Monday, July 18, 2016

The committed spinner

Sometimes you have to make yourself do things you really don't want to, and it's such a treat when your reluctance is based on reasons other than the task being actively terrible.

You might recognize these colours as the last bit of fleece I was afraid to finish because the bit before was so desperately overspun, and I didn't want to face down my mistake come plying time.

You might also recognize this wooden fish-shaped salad bowl (aka The Fishbowl) from last summer, when I used it to corral my knitting projects.  It's actually fantastic for spinning because it keeps the as-yet unused fiber in such a clean, smooth space to flop around in.  Plus: IT'S A FISHBOWL.  I mean honestly.  I may never get over the cute.

While I was spinning, other people came and ministered to the stereo, putting on an interesting sequence of records.  We had Nat King Cole, a repeat of last weekend's percussion album, and a 1960s-era children's singer who sounds a lot like Burl Ives.  I don't know by what measure my uncle chose his collection but it's impressive.  It's a very eclectic mix and we're never short of the perfect sound for any occasion.

As I worked my treadle I was thinking about the iconic cottage experience, as practised in Ontario and Quebec.  The weather gets hot in the city and we go north, to lakes that offer cool nights and fun-filled days.  And endless bugs, obviously.

Some decorating magazines I brought with me this time celebrate the version that features soaring ceilings and great rooms where all one's plentiful guests can gather, when they're not in a giant, well-appointed kitchen preparing meals as a group.

Our version is SO not like that.  I mean, our 'great room' is certainly much larger than our living room at our house (be it pre- or post-renovation), as is the kitchen frankly, but it doesn't feel huge when there are eight adults in it.  The kitchen is narrow and galley style, its floorspace serving as the flight path to the only bathroom, so group food prep is discouraged.  Actually, any food prep is discouraged - Pete and I find that the best way to exclude stress from the cottage experience, especially when guests join us, is to bring prepared salads and pre-washed salad greens that can be tossed with dressing at the table.  Tonight I made a big omelet with chopped spinach and ham and onions, and I thought we'd both implode from the complexity of sharing such a tiny space for so many micro tasks.

Mostly we stick with simple: I wilt prepackaged spinach in a frying pan while he grills steak out on the deck, and we call it a fine supper.

But the feeling of togetherness is the same as the magazines describe, and most importantly, the grounded quality of the Family Cottage.  It's looked and felt the same here for decades, and since we bought it, we have done the same things every summer - danced to my uncles' records, laughed, fought each other over cards and Scrabble, napped, listened for the loons at night, and read books in the sunshine.  We've enjoyed the amazing scent of the forest air here and, in my case, taken endless photographs of the almost-unchanging view from the dock.

(which, this year, was set up for us in a completely new configuration.  it's a bit unsettling, but still functional, so I'm trying not to notice the difference.)

It's like spinning in its way.  You work through the same motions as you always do, even as you're shoring up something more than you had before.

And look, now I just have to face down the plying! 

But... maybe next weekend would be good for that.  I mean, it's summertime.  Why push myself?

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