Spin Monkey

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In February 2008, on a whim, as a joke, with no real purpose in mind I started a little group on Ravelry.com. I called it “Bubbo’s Pants” with the idea that everyone who joined would automatically be in my pants. My pants are huge, voluminous even, they hold lots of people.
I didn’t make any hard and fast rules about the group or its focus, to be honest, I did not expect the group to go past the ‘silly joke’ phase…except it did. Still, though, no real ‘rules’ were set down. Mostly, I figured there were enough places on the internet where people could be unabashed jerks to each other, places where ‘honesty’ was considered synonymous with ‘douchebaggery’. I didn’t want my group to be like that. I wanted something different. And I got it!
The Pants, as the group is called, has grown into quite a juggernaut of awesome. It’s a place where people who need help or support can go to find it without judgment or criticism. We give advice, comfort, opinions and support in an open and somewhat playful manner. In short, the group is everything I had hoped it would be.
So, what does this all have to do with the pictures above?
Well, the People of The Pants are a sneaky lot! They will form secret, private groups away from the main group! They will use these groups to coordinate secret plots to help bring cheer and love to someone who is going through a particularly rough patch. Sneaky little monkeys they are! As my birthday approached, they formed one of these secret groups. Their secret plot? To get me a spinning wheel. Oh yes, a spinning wheel! I’d been missing the spinning wheel I had, one that was borrowed and had to be returned to its owner.
I love spinning yarn. It’s rhythmic and relaxing, it’s an act of comfort as well as an act of creation.
They did it, these Pantsters of mine, they coordinated their efforts and for my birthday they sent me a Louet S10 spinning wheel and a bunch of delicious fiber as well as a giant birthday card, a painting of my Rastapotomus (more on that later), gift cards and so much more.
I have a spinning wheel! My own spinning wheel! I can sit down and create yarn once again.
They keep me humble, yes they do. Whenever I stop to think, “hey! I made a pretty cool community!” they surprise me with acts of generosity and love that I can not ever take any credit for. It is a group that is somehow greater than the sum of its members. I am immensely proud of my association with them.
I cannot thank them enough for this gift, not just the spinning wheel (which is awesome) but the gift of this community, the gift of their friendship and support and love.

The times they were beautiful

We returned safe and sound and exhausted from our trip to Madeline Island. It was absolutely beautiful, it really was. There are a million things to write about and I’ll get to them, hopefully! So let’s do bullet points!

  • First and foremost, the wedding was beautiful and simple. Only close family, very small ceremony, no big planning. A lot of specifics weren’t even figured out until a few hours before the ceremony. I love that. I’ve really come to appreciate simplicity in these sorts of things. Writing the advice column and watching what my sister went through with her wedding sort of kills the fantasy about weddings.
    • Mary-Alice could not have been more lovely in her wedding dress. She was able to use her mother’s wedding dress (rescued and rehabbed post-Katrina), cut to a classic tea-length. The addition of simple pearls and mary-janes and you could have wept seeing it.
    • There were 16 people involved (including the bride and groom), so we all got to pair up and be in the processional. David walked his mom up the aisle and I got to walk with Matt’s (insanely adorable) little nephew!
    • Mary-Alice had asked us to hum the Wedding March as her father walked her up the aisle. Instead, it was decided that we would surprise her and sing “You Are My Sunshine” instead. The look on her face was priceless.
    • In sum, the whole event focused not on spectacle or drama, but on the very core of the matter: two people who love each other very much coming forward and entering into a public contract of obligation. Two people focused only on each other, basking only in the love of family.
  • The dogs, bless their retarded hearts, wore themselves out running all week. The house that Mary-Alice rented for the week was huge (comfortably holding all 16 of us), on a giant piece of land and allowed dogs! I’m not sure she knows how much I appreciate that I got to bring the doofuses with me on this trip. For whatever stress they may cause in the moment, they are always such a huge comfort to me.
  • The house we wanted to buy!!! It’s a bust. The inspection was on Wednesday, David had to come back into town for some work things and was able to be there for the inspection. We knew there was going to be some work necessary for the house, water damage and such. The assumption was that since the phrase “newer roof” was being bandied about as a selling point, then the water damage would be from the time before the “newer roof”. This assumption was incorrect. In fact, our assumption that “newer roof” would imply that the house had something that functioned as a covering for the building was also wrong. Apparently, the phrase “newer roof” means “a shoddy piece of shit installed by disreputable asspipes who thought nothing of scamming an old man out of his money and leaving him with something on the top of his house that channeled water directly into the structure for years to come”. There is nothing about this roof that was installed correctly, not the materials, not the technique, nothing. As a result the house requires more than any regular buyer could possibly put into it. I’m not sure if I’m more pissed at the city inspectors for not finding this or at the conservators of the owner’s estate for not putting forth the effort where he could not. I don’t blame the owner, it’s obvious he’s in no position to be dealing with this. Knowing that we are the second potential buyers to have sunk multiple hundreds of dollars into an inspector to find out this information makes me question the integrity of the entire deal. At what point is it no longer ethical for the realtor or conservators to not disclose the information about the roof? Certainly it is not a lie that the roof is “newer”, but that roof is a detriment to that property. It is continually causing damage to the house such that it was our inspector’s opinion that there was so much damage to the outer structure that there was no real recourse but to tear down the house and rebuild.
    But, I guess this is where we pull our pants up and move forward and keep looking. It’s really frustrating, but I maintain that in home buying you must always be prepared to walk away.
  • The real sadness is that this was a house that we both liked equally. We have each seen houses that we have liked but the other was unimpressed by (do I love the mid-century rambler? oh yes I do! does he? not so much.)
  • Being on Madeline island re-awoke a little spark in me. There’s a part of me that wants to buy an old farmhouse somewhere near a crafts or artists community. Someplace where it’s half hippie artist and half flanneled ambiguously lesbian with a few dogs and a house that has a great view and some problems in the winter and a no-nonsense haircut and wide hips and artsy sensibility and raspberries in the backyard and David climbing trees somewhere. Somewhere like…Vermont…
  • On the drive home we hit some road construction on I-35, north of the cities in the “Save the Baby Humans” corridor (these exist everywhere approximately 100 miles outside of any larger city on the interstates where the billboard space becomes a bit cheaper). I got nothing against the pro-life message per se, but I am a deeply cynical human being and sitting there for 40 minutes seeing billboard after billboard touting “God’s Handiwork” and “God’s Greater Plan” and “I had my genes BEFORE I was born” made me wonder why they never showed pictures of babies with anencephaly or harlequin ichthiosis, are these not also part of the plan? Examples of the handiwork? Someday they will invent a pill for my brand of cynicism and the world will be a calmer place.
  • I was greatly saddened by the passing of Senator Kennedy this past week. He truly was one of the last great fighters for equal rights for all. As much as I appreciate Obama, he is no Ted Kennedy, that’s for sure. For all that would spit the venom of his faults and mistakes so haughtily as he passed, I would counter with this article. I know of few others who have fought so hard to give a voice to those who had so little. He was not one that fought to oppress many while hiding secret affairs (ahem, Mr. Sanford, Mr. Craig, Mr. Ensign, Mr. Foley and so on and so on).
  • Another passing that surprised and saddened me was that of Ms Sheila Lukins. She was second only to Julia Child in my book. In fact, she saw the banner Julia Child was carrying and took it one step further. Fine french cuisine was, in fact, accessible and attainable for the home cook but she told us to not forget Morocco and Thailand, cumin and fish sauce, she truly was a pioneer for expanding our meat and potato palates beyond the borders of midwest and out into the greater world. I have owned a couple of her Silver Palate cookbooks and in the mid-nineties when I was coming into my own in the kitchen I learned so much from them. She was part of the celebri-chef culture back when it meant knowledge and artistry, not stringing together whatever current hip foodie culture terms are popular and face humping a camera to the delight of the pre-menopausal (I’m looking at you Emeril and at you, Bobby Flay).
  • I got nothing else right now. David is back to work today. This week I will be sorting out my head and getting myself back on a regular schedule. I hope to write more about the issues of coming off Effexor and the wall I hit this summer. I also need to focus more on my fiber production and get more yarns and rovings out there, as well as finish up the new website for it all. Oh, and Chester has a few opinions to share with y’all.
  • Unrelated pet peeve: it’s spelled “voilĂ ” and not “wallah”

ps about 2 weeks ago the banner at the top of my website went from being the same shade of pink as the sides to being a different shade of pink. Can other people see this? I’ve changed nothing on the site. Any ideas from the peanut gallery?