two weeks, we'll be at Rhinebeck! Not only am I planning on buying lots of yarn and knitting accessories, but I'll also be playing Rhinebeck Blogger Bingo on Saturday! I've signed up to be a square, and this fancy tote bag arrived today! If any of you players are looking for me, please come say hi! =)

Not So Swatchy

Not Celebrating Today

Part of our ongoing series on life with CFS.

Thirteen years ago, I walked into a brick wall. Actually, I was walking happily next to the wall when it gathered itself up and jumped on me.

Thirteen years ago, I went to work with a sore throat. By mid-morning, I could barely swallow. When I left work that afternoon, the sore throat had mushroomed into fever, dizziness, headache, weakness and aches so bad that it felt like being hit with a baseball bat. I took home a briefcase full of work, but I spent the next three days sleeping. I don’t even remember if I left my apartment. The following Monday, I went to my doctor. He said I had a virus and to call him in two weeks if I didn’t feel better.

That was thirteen years ago. That was the day CFS moved in to my life.

This blog is about coping with CFS. Noricum and I created Travels with Swatchy so that I could symbolically accompany friends and family on the adventures that CFS has taken from me. But for me personally, October 6th is not about coping and it is certainly not about celebrating. Today I try to remember what I felt like on October 5, 1994: my last day as a healthy person.