Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Cuz you gotta have friends.

This post is about friends, and about how I'm blessed to have them, whether in person or through the internets. I know it's been said before, but I'll say it again--knitters are the most generous people on earth. Over the past week, I've been given two presents; one I won through Lolly's Guess-My-Mom's-Name contest, and the other was completely unexpected, from Heather. Just because she's wonderful like that.

Lolly asked people to guess her mom's name, hinting that she and a well-loved knitting brand had the name in common. I guessed Addi, because let's face it, Susan Bates doesn't inspire rabid devotion in people. And I was right! (Except she spells it Addie.) Pretty ironic that I'd win this contest, seeing as how I don't own any Addis, being a ghetto knitter and all.

Lolly didn't just send me stash, neither. She asked me my favorite colors, went shopping, and got me this humongous skein of Trekking sock yarn (top right), in a lovely marled blend of black, red, and gray. She also thoughtfully included an adorable little journal for projects, and a fun post-it pad, perfect for sticking into library books (ah, Lolly. Fellow grad student. You know me all too well.)

And Heather, well. I'm just speechless. She just finished a gorgeous pair of lacy knee highs for her grandma, knitting at the speed of light to get them done in time for her birthday. When I admired them, she offered to send me the pattern, and included this stunning skein of handpainted merino ribbon from Mountain Colors. I couldn't believe it! I consider Heather to be my blogging godmother, because she posted my FO pictures when I had no blog of my own, and was my earliest cheerleader. She rocks.

Ah, ha. Speaking of FOs. I wish I had an FO to show you. And when I tell you about the weekend road trip I had, you will hold my feet to the coals and demand to know why my Broadripple socks are not. Finished. Yet. I don't know! I'm the slowest sock knitter ever! I'm almost there, but I decided to spare you all any work in progress photos, since I know that Ashley is skeeved out by naked feet on the internets (that would be Quirk #4, y'all). Next time, I promise, I will be doing a happy dance in those socks. Just wait and see if you can even catch a still shot of my socks!

Jennifer, who is my roommate and partner in crime, and I went down to South Padre Island this past weekend for a mini-break. The drive from Austin, fyi, is six hours long. Plenty of sock knitting time, I know, but of course there was also plenty of talking and laughing and taking of magazine sex quizzes, too!

When we finally got down there, it was Friday night, so we just went for dinner at Bluebeard's, and turned in. The next day, we went for a long walk on the beach, collected some shells, and took some pictures.

It was pretty overcast, but warm and humid. I love that kind of weather, so I was entirely content. Why go to South Padre in January, you ask? Well, you avoid the spring breakers that way, for one. And it was in the 70s on Saturday--perfect!

We thought these shells looked like they were in love. :-)

That afternoon, we drove across the border into Matamoros. Feeling very brave, we ventured into the city without a map, and followed the signs to el Centro, where the plaza and the cathedral are. We parked in a lot, and set out to find some tacos. Sadly, we weren't going to find them on the plaza--the place was dotted with American fast-food places, like Domino's, Subway, and Church's.

Walking a block or two away, we found an outdoor mall, and quickly zeroed in on a taqueria: Riko Takito! We ordered the exact same thing--one al pastor taco, and one carne asada taco. These tacos, they were like manna from heaven. Y'all, they just don't make them like that here. Garnished simply with chopped onion and cilantro, they came with a side of onions swimming in grease, that were the best thing ever. And I don't even like onions. We polished them off with grapefruit Joya soda.

On our way out, I saw a clown hurrying down the street, in full makeup and costume, probably on his way to a gig. It was such a strange and weird and beautiful thing, this clown...his makeup perfectly done, his head down as he rushed by. No one else paid him any mind.

Jennifer and I needed a little pick-me-up, so we ventured into Cafe Aroma for some coffee, and discovered their lovely little patio garden, tucked away in the back.

Since it was mid-afternoon, we had the entire place to ourselves. We listened to the bubbling water in the fountain, laughed at the pigeons, and shared a piece of flan.

We finally left to try to make it back across the border within a reasonable amount of time. You know how you can just cruise on into Mexico? Well, they like to give you a bit of a harder time getting back into the States. Go figure.

According to my friends, who cross back and forth often, it's not usually a big deal; they just ask you if you're an American citizen. You say yes, and you're on your way. (Although our friend told us the story about her uncle, who spoke little English and who was so used to saying "yes" to that question that he was totally thrown off when the Border Patrol asked him instead where he was born. "Yes." "Where were you born???" "Yes!" His brother finally had to step in and say, in Spanish, He's asking you where you were born, pendejo!"

After letting the car ahead of us cruise on in, we got stopped and guess what we were asked? Yep, the million dollar question. Now, some of you know that I was born in Mexico, but was naturalized later on. I always get nervous when crossing the border, though, thinking that they're going to revoke my papers and ship me back! So, without thinking about it, I said to the Border Patrol, in my best chipper voice, that I was born in Chicago. I guess I was subconsciously thinking that if I admitted to being born in Mexico, I was opening myself up to all kinds of interrogation. And of course because I sound so American, I thought that he wouldn't even give me a second glance.

Well, he did. He asked us both for our IDs, and ran them through the system (what comes up on their system, does anyone know? Felonies? Unpaid magazine subscriptions? The black mark on your grade school record from when you got caught cutting class?). Then he asked us to open the trunk. Of course, we had nothing in there--no food, no liquor, no undocumented family members.

Unable to nail us for anything, he eventually let us go. We have no idea why he decided to keep us. Do these look like the faces of shady characters to you?

Next time: Broadripple socks.


At 9:49 PM, Blogger jennifer said...

you are my favorite partner in crime. ;)

At 10:11 PM, Blogger msubulldog said...

Whew, that was a tense last few paragraphs! Glad you made it back. :)

And loving that handpainted merino, btw. Can't wait to see the socks!

At 12:44 AM, Blogger candsmom said...

Look at all that mail love! ;-) Your new Trekking is just gorgeous! I love Lolly lots, too- she's the sweetest. And that Mountain Colors handpainted is so beautiful! You should see the envy dripping out of my pores. ;-) Just kidding- I'm so happy for you!! There's no one more deserving of some good knitterly mail love than you. :-) And hello, how gorgeous do you and Jennifer look??! I think Border Patrol was probably more interested in picking you up than shipping you out! ;-) I actually wasn't born in the US, either, so I can relate to all the extra hassle in explaining citizenship. (My dad was in the service, so I was born in Korea, but on a US military base, making me a US citizen, but I always have to provide extra proof of citizenship whenever I apply for anything. Major PITA) You and Jennifer look like you had such an awesome time together!! Girlfriends are the best!! That flan and coffee looked seriously to die for and the way you described that taco, girl, I could practically taste the grease. Yum! BTW, I loved the bit about the clown. You have this knack for picking up on subtle irony that I think is so cool. Take care! :-)

At 5:28 AM, Blogger Ashley said...

Hee! Someone UNDERSTANDS (or at least humors me). I'm wearing my Broadripples today, although secretly, under a tall pair of boots, and they make me do a little mental happy dance too.

Lovely fun weekend--I'm jealous :)

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Karen said...

What a great post that was!!! Your weekend get-away sounds divine. I've never been over the boarder to Mexico, but I remember how nervous my best friend and I were when we went to Canada. Crossing in the guard asked us if we were planning to leave anything there, and we both immediately thought "Well, I have to pee pretty bad right now". Luckily we both kept that little tidbit to ourselves!! Enjoy your new yarns too - I'm doing socks with Trekking right now and it's AWESOME!!!

At 8:06 AM, Anonymous heather said...

Such sweet compliments, I heart you too, babe.

Your vacation sounds like it was fabulous, even with the border hassles. Those are the kind that make fun memories, eh? You are lucky to have such good friends. :)

Since you're closing in on your socks, I better get crackin' on my smoke ring. Yikes!

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Bill Norris said...

Maybe a little shady...

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Yeah, you guys definitely look like you're deep into drug smuggling, or human trafficking. As you would say, sheesh hamaneesh. I think Chris may be onto something though. Maybe he DID want to pick you up. That is the cutest picture of you too. Love your shades. I think I might have a pair that are remarkably similar.

The flan. And the coffee. And the patio. Waah. I want to have flan and coffee on the patio. :)

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Talitha said...

Must be because you gals are just too cute! What a lovely trip. That cafe garden is just too much for me... I long to be there now. So beautiful! Thanks for all your kind words and hugs. And I will get to that meme eventually and I might have more than the allotted amount of quirks to share ;). Take care.

At 9:11 PM, Blogger Daily Texican said...

ay veces they just stop you cause les da le rechingada gana. it's not too bad though. you get used to it. they gotta check, i guess. even though one time, i was the only mexicano taking my gringo friends into Reynosa. On the way back (we walked b/c I wanted no part of what one of my friends was going to be bringing back) I got interrogated for a good 20 minutes. My friend, the guy w/ the goods, just smiled and walked across. Such is life.

At 8:32 AM, Blogger Lolly said...

I am embarrasingly late with my comment, but I have to say that I am so glad you received and enjoyed your package, Olga!

What lovely pictures of you and your friend! ;)


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