infinite universes? infinite possibilities!

i just looked around me in the living room and dining room. There is not a single flat surface with open space on it except for the top of the lizard cage and that’s only because we have to open it daily. I swear to god there is a quantum universe of crap just waiting for me to introduce an open area on a flat space so that it might become reality in my house.

Maddie Dog, Quantum Physicist

When I am home alone with the dogs Maddie takes an even greater interest in keeping me safe. Anyone who has spent time with me and Maddie knows how seriously she takes this job. Now, she’s not the “chew ’em all and let god sort it out” sort of dog. She’s really more of a “oh my god! uncertainty! I will press myself against you and shove my head in your face in order to shield you from the thing that I don’t KNOW!” sort of dog. This means that while she usually spends a lot of time pressed against me, she also spends a lot of time sitting or standing directly in my vicinity at full attention staring at whatever location she thinks might unleash uncertainty.
Right now, as I right this, she is sitting about 9 inches from me, at attention, staring directly at a box filled with the personal contents of my former desk (most of the contents anyway, there were a few things mysteriously missing, but you know). This box id 5 inches from her face. I really wish I could get a photo of this. All I can see it the back of her hippo head, ears alert, head cocked a bit to one side. Every few minutes she lifts her head tilts it all the way back so she is looking at me all upside down.
So, when I go take a shower she stands in the doorway of the bathroom looking out into the hallway.
While I am in the shower and Maddie is standing guard, Chester is free to impose his version of intelligent design on the world. From under the bed he will hear two atoms bouncing off each other in the living room and go tearing out there yelling, “MY NAME IS CHESTER!!! ME!!! CHESTER!! I AM TELLING YOU!! I am chester and you are atoms and you STOP BOUNCING!! Me! I am telling you to settle down. NO NONONONO NO!!! DO not move! there is no reason for you to move!!! MY NAME IS CHESTER AND I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU ARE MOVING SO YOU SHOULD STOP!!! STOP IT!!!” And I stand in the shower with a bar of soap crammed in my asscrack yelling “SHUT UP CHESTER”
And this whole time Maddie is plagued by uncertainty!! “Oh my god! is there danger? is it on the lady? is the lady safe? did danger go on the lady! I CAN’T SEE THE LADY!!!” At this point, I am existing in a mixed state of “covered in a delicious slurpee of danger” and “rinsing the shampoo out of my hair” I will remain in flux until she actually observes me, thus creating reality. So far she has not observed me covered in slurpee style danger, but it could happen! In an infinite universe with infinite possibilities I could be missing a toe AND be attacked by tub drain monsters ALL AT ONCE!!

spinnin’ like a 12 pound villain!

Since i have all this extra time on my hands I figured I’d pick up a new yet related hobby. I’ve learned to hand spin yarn! Here! Let me show you lots of pictures of what I am doing because I KNOW YOU CARE!!!!

This is my very first handspun

My mom’s friend, Susie, dyed up the roving for me and I spun it out in one long, uneven length and then folded it over and plied it on itself.

For my next bit of experiment I decided to dye some wool roving and see how that worked. There are a lot of dye options out there, but I was concerned about their toxicity. A lot of the commercial wool dyes have mordants that can be dangerous (like copper sulfide or arsenic). I decided that any dye method that warned me not to use near food just wouldn’t work. After some investigation I found that Wilton icing dyes were very popular and relatively inexpensive. You can also use unsweetened Kool-Aid but apparently that is not always colorfast.

Using the time honored method of closing my eyes and picking a color I ended up making green! This is one ounce of roving in the crock pot with hot water, Wilton Kelly Green dye and some vinegar

Once it cooled to room temp I washed and rinsed it gently. You have to be careful not to felt it or you will surely end up hitting someone in the face with a fist of fury!

Hand it up to dry, don’t mess with it, just let it dry.

This is Chester trying to flash you a little peener. He’s a dork.

The next step is to spin it up. This is Maddie with my awesome handmade spindle. Dawn made this for me with a dowel, a cup hook, 2 CDs and a rubber grommet. Later this week I hope to get some real drop spindles in different weights for different kinds of yarn.

Maddie wants to be a spinner but she doesn’t have thumbs. Evolution has screwed Maddie yet again.

This is a pile of unspun roving from Border Leicester sheep along with my spindle and some already wound laceweight yarn that I made from it. This roving is so soft! I want to slam my face into it!

This is the final product! the green roving spun up to an aran weight (more or less). I dyed the roving in four 1 ounce batches and a couple batches I tried to make a little splotchy to give the yarn some depth of color when I plied it together.

This was made with roving from Montdale sheep. It’s definitely coarser than Leicester or Merino, but it was cheaper and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the practice wool.

This is Chester with my burgundy yarn. For this I spun up the yarn first and then dyed it. I found I just did not appreciate that process as much.

Chester can think of nothing more awesome than staying still withh yarn on him!

Sadly, the color in the photo is not as nice as the actual color. The variations in color are not so gloomy grey but nice shifts in tones

I’m very excited about all the yarn and all the possibilities. I definitely have plans and projects in mind. Spinning is really relaxing (except when you first learn, then it’s really tense).
Also, I am an old lady craft nerd!

mmmcherry chocolate stress cake!

So, what happens when things in your lie start going to hell in a handbasket and you spend all your time worrying about things getting even worse AND even though you know it’s what caused 75% of the trouble in the first place you still can’t help but hide the full extent of your worries from the people around you???
Your mind finds alternate ways of pushing the stress out. In my case, SHINGLES!!! YAY. Starting just to the left of my breast bone I have a painful rash on my left boob, left armpit, down the tender fleshy fat part at the back of my arm and around on to my back. The awesome thing about shingles is that it lives in your nerves! So even where there is not a rash there is still pain!
YAY!!!! Could nature and science get ANY MORE AWESOME??? I don’t think so!
I don’t have insurance so I’m not going to the doctor for this. From the best of my research it sounds like there are few treatment options that are truly effective anyway. My aversion to vicodin and codeine has come in handy, however. I have old bottles of vicodin and codeine dating back to 1996! So I’ve been self medicating with old opiates and copious amounts of beer. The pain doesn’t get shut off, but the part of my brain that cares about the pain goes to sleep for a bit.
Have I learned anything about stress and sharing the burden? Yes ma’am! Will it change anything? um…well…old habits are pretty hard to break even if you KNOW you are supposed to break them. I’ll be putting the advice column (on Ravelry) on hiatus for one more week.
oh also, dogs have an UNCANNY ability to smash their paws into painful rashes when they get excited, or when they are not excited! Like when you are sound asleep and the searing pain in your left boob forces your eyes open and you find that Maddie has decided to get comfortable by streeeeeetching out and pushing her paw into you but FELL ASLEEP mid stretch and therefore is sleeping with her paw digging into a sensitive patch of blistery fun!

A quality of love

One of the features in the Ravelry forum area is that anyone can make a group about anything and anyone can join any group they want. Of course this sometimes leads to “BUT SHE MADE A GROUP ABOUT HOW STUPID I AM!!!” or some such nonsense, but that’s not the point. The point is that after much time threatening to shove people and their mothers into my pants when among the general population it was suggested that perhaps I should make my own group and shove people into my pants from there.
And so I did. And the group is “Bubbo’s Pants”. Everyone in the group is in my pants. There are few rules to the group. We don’t have topical or thematic constraints. You can discuss anything and not have to tie it back to a central theme (though tying things back into my pants is pretty awesome).
I have been very lucky with the members of the group. We keep the anger and the infighting to a minimum. There is snark, but not malevolent snark. It is a group of smart, kind, fun and witty people who come together to talk, to play and to be supportive. They are even amenable to my occasional push to try to be nice to people (something I’ve had to work on lately).
My trip to Chicago was intended to let me have some time away from my troubles and to give me the opportunity to meet some of my pantsters for real. As excited as I was to meet them, they had secret plans for when they met me!
When they first heard of my troubles they got together and formed a secret group. They were concerned about my well being and they wanted to help. So they secretly and not-so-secretly gathered information on stuff that I liked. They even managed to contact David to get some suggestions. And soon little gifts started showing up. Pink sparkly things, chocolate, yarn, hippos, glitter and letters, some of the kindest letters I’d ever read started to show up. On more than one occasion I was brought to tears by the concern and kindness of these people I had never met.
And I go to Chicago and I stay with Lisa and her family. She is one of my pantsters, another example of sweet charity and support. She just invited me into her home with her children and husband and accepted me as friend with no questions asked.
Saturday morning in Chicago I woke up to an ansty dog in the kitchen. Poor Crede the giant St Bernard had been sick in the night and made a semi-solid advertisement to that fact on the floor. Still not feeling well, he very much wanted to go out. So, I saddled up and took the monster out and he finished up the rest of the mess in the yard. I found some beer cans from the night before and marked the spots since they would have to be cleaned up before the kids hit the yard, but were well beyond the power of a plastic bag and prayer.
Back inside I assessed the situation and managed to find paper towels and cleaning supplies and set to work. The family was still sleeping and I could have left it there for one of them to clean, but that’s so wrong. No one wants to wake up to that kind of mess, not on a morning when things are going to be very busy anyway. Cleaned and anti-bacterialed to death, I washed myself and started some coffee so that it would be ready when they awoke.
After much prep, shuffling, moving, reshuffling and packing, Lisa, Fiona and I were headed to Schaumburg for Stitches! We made quick stops for coffee and at O’Hare to pick up another pantster. We met our fourth pantster at the hotel and headed up to the room to celebrate the sheer pantsness of it all and to dump our luggage. Then I was ambushed as i came out of the bathroom.
I was told to sit in a chair facing them. Though I was hoping for a pants related lapdance, I got something much better. Beyond the gifts I had received already, there had been more gift collecting! More pink sparkly things, barrettes, a tiara that perfectly matched the purple in my hair (by all magic coincidence!), origami, light up flip flops and more notes of love and encouragement.
There is a tradition in crafting groups regarding members that need support. The members of the group each craft a square, in this case they knit or crochet the squares, the squares are sent to a central member and that member stitches them together to form an afghan. The Pratchghan is one very famous afghan made by Ravelry members and presented to Terry Pratchett. As you can see by looking at it, with every square made by a different person, it ends up forming a beautiful and unique end product.
My pansters did this for me. They made squares, each one different, and they made them into a Pantsghan for me. To say I wept when I was presented with this gift would be an understatement. In some ways it is very hard to describe what it means to me. This isn’t just a single blanket. This blanket is made up of squares and those squares were crafted by so many different people. Each one of those people sat down and chose to make something specifically for ME so that I might feel comforted. Each person, wanting very much for me to feel better, poured their concern into a project that would become part of a greater whole.
This blanket is not the sum of its parts. This blanket is so very much more than that. Trouble shared is trouble divided, love shared is love multiplied.
I have since been invited to the secret group and I got to read through the process of organizing this feat.
It is a truly humbling experience to read such messages. I want to argue with them, tell them that I do not deserve such attentions, that they each have more important issues that need their help. But who am I to argue with them? I do not pick fools for friends. These women are each smart and independent. I trust them with so much, to argue them down from this would be to say that I do not trust their judgments r their choices, that I somehow know better than they do what is important.
It is overwhelming and humbling and gratifying to know that people I’d not ever met had put forth so much effort for me. ‘Thank you’ seems inadequate for the situation, but it is all I have.
My pantsghan is not folded up and hidden away. It is not being preserved. It is being put to work providing comfort for me (and the dogs!). It lives on the bed for the moment, the perfect size to cover me and a dog. When I am not in bed the dogs fluff it into a cozy and nap in the middle. Much love went into making this blanket and much more love is being derived from it.
To all my Pantsters, I say thank you. Thank you for not letting me get lost, thank you for giving to me and thank you for being the best damned group of people anyone could hope to find in their pants.