What's that, you say you weren't desperately curious as to where I was or what I might be doing that would keep me from posting for nearly a week? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway: I was in Houston. My mom and I took a little holiday road trip for a couple of days, just because with the holidays we actually have the time to spend a few days somewhere and not be darting immediately to and from work. Last year we explored the Dallas/Fort Worth area, so this year Houston seemed like a natural destination.
When we went to Dallas, my mine motivation was the museums, specifically the Modern Art Museum and Kimball in Fort Forth, which I had been to for a high school Art History field trip and wanted to revisit. There are some great museums in Houston as well, but it wasn't so long ago that I had been to see King Tut with my dad, so I we bypassed most of that highbrow tourism. We did make two museum-esque stops, but they can have their own post later. Mostly, I would say our Houston trip was a social visit. Specifically, it comprised of meeting up with, in the span of three days, six people we otherwise knew only from Ravelry.
I'm on a number of social networks, but Ravelry is really the only one that I have any interest in making friends from. Facebook is about staying connected to those I already know, LinkedIn is all about work, and Twitter is a conglomeration of headlines from everyone from 'real life' friends to frozen yogurt shops and favorite public radio personalities. But with Ravelry, I'm engaging in a global community of crafters, a handful of which I had clicked needles with outside of cyberspace. Over the years, I have developed what I consider to be true friendships, bonded over our shared love of crafting, as well as plenty of other subjects.
And so, we met up with a few people who I still think of more by usernames than first names. On our way into Houston, we stopped in Katy and a fellow tennis enthusiast from the Tennis Fans Unite! group. We both cannot wait for the Australian Open to get going and start up another grand slam season. She's rooting for Federer, while I'm hoping that Andy Murray has finally broken his self-destruction habit in Championship matches. But we both agree that it would be really great to see some up and comers make names for themselves.
There was even an impromptu meet-up with someone from the British Banter group, a fellow expat surviving in the wilds of America clutching her Cadbury Roses and Christmas crackers. That was great because it literally was a case of her finding out we were in town, sending us a message in the morning and then meeting up for lunch a few hours later. Completely unexpected, and yet it seemed so comfortable to meet up with someone who had described themselves according to the knitwear they had on, sit down and enjoy a mug of mushroom soup and just chat.
Odd Ducks is the group I swap with and spend most of my time in. When you're swapping, you are essentially creating your own little Christmas, giving and receiving gifts themed around almost anything. And in the process of learning what someone would like to be sent, you sort of reverse the normal friendship process of strangers becoming friends becoming people you give gifts to. So maybe it's not surprising that the rest of our social engagements were with Odd Ducks.
First, we met up with another mother and daughter Odd Ducks duo for an early dinner and knit night at a Houston yarn store. Then we met another Odd Duck who recently became a moderator for the group for the second time. She brought me cupcakes from New York, and we brought her a bottle of barbecue sauce from The Salt Lick, where we had eaten lunch when we first met. And finally, we stopped off to visit another Odd Duck on the way back home who has become our regular partner in crime for yarn crawls and other fiber events for the past two years.
Back in Austin now, ready for the start of the Christmas Eve festivities, and feeling particularly happy that I started my holidays with friends new and old, found the the fiber of the internet.