Empty Bobbins: How I Met My Husband

Empty bobbins are moments in life where we pause and reflect.  It’s like when your bobbin runs out in the middle of a project, and you have to pause everything you’re doing to reload.  Here’s one such reflective moment.  This is a recollection on how small moments can have unforeseen effects.

Our story begins in July of 2000.  I had just gotten on to the campus of Berry College for my freshman orientation, and I was excited to be spending the next four years on this gorgeous campus.   Berry College has what’s known as “The Berry Bubble” where the outside world seems to get cut off, and our sense of community was so strong we could go back to older ways now considered dangerous, liking giving rides to other students when we didn’t necessarily know one another yet.

I guess that bubble-effect is immediate because I slowed down and offered a lone guy, clearly a new freshman like myself, a ride to the buildings where orientation was to begin.  It was July, after all, and even in the Appalachian foothills the heat was profound.  His name was Jonathan, and we spent the rest of that afternoon chatting and getting acquainted with the campus and our peers.

The first week of classes, he was still about the only guy I knew on campus, and my roommate had met him, too, so she and I decided to be brave and visit Jonathan over at the boys’ dorm.  I’ll admit, the boys’ dorm was a unique experience, and before my college years were up I’d have a lot of memories there – some innocent and some not: my first time getting intoxicated (1 of 3 times in my entire life), my first D&D game, realizing I’d forgotten a music performance there, staying up all night watching movies in the lobby, and even learning how to do a 3 point haircut.  But it all began with that first trip to visit a friend.

My roommate and I ventured up to that top floor, reserved for freshman, and found Jonathan’s room, door wide open to anyone who wanted to stop by.  That’s Jonathan to a tee – open, friendly, and one of the nicest people I know.  He still is, by the way.  Top-notch dude.  There I also met his roommate, and it wasn’t long before that roommate and I started talking.  But that relationship didn’t last much longer than our freshman year, and it was definitely for the best.  One good thing that came out of all this was that I met his friends, affectionately known as the computer kids.  You see, I was a music major, a group notoriously close knit and always nose-deep in a practice room.  I didn’t have a lot of the same classes as these guys because of rehearsals and private lessons.  Most of my core classes were early in the morning – not so for them and anyone else who could manage it.

I met the computer kids, and through them, my junior year, I started going to a LARP (Live Action Role Play).  Yes, it’s geeky.  If you’re judging and raising an eyebrow right now, then you have permission to go and step on the nearest Lego.  I got the last laugh, as you’ll see by the end.

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Anyhow, through this LARP I met some of the most wonderful people who are my dearest friends to this day.  These friends decided that I would make a good match with a guy named Herb.  So they told a white lie on one side and a white lie on the other, and eventually he and I went on our first date.  I had just gotten out of an engagement and had no interest in dating, and he wasn’t “on the hunt” for a girlfriend.  That meant it really was the perfect scenario because neither of us was feeling pressured or pressuring the other.  It was a relationship built on a foundation of not being too serious or pushy, and that has become a trend with us.  This kept our wedding from turning into something other than a celebration and union (no stress or over-the-top displays), and holidays are pretty fun because we don’t get too wrapped up in the presentation of it all.  And we’ve kept that same idea throughout our marriage (10 years and counting) –never take yourself too seriously.  Always be able to sit back, breathe, and laugh about it and about yourself.  Fourteen years since our first date, ten years since our marriage, two children, two cats, a dog, and a house later – I’m still head over heels for this tall, bearded guy who surprises me with sour gummies when he goes to the store.

It’s funny how life works, though.  I always wonder how my life would be if I hadn’t stopped that day back in July of 2000 to give Jonathan a ride.

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One Halloween the kids wanted to go as old people, so Herb and I decided to bust out of letter jackets and be our high school selves.  So. Much. Fun!

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Related blogs and posts:

Inspiration – Just like Marriage

Ten years of marriage

 

Empty Bobbins: The Renn Faire Carney

So I love going to the Georgia Renaissance Festival.  It’s always fun, and I find some super cool bags and jewelry.  This post is about one not-so-pleasant episode years ago.  That being said, I’ve gone back just about every year and always have a blast.  This year was no exception.  But while there, my husband and I were reminded of this story and entertained our friends in the re-telling of it.  I thought I’d share with you all as well.  Here’s another “empty bobbin” moment for you.

Empty bobbins are moments in life where we pause and reflect.  It’s like when your bobbin runs out in the middle of a project, and you have to pause everything you’re doing to reload.


This incident took place about seven years ago when our daughter was about 6 months old.  We went to the Renaissance Faire in Fairburn, Georgia, and it was a hot day already.  It was also crowded. My husband pushed the stroller over the Georgia red clay of the parking lot as well as the gravel and on in to the actual fair.  Once we were in, I took over the stroller duty, and we looked in the different booths as we strolled.

My husband is 6’1”, and I’m 5’ 5.5” (yes, the .5 is important), so it’s easy to understand he’ll often outpace me without realizing it.  I rounded a corner, still pushing the stroller, and a lady sitting in the front of a booth to my right called a guy’s name and pointed to the stroller.

I’ll take a time out and comment that it actually wasn’t unusual for folks to point at my daughter while we’re out.  She had a large dose of my husband’s Nordic ancestry, and her big blue eyes and fair skin get her a lot of compliments.  (She was still bald at 6 months, so her curly blonde hair would come later.)

So the lady pointing to the stroller didn’t really strike me as odd.  After all, the Renn Faire folks are supposed to interact with the guests, and they’ll say all sorts of silly things in an effort to interact.  Going back to the pointing lady in the booth, I looked over to whomever she called, and a guy working the strength test booth, the one with the mallet and the bell, started walking towards me.  He was tall and not exactly fit.  He had long, stringy black hair that went to his waist tied behind him in a low-set ponytail and a goatee.  He was so tall that it only took a few strides to bring him even with me.  As he stopped beside me, he put his pointer finger on the stroller and said, “Stop” somewhat haughtily.

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My thought was something along the lines of Okay, not the most polite way to start a conversation, but I’ll play along.  What’s funny is that the Renn Faire carnies are the thing my husband likes the least about the Renaissance Faire.  I decided to play along in the spirit of the Renn Faire, so I stopped walking and called out to my husband who had accidentally outpaced us, although we were both so engrossed in the booths that we hadn’t noticed.  He turned around, and the man with the ponytail beside me raised his arm and hand towards my husband and crooked his finger at him in the “come here” signal.  Again, I’m thinking Not exactly polite.

I’ll take another time out to describe a peculiar trait of my husband’s appearance.  He has a beard. Not a little, scruffy thing.  No.  It’s a nice, full, Bob Villa, Viking beard.  I love it.  And when he’s angry, he bites his bottom lip, making the part of his beard below his bottom lip stick out.  I refer to it as his “mad flag.”  And when it goes up, you need to back the hell down.

At the sight of this tall, ponytailed man condescendingly signaling him to come to him, I could see from my position several yards away a distant mad flag signaling a warning.  In the spirit of Renn Faire, my husband simply replied, “No thank you.”  Whew, he chose the path of politeness.  We could go.

Nope.

The man beckoned again, and I looked up to my husband somewhat helplessly.  Whatever Ponytail had to say had better be feckin’ hilarious, but it wasn’t off to a promising start.  In the spirit of Renn Faire – my husband walked over.  He didn’t even have time to stop when the guy uttered what would become a family saying for years.

“SHE carried the baby for nine months; the least YOU can do is push the stroller.”

How judgmental could you get?  The implications in such a simple statement!  In one comment, he’d managed to question both the role of father AND husband.  This guy had no idea who we were as a family.  For all he knew, my husband could have been suffering from some arthritis incurred from injuries he received from an IED from his days in the service.  I could have been trying to get some resistance training in as part of my triathlon conditioning.  This man only knew what he saw – me pushing a stroller.  He, who probably had neither wife nor child, had decided to take it upon himself to be the Georgia Renaissance Faire Stroller Nazi, and we were a prime target.  Except we weren’t.  I was married to a Viking descendant.  Oh. Shit.  At that point, I knew the next move I had to make was in the best interest of everyone.  All I could see was my husband’s future mug shot, a bail amount we didn’t possess, and a court date we didn’t have time for.

Nope. Nope. Nope.

I muttered, “Oh, he pushes.  He does,” and I started walking, pushing that stroller as fast as I could without outright running.  I passed my husband in a few steps, and his gait had definitely increased in vigor as he was approaching Ponytail, mad flag at full mast.  I whispered as I passed him, “Let it go.”  (Long before Frozen, mind you.)  And I kept walking and didn’t look back.  Somehow, I was hoping an invisible tether between myself, him, and our infant daughter would pull him along, and he would forsake sacking and pillaging Ponytail and his Test of Strength booth.  After a few moments, when I didn’t hear the sound of bludgeoning, I turned around to see him following me, red faced and furious.  Whew, it had worked.  He hadn’t hit him with his own booth mallet.

Unfortunately, the Renn Faire is in a circle, and my husband’s hackles were definitely up as he spied him through the fair exit.  I mentioned something about bail money, and we managed to leave the fair without physical altercation.

I’ll add the disclaimer that the vast majority of folks who work a Renn Faire are really stand up people and fun to be around. This experience reflects our episode with one D-bag.

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One good thing that came out of the trip was my daughter discovering the joy of dill pickles.

Related blogs and posts:

Scarborough Renaissance Festival

8 Reasons to Love the Georgia Renaissance Festival

Georgia Renaissance Festival

Mariner Compass King Quilt

Several years ago I decided somewhere that I really wanted to surprise my husband for Christmas.  In the past, he pointed at certain quilt designs and commented on how he really liked them.  Of course, it was one of the harder designs that he liked – the Mariner’s Compass.  At the time it was so far outside of my skill set that I muttered something along the lines of “keep dreaming.”  But I really wanted to give him something at Christmas that would WOW him, so I revisited the idea of the Mariner’s Compass design.

It turns out I would need to learn this technique called “paper piecing”to do it.  I looked at a couple of Youtube videos, but the best help was my best friend who had already done a paper piecing dragon quilt.  After a little tutoring session, I gave it a try.

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Slowly I gained confidence and made more and more.

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I used his favorite color combo – green and black – and I accented it with white and gold.  For better or worse, paper piecing Mariner’s Compass stars don’t look like stars until the final steps of the paper piecing process.  This would be annoying except for one important point – I could work on them in front of him.  In fact, I pieced most of the stars together right under his nose!

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Things became more difficult with I needed to add the corners and begin quilting them.  At that time, I was still only using the free motion foot on my Singer Confidence to quilt projects.  There was no way that a king-sized quilt would fit for me to quilt anything.  I looked up other techniques for how to quilt in smaller sections and then join them together.  From what I saw, it looked easy enough, so I decided to take the whole thing one block at a time – all 16 of them.  At one point, I took my machine to a friend’s house and quilted there, so I could get away from prying eyes.

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Words cannot express the joy I felt when I had successfully joined together those first two blocks!  And the relief I felt when I’d finished the whole quilt plus binding – it was beyond anything else!  I couldn’t stand it and had the hardest time waiting until Christmas.

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I think he likes it.