Thursday, August 06, 2009

Knitting and Tractors

I am in Chicago. I have been here for two or three days now--depending on how you define "day." I am struggling to find my equilibrium because America is a much changed place from my last visit. I suspect I have changed, too, and so the connections are a bit loose.

I have walked to a Borders bookstore with my daughter and grandson and we have all run off to separate parts of the store. I want to look at knitting books and see if I can get a book of quilts toi get ideas for a log cabin qulit pattern translated into a knit pattern. (This is not gonna be a knit post, so if you are one of my knit pals readsing this, email me and we'll talk!)

The knit books are clustered in among sewing books and crochet books--and books about tractors. I find this association comforting. It reminds me of my home across the water where they have started the combining of the crops in the field. I smile at the familiar yellow and green John Deere logo on the side of the repair manual. Just as I do this, an anouncement comes over the PA (or tannoy) telling shoppers that there is now a happy hour in the coffee shop. I have never heard of such a thing but I am ready for a coffee and always willing to be happy for an hour.

The shoppers special announcement and the urgency with which the woman signs me up for a Rewards card are some of the many indicators I have already seen of the effect of the economy here. Everyone is trying harder and making do with less. The Rewards card used to cost money. Now they give it away in the hopes of creating good will and repeat shopping.

Other indicators of the economy are the vacant store windows, the for lease signs, and a large federal sign promoting a special infrastructure recovery program.

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At 11:54 AM, Blogger Ruan Peat said...

oh I get home to find you away :-), I hope all is well and I too found big gaps and odd actions in shops that I once knew so well. spent an afternoon looking for an intenret cafe which had gone bust, and spent a day trying to get to 'spin a yarn' only to find they were shut that day as they had just moved stores! I am fated not to see in side that shop!
keep well hun and see you soon I hope.
luv Ruan

At 12:52 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

I really feel a woman between places now. America has changed almost beyond recognition in some large and some small ways. There were fewer books in the bookstore (more of the one current hot item) and books were older versions. I found a book by the women mentioned in Knitting magazine but it was their older one--not the current one. Sounds like you are finding such things, too. Oh and my favourite knit store in Chicago seems to have moved to a neighborhood that would be less expensive than previous location.

At 5:35 PM, Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

There are large signs touting the federal recovery program at every road construction site -- and there are more of these, this year, than there are dandelions on the bad neighbor's lawn.

My wife and I had to go to the doctor a week ago and between trying to go around constructions sites about which we knew... and finding those we hadn't suspected... we were beginning to despair that we'd ever reach the place. (We did. But late as usual.)

I'm sure the signs are meant to build up goodwill for the federales -- but I'm afraid it will backfire. Whether it's stimulating the economy or not, most people don't like getting stuck in traffic... and especially don't like it over and over again.

Also, road construction seems like the last refuge of political patronage -- and so many corruption indictments seem to involve road contractors these days that the signs may begin to re-enforce the impression that it's funny business as usual.


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