Monday, January 24, 2011

And then there were 4.

I don't know how these things happen.  I mean, I do - invariably, someone gets in touch with me and says something like "practically free, hardly used spinning wheel - know anyone that might be interested?"  This is how I came to be in possession of something like 36 POUNDS of possibly-suri alpaca.  It's also how I ended up with half of my craft books.  And, it's how, at one time, I ended up with something like 5 sofas and/or loveseats in my house.  I just can't say no.

Late Friday night, my old friend Danielle messaged me via Facebook.  She wanted to know if I knew of anyone looking to buy a spinning wheel - she was selling hers.  After a volley of messages, we agreed to meet up Sunday around noon at our local yarn shop.

Then, I broke the news to Mike as gently as possible: "OMG, I'M PROBABLY BUYING A NEW WHEEL ON SUNDAY AND PLEASE TELL ME IT'S OK BECAUSE I KINDA WANT TO BUY IT BECAUSE IF I BUY IT I WILL LOVE IT. And, I'll do some laundry...."*

Needless to say, he wasn't pleased, but resigned himself, a la Richard Bucket, and replied, "Yes, dear. Whatever you want dear."   Actually, I think he first got more to eat and then opened a second bottle of wine, and then told me to do whatever I want.  In as nice a way as possible.  With absolutely no swearing.  OK, there was swearing. But he did not say no.

Sunday, I drove out the the yarn shop to give this wheel a spin.  I was actively trying to convince myself that I didn't need to buy it.  That it wouldn't be all that nice.  That the price, while right, still cut into my budget for learning how to weave.  But, the blank check in my back pocket said something different.  It said, "BUY!!!!"

I got to the shop just as Danielle did.  We caught up on what's been going down and then got right to business.  I'm fortunate to know a few people that already own the very wheel that was being offered for sale, so I knew my way around it.  Within seconds, I was happily treadling away and making yarn.  Ah, blissful creation of fluff into stuff, you are my happy place.  I put the wheel through its paces, trying all of the ratios, making the necessary adjustments, and I spun long-draw and short-draw and worsted and woolen and then I filled in the blanks on the check and bought me a wheel.

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It's a Lendrum DT folding!  It came with the basics: 4 bobbins, lazy kate, and regular flyer (6:1, 8:1, 10:1 - and let me tell you, the 10:1 is slick! I usually spin at 17:1 and above simply because I like to make fine plies, but I was very impressed with the regular flyer and its ratios).  I do plan to eventually get the Very Fast Flyer (26:1, 30:1, 36:1, and 44:1) as well as the quill head (6:1, 25:1, and 37:1).  I'd also like to get a bag for the wheel - that would really cut down on the awkwardness of transporting the folded wheel.

Yesterday, I spun up the other 3.5/8 oz of fiber my sister gave me to spin for her (worsted-weight long-draw single) and then easily moved on to starting my next lace project for Sam (he gave me a bag of fiber he bought in a destash with the explicit instructions to make him some yarn, bitch).  Later this week, Mike and I are taking a trip up to NH, ME, and MA (he's climbing Mt. Washington and camping overnight at the summit, I'm visiting the wh-ealer in ME, and then we've got a friend-festival in and around Boston), and I'm excited to hit the road with this new wheel. 

* Those of you that don't know Mike, I will say this: he is the best.  He does the laundry! He washes the dishes! He lets me sleep in on snowy mornings while he shovels! He knows just how much cream I like in my coffee, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Bus

Or, Sandra B.'s Got Nothing On Me.

Yesterday, I worked at a different location than normal.  With snow still on the ground from the last storm and more snow predicted for last night-into-this-morning, I opted to leave my bike home and take public transportation.

Wait, I don't think I've told you about my new bike (unless you're my pal on Facebook. Or in real life.)....

 You can't see it, because of the helmet, but I'm sticking my tongue out in this picture.

Mike and I had talked about upgrading my ride, but every time the topic came up seriously, I would freak out.  Large purchases do that to me.  Hell, I remember when I was going to St. Joseph's University for undergrad and calling my mom from the parking lot of a Borders because I'd just bought a compact OED for myself....  What college student has $500 to drop on a dictionary? That comes with a magnifying glass?

Anyway, my wonderful husband surprised me on my birthday with this sweet ride.  It's a 2010 BMW G650GS and I rode it off of the lot with 4 miles back in August.  I've been riding it ever since, as much as I can.  In fact, I took it out yesterday morning before going to work to run some errands.  And, I should have taken it to work, but, like I said, there was snow in the forecast.


My commute into work was uneventful.  I took a new-to-me bus, something I always enjoy.  This one had a route that wrapped around the back of LaSalle University and took me through parts of the city I hadn't traveled through before.

My work day was relatively uneventful - working with the public, there's ALWAYS an event.  But yesterday, nobody decided to howl at the full moon (metaphorically or literally. Because that's happened. Once.).  I even got to work with the children, just like the old days of Summer 2010*....  Ahhhh, memories.

I left work and experienced that rare but wonderful feeling of paying my fare just as the next train arrived.  I was quite chuffed and was even more pleased when I came up from underground to see the next leg of my commute pulling up.  Smugly, I thought, "I'm going to be home so early! It's going to be as if I tried to get home in less than 15 minutes!" *Mental fist pump*

The snow predicted for the evening had yet to start.  The roads were clear of traffic, slush, and ambling jaywalkers. Even the traffic lights switched green as the bus approached each intersection.  I couldn't believe my good fortune.  I couldn't have piloted a better trip home myself!  And then the bus made an unexpected left turn and my eyes darted up to the electronic display at the front of the bus and I realized I was on the wrong bus. 

Injured? Just my dignity...
I thought, almost instantly, of Speed.  I've never seen the movie, but I know it's about a bus that gets taken hostage, and there's a bomb involved.  Actually, what I thought of was that episode of Seinfeld where George's dad talks about movies he's seen recently: The Bus, starring the girl from The Net.  I briefly entertained the idea of begging and pleading with the bus driver to take me home, and (as a last resort) commandeering the bus.  Instead, I rationalized that I'm within walking distance of the house, it's not snowing, the sidewalks are relatively clear, and I could use a brisk walk home in my sensible librarian shoes.

I pulled the cord and got off at the next stop.  I called Mike to let him know I'd done something stupid: "Hey, it's me.  I kinda took the wrong bus home.  I took the WTC R and not the H&M R**, so I'm at 30th and Allegheny and I'm just going to walk home now."  To his credit, he had a margarita waiting for me when I finally trudged up the back steps.

My walk home was pleasant enough - nobody tried to break out of the juvenile detention center er, I mean, juvenile residential treatment center as I ambled up the deceptively not-wee hill (it's a slightly more gradual incline, but nevertheless, it has to go up to my home's elevation).  And even with this detour-of-sorts, I still made it home earlier than I would have on the correct bus.  So, point to me, right?

*I made the switch from Children's work to Adult/Teen librarianship in September.  I'm enjoying the new challenges, for sure, and gaining an appreciation for public service at all ages. But, it's nice to be able to fill in as a Children's Librarian without feeling like OMG, these children are going to devour my soul!!! (Note: it totally still feels like that a little.)

**In my defense, this particular bus has two routes.  These routes are only distinguished by the fine print (which is perfectly readable from street-side, just not when one is wearing smug-colored commuting glasses...).  Also, I thought the variation on this route was a weekend-only route.  And, I've only ever seen the H&M R bus because that's the one that goes by my house - the other one barely comes within a mile of my abode. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever taken this bus home before.  Still, what the hell!??!