A Magic Carpet Ride, To the Emerald Isle


A few years ago, an innovative guy decided to see if he could trade a giant paper clip for something, well, better. So he advertised on Craigslist, not knowing what he would end up with. Being a huge barter fiend myself, I liked his spunk.

Fast forward to this evening. I was reading an e-newsletter sent by Barbara Winter, author of “Making a Living Without a Job,” and was making notes on her first article titled “7 Easy Ways to Warm Your Cockles” Since I had no idea I even had cockles, I figured I’d better take notes. I wrote down the seven ways and planned to start cockle-warming first thing in the morning. I read on, and stopped at an entry about a workshop held in Galway, Ireland.

Be still my heart. This area of Ireland had called to me for the better part of my 50 years on this earth. It was on my “Boxcar List.” That’s like a bucket list, but much bigger and harder to ignore. I had written about the female pirate queen, Grainne O’Malley, and recognized her castle immediately among the pictures on the workshops web site. There was a strange need to visit, to walk the countryside and find spiritual sites I knew but could not describe, to breathe the air of a country that I recognized only through genetic memory, through the drops of blood that came from my Irish ancestors. Years ago, I shared my draw to the Galway region with a fellow writer who came from Ireland. “No matter how many generations are away,” he said, “Ireland always calls her sons and daughters home.”

After I clicked off, I looked at Barbara’s list. The first one stared back at me:

Do Something Out of Character.

Hmm. You’re a workhorse, Rosie, not a show horse. If you can’t pay for it, you don’t need it. You have obligations. You have bills. It is all true. If you want to go to Ireland, it has to be free, or you have to barter for it.

I stopped talking to myself and stared at those words. Thoughts become things. I sent off a note to Barbara, basically telling her the same thing I just told you, and sent a similar one off to the workshop leader. And here I am, telling you. I want to go to Galway.

I believe that some things may seem improbable, but nothing is impossible. And I started thinking about the guy who had nothing but a paper clip. I did a quick look through my apartment – remember, readers, I am packing, so pickings are slim. But here are some items I found that I am willing to barter to piece together a trip to Ireland, in order of value:

1. 6 AAA batteries. Not new, but a few of them might have a little bunny left in them.
2. A wire hanger, used.
3. My wig, used this summer during my bald period.
4. The hair of a dog. Really. The hair of a dog. TRADED for handspun yarn – see pics and description in “Trading” page
5. A Virgin Mobile Kyocera phone , with chew marks and a battery that is still fairly good.
6. And, if I find it, I will offer a four-leaf clover, found by me. This is surely worth an entire trip, flight and all! Let me know if anyone is interested in this one and I will look harder. (UPDATE: I found it!)

Here’s more:
JUST ADDED: My high school class ring, circa 1975.
My voice: Got an advertising project that needs a female voice?
My skill: Blog content? A story…on Ireland? Want me to tweet about your Irish wolfhound?

So, whatcha need? Let’s trade! We can’t win if we don’t play. I’ll post offers here and keep you updated on any progress. And if this dream doesn’t happen right now, it will eventually. There is always a Plan B.

UPDATE: I have added a barter list page link at the top of the blog page for easier browsing! Watch for trades there!

8 responses »

  1. Okay, no trade from me yet (though I may think of one), but a question: have you seen Molly Lyons’ one-woman play, “A Most Notorious Woman”? It’s about Granuaile (Grace O’Malley, pick your name: the pirate queen). It is EXTRAORDINARY. I saw its world premiere–and have seen it three more times, and will see it again when I have another chance (and I don’t tend to do things I’ve done before). The play now has its own website, http://amnwtheplay.com/default.aspx .

    • Thanks for the info on the Grainne play, Deborah! And…um…this hair of the dog…beautiful spinnable Belgian Tervuren hair. A manilla envelope stuffed full. Want to trade for a sample of your yarn, to be put up for further barter?

  2. Sure, I can find some handspun yarn around here, and I’m writing a book on fibers and could use some Belgian Tervuren (nice dogs!). I’m even very mildly famous in the world of handspinning (a relatively small but exceptionally fine community of people), so it might trade up for you!

    Great thought!

  3. Deb is not mildly famous. She is well known in spinning and historical/ethnic knitting circles. She happens to be modest, an excellent trait if you don’t let it hold you back.

    Deb was editor of Spin-Off magazine for many years. Lots of people would be interested in handspun she created.

    (I know her more from the books she publishes, and for her fascinating weblog, “The Independent Stitch.” We spent some time together at Sock Summit conference in Portland OR this summer, happily analyzing some Turkish Socks I own (handspun, hand-dyed, handknit) with Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, another significant name in the ethnic knitting realm.

    Yes, you will be able to trade up in some way with handspun from Deb.

    For the record, five years ago this month I came home from a 38-day trip to Eastern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Egypt). It was my own personal miracle. I did say out loud I was intending to go, somehow. I did schedule myself to not work during that time. I had NO idea how the funds would happen.

    And then the phone rang. I went. It changed my life.

  4. Hi, Lynn! I found 1 kg of light sportweight two-ply, rose-gray (not, I think, a bright enough color for you–but nice, I like it), probably Merino, yarn that would give a beginner something to aspire to and a pro spinner something to feel superior to. . . . But it’s lovely. I just have never finished its project, and it wants to turn into a nice – ? It would weave up (strong enough for warp), knit, crochet. . . .

  5. Pingback: Blog Salad | Trading up for Ireland

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s