Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Queerest of Them All?

Well, duh! Carson Kressley, of course.

And what to my wondering (note: not wandering) eye should appear? No, not Regis Philbin, but our own tweeked out Queer. Lord, child. I got up this morning ready to renew my commitment to diet, exercise, and moderately clean living, and WHAM! Regis is taking the day off, and Ms. Carson is sitting there grinning like a… well, not a fool, obviously. Bitch has GOT to be raking it in like nobody’s business these days. At least, I HOPE she’s getting the goods for all of the appearances she’s making anymore. But am I the only one that thinks that maybe the lady she doth protest too much?

I keep seeing every good little gay boy’s bleary godmother Karen Walker looking disdainfully at the overexposure of our beloved queer quintet with one lovely outstretched manicured nail questioning, “Honey, what’s all this about?” I mean, God knows June is Gay Pride month, and I’m LOVING driving through one of the more fashionable neighborhoods of Lansing, Michigan (and yes, oddly enough, there is one of those) with folks watering huge beds of flowers, dogs being walked, kids hauling each other up the sidewalks in big, red wagons, and all of the beautifully coiffed homes with the elegantly manicured lawns and a big, brash rainbow flag hanging front and center off the front porch or pergola (lord, we love our pergola’s don’t we?).

But Carson subbing for Regis? Wait. Let me rephrase that.

What ever happened to being subversive?

What ever happened to edgy?

Dammit, we’re supposed to be the stylish ones!

Oh, wait. We’re also supposed to be the pretty ones, and Carson Kressley’s involved. This could be bad.

All right. I’ll admit that Kelly Ripa isn’t as milquetoast cum diva as former Name That Tune warbler and Third World despot Kathie Lee Johnson Gifford nee Epstein. And even old Reej himself has a sort of kitschy flair that must send the geriatric set into girlish titters. Hell, I even saw an advertisement on the Logo network this weekend for a gay elder living facility that’s sprung up in San Francisco. Lord, wouldn’t that be a hoot? Weather Girls in the dining room jukebox, and Cialis in the vending machine in the lobby… if only Freddy Mercury could have lived to see it.

Ok. Ok. I suppose even I can pull in my claws for one month a year. And I’ve got to admit that seeing Queer culture… even in Carson’s form is a damn site better than those brief moments of secret titillation in those all-too breif scenes of Stephen Carrington back in the Eighties. I can’t imagine growing up gay, now. There are images of gay people living, loving, and just plain being all over the place. And thank God, no one ever has to feel, in mainstream America at least, that they’re the only ones. It has killed untold numbers of gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered, and questioning youth over the years, and that’s not hyperbole or rhetoric. I’ve seen it. I’ve watched friends die, and I’m lucky to be here myself. Despite those who’d prefer that we slide back into obscurity and anonymity, we and our lives are becoming better, more commonplace, and a hell of a lot more healthy.

God bless us. God bless us every one.

Much love, folks.
-Matt.

Finding me

Summer is a time for regrouping at ThreadBear—this year more so than most. In general (that’s my qualifier, folks; this doesn’t hold true in every shop), summer is a time of slower local traffic as folks head out to their cabins or lake houses, gramma’s for a week or two, into their gardens, or wherever it is that fills their need to be out and about while there isn’t snow on the ground. Michigan is truly beautiful in summer (as it is in winter, by my standards), and Michiganders can always find other things to do… well, up to a point.

What’s funny to me is that in all of these disparate activities, many of our customers are simply required by some inner voice to drop by the yarn shop and pick up a sock or a simple shell pattern… SOMETHING that has to go with them for these little excursions. We’re seeing a lot of familiar faces that I hadn’t noticed weren’t around for the winter, but now that weather’s warming up, those cheery smiles pop back in on their way to the lake or up to the U. P. (that’s the Upper Peninsula to all of those people not in-the-know on Michigan geographical slang… which would include me 90% of the time) for a quick project planning session. Then, they’re off again, and we’ll likely see them on their way back to Fort Wayne or Columbus or destinations further south.

I didn’t realize how smitten I’d become with "The Mitten" in the last couple of years. Michigan was never a bad place for me, but it hadn’t occurred to me that it might have become home somewhere along the way. It’s… well, not funny, but pleasant that I’m beginning to get the feel of the migrations of people, weather, and even a bit for the land itself. I’ve even planted my first vegetables outside the State of Georgia this year. So far, it’s just peppers, but hey, if you’re going to do veggies, what better place to start? (Keep it to yourself herb, onion, tomato, and garlic fans. You know you’re next.)

Of course, if you keep up with Rob’s blog, you already know that after nearly eight years together, we split this spring. And if you really keep up with his blog, you probably know that we’ve also started the process of reconciliation. It’s a struggle, certainly, but it’s been a very positive effort from both of us… and for both of us, if my perceptions are accurate.

Right on the heels of that, off we went to TNNA Yarn Market. That’s where we buy all of the fantastic yarns, needles, patterns, books, and accessories, that we sell at ThreadBear. Well, to be more accurate, that’s where vendors sell those things. We’re fortunate enough to have excellent sales reps that come to the store to show us most of the new stuff before the show. Anyway, regardless of what you’re buying, Market’s an awesome experience full of all the newest, best, and most intriguing bits of needlearts wares and trends. And of course, it seems that almost every vendor has something up their sleeve that doesn’t hit the market before TNNA.

Quick side note: TNNA is The National Needlework Association, and it is a trade organization for needle arts. Many people colloquially refer to TNNA Yarn Market simply as TNNA. It becomes a destination. TNNA is not officially a place; it’s an organization. BUT, please know that it’s kind of like calling a tissue a Kleenex. While it’s not precisely accurate, for anyone who’s not a purist, it’s acceptable. Oh, and I call fulling felting, Caffeine Free Diet Coke Coke, and U. S. President George Walker Bush shrub, too. Sue me. (Yes, Jillian, I have much worse names for him, too, but I DO try to keep this thing moderately PG… most of the time. My mother reads this, after all. Hi, Moma!)

Anyway, immediately upon returning from Market (yeah, I call it Market, too), we started restructuring the organization of ThreadBear as a business, as well. No one is leaving (at least, I hope they’re not), but we are bringing in a new staff member/old friend. Some of you may recall Rachel’s Cascade Sierra Rambling Rows Baby Afghan that appeared at Crowing Ram back in the days when we were still just selling a little Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock on SockList. Well, she’s always been a stellar friend, and as the business started to grow, she’s always been a willing sounding board for new ideas and processes.

As of yesterday, we’ve finalized an agreement to bring her to Michigan to work at ThreadBear. She’s going to be trying to keep Rob, Sabrina, and me organized (ok… GET Rob, Sabrina, and me organized), and generally help revamp the Internet business that we so sorely neglected in the first couple of years after moving into this new mammoth space. Realistically, we had to put our attention on the most critical issues, but the mail order business is what started this business, and I’m absolutely dedicated to making it the best that it can be. Of course, she’s also going to be taking a lot of the admin-type tasks off all our shoulders so that we can all focus on doing the stuff that we’re all really good at. I’m also really looking forward to working with her on brainstorming. She’s truly a synthesist, and it’s amazing to me how she’s able to take ideas from such obviously different places as Rob’s brain and my own and pull them into something realistic that actually works. Wish her luck folks. She’s got her work cut out for her. Love you, sister-woman.

And now the… well, it’s definitely not a finale. I’ve also been approached to write a men’s knitting book. I have a couple of ideas that I’m currently fleshing out, and I think the first of those is well on it’s way to becoming a solid proposal. Wish me luck. I also have my work cut out for me.

Much love, everyone.

It’s good to be back among the living.

Matt.