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 “voilà” 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?

The convenience will be the death of me.

My wireless card died some many months ago and it was inconvenient. A pain to always be tethered to a physical wire. It was a constant reminder that the laptop was not an extension of me and my mind but that I was extending from it.
The router was in the living room and I was tethered to it by 15 feet of black cat5 cable. No more wandering the house with the laptop, no more checking the email in bed or surfing the web in the bathroom. Sofabound was I.
Then we got a new card. Freedom. The freedom to imprison myself.
I got that card installed and wandered back to the bedroom.
I love my bedroom. I love my bed. Giant king sized bed, giant king sized feather bed on the mattress. The room is finite, it has the comfort of enclosure. The bed is inviting. The dogs love the bed and they love piling on, curling up and passing out with me. They are good dogs. And David! he knows the comfort of the bed, of curling up, of breakfast in bed. He reads to me while I crochet or while I relax.
Eventually, I could find no reason to leave the bedroom. Oh sure, I had to pee and eat, but the bathroom and kitchen were mere steps from the bedroom. I could venture out and return easily. I could leave the house but the more time I spent in the bedroom, the less I could tolerate being away from it. The less I could tolerate communicating with it.
My productivity fell to nothing. No spinning of yarn, no purse making, no practice hat making, nothing of note was produced. Nothing. Projects half finished lay in stasis untouched.
My bedroom became my cave, my cave became my fortress. I defended my fortress. David discovered the impossibility of trying to navigate my defenses. He could try to help, but how do you help a person leave the prison she believes is her only safe place? With patience I suppose and gentle suggestion, with tolerance of the inexplicable mood swings and promises of ice cream.
So, it seems that I have to ask myself “What would Auntie BubboPants say?”. If I got a letter from me, how would I advise me? Pull out the wireless card. Keep it available for when it is necessary, but keep it away from the bedroom. Recognize your limitations and work with them, remove that damned card. When I am tethered to the living room, I can see all the materials for all my projects. My piles of roving, my felty Cthulhu heads, the purses, the patterns for my little 1940’s hats. I feel the inspiration to work and to complete things. To put things out there for sale again. To be part of the world in a small way.
I’m still not using the phone, hopefully soon I will be able to look at it and not see it as some invasive species bent on the destruction of my psyche. God I hate the phone.
Incidentally, I’ve moved Bubbo Designs from Etsy to Artfire (I know I’ve mentioned this before). Go check it out. Purses and roving and yarn and soon hats and more accessories:

Poppy Surprise Power Purse
A Bad Day In Space

It’s the little things that distract

the problem with the ‘microblogging’ (twitter and its inelegant cousin, the facebook wall) is that I’m able to brain vomit whatever is sloshing around in the head at that moment without concern for things like crafting paragraphs and intelligent transitions. So, being able to just dump without thinking (I’m like a bear! sitting next to the pope! in the woods!) sort of distracts from this place where presumably I put a modicum of thought into what I write.
So here are some random tidbits:

  • 36th birthday = big Indian food picnic in bed
  • I’m moving the Bubbo Designs shop from Etsy to Artfire. Mostly, I just happen to like the way Artfire works, their interface for listing items is way more streamlined, the payment set up makes more sense and they have happen to have a bunch of features I’d been wishing Etsy had. Listings are slim right now, I just pulled a bunch of yarn and sent it out to a brick and mortar, we’ll see how that goes. You will notice, however, that I have started selling some hand dyed roving. Coming soon: bigger Cthulhu awesomeness, purses, superwash roving and handspun.
  • take one medium eggplant, cube it, toss with kosher salt and let it weep for about 90 minutes (or the time it takes to go to walgreens to buy soap and then to Petco to buy a muzzle and then come home, laugh at chester in his muzzle, drink a beer and read a short story about apartheid and…)
    mince 3 cloves of garlic
    cook a small spaghetti squash in the microwave (please poke more holes in yours than I did in mine! the top assploded right off the squash and the guts are stuck to the microwave door) let cool and shred
    wash, de-rib and tear up about half a bunch of baby collard greens
    open one 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
    open one 14 oz can of cannellini beans (or great northern), rinse the beans
    Rinse the eggplant quickly and fry it up until brownybrown on the outside and completely cooked through (undercooked eggplant makes me gag). Once the eggplant is done cooking toss the garlic in and saute until it starts to go a little golden. Add tomatoes to stop the garlic from overbrowning. mix it all up. Add 2 handfuls (mmmmmtechnical measurements! I have very little hands, so maybe do 1 handful) of Penzeys Pasta Sprinkle and maybe a fat tablespoon of Penzeys Greek Seasoning. Add beans and collard greens cover and let simmer.
    Make some spaghetti according to package directions. When the spaghetti is almost done, throw some golden raisins into the sauce.
    Serve sauce on spaghetti and also have a beer. Beer is good.
  • I love David Attenborough
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  • The dry mouth side effect that comes from taking effexor is linked to a “meth-mouth” type condition in the mouth where you don’t make enough of the awesome antibacterial saliva you need. This would explain why the enamel has literally been crumbling off my teeth a little bit at a time for the past year. I’m going to end up with fucking guv’ment dentures! my mouth will look like this: (UUUUUU)
  • Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad
    1. In the minibowl of the food processor throw about 1/2 head peeled garlic cloves, a rightly good chunk of peeled ginger chunked up, about a tsp kosher salt and 3 tbl or so canola oil. whir it up, scrap down the edges, add more oil if necessary. If you whir too long you’ll get some sort of ginger garlic aioli but that can’t be a terrible thing, can it. put this to the side.
    2. dressing: mix together 3 tbl fish sauce, 2 tbl sugar, 1 tbl mirin, 1-2 tbl sesame oil, juice of a lime, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 tbl ginger garlic paste you just made and chili oil to taste. Whisk and fridge for at least an hour.
    3. mock duck marinade: I discovered I was out of honey which sucked, but i found a jar of my peach clementine marmalade that I made like 2 years ago! 1/4 merciful peaches marmalade, 2tbl ginger garlic paste, 2 tbl sesame oil, 1/4 rice vinegar, few drops of chili oil. Whisked this and added one can of WELL SQUEEZED mock duck and that’s sitting there. Fry over high heat to caramelize it
    4. Chop, shred or otherwise prep: romaine lettuce, cilantro, papaya, tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts. Cook and rinse rice noodles.
    5. Rice noodles in bowls, veggies on top, mock duck on that, dressing on everything.
    6. delicious
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Today was the day

that i
darnk a lot of coffee, ate pancakes with Owen, bought lawn bags, 409 and barkeepers friend from the Home Depot*, enjoyed the sunroof, mailed 2 packages to customers, made some flowers from recycled sweaters,had some ice cream, watched some Doctor Who (9th Doctor, debated the relative merits of the Doctor vs Cap’n Jack), drank 2 beers, made a little jellyfish minimini purse for the stargrrl (had to re-do the lining, I screwed it up the first time), ate 1/2 a quesadilla, walked the dogs, rearranged my schedule for the week, played some solitaire, and wondered why after so many years does Capital One think that maybe TODAY’S piece of junk mail will convince me to get their card**!
kind of in that order but with some overlap here and there.
Fascinating yes?
*it is my sincere opinion that Home Depot and HGTV have conspired to make every splitwiener in the land think he’s Bob Villa or something and this is why when I go looking at houses I just see one home after the other with half finished remodeling jobs and SCARY plumbing mishaps.
**I’ve gotten a piece of mail from capital one at least 4 times a week since I moved into this place in 2005. I am not kidding about this, I really am not.