08 October 2010

spinning in a barn; or, nobody doesn't like Sara Lee

One of the promises I made to myself and my friends was that I would spin in a barn once I retired. Well, I checked that off my to-do-when-I-retire list last month, when I became a member of the Spinning Study Group of Long Island, which spins in a barn every month.

Two things had been holding me back. One: Wednesday night meetings would have been a huge energy drain if I had to function on Thursdays. Two: I was not sure I was, really, a spinner.

My spinning friends have disabused me of that doubt, as have my own hands. I can spin. Sometimes, I can make singles that even I recognize as not-bad. More important, though, is the sense of knowing that my eager hands and a spindle (or Gidget) + fiber = yarn, and that my days feel incomplete if I have not followed that equation for, at least, a little while.

My current spinning challenge is an Abby Batt, very pink, very sophisticated in its composition. I started to spin it on a Greensleeves Damsel Monique, a lady of balance and beauty that I can trust to spin long and true while I handle the fibre and coax it to become thread.

Abby Batts are a challenge to me because they are so sophisticated. Merino and BFL are easy. All of the fibers are the same length and consistency, and I can draft away with ease. But Abby Batts throw surprises at you: a tad more silk, perhaps, or more alpaca than merino in the bit you're drafting. You have to be mindful of the fiber in your hand. That's not a bad thing, being mindful of a blend of softness, but without a spindle as reliable as a Damsel (or a Golding, or a Bosworth featherweight), I would not be able to focus as well.

This pink is telling me that it wants to be a lacy cowl or a smoke ring. I hope I can finish it by winter.
(The pink is hard for me to photograph - you can't see the white silky strands....)
very pink Abby Batt 2

Spinning in a barn was a pleasure -- so many people, so many wheels and spindles! So many people I know from the Panera group, or Ravelry forums. And such a sense that there's so much to learn about spinning and myself in a larger social setting than I usually brave.

Now, for Sara Lee. It's not really about Sara Lee. It's about this:

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us -don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog! -- Emily Dickinson

Yes, I retired last month. I can't tell you, yet, what I feel about being retired, so let me tell you, instead, about what I ate on my last day at work.

For morning break, my dear friend K brought in two of the coffee cakes I love, filled and/or studded with nuts, fruit, and cheese. I ate a piece (cheese and fruit), drank a cup of Darjeeling tea, and spindled pink Abby Batt while we all talked. It was awkward - endings are awkward --  but the cake and company were good.

I did not eat lunch.  By 3:00, the must-be-endured Last Break/Last Cake/Last Whatever began.  Some of my own wishes (i.e., no fuss) were respected, so there was no fancy banner, no bunch of balloons, and no camera.  (Yes, my loathing of being photographed is pathological. Deal with it.)

There was, however, a cake. One glance at it and I almost laughed out loud because it was so, so obviously not for me. No, it didn't overtly say anything inappropriate like "congratulations on winning the islandwide bowling trophy." No, but its implied message was clear: "Don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out," spelled out in whipped cream and strawberries. Not literally spelled out, let me again assure you, but it might as well have been: I hate strawberry shortcake.

I hate whipped cream. And my friends know it. 

Whomever chose this cake chose it for himself, for his own celebration of getting that damned annoying crone the hell off of his staff. I cut the cake and handed him his piece myself, and he enjoyed it. 

I'm glad. Really. Life is too short to begrudge anyone the cake he loves best.


KathieB said...

Congratulations on gaining your freedom. Enjoy! So supremely jealous.... I hope to follow soon. And I would have the same reaction if someone brought strawberry shortcake to fete me. Or chocolate cake.

Carrie K said...

I love strawberry shortcake, mostly my own, so my going away cake would be German Chocolate w/coconut. Yuck.

Parties are never for the recipient, I've come to believe but still, what an evil thing to do at the last minute that it could be done. Pill.

Spinning! Pretty spinning. I think it wants to be a smoke ring.

Donna Lee said...

I have an intense loathing for work related parties. They are awkward and no one knows quite how to end them gracefully. Only good one I can think of is the one we had when a coworker got her braces off (at 42) and we had a candy party.

Spinning in a barn sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day. I understand not feeling like a "spinner". It took me a long time before I would tell people I could spin. I had no trouble telling them I had a wheel, just not that I could spin. Now, I love the way the fiber feels running through my fingers and how beautiful it looks.

Retirement sounds good from you (I'd say it looks good on you but without a photo, who knows?)

ChelleC said...

Spinning in a barn? How delightful. And my friend Lunann has a barn. Ahhh! I'd love to do that too. Will put it on my list.

You are a delight and i enjoy reading your blog.

Melwyk said...

What great terminology spinning has! Very entertaining.

Boy, be glad you're retired from that place. What a passive-agressive cake asshat! (scuse the language)

KnitNana said...

I am so glad you're not there anymore.
How appallingly callus.

Your spindling is wonderful...the pink is PINK!
(and very fun)
I know the best is yet to come...

Helen said...

Living well is the best revenge.


Maven said...

Congratulations on your retirement, and on your spinning in a barn! Any pics on how that cowl is coming along?

Shani said...

brill !!! that is all I can say... BRILL... on so many levels. Don't let the To Do list catch up with you though...
hugs shani

PJ said...

Congrats...can't wait to see/hear your next adventures!

Roggey said...

RE: cake - You are a lesson in graciousness itself.

I, on the other hand, would have been beaming evil thoughts of his choking on it as I smiled and handed the cake over to him.