Posted in Lessons Learned

Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

It is Tuesday night, and I am off to Joann’s with the Sunday circular in hand because I like hats. What does that have to do with anything? Well, it all goes back to camp last year. Beth and I went into Mendocino to see what kind of trouble we could get into, and to check out a little music store she knew about. But the music store was temporarily closed, so we wandered about and ended up in a hat shop. This hat shop, as a matter of fact.

And we wasted a good 45 minutes in there trying on hats, talking to the friendly owner, and petting his dog. We didn’t buy a damn thing, of course. I did, in fact, find a lovely little light-blue beanie type crocheted hat that I really loved that was both perfect and fetching. It was also $80, and as perfect as it was, it was still a beanie made of yarn, and I just couldn’t see spending that kind of money on a beanie, especially one without a propeller. I have my standards. And so, sadly, I took the beanie off, and walked out without it.

And in case you’re wondering, no, I cannot use the word “beanie” enough. I really just like to say it. And type it.

Now, the first year I was at camp, I had no hats. I had no idea it got that cold in California, and a certain life-long resident whom I relied on to inform me of these things told me only to “bring a coat.” But the second year I was prepared, and I brought hats I’d picked up at a street fair here in Tucson, a red velvet one, and a purple velvet beret.

It rarely gets cold enough here for much hat-wearing, but I was confident that they would get some use in the windy, rainy wilds of northern California, and so I wore them, and was complimented by all my fellow (or rather, lady) campers on my delightful chapeaux. On that trip, Antiguo and I went shopping in Ft. Bragg and found ourselves in a little world imports shop, and I ended up getting a Tibetan hat, which everyone thought was darling. “You have the best hats,” they said. And somehow, despite never having aspired to such, I had become “the girl with the cute hats.” And I realized expectations had been set, and while they might’ve given me a pass last year because it was a miracle I even made it to camp 6 months after Antiguo passed, there was absolutely no way I could show up to camp this year without a new hat, because, for the love of Pete, it certainly is NOT my guitar playing that will dazzle them; my reputation is built on my fine collection of toques. (That’s “hats” for you non-Canadians/non-Yoopers.)  [EDIT]  A genuine Canadian has graciously corrected my phonetic, yet mangled, spelling, though it seems there is some difference of opinion as to what is absolutely correct; in any case, my version was absolutely incorrect, and in honor of my Canadian neighbor, I choose her spelling.

And the moment I realized that, I regretted mightily that I didn’t buy the hat I loved last year in Mendocino, despite the fact that my Midwestern sensibilities still cringe at the idea of an $80 beanie. Beanie. Beaniebeaniebeaniebeanie.

Sorry. Where was I? Oh yeah.

Recently, I was introduced to, a clearinghouse for handmade goods (be careful—it’s addictive), and as I remembered the abandoned beanie, I thought that surely someone there would have a hat like the one I passed up to my inexplicably everlasting regret. And wouldn’t you know, but a nice gal in Barcelona, Spain, was able to get me a hat just like I wanted. This very one, in fact, which I got in September.

But now it is November, and as I begin to make plans for camp this year, I consider the fact that I could maybe use another beanie. And I could buy another one, but wouldn’t it just be cheaper to MAKE one? And once I made ONE, there’d be no stopping me. Just think of the variety of beanie goodness I could create! A beanie for every day! Maybe one for every outfit! With the right beanie I could…dare I say it?…rule the world!

The problem is that I don’t knit. I have crocheted a little, but one small scarf was enough to set the arthritis in my knuckles to screaming, and I realized that yarnwork was not for me. But then I learned that there are these loom things that allow people who don’t knit to knit, and I thought, hey, that’s for me! And Joann’s had them on sale this week.

Which brings us to where we entered this story, and I am standing in front of the knitting tools display with a loom in hand, looking for patterns to make this simplest of hats. I find a pattern book, open it, and attempt to read it, and it may as well be in Urdu for all I understand. I don’t speak yarn. I wander around, fondling pretty, soft yarns, looking for better instruction books, finding them all beyond my ken, and I realize that I have brought myself on a fool’s errand. There’s no way in hell I’m going to be knitting anything. I don’t knit, nor am I inclined to learn, and even if I were, I would not learn fast enough to create anything that I would willingly wear on my head in public in time for camp. So I put the loom down, and decide I’m just going to buy the cinnamon-scented pinecones I picked up immediately upon entering the store. However that plan was thwarted when I had to pass the bead aisles to get out of the store, and $35 worth of beads later, I finally extricate myself from Joann’s talons. And then I went home, fired up my computer, and bought 2 beanies from Now I’m set for beanies for the duration.

I’m not lazy; I’m supporting artisans across the globe.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.



I've been doing some form of creative writing since 9th grade, and have been a blogger since 2003. Like most bloggers, I've quit blogging multiple times. But the words always come back, asking to be written down, and they pester me if I don't. So here we are. Thanks for reading.