Madame Defarge went to Minneapolis


I was home for one day (Monday) and then on Tuesday (after finding out my flight had been scheduled for the wrong day and having to reschedule with United on Monday night; good thing I wasn’t paying!) I flew to Minneapolis. The kitties were very put out while I packed. Loki sat in my duffel bag for a while.

I went to Minneapolis in March for the planning meeting for this conference, and this trip was for the conference itself. I didn’t walk down to the Mississippi this time. Also, it wasn’t nearly as cold. Mostly, I was in the hotel 18-20 hours a day and started my days at 7:30 (which meant I got up significantly earlier) (which was kind of like torture) and unable to do other stuff until like 6 or 7 PM every night, at which time I was able to go out a couple of times with a friend from Wisconsin who I only see once a year at this event. The conference went as well as it could have what with what all is going on at the Federal level regarding the program I run. Anyhow, probably the thing that I’ll remember most from this trip wasn’t the conference or the abundant yet bland midwestern food, wasn’t getting to have $4 glasses of wine and snacks in the “Regency Club” in the evenings (as opposed to the same glass for $7 in the bar downstairs), or even walking down the street behind some girls who really didn’t know the meaning of appropriate dress. It will be the amount of time I spent knitting.

Initially, I had intended to spend time on and off throughout the summer knitting a blanket for another work-related friend (from New Mexico) and hoped to have it done before I left so I could bring it with me and give it to one of her coworkers at the conference. Except this summer was hot, and I was lazy, and I didn’t get it done. The thing about this particular blanket is that it wasn’t knitted all in one piece, but in 84 small pieces (great for portability, but still a lot of work). I had about 40 done when I left Denver and knitted on the airport shuttle, in the airport, on the plane, in the other airport shuttle, and in my room that evening. I knitted all day during the conference sessions. I knitted so much that I got a sore finger and then a callus. But it became clear after about 2 days that even if I managed to get the whole thing done while I was there, it still wouldn’t look right unless I washed and blocked it (because of the aforementioned in 84 pieces thing) – which I didn’t have the time or resources to do in my hotel room. I ended up getting about 80 of them done while in Minneapolis/on the way home, and finished the rest this weekend. Last night I started sewing them together and the baby will probably get his blanket when he’s about a month old, because he was born in the middle of September, a couple of weeks early.

Anyhow, I knitted my days away in Minneapolis, and the conference was over at noon on Friday. Then I got to spend 3 hours in a board meeting. By the time we were done, I HAD to get outside while it was still daylight (hadn’t done that since Monday) so I walked as planned over to another part of the city and managed to smash my hand on a newspaper dispenser when I wasn’t looking where I was going, so it was all gory and gross. I stopped into a pretty paper store and drooled a little, and bought some presents for Dan at Penzey’s Spices. Then, on Dan’s recommendation, I went to Neil Gaiman‘s favorite bookstore, Dreamhaven Books. They let me take pictures and even gave me a bandaid for my finger. By the time I walked back it was six o’clock and I decided I’d eaten too much all week, so I forewent dinner and was bathed and in bed by 8 PM (though I didn’t actually sleep until around 11 or so).



This is half of the shelf for Neil Gaiman stuff at Dreamhaven Books. They even took me into the back so I could see the stack of stuff they have waiting for him to sign when he comes home.

Saturday I had to be in another meeting for the morning. Luckily, after lunch I shared a cab with some people to the airport (so I didn’t have to wait for another shuttle), checked in and checked my bag, and then took the light rail back to the Mall of America so I could get my H&M fix in. This time, I avoided the center part of the place completely and just walked around the perimeter. I only had a couple of hours so no time to shop anywhere but a couple of specific stores, but that was OK. My train back to the airport was late in leaving, so I sprinted in, quickly made my way through security, and then looked around futilely for a display that would say which gate my flight was leaving out of. The Minneapolis airport only displays Northwest flights, except in each letter terminal there is flight information for the flights leaving out of that terminal. Luckily I took a wild guess and it ended up being right, but if I’d been flying out of A I would have never made my flight (I was in E). And the flight information they did display wasn’t even right, so I ended up sprinting back and forth a couple of times trying to find the right gate, and made it onto the plane just as my boarding group was called.

On the plane, I had an interesting conversation with a frat/cowboy, knitted some more, and managed a little nap. I was exhausted. I was never more happy to see Dan than when he met me at baggage claim and gave me a big hug, then whisked me home and made me a stir-fry for dinner with some of the present I’d gotten him at Penzey’s. Man, it was good to be home.

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