I went in thinking I'd not buy anything, or if anything, just one item. Foolish, foolish me! I came away with a skein of furry yarn (to go with some yarn I already have, so as to make a fancy shrug), 8 oz of alpaca fiber (from Longbranch Fiber Farm, which has VERY soft alpaca fleece, and almost NO guardhairs), and a pair of lovely fine silk scarves from Leilani Arts. I could not believe it, but those scarves--quite large--were only $10 each! What a deal! They also had some very, very tempting Merino Irish Donegal Tweed yarn (actually made in Ireland), worsted weight, two skeins of which would have been perfect for the shawls I've been obsessively making, but I refrained, as I have yarn I need to go through first for those projects. Yes, I was strong, strong, I tell you! Because those skeins were very lovely and so, so soft, and at a very decent price.
Margaret was about as foolish as I was, for she also had vowed not to buy anything, but of course came away with some to-die-for cute vintage embroidery patterns, and then she got stuck somehow looking at more vintage goods, as well as buying SOMETHING (which I will not reveal, because she is making it for a certain SOMEONE who may read my blog) that I am sure that SOMEONE will like a great deal.
As for quilters...well, if you have not gone to the expo, this is quilter heaven. The fat quarters were plentiful and diverse, and the displays of quilts were glorious.
I was happy to see Maker's Mercantile at the Expo, which is the brand new retail shop that features the famous Skacel Collection (of the fabulous Addi Turbo needles and other fine notions and scrumptious yarn). I had noticed this shop on my way back from shopping at the Uwajimaya's Renton store, and of course had to stop in because, hello, YARN. It also has RylieCakes within the shop, which is a gluten-free cafe full of lovely gluten-free pastries. AND they have a place where you can sit and knit! What can be better than noshing down deliciousness while knitting and chatting?
Mom, who is 81, seemed tireless as we walked through two buildings for a good 5 hours. I noticed that she hardly used her cane at all. What's up with that? She'd fallen a few times this year, which has caused my brothers and me a great deal of concern. But here, she hardly showed any signs of fatigue, except once when she wanted to sit down for a few minutes before she was up and about again. Either her physical therapy is showing good results, or it is a testament to the healing power of fiber arts. She was in particular pursuit of an iron, but we didn't find one that suited her needs at the time, possibly because she decided to look for one near the end of our stay, and only looked in one building. We did get separated from time to time in our quest for Mom's iron, but thank goodness for cell phones.
And now we come to the ghost. After all this fabric and fiber glory, it was close to 5 pm, so we decided to go to a very nice Japanese restaurant in the heart of the old part of Tacoma. We managed to escape to our cars between rain showers--it was quite cloudy and rainy--and drove a few minutes to the place. Fujiya resides at the top of an old building, which--if I recall its history correctly--still has the original stained glass at the top of its windows that face the street below.
We were one of the first to arrive after the restaurant opened for the evening, and so the waitress said we could sit where we wanted. Margaret immediately made a bee-line for the booth in one corner, saying it looked like a sunny place to sit. I was momentarily taken aback by this, because the clouds hadn't parted, and there was no sunshine beaming down on that particular booth, not that I could see. But I went with it, because we could see down to the street below.
We went through our menu, while the waitress brought our nicely large pot of green tea and poured it into our cups. But while I was sipping my tea, a sudden movement caught my eye--it was the teapot! It had slid a definite two inches to the side. I pushed it away from the edge of the table. Perhaps I was seeing things. I went back to my menu, watching the pot out of the corner of my eyes. It moved again!
"Did you see that?" I asked Mom and Margaret. "The teapot moved--by itself."
Mom said, "I thought you were pushing it."
"No, I wasn't!" It moved again. "There, see?" I had both my hands on the menu, so there was no way I could have moved it.
"Oh, that's weird," Margaret said, laughing. "Maybe it's a ghost."
I thought about it a minute--surely there was a rational explanation for it. I noticed that the table was wet. Perhaps that was it. I took my napkin and lifted the teapot--still pretty full, even after the waitress had poured the tea--and wiped the table and the bottom of the teapot until it was totally dry. I felt it to make sure. I set the pot down again.
"Okay," I said. "Let's see if it moves."
We went back to our menus again, but it was obvious that we weren't focused on ordering yet--we were watching the teapot.
It moved again, this time a shorter distance, maybe an inch. Was the table vibrating from something, enough to cause it to move? Was there something under the table, maybe some magnet, that was pushing it around? I felt the surface of the table, and under it. No vibration, nothing. There was no draft of air going through our corner--the air was still.
The waitress came back again to take our orders. The teapot moved again.
"Did you see that? The teapot moving?" I said.
She grinned. "Oh, I see you've met our poltergeist. Yeah, he or she keeps moving the teapot at this booth, and sometimes the one next to it. It's always the teapots, never the water glasses or the sake bottles."
"Are you serious?" Margaret said.
"This is an old building," the waitress said. "A lot of buildings in old Tacoma are, and we've experienced more than a few things like this. The Swiss Hall? You go there and sometimes you hear some old music playing, even when there's nobody else there--you know, polkas and stuff like that." She nodded at the teapot. "This one is all right. Sometimes I think it just wants to help pour the tea." She opened the top of the teapot and looked in. "Thanks for helping," she said to the teapot, and laughed.
We talked some more about the ghost, and she mentioned that she was careful about telling people about the ghost, especially children, because she didn't want to scare them. Her own young son had experienced the teapot moving, so she told him that it was because she was magic, which he was very ready to believe, because aren't mothers magic to very young children? She didn't mind telling us about the resident ghost, because it was clear we weren't worried about it.
We ordered our dinner then, and I kept an eye on the pot. It didn't just move in one direction, but around. Oddly, it moved when it was full, and never when it was empty or close to empty. I would have thought that it would have moved more easily had it been empty, but it didn't at all.
When our meal came, we dug in and ignored the moving teapot, and after a while it stopped moving. The food was delicious, and Endo--the owner/chef--sent out a complementary appetizer, which he did the last time I had been to this restaurant. Margaret had some grilled fish, and I had a combo sushi plate, and Mom chose from the a la carte sushi menu. So good!
Just before we left, I gave a nod to the teapot and said, "thanks for making our meal memorable." It gave one last jiggle before the waitress came to take it and our dishes away. I like to think it was the ghost's way of saying "you're welcome." :-D