Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Treck Across the South and Ms. Walker's Page 19.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to drive my mother from Houston, Texas, to New Orleans, Louisiana.  The occasion was my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary.  Now, I know I said that this was an opportunity but really, it was more of a directive from my mother.  It went something like this.

Me: "So, mom, should we meet in New Orleans for Mimi and John's party?"
Mom: "Oh honey, you know how much I don't like flying."
Me:  "Mom, it's a 45 minute flight."
Mom:  "I know but it's still hard on me."
Me:  "Are you thinking about driving."
Mom:  "Well, I was thinking you could fly here and then we could drive to your Aunt and Uncle's party."
Me:  "...................................... Uh........................."

Yup, that's about it.  There was much more to the conversation after that but I won't bore you with the details.  It was pretty much me stumbling around trying to figure a way out, knowing that my mother had trapped me into a visit and a 12 hour round trip drive.

Now, if you have followed my family adventures, you know that my mother is a very healthy, active 74 year-old (I know this because I've talked to her doctors).  However, she will make you think that she's about 92 and, apparently, people who think that they are that old cannot possibly fly.

I did try several times to get her to fly but nothing worked.  The closest I got was when I suggested that she chose a favourite pill, from her impressive collection of sedatives, with me in tow on the plane.  However, even the lure of a chemical haze while being supported by a loving son was not enough.

So, the stage is set; my mother and me driving across the South in August.  What could be more fun?  Well, I have the answer for you.  My mother, my sister and me driving across the South in August.

Enter, the Sister, my baby sister to be exact.  You know, my sister isn't all that bad; she's just on a different plane than the rest of us.  This is mostly due to her job as a professor of gender studies.

If you don't have a college professor in your life, then you probably don't know that they really do live in an ivory tower.  Universities tend to be little islands of liberal academics, all of whom have perfect politics, and a comfy collection of Berkinstocks.  Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge my sister any of it.  She did, after all, work really damn hard for many years to get to this point.  However, I do wish she would come down to the real world on occasion.

Now, let's think about the conversation in that car for 12 hours.  Here are the players again,  my mother, who thinks she's too old to do anything, my super liberal, super vegan sister and me, a loser mo who likes meat and potty humour.  Well, like any other self respecting loser mo, I saw the potential for trouble early on and decided that a constant barrage of potty humour would save the day and my sanity.  Guess what, it did!  Both my mother and sister are very critical of potty humour; however, if you don't cave, and continue to be inappropriate, they eventually quiet down so as not to elicit more fart or poop jokes.  Works like a charm.  I just need to figure out a way to use this method at holiday meals.

The drive wasn't all that bad in reality.  Texas is a hot hell hole and Louisiana is a hot hell hole.  However, at least Louisiana is a pretty hell hole.  It's true; everything is really ugly as you drive through Texas.  Then, about a mile into Louisiana, it's pretty.  I don't know what gives but Texas really needs to take a cue from their neighbour.

We left early on a Friday morning and got to the North Shore about seven hours later.  For those who are not familiar with New Orleans, the North Shore is across Lake Pontchartrain, basically, the burbs.  It's a very pretty place.  A bit steamy and jungle like but pretty.

Now, the next bit o'fun was the hotel.  My mother decided that we had to stay at the La Quinta near my aunt's house.  While this is not my favourite hotel chain, I was okay with the choice for two nights until my mother informed my sister and I that we would all be sharing one room.  (Enter memories from childhood of being crammed into a hotel room with your parents and siblings. Me trying to sleep while while I listen to my dad snore and fart in his sleep and me being kicked by my sleeping sister.)

Mom:  "I got a suite.  It has a king bed and a pull out sofa."
Me:  "........................Uh....................."

Okay, so crammed into a car only to be crammed into a hotel room with a bathroom as the only private space.  All I can say is that Prince Valium and I were very good friends.

I survived and my Aunt and Uncle's party was a hit.  Here are a few pictures.  The first is my Aunt and my Uncle dancing.  Aren't they cute!  Next is my mother, her sister and their cousins.  My mom is the one sitting and my Aunt is standing behind her.

Next up, me and my sister with our aunt and a picture of the cake.  Now this cake has a neat story.  The bakery that the cake came from was the same that my mother got her wedding cake from back in 1961.  The bakery is run by the granddaughter now but, Mamma says that the cake tastes just as good and that the layers were the same as her cake.  How cool is that?  My sister and I got to taste our parents' wedding cake in a round about fashion.

Okay, enough family fun.  On to Babs and page 19 of her book.  Now, page 19 has several patterns on it.  One set goes onto page 20.  For this installment, I stuck with those patterns that were on page 19 only.  Those that are on 19 and 20 both are saved for next time.

Swedish Block Pattern and Squared Check Pattern.  So, I always end up knitting these backwards.  The Swedish Block Pattern is the bottom half and Squared Check Pattern is the top half. 

These two patterns weren't too bad to knit.  I actually think both have uses.  The sample is not blocked.  Now that I look at the pictures, I wish I had blocked it.  I think blocking would really bring out the patterns' qualities.

Mostly, I see these patterns used for sweaters.  These combined with traditional gansey patterns would definitely liven things up by adding a new twist to the patterned sections.  Also, I think that they would look much better knit with finer yarn.  The yarn I'm using is a pretty fat worsted.

Here is the backside.  I am always interested to see if a pattern is reversible.  In the case of Swedish Block Pattern, I'm thinking not so much.  However, with the Squared Check Pattern you may be able to get away with it.

Well, off to work on page 20.  My next post will be a fun combination of a recap of the Men's Fall Knitting Retreat and the opening of school.  That's right; it's back to work for me and more middle school antics.


  1. I'm not sure why but this site is loading incredibly slow
    for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end?
    I'll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

    Feel free to surf to my webpage: heated cat house

    1. Hmmm, it's loading up fine for me both at work and at home. I hope it gets better.