Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Calgary Round-Up

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.

18 comments:

  1. I've never heard of Pomegranate Soup, must see if the library has it. We have a wonderful Persian restaurant/deli/grocery here in Minneapolis, and we go there at least once a month. Love the mittens. But double knitting? No so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I highly recommend the book! You are scaring me about the double knitting. :-)

      Delete
  2. HAHAHA! Boo Oilers, that's hysterical! And the comparison to Texas seems absolutely perfect -- Texans never miss an opportunity to say something bad about Oklahoma (which feels the same way, in reverse).

    I absolutely adore those mittens! Everything about them, the yarn, the design, the softness. I'll be eager to hear how it is to do double knitting, I've wanted to do it but have been intimidated. And in the round, no less.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your Texas vs. Oklahoma comparison is exactly right. I'm right with you in the intimidated camp as far as double knitting goes. I wonder if I will ever start them, or if I will be too scared.

      Delete
  3. Boo Flames, is what I say :)

    I remember driving home to BC from Ottawa in late April, and spring so suddenly started once you hit Golden. The colour, the smell, it was so powerful, as the rest of the country had still been cold and stark and the dirty grey of the end of winter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My son would be in agreement with you about the Flames. He hates them with a passion. When he was interviewing for the internal medicine residency program in Calgary they asked him at the end of the interview if he had anything he wanted to add. He told them they should know he was not a Flame fan. I still can't believe he did that in an interview, but that is how strongly he feels about the Flames. It has been hard on him living so far away from the Canucks. :-)

      Delete
  4. That's love, braving a flight AND heading into the cold. Good luck with the mittens. I'm not a knitter, but I can see the allure they cast.

    One of my sisters lived in Calgary for a few years--when she and her hubby came home one summer with an electric cord hanging down from their car engine, I thought they had an electric car.

    Go Capitals!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sitting here laughing about the block heater cord! Too funny!

      I hope you have better luck with the Capitals than we have had with the Canucks. If they lose tonight they will go down in the history books as the first team to end up in #1 in the league only to find themselves eliminated in the first round. :-(

      Delete
  5. So what did you eat at the Persian restaurant? Surely you had something besides ice cream.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a stew with pomegranate paste in it along with rice flavoured with saffron. It was so good! I don't know the exact name of the dish I had though - sorry about that!

      Delete
  6. Looks like fun. And thanks for the travel tip. May be heading that way this summer to visit family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you go to Calgary be sure to go to the zoo and see the Penguin Plunge!

      Delete
  7. I lived in Calgary for a couple of years... loved it! I even had a block heater installed but never did use it. The rivalry between Calgary and Edmonton always made me laugh; it amazed me just how passionate the two cities are about their teams.

    As for the double knitting, the mittens are gorgeous! And the knitting really isn't all that difficult. If you can do ribbing, and if you can do colourwork, you'll have no real problem with dk. I would advise that you practice on something else first, though, just to get the hang of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The rivalry that exists is something else! I don't know what they are most passionate about - their love for their own team or their hatred of the other. :-)

      I have ordered a Lucy Neatby DVD on double knitting. I am hoping she can get me through the mittens with some degree of success.

      Delete
  8. Hahaha. I wonder if "bird guy" is the official title for said person whose job it is to scatter the seagulls off the runway. :-D I really love that the shop you went to features local varieties of yarns! The mitten kit definitely looks irresistible!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a pretty small airport, so I am sure the bird guy has a few other titles assigned to him. :-) They had a penguin kit at that store too, and I was very tempted to get it as well. I managed to resist, but am now kind of sorry I did.

      Delete
  9. Having had a basically snow-less winter this year I am finding myself quite envious of those who still have the soft white stuff ... but if your winters are so long does that mean your summers are short and intensely hot ... I should know the answer to that shouldn't I, but I don't.

    As for the mitts, I'd have been lost the moment I saw them too!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It varies widely depending what part of Canada you live in. Calgary has fairly short summers, but not overly hot. Where I live in Kamloops we have long summers with very hot days (we are on the very northern edge of a desert).

      I just hope those skeins of yarn actually turn into mittens! I think I will try a simple double knit hat before I attempt them.

      Delete