Last Thursday I flew to Calgary to spend a few days with Karsten and Diana. It normally takes 50 minutes to fly there, but when I went it took a full hour. We were at the end of the runway, engines revved for take-off, when the pilot came on to inform us there would be a slight delay. There were sea gulls on the runway and we had to wait for the bird guy to come scare them away.
Calgary is one province over, and one time zone ahead of us here in Kamloops. It was also unfortunately one season behind. It snowed every day I was there. This didn't stop us from having a great time together. Thursday afternoon Diana and I went on a yarn crawl. Make One Yarn Studio was a very unique shop. They feature local yarns, and every month or so have a new kit available featuring one of those yarns. The minute I saw this month's kit I knew I was doomed.
The kit came with two skeins of a merino, alpaca, silk DK weight yarn from Yummy Yarn Studio, a sheep stitch marker, and the mitten pattern all tucked away in a project bag. These mittens are going to be a challenge. They are double knit, which is a technique I have never tried. It is also one my knitting friend Ellen warned me about after she had an unsuccessful go at it last winter. But they were sheep. Sheep from the front and sheep from the back. And I have a weakness for sheep. Not only were they sheep, they were reversible, so there were two colours of sheep. Even then I might have been able to resist had I not slipped the mittens on my hands. Ellen's warning voice in my head was instantly silenced by the softest, warmest mittens I had ever worn.
Friday Diana and I went for a walk in Weaselhead Park. The previous day's snow was starting to melt, and there were even some promising patches of blue sky. I was surprised to see how far behind us Calgary is. Pussy willows and the chickadees with their spring call were the only signs of spring to be found.
Friday night we went to a Persian restaurant for dinner. I have wanted to try Persian food ever since reading the book Pomegranate Soup. I wasn't disappointed. The food was amazing - very different, but a good kind of different. Half of the space was the restaurant, and half was a Persian market. When we finished eating we went to have a look at the shop. It had some very interesting items, most of them imported from Iran. I bought some pomegranate paste to try to replicate the dish I ate. We also got some Persian ice cream. Oh. My. Goodness. The ice cream was flavoured with saffron and rose water and loaded with pistachios and frozen chunks of real cream. I managed to eat three bowls of the stuff before I came home. It is probably a good thing there was no way to bring some home with me on the plane!
We went to the Calgary Zoo to see the new Penguin Plunge exhibit. It is so popular that even on a cold, snowy day people queue up to get into the display. They have done a great job, and if you are ever in Calgary it is worth going to the zoo just to see the penguins.
Calgary has its own unique personality. It is a bit like a cold version of Texas. In the middle of the city you see signs warning you not to ride your horse on the path, block heaters are sprinkled throughout the parking lots, snow continues to fall in April, and houses in upscale neighbourhoods decorate their front porches with dead animal skulls.
But if I had to pick just one thing that defined Calgary it would be this. They hate the Edmonton Oilers. With a passion.
Even the owners of the Persian restaurant felt they couldn't let a passing reference in their menu to Edmonton slip by without clarifying their feelings about their despised hockey rivals.