If I'd been thinking, I could be in Phoenix right now with my friend Lise, sitting in the bleachers at Ho-Ho-Kam and watching the Cubs' spring training. We'd be wearing sunglasses and sucking back beers in the bright sunshine, no longer hunched over to fight off winter. (She lives in Washington State, so she doesn't see the sun between October and April either.) As Red Sox fans, we've always been warmly welcomed by the Cubbies fans, who have felt our ancestral pain. (Now that the Red Sox have won the World Series, will they feel the same way? Could they greet us as "fellow lovable losers" any more? My dream Series would still be Sox vs. Cubbies.)
We native New Englanders generally eschew hope -- whether for spring or for the baseball club -- until it's been proven that failure is impossible. Maybe that's why we watched last year's Series from between our fingers (at least that's how I did it), in case the gods sensed our hubris and sent us crashing yet again. We always know the odds, and we try not to look at them too closely. We know the difference between probability and possibility.
Even with all that in mind, how could I have awakened yesterday morning with such a terrible case of spring/baseball fever? One signals the other; I don't pay attention to the Punxsatawney Rodent. If the Red Sox have returned to Fenway, then it's time to take off the six layers of wool and face the sun. (The Sox are still in Ft. Myers, where they will remain for a few more weeks. The snow is still on the ground in drifts, and it too will probably remain for a few more weeks.)
I ordered my St. Patrick's Day Red Sox T-shirt -- green with a red logo and a shamrock -- and intend to wear it all over California while I'm out there. It's not a sign of hubris. It's a need to welcome spring, with a nod to my Celtic ancestors, the ones who built bonfires on the hills to show the sun the way back to their latitude.
Note to my Canadian fellow-bloggers: I am a hockey fan, really. College hockey is the big sport around here (Go Black Bears!) and the local professional team (Portland Pirates) is AHL, so we were not affected that much by the NHL strike. It's just that hockey is a winter sport, and I can't take winter any longer.
The coup de grace happened for me when I dropped in to the local farm store yesterday to pick up some milk. Upon opening the door, I was greeted full in the face by an enormous, colorful, possibility-laden display of flower and vegetable seeds. I have never been a gardener, and chances are I won't be this year either, but the sheer expectation in that display just reinforced the message that spring is coming. Someday.
My resolve crumpled. I can no longer maintain resistance to the weather. I can no longer keep my eyes averted and my shoulders hunched. I can no longer look outside at today's freezing rain and not wish it were sunshine. I'm afraid I'm doomed for the next month. I should have gone to Phoenix.
Maine Maple Sunday
Maine is a state of many festivals, the overwhelming majority of which have been designed for the tourists and their dollars. Maine Maple Sunday, always the last Sunday in the month of March, is a come-hither-spring festival for those of us who have endured the winter here. Maple syrup farmers around the state hold "open houses" at their sugar shacks. The aroma from the boiling maple sap overwhelms the senses, and visitors can buy the new year's maple syrup, maple candy, maple spread, maple sugar, and such. There are tours of the sap lines, and sometimes pettable farm animals and games for the rug rats. Some places offer refreshments, ranging from maple sugar poured over vanilla ice cream to maple hot dogs and homemade maple baked beans dished up hot out of crock-pots. A lot of us buy our syrup in cases of bottles to last the year, so the day is a major money-maker for these (mostly) small family tree farmers.
Unfortunately, this year's festival, through no fault of its own, coincides with Easter Sunday. I wonder how the farmers will be affected by the holiday. Sadder still, I'll be spending much of that day on a plane home from San Francisco, so there will be no Maple Sunday for me in any case. I hope Greg goes, though he won't enjoy going alone. (He can take Charlie. I used to, before Greg and I met, and I'd always bring him a piece of a maple hot dog.)
The nice person who posted about Noro lust turned out to be Donna. Hi, Donna! Donna's email contained a link to some errata for Jane Ellison's Noro book, and I'm grateful that she sent them to me before I started the Fletcher sweater. Here they are, for anyone else who needs them. Thanks for saving me untold confusion, Donna. I owe you one!
I'm new to knitting, having only done it for about a year, but I've been doing needlework (embroidery and needlepoint) most of my life. I've always had more than one project going at once, but I've usually finished each one in turn without having to resort to the hard discipline of working a prescribed length of time on one, and then the next, and the next.
Is the compulsion to start things worse for knitters, or have I just not built up enough resistance to it yet? Here I have the Noro Iro in hand to start Fletcher, and then what do I do? Frog another project and start a felted tote bag with the yarn. Why? "Because it was there" doesn't even cut it for an excuse -- they're both here.