Dear Auntie BubboPants

Ahoy mateys, it’s that time again.
Well, as some of you may have heard, the house we were all excited about was a bust. poo. The “newer roof” was actually an incorrectly installed roof that was and is continually channeling water into the exterior walls. The problems had not been evident as it had been a pretty dry summer. But then it rained…and rained and rained and rained and there it was, water every where. And so, we keep looking.
As for the trip to Madeline Island, it was wonderful. We could not have picked a nicer time to be there, the weather was perfect, there was much to do and see and there was also much time for relaxing and pretending the world did not exist. The dogs had a great time running around chasing geese, playing with other dogs at the beach and Chester went canoeing twice.
So let’s see what’s on the plate this week…


Dear Auntie BubboPants,
I just got engaged and I’m super excited! We’re still in the beginning stages of planning, but I’ve already hit a sensitive issue (I’m sure it won’t be the first).
You see, the problem is with my best friend. We’ve talked about wedding plans before and I’ve always said I only want my sister to be a bridesmaid. I love the idea of just having one attendant and it works perfectly because my fiancé will only have a best man.
My best friend always seems happy with my decision until just a couple weeks ago. Now she seems a little sad that I do not want her to be a bridesmaid. I love her dearly and want her to feel included. Do you have any advice on how I could make her feel like part of my plans without adding her to the wedding party?
Already Stressed-out Bride

Dear ASoB,
Ah weddings! weddings! I have opinions about weddings! Let’s talk about weddings and traditions and people and personalities and maybe have some cake when it is all over.
What is a wedding ceremony? I mean at its most basic level, what is it? It’s a public declaration between two people entering into a contract of personal obligation with one another. Simple. So you take this foundation and you add things to it. You outline the expectations and the rules (no cheating, you still have to like me when my butt is fat). You connect it to faith and belief in order to make the bond even stronger.
Then there is tradition. Where do we get all these traditions? Most traditions are symbolic, they represent belief or emotions or intent, they express a state of being (white dress – purity) etc. But where do they come from. As with most traditions they come from those that came before us. We look to previous generations, find people that embody ideals that we respect and look up to and we try to emulate them. Now, I’ve heard no less that 10billion completely different and contradictory legends regarding the advent of the bridal party or the term “honeymoon” or white = purity or the symbolism of the wedding rings or whatever. But what all of it boils down to is that it started SOMEWHERE and was repeated to the point of being expected. We engage in these actions without understanding their meaning. They become independent of their roots and evolve into something else.
And then, a few generations later, everyone has an opinion about what you need to do to do it “right” or “correctly” and nobody stops to consider the very basis of the ceremony: a public declaration of two people entering into a contract of personal obligation with one another. My advice to every single person getting married and getting stressed out is to stop everything and take a moment to ponder on this. Really stop to think about the point of the wedding ceremony and through that, find some clarity.
But here’s the thing with weddings, they are huge envymakers! Here’s this couple, two people who have found love which is enough to cause envy (and unfortunately, a lot of jealousy as well), and on top of all that love, they get to have an entire afternoon or weekend or week devoted to THEM and people paying attention to THEM! and they get to be the center of all the attention and everyone will be looking at them! It’s a powerful thing! It draws the most unexpected responses from people you’ve known for years. Subconsciously, and without even realizing it, your friends and family will start turning into those people who compulsively stand behind reporters on the street and make faces into the camera. Or think of it another way, you know when you know someone who becomes famous and you are able to say, “oh yeah! I totally know her!” and you get that attention from the people who like the famous person but can’t get to them? You get your own little slice of the spotlight.
Your friend wants her own slice of the spotlight. She probably has no idea that’s what’s going on, she probably just wants to be part of your special day because she loves you, but like I said, weddings do nutty things to people.
If it is important to you that you only have your sister as your attendant, then stick to your guns. On the other hand, if fighting this will cause you and your beloved to lose sight of what is really important (focusing on each other and committing to each other) then find a way to roll with it. Basically, what you have to do is make sure that every decision you make about your ceremony does not fall away that very central idea.
Now, your friend can participate in so many ways without being up at the altar with you. I think the one role that will garner her the most spotlight attention without her being up there is to have her plan and throw the shower or bachelorette party (or whatever variation on that theme you choose, there’s just as much blind tradition with those as there is with weddings). And certainly you need someone to go dress shopping with you, as well as cake tasting, flower buying, seating diagramming and all that. There are 14,000 ways in which a person can be involved without being up front at that crucial moment.
And remember, a real friend is going to respect your decisions and understand that this is YOUR day, not hers.


Dear Auntie BubboPants,
How does one know one’s sexuality? I have a wonderful boyfriend of 2+ years that I love and whose bones I very much enjoy jumping, but I find myself casting longing glances at girls from time to time. For example, today I was browsing patterns and came across the Rav profile page of an extremely cute lesbian knitter, and I was seriously tempted to send her a message. I also had a huge crush on a female friend of mine (straight-I think) off and on for several years. I am happy with my boyfriend and our relationship, but I still find myself lusting after girls, and fantasizing about having an affair with one.
I want to settle this in myself so that I am no longer experiencing this dilemma-and I want to do it without leaving my guy. Should I just begin a secret flirtation/hook-up with a girl just to get it out of my system? (Although I’m not sure how I would meet someone to have that with) Or am I just driving myself crazy for no good reason, and should I just forget the whole thing and be content with having a good man? I have never even had a good friendship with another female, so dating one is probably out of my reach, eh? What is going on with me, and what do I do?
-To be or not to be (gay)

Dear Tbontb(g),
When I was in first or second grade we had a series of lessons that boiled down to “it’s not what’s on the outside that matters, it’s what’s on the inside that counts”. Basically, we learned that things like race and gender and heir color or whatever didn’t matter. We were to look inside a person and look at their personalities. This caused me much consternation. Up to that point it had not ever occurred to me that gender or race were things that WOULD make a difference, but if they were telling us this then there much be a reason and I started observing things. Race relations were hard to observe in semi-rural 1970’s Minnesota, but I had television and I think I drove my parents batty trying to determine the difference between ‘black’ and ‘white’ and ‘how come they look more brown than black and why am I pinkish and is Dionne Warwick ‘black’? or ‘brown’? or something completely new, ‘TAN’????’
And then there was gender. I’d never considered the possibility that someone might think i could not do something because I was a girl. This was odd. Of course I was really only beginning to have a real understanding of what it meant to be ‘girl’ or ‘boy’ beyond that each of us kids seemed to fall into one category or the other.
But there it was, laid out on my worksheet in black and white and crayon (must have been first grade), gender relations! That was the first moment I realized that I’d only seen men and women married. That did seem odd. I swear to god if you were in that classroom you could have heard the gears clicking in my head! If it doesn’t matter what is on the outside then wouldn’t it make sense that girls might marry girls and boys might marry boys as often and girls married boys? click click click whirrrrr clunk!
That afternoon I learned not to ask those questions a second time.
But anyway, as I grew up the questions still plagued me and as i came into my sexual development I found that I was as attracted to girls as I was to boys. Society being what it is, I knew to keep things quiet on that front, but also I did go through a LOT of questioning and wondering and worrying and self-anger and finally true acceptance when I was about 19.
How did I know for sure? Lots and lots and lots of time spent thinking and pondering, questioning my assumptions and motives, double checking my rationales.
So what should you do? Most importantly I want to make clear to you that I will not give you or anyone else permission to have a secret hook up, no matter your intent. Period. You will only cause more trouble than you will solve. Instead I want you to rethink your ideas about expressing your sexuality. Bisexuality is not about fence-sitting, indecision or greed (wanting sex with multiple people to fulfill both ‘needs’). Being bisexual means that a person’s gender plays less of a role in finding a mate than it would in hetero- or homo- sexuality. This is not to say that gender doesn’t make a difference. I’m 36, I have experience with both genders and I can tell you with absolute certainty that dating men is very different than dating women, but you learn to love and cherish those differences in the same way you would accept the differences between say your first boyfriend and your third boyfriend.
I know you want to ‘find out’ and ‘settle this’ but cheating on your boyfriend, regardless of your inner justifications, will poison your relationship (and frankly, all it will do is feed the misconception that bisexuals always cheat).
On the other hand, perhaps after a talk with your boyfriend, you both can agree on a situation in which you go out and explore this part of yourself. There are a million things that need to be considered before you enter into this. I don’t have the space to hit them all here, but feel free to write again if that comes up.
So, lets say you find yourself single and ready to meet a lady. What are to Dos and Don’ts here? Be honest. Be very very very honest. Make sure that any lady you attempt to date understands that you are CURIOUS about your sexuality, that you have questions and you are still in a phase of self discovery. Like in any dating situation, it is never awesome to invest time and emotion into a situation that ends with “oh, yeah, you were an experiment but I guess i was wrong”. There is a definite population in th gay community that has been burned by the ‘bi-curious’. Secondly, be honest with yourself. Don’t force yourself to stay in a situation that makes you uncomfortable simply because you think you should or you feel obligated. Thirdly, run RUN in the opposite direction of anyone who claims that they can “change you” or make you never want a guy again or whatever. Nothing good comes from someone who thinks they hold such amazing powers as to crystallize another’s sexuality (though, to be honest, I have gone on dates with a couple people that made me never ever want to play that side of the fence ever again).
And lastly, know this, sometimes during the maturing phase of female sexuality things become very elastic. Evolutionarily speaking, sex for females has a lot more to do with emotional comfort and stability and being attracted to and having sex with other women can help fulfill those needs in an entirely non-threatening way. It is sometimes derisively looked down upon as “college lesbianism” which is too bad because it is a very logical expansion of a natural urge.


Dear Auntie BubboPants,
I was in a 7 year relationship that ended about 2 weeks ago. This is upsetting and sad, but I’m dealing with it.
What I’m actually writing you about is that today I got an instant message from a guy I’ve known for a few years (my former S.O. and I actually lived with him for a couple of those years, moving out a year ago) and am friends with, but not very close. He sent the IM to proposition me for casual sex. To paraphrase, he said “We’re both single and adults, how about some casual sex? I’m not being weird, I haven’t been pining at you from afar. How about it?”
It really, really bothered me. I have no interest in sleeping with him. Partly because of the selfish, dickish way he behaved when my former S.O. and I stopped living with him which really damaged my trust in him (he acted like we were maliciously creating a huge financial problem for him, when we just about handed him a new roommate on a silver platter), and partly because he is not to my taste, and largely because the last thing I want right now is to sleep with someone who isn’t completely and totally into me.
It’s really hard for me to not interpret his message as “I’m not really attracted to you, but I’m self-centered and horny… so do you wanna fk me?”
I replied to him with “I’m not into casual sex.”
So now I’m all surprised and offended and grossed out. I feel like I’m over reacting, but I don’t know how to change my reaction. I have a lot of group social activities with this guy and have been working to not still be irritated over the way he acted during the moving out thing a year ago.
I don’t want another reason to be irritated with him, and I’m pretty sure he has no clue what a can of worms he opened. What should I do? Am I over reacting?
Not Rebounding into That

Dear NRiT,
You did exactly what was right for you, you have no reason to change your reaction. Period.


HI HI HI HI!!!!!! Remember me? CHESTER?!

Hi hi hi!!! HI!! OH my god HI!!! Okay
The lady says the thing that is “chester you put the crumbs of potato chips on the thing that is the computer!!” and then she does the thing that is hide the computer from me! This is a thing that is true and also a thing that makes sadnesses for Chester (me).
But my name is Chester and that is a thing that is true and also a thing that is true is that I found the computer and I can say the things that are HI HI HI HIHIHI
Okay! Oh my god! The thing that was true is that the lady went to a place that was not the place where we live and the man went there and also
I went to the place that is not the place we live and so did Maddie (but maddie did it in a dumb way!)
We went to a place that was Madeline Island! This is a truthfulness. We had to ride ride ride ride ride in the car and eat cheese and pringles and go on a boat.
OH MY GOD! do you know what? We went on a crazy boat that was also a place for the car to go! It was INSANE!!! but also we got to eat more cheese so that is good!
And we got to go to a place that had SO MUCH GRASS! I LOVE GRASS!!! When there is the thing that is grass you can do the thing that is eat it or do peewee on it or go RUN RUN RUN RUN on it or do a laydown on it. The grass was so much! it was everywhere and also some trees and some people! and the things that are the things that are geese! that is TRUE!!!!

  • ha ha ha ha
  • I got to say BARK BARK BARK at Matt! I said the thing to Matt that was “MY NAME IS CHESTER AND YOUR NAME IS MATT AND MATT IS NOT CHESTER SO YOU GO AWAY!!!
  • HA HA HA HA I did that!
  • I said that to the people that were not matt too!! and it made me laugh! and I would tell maddie about it and she would say “IS THE LADY SAFE??!! LADY!! SAFETY!!!”
  • Maddie is doofy
  • oh my god!
  • It was so delicious it was as delicious as a thing that is a snacktreat!
  • O MY GOD!!! OKAY! okay! hi! HI! My name is Chester and the thing that I ate was the thing that was goose poop!
  • HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!
  • hi

and I got to do the thing that was go on a canoe! but the car did not go on the canoe only me and the man went on the canoe. No car. That is a thing. No cars on canoes. I know this. I know so much! MY NAME IS CHESTER.
And I got to go RUN RUN RUN and one time I went on a canoe and the lady and Maddie stayed at the place where the canoe left and when I came back do you know WHAT??? DO YOU???? Maddie had the thing that was a friend!
Can you believe it? A FRIEND!!! Maddie was doing the thing that was RUN RUN RUN with a dog that was not me and she said the thing to me that was that the dog that was her friend was like me (CHESTER) but that’s crazy! Because I am Chester and that dog was not Chester! And I am very handsome and smart and strong and that dog was only okay, he was not me!
But he was fun! because he liked to go RUN RUN RUN RUN and so I got to go RUN RUN RUN with him and we did a thing that was go in water and also jump and Maddie knocked me down and then do you know what??
I told that dog my joke about how the man does the thing that is pick up my poop and the dog did the thing that was LAUGH! I tell the funny jokes! And then I told him about the fat squirrels that yell at me and want me to do the thing that is give them nuts but I don’t have nuts and they don’t know! and he thought that was SO FUNNY!
but Maddie didn’t. She doesn’t understand the squirrels. I am chester and the thing that I know is squirrels!
OH!!! and there were littles there at the place that was not where we live! LITTLES!! They were people kind of littles and not dog kind of littles! and one of the littles said the that was “SCAREDNESSES!!!!” and he made loud noises and a thing that I know is that littles know all about scarednesses! and so if a little is yelling about scarednesses then I will do the thing that is also have scarednesses!! and the little was yelling scarednesses and I was running around with scarednesses and the people were saying “hey! hey! settle down! is just a dog!”
Just a dog?
What dog?
And then I knew the thing that was true! the little had scarednesses of me!!
THAT’S SO MUCH CRAZINESS!!! I am Chester! But one of the littles did not have scarednesses and he came up and touched me and petted me and the lady said a thing that was true, she said “good boy, Chester!”
I am a good boy!
OH!!! and I got to do a thing that was eat frosting!

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?