Do I have stuff on my face?
This past May, I turned 44. I decided that, after years of not really celebrating the day at all, it's about time I did, and then I somehow managed to come down with the worst flu I've had in a long time, beginning right on the day of my birthday and lasting for a week. Still, I made up for it beforehand, spending three weekends in a row with probably the only person in the world who would reliably and honestly answer the question, "Do I have stuff on my face?" In fact, one of those weekends was spent shoveling truckloads of horse manure into our garden (we know how to live it up, eh?) so it's entirely possible that I did have stuff on my face. My aim with the shovel is terrible.
As I mentioned in my last post, I finally got to go to a sheep and wool festival, for the first time in several years. I went in my home state of New Hampshire, and, as many locals who suffered through the Great Mother's Day Washout a few years ago will attest, the day began in an auspicious and typically NH Sheep and Wool fashion:
But Tigidou and I, we have our Canadian Tire gumboots, and we are not to be deterred when there are lambies, kettle korn, and one of the best speakers of goat I have ever heard, at the end of that long drive, no, ma'am. We have ways of getting through such trials. First, there was the road coffee:
Then, there was the interpretive dance to Hell's Bells.
No, I'm not kidding.
It was quite something to behold. I'd show it to you, but I was driving and therefore unavailable to video the deeply expressive level to which one can take AC/DC. But Tig wanted you all to see just how impressed I was with her performance.
And then there was the U.S. customs officer who, when I said I was going to a sheep and wool festival, looked me straight in the eye and said, "You have sheeps up there in Canada?" I replied, "Yes, ma'am, Canada does, indeed, have sheep." She looked at me. I looked at her. Crickets. It finally dawned on me what she was asking. "No, I personally do not have any sheep, ma'am. My balcony is very small." "What will I find if I look in the back of your car?" "Um, probably not sheep."
(I am not known for my ability to finesse the customs experience.)
She got out of the booth and started bouncing the winter tires I had stored in the back of the car on the ground, trying to see if I was hiding anything in them. She swore a blue streak when she realised I had also bought winter wheels, which were ensconced in the tires. Massively heavy, those things...she gave up after two tires. I cannot express to you how tempting it was to baaaaaa each time she bounced a tire, but I resisted the urge. It nearly killed me. Later, at a Vermont rest stop, the kind attendant got to hear my "sheeps" story, and suggested that next time I tell her that I keep them in my purse. "They're very tiny sheep..."
We finally arrived at the fairgrounds, quite a bit later than we had intended, and after a bit of anxious and slightly road-fried cellphone discussion ("Just come in the Green Gate where the vendors are. Mel says you can park there." "I only see a sign for a Blue Gate." "You have to go a bit further, and turn right, and go around, and find..." "What right? I just see a sign for a Blue Gate. There is no Green Gate." "Oh, dear. Nevermind. Come in the Blue Gate. Just park and get out of the car and come In. The Blue. Gate. Please."), we landed ourselves safely in the arms of one very relieved festival-goer, accompanied by one of my very favourite knitterly people, swankily dressed in his self-created example of Icelandic gorgeousness:
Dr. Mel led us pretty much straight to the lambies, but not until I consumed my twice-a-year-like-shit-but-good-hotdog, as I was heavily encouraged to do something about my plummeting blood sugar. ("I'm fine! I don't need anything but coffee!" "Hey, look, a hotdog stand...you just stand right here and don't move, okay?")
Is that not a gorgeous sweater Mel is wearing? I love the addition of the nontraditional hit of blue. Beautiful. (No, I am not trying to change the subject. I ate the hotdog. All's well that ends well.)
Mel and Justin had already had time to circle the festival and stock up on coffee and doughnuts before I got there, so Mel and I went back around to find people I could leap on and hug and be deeply grateful to finally see after all these years, and Justin took Tigidou to a bead-felting workshop, which he ended up co-leading. By the time we caught up to them, the learning process was in full swing.
A really stellar teacher sits back a bit at first and withholds judgment, waiting to see what the kid thinks will work. It's always entertaining to watch that happen with my particular kid:
Yeah, okay, sooo...that probably works at the start, Tig, but maybe you might want to try this other process that we talked about a fair bit already...
Or, you know, you could always get the rabid herd of dinosaurs right over there behind you to help out. That'd be good. I hope you've had your shots.
Dinosaurs. Rabid ones. Right behind you.
Aha, got your attention, didn't I... Just kidding about the dinosaurs, Tig. But you might want to watch out for the wolverines...
Here, sweetiepie, have a grape leaf. I picked it just for you. No, honey, there are no wolverines behind you. Yet.
The learning process is a beautiful thing to behold.
We all thought that Tig's final creation was supposed to be a necklace, but she had other ideas. Unfortunately, she couldn't quite put them into practice without yanking out large hanks of hair:
So Justin offered to help out. He's still not sure what the heck she was trying to do with that thing, but made a few rather innovative guesses involving protection against marauding flocks of angry bats:
Dr. Mel, as he is wont to do, quietly observed the struggle, all the while assessing his next move:
The expert little-girl hair arranger stepped in. In two seconds flat, Mel did some kind of little ponytail flippy thingie we still can't replicate:
Right, yes, of course. What the hell did you do? Mel's not talking. Magic.
We then proceeded to fawn all over the critters, who were equally interested in us. This alpaca stomped right up to me to check me out:
I call her Janice. (No, not after Rabbitch, although the thought did occur to me to name one after her and just see how long it took to get back to her that I did. Nope, I'm talking about the lead guitar player of the Electric Mayhem on the Muppet Show. This paca looks just like her when she's doing her headbanging thing.)
And then there was the little brown and black lambie with the stuff on his face. You can see here how grateful he was that I told him about it. Either that, or my fingers look pretty much like the end of a bottle. Nom, nom, nom:
I did manage to find my one little treat for myself, the promised one-skein-only purchase. It had to be stunning, it had to speak to me, and I was pretty sure it had to come from Judy Jacobs at Ball and Skein.
Glissade, 100 grams of silk and merino beauteousness. It was only when I got closer that I realised that the colourway is named after our mutual friend Manise, who was supposed to name it and dragged her heels for so long coming up with a name that Judy just decided to call it Manise. There may be a Lee Ann in the works from Judy's dyepot, eventually. I have no idea what it will be, but I'm voting for variations on a theme of clear red. (Judy can do whatever she wants. I'm just thrilled I might go into her booth someday and see my name on a skein of yarn, because then I can turn to my beloved and say, "See? What did I tell you? This yarn has my name written ALL OVER IT!"
(Just as an aside, here's what you do when you forget to buy a ballwinder AGAIN and you're pretty sure that bringing a swift into the language specialist's office would mark you as a total weirdo. Who needs a swift when you've got knees?)
(Yeah, okay, so maybe I didn't avoid the weirdo label after all. We can't all be models of sanity.)
Anyway, after a fantastic day at NH Sheep and Wool, seeing lots of people I love, fondling fibre and snuggling various farm animals, and watching my little family have an equally wonderful time, the only thing stuck on my face was a huge, albeit tired, grin.
Also, a little bit of kettle korn, no doubt. That stuff is addictive.
I have lots of news to share in the next few weeks, but until then, as a small person I know likes to say around here, keep it up, sheepie butt!