Category Archives: travel

Toronto Briefly

Last week I went on a last-minute business trip. I was filling in for a colleague who wasn’t able to attend a quick two-day conference in that most glamorous of cities, Toronto. Some people refer to it as home of Leaf Nation, but we 51 million knitters know that Toronto is home to the the one and only “Yarn Harlot“, Ms. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Or as Greg Kinnear says, the “Michael Jordan of Knitting”.

I flew from Boston and arrived in Toronto. While waiting in the taxi line at the airport in Toronto, I spied a thin woman with sort of “wild” hair rummaging through her bags. She was kneeling right beside me. My eyes keyed on the wavy hair, then the glasses. Oh my God! It was her!! The Yarn Harlot, right beside me! What were the odds??!! I carefully maneuvered my cellphone camera and Kinneared her.

Well, okay. I Kinneared her bag.

But turns out it wasn’t HER bag. I know this because after I “surreptitiously positioned my camera low and out of her line of sight”, I pressed the photo button and the flash went off. Ooopsy! Turns out, it was getting dark in the taxi line, and I’d forgotten about the automatic flash.

The woman turned and looked at me kind of funny. One look at her face and I realized she was not the Yarn Harlot. I did what any good Kinnearing photographer would do. I acted all shocked and surprised. Whoa! Isn’t that weird that my camera phone just flashed!! Darn technology, must have hit a button wrong! Silly me!

Thankfully a taxi pulled up to the curb and I made my escape.

The next evening, after a day of meetings, I headed back to the hotel, and Googled my way to the Harlot’s favorite yarn shop, Lettuce Knit. It was only a few miles from my hotel. Jackpot! And it was Wednesday. The shop usually closes by 5pm, but on Wednesday it stays open late. Luck was again on my side. Maybe another chance to see her! (And another opportunity to use exclamation points in my blog. Yippee!!!)

With directions from the concierge, including input from the two bellman in the hotel lobby, off I went. Soon, I was standing in Lettuce Knit, probably standing in the same spot the Harlot had stood.

Isn’t the internet wonderful? Leading me to this sweet little yarn shop that I never would have found on my own? It was tiny, but filled to the brim with delicious yarns. Bins and bins of Socks that Rock. Hanks of Koigu overflowing from the shelves. In an instant the yarn fast that I’d been on for the past few months ended. I had a credit card in my purse, the U.S. / Canadian exchange rate be damned, I bought yarn. I couldn’t help myself. It is Socks that Rock, in the Lettuce Knit colorway.

This little shopping spree was most certainly the highlight of my brief trip to lovely Toronto. And although I kept my eyes open for a Yarn Harlot sighting throughout my visit, it was only while waiting on my flight back to Boston that I learned of Stephanie’s whereabouts. As luck would have it, while I was in Toronto, she was in Boston. Oh the irony.

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KnitSox and Chocolate, Italian Style

What a glorious week! This was the view from our charming Florence hotel, The Hotel Cellai.

Imagine my surprise to open the weathered green shutters at our window and see this majestic site. It literally took my breath away.

The week was full of walking, shopping, wine, pasta, gelato, and yes…YARN. On day three, we walked south along Via Calzaiuoli to the Ponte Vecchio, eyes open for Beatrice Galli’s yarn shop.

I had dutifully done my pre-departure research, googling and printing the website map. Unfortunately, I’d left all my research on my desk at home! Not to worry, Florence is full of little internet cafes, tucked away in medieval stone buildings, where you can sit and surf while sipping an espresso or glass of chianti. After a quick stop and a little refreshment Jeff and I found what we were looking for.

Honestly, we found what I was looking for. Like a dear and wonderful husband, he took my photo, and then sat on a bench inside the shop as I ooohed and aaaahed and admired it all. The owner, Beatrice was so sweet and charming. She speaks very little english, but did manage to tell me that most of her customers are Americans and Japanese.

In appreciation of Jeff always being so understanding and supportive of my need for yarn and yarn-related discussions and detours worldwide, I found some lovely italian stripey yarn to knit him a pair of socks once the Christmas knitting winds down.

Yarn in hand, we then wound our way through little cobblestone streets and came upon a tiny shop that made beautiful homemade chocolate. Another perfect find!
Here are the results of our wandering, spread out on a little cafe table alongside the Palazzo Vecchio. Knit Sox and Chocolate indeed!
If you are my family who have asked, did you take any more pictures??? go here. Of even if you aren’t family, please feel welcome to take a peek.

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Our journey to Florence doesn’t officially begin until Monday afternoon. Tomorrow and Sunday will be full of laundry, packing, and last minute errands. But for now, I am relaxed.

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There’s No Place Like Home

Tomorrow Jeff and I leave for vacation and we don’t have far too go. We were both born there. Jeff grew up there. I’ve lived 40 miles away all my life and have had two jobs there. Yes, we’ve decided to spend a week enjoying Boston like tourists.
We will stroll through the Boston Common and maybe take a balloon ride. We will stop and have a beer at Cheers. We will watch a street performer at Faneuil Hall. And of course, we will catch a game. And yes, Jeff’s been warned. There will be yarn on this vacation. There are two yarn shops on Newbury Street, and of course one downtown. See you next week!

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Did You Bring the Camera?

Va-ca-tion – A period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation.

Some folks think of vacation and they think sightseeing, tour buses, non-stop activity. Jeff and I are very literal folks. We stick closer to the actual definition of the word.

As proof, I offer this photo. During a lazy stroll from my beach chair to the towel shack, I saw this colorful shrub and snapped a photo. Then I pointed the camera towards Jeff. He hid behind his pina colada. I didn’t argue. That was the end of the photography. For the rest of the trip we enjoyed the sunshine, the tropical drinks and the local cuisine so much that stopping to remove the lens cap seemed like too much work.

Maybe someday I’ll regret the lack of photographic evidence of this trip, but probably not. It was the perfect break. Like most people, I’m not very good at living in the moment. But really, it is amazing how quickly the everyday stresses of work and life faded away on this trip.

The stress didn’t disappear completely however. We did rush to an early dinner one night so we could be back to our room in time to watch the Red Sox on ESPN Deportes (completely in Spanish). Thankfully, they won. Posted by Picasa

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I’ll Be On the Treadmill If Anyone Needs Me

Because in less than a month Jeff and I will be sitting by this pool, under a palapa, sipping something containing rum. To celebrate the fact that we are both officially “in our forties” we splurged on a tropical getaway, and I used up all my long accumulated 60,000 frequent flyer miles to upgrade our flights to first class. No sitting with the great unwashed for us! We will have free earphones, free slippers, free champagne, and plenty of room to knit. Yippee! Posted by Picasa

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