Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer in YarnmarketVille and Canada

Boy! As if we aren't busy enough adding all the new autumn inventory and getting ready for the fall rush! Alex and I are having a crazy, busy summer that's filled with visits, travel, and so much to do!

First, our grand-daughter Madison arrived in the thriving megalopolis of Pickerington, OH for her annual visit to YarnMartian Central. Once again, she worked with Lynn, Lisa and Brenda to fill orders. Madi considers her Yarnmarket workday the highlight of her summer. I hope she feels that way in five or six years from now because I'd love to put her to work for more than a day and pay her with cookies.

Brenda was tickled pink to have Madi shadow her for a few hours. Brenda loves little girls so much that I may have to make Madi her un-official grand-daughter so she can fuss over her throughout the year, instead of just one day. (Note to You-Know-Who: Your Mom's biological clock is ticking and she isn't going to stop nagging us and sighing wistfully at baby patterns until she becomes a Grandma.)

When Madi's visit was over, we drove her back home to Canada so she could travel to New Brunswick to cheat on us with her other grandparents. (Remember, Madi, I'm the Grandma who taught you how to sew dresses, make home-made marshmallows and caramels, and who introduced you to the lost art of ironing!)

Alex and I learned a couple of things when we were up in Canada last week:
1. Kingsway Fish & Chips really does make the best fish & chips in the world
2. President's Choice products ought to be available in the States because they're really terrific
3. Canadians really do swear more than any other people on the planet (you should hear me!)
4. Tim Horton's is the center of the world for most Canadians. All travel directions are based on where the Tim Horton's restaurants are. "You go up the street past the Tim Horton's. Turn right and go three miles. Make a left turn at the Tim Horton's and then continue past three more Tim Horton's until you get to the Fitness Centre. Oh, they have a Tim Horton's at the Centre, so you can have a coffee and doughnut after you exercise."

I'm old. I remember when Tim Horton was a hockey player, not a cup of coffee.

One unusual thing I did when I was up in Canada this time was re-connect with some old friends I hadn't seen in over 30 years...and 30 pounds. Thanks to the Internet, we made contact, and I was really delighted to see them again.

First, I visited with my old friends Eloise Hetner and Roberta Lum. I met Eloise when she was 13 years old, and I admired her because she was so amazingly grounded. She knew then that she wanted to become a school teacher when she grew up, and I'll be darned, that's exactly what she did! Whenever Eloise set her mind to something, she achieved it. Boy, I wish I were more like her. (If you ever want sound, rational, well-thought out advice on any issue, send me a note and I'll give you Eloise's email address.)

Eloise and her husband, Raz, made a delicious dinner at their new home. Roberta, who I idolized in high school because she was so smart, joined us, too. When we were young, Roberta seemed to me to know everything. Not only could she do math like nobody's business, she also knew that you put vinegar into rinse water when you're hand-washing silk. That's the sort of thing a girl remembers all her life. Thanks, Roberta. I can't tell you how many times I've used your advice.

As turns out, a lot of other people are now heeding Roberta's good advice, too! She started CAD Micro Solutions over 25 years ago. I just knew that Roberta would do something amazing. Check out her 25th Anniversary video on YouTube. Congratulations, my friend. You deserve every bit of your success!

Seeing Raz, Eloise's husband, was a real bonus for me. I hadn't seen Raz since I was at St. Basil the Great College in Toronto. This was originally an all-boys high school that was run by the Basilian fathers, and I was among the first girls to attend it. I figured the only way I'd get find a boyfriend was to stack the deck in my favor. At St. Basil's there were about 20 boys to each girl. And, do you know what? I STILL didn't get a date! And that's even though I was one of the school's first cheerleaders! Yes, I used to cheer for Raz when he played on the football team...and the guy I had a crush on back then -- who was Raz's best friend -- didn't even notice me. Truth was, I wasn't a very good cheerleader, and I couldn't maintain the tradition of dating the quarterback because, unfortunately, he was my brother.

Eloise and Roberta wanted to hear all about my move to the States, and how I ended up at Yarnmarket. But, mostly, I know they were wondering, "How the heck did she get so...umm...big?"

I was pushing 105 pounds when last they saw me. Now I'm...well...now I'm on a diet. When I saw that they'd both kept their nice tiny little figures after all these years, I was so ashamed of myself that I had to eat two Tim Horton's doughnuts just to make me feel better.

A couple of days after visiting my high school friends, I drove 2 1/2 hours to meet my best friend from grade school. Now, that was really something! Patsy and I used to get into all sorts of trouble -- trouble for which her mother always blamed me. We were both goofy little kids who were always thinking up something crazy to do. Most of it I can't comment about online because the Statute of Limitations hasn't run out yet.

Patsy is now living near the town of Minden, Ontario, where she and her boyfriend are transforming a very old house into a work of art. It really is breathtaking! She's been collecting antiques and memorabilia for years now, and her house is like a little museum that takes you back to a much nicer, quieter time. Patsy is a heck of a craftsperson and a gardener and I can't wait to see what she does with her house over the next year. Maybe Canadian Living magazine will do a feature on it someday.

The visits with my old friends have brought back a flood of cherished memories and I wonder why it took me so long to re-connect. If there's someone in your past that you want to see again, I urge you to do it now. Don't wait...because you never know when you might get the chance.

If they're like my friends, they'll welcome your return -- and then wait until you leave before they burst out laughing because you moved to another country and when you returned, you were Super-Sized -- just like a Tim Horton's Iced Cappucino.

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