Well that was just a hellaciously long, fraught weekend. My grandma's facility is beautiful, classy and filled with mostly happy but very confused old people. She had no idea who I was. My grandfather is (not quite as) confused, but very not happy. I visited the cemetary that nobody visits and left roses for my other grandmother. Honestly, I don't know what's worse, dying and having a stone that obligates people to visit a place you aren't, or having a stone and nobody to visit it. When my time comes, there won't be a stone. Maybe a tree somewhere. You know? Put my ashes underneath it, forget where you planted it and get on with living. I am filled to bursting with age and mortality and have very few words to express the experience. SO I'm really not going to try.
No fiber, but I did come home with a lot of llama pictures. Most of which I've not managed to edit yet. Of course. I will post them soon. They were very damp, grotty, filthy little llamas, as this photographic evidence proves. I'm not sure what was all over the baby llama. Spanish moss? Mold? Mud? Something worse? My aunt says it's been raining for a month and a half up there and the llamas live outside. Who knows what lurks in the hearts and fleece of those llamas?
While I admit to viewing llamas and alpacas as so much yarn on the hoof, I have to confess to a certain reluctance and lack of know how when it comes to the part where one must actually deal with the matted, stinking, filthy mess that was masquerading as fur. Perhaps my spinning fu is not up to that challenge yet. Perhaps I am a wimp. Whatever the answer, I will be buying my llama from the local yarn store, washed and carded and carefully measured into sweet smelling, reasonably priced 8 oz bags for at least the forseeable future. My aunt also owns a Bactrian camel. She informs me that it is fabulous spinning fiber as well. The camel, being of a somewhat foul disposition, smelly and at least as grotty as the llamas, is welcome to keep it. I know. I'm probably gonna get drummed out of the knitting community for this. It's just, I had no actual idea of what it takes to get fiber from the animal to the spindle.
My aunt's farm will be there. Grasshopper will learn to pluck the pebble from the master's hand (take a few spinning classes) and then, well, watch out. It's llama combing time. I will instead entertain you with a chronicle of our trip.
gunner's mate Goth Bear, reporting for duty.
The Handsome Cabin Boy took the wheel.
We stopped at a tea house in Fresno for a restorative cup of Assam (caffeine! yay! Necessary! 6 hour drive!) and some buns. Goth Bear tried his hand at knitting. I had to take the sock away from him once the food came...
as I was worried that he might make a terrible mess with yarn. This little tea house was fabulous and we found it entirely by accident. I took the wrong freeway exit trying to find us some lunch and we discovered the Tower District, Fresno's answer to North Hollywood. Cute little street full of shops and places to eat, full of lots of tattooed, pierced, dyed, funky people. We felt right at home. So instead of salad bar, we ate buns, drank excellent tea and ogled interesting people. In Fresno. Who knew?
Teazer, on Olive, Fresno CA. Try the pork buns. Yarrrr.
Every pirate should have an Australian on board. Or just, an Australian.
There was a theme. That theme was, hand over the marble mocha thingie and put in an extra espresso shot please. Or I will hurt you. Kthxbye.
This Starbucks was really funny. It was like, in the middle of a field. There was NOTHING around except an attached Carl's Jr. It just appeared like a little oasis of caffeine on the 99, somewhere in Madera County. It was full of cowboy types and there were farm trucks in the parking lot. The image of a shitkicking 6' cowboy in a hat and dusty boots, kicking back with a venti frappucino with caramel sprinkles and extra whipped cream is burned into my brain and is one of the more incongruous things I've seen all week.
See this? This lives in the Pirate Mum's living room. It has not touched fiber in about 20 years. It is an elaborate dustcatcher. The Pirate Mum will not share. This is the WHEEL OF SHAME. I swear, she keeps it in the living room to mock me. Or torture me. I want to organize hordes of sea shanty singing, grog swilling fiber addicts to descend upon the house and liberate the wheel. To my living room. The day my mother forks over the Wheel of Shame, is the day that I will commit to dealing with an entire batch of llama from animal to the wheel.
I post more pictures tomorrow.
Llamas are charming creatures. Australians are excellent traveling companions. And thank god for corporate coffee culture along the 99 corridor.