Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Ms. 1890 sends her best wishes for a fantabulous 2007! May your adventures be as multi-layered as her walls.

The Mafia promises to resume regularly scheduled posting as soon as she puts down the crow bar.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Knit From Your Stash 2007

I don't have a particularly huge stash, but I certainly have enough to last me through 2007. And in the spirit of paying a mortgage, paying off consumer debt, and keeping my wife, I pledge to follow Wendy's rules:

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.

2. I will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:
2a. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that I really and truly do not have the yarn for, I may buy yarn to knit that gift.

2b. If I am knitting something and run out of yarn, I may purchase enough to complete the project.

2c. I get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- I am allowed to fall off the wagon one time, but cannot spend more than $40 while off the wagon
3. I am allowed to receive gifts of yarn. [hint, hint...]

If I fall off the wagon, don't dust me off -- please kick me. Promise?

ETA: I tightened the rules.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Xtravagant Xmas

I've never met a contest I didn't like. So when Kat posted the story about a J.P. resident that's winning the love of his neighbors through 250,000 Christmas lights, and put out a call for other over-the-top Christmas light displays, I knew the exact house that could win me some fibery goodness.

Here's my contribution:

As you can see, I had to park across the street to get a photo of this place, and I didn't even get the whole thing in the picture. Here's the other side:

As a public service announcement, I offer "Important Elements of Tacky Xmas Decorating":

1) Saying to your embarrassed christmas guests, "people drive from miles around to see this."

2) A light-up creche, or as Wifey calls it, "day-glo baby jesus."

3) As many giant inflatable figurines as possible. Bonus points if they rotate.

4) Lights on every edge of your house and roofline, so that an architect travelling by night can immediately identify the year in which your house was built.

Should you find yourself with any of those problems, step slowly away from the christmas lights. The plastic honorary badge from the electric company is not worth it.

To give them some credit though -- perhaps that house is simply the Kaffe Fassett of Christmas Lights? If so, my sensibilities run toward Debbie Bliss. This house is my style:

Anyone else want to play? There are rules and prizes... Anyone from Somerville want to offer some photos? I spent some serious quality time walking around Somerville in December. 'Tis crazy crazy stuff.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Atmospheric Shift

Have I mentioned that I'm not a big fan of Christmas? Strangely, I share this perspective with some seriously uncomfortable bed-fellows - the right wingers.

The thinly veiled Christianity. The rampant consumerism. The accusations of "grinch" or "scrooge" lobbed at those of us who are less than appropriately festive. The Secret Santas and Yankee Swaps planned in multi-religious offices nationwide. The Salvation Army bell ringing. The Christmas muzak in every building. I spend most of December vacillating between mildly annoyed and supremely over-stimulated.

As Wifey and I danced through our courtship, the issue of religion was only periodically discussed. Mostly we ignored it. See ... Wifey was raised Catholic and then Episcopalian. She likes the rituals. The music. The physical space. The community. While I was raised with no religion, and churches make me anxious - because I'm bound to do something wrong.

Periodically the issue surfaces, primarily when it comes to raising Little Man. We've resolved many things, but we're primarily in a holding pattern.

But much to my dismay, I'm starting to slide. Give in. Relent.

But much to my surprise, it's not that I'm turning a blind eye. It's coming from a different source entirely -- Little Man.

Earlier this week, we bought a tree. It's a real tree (don't even get me started on that), and Little Man thought strapping a tree to the roof of the car was absolutely hilarious. Then we brought a tree inside the house -- "that's SO silly" said he. Soon after the lights were strung, he began to understand that we were decorating the tree. "Wow! Those are pretty!" When the box of ornaments was opened, he jumped up and down screaming "hooray" "wow" and "mommy look at this one!" He immediately grasped the hook technique and the ribbon technique and the spread the ornaments around the tree concept. While Wifey polished the snowflake tree topper, he asked "mama, what are you doing?" at least a dozen times.

In the presence of such incredible joy, it's hard be critical. Granted, our tree is primarily decorated with squirrels, elk, snowflakes, birds, and the occasional cultural symbol (the peace sign), and we're not focused on the gift-giving aspect of the holiday. But at some point soon, Little Man will hear about Santa from his friends, and they'll start comparing piles of holiday booty. At some point soon, my little boy will be corrupted.

In the meantime, experiencing Little Man's festive joy has caused a little pain in my chest. I think my heart has grown a size.
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more!"

And what happened then?
Well ... in Who-ville they say
That the Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light
And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast!
And he ... he himself ...
The Grinch carved the roast beast.

Apparently Dr. Seuss and I have something in common.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Favorite Things Monday: Peeps & Prezzies

My step-mother-in-law knows how to win my heart: gift certificates from her local yarn shop. [is it strange that my fingers typed "heat" before I corrected it to "heart"?] For my birthday, which feels like eons ago, she gave me $50(!) at Yarn for Ewe, a wonderful little shop barely outside of Portsmouth, NH.

After spending the last couple months on the house, I decided to give myself a wee break this past weekend. So I asked Beth if she wanted to go, and we convinced Cheryl to join us. Fun times had by all. Seriously fun times. And in case anyone is wondering, Cheryl -is- that beautiful in person too. Sorry to make you blush, Cheryl, but it's true. I'm an expert in such matters.

On my luxurious $50 spending spree, I grabbed some navy Cascade 220 to finish Little Man's winter hat, the Fiber Trends felted slippers pattern, enough Cascade Eco Wool in spring green and navy to make slippers for me, Wifey and Little Man, and 5 balls of Jawoll in blue, white and yellow for a secret experimental sock project.

On Sunday, Danielle came by to liberate Ms. 1890 from the cardboard sculpture, and brought us a present. Yeah -- I was shocked too. As soon as she entered the house, Little Man exclaimed "Wow! That's a BBBBIIIIIGGGG present!" I was hoping for "Hi Danielle. How are you?" But he's only 3. I have some time to work on his manners.

Anyway, since I haven't been home during daylight hours, I'll steal Danielle's photos from her blog. Aren't they amazing???!!

Go read the cool knitting story too. I've very proud of my Type-A friend for being so zen in designing these.

And for another daylight issue - for the past week, I've been hoping to get a daylight photo of another prezzie. No dice. So here it goes: last week I stayed home sick and called Nina to see if she wanted to come visit. With no heat or stove upon which to make a decent cup of my lifeblood tea, I asked if she'd bring me a large tea from Dunkins (two bags, lotsa sugar). Well, she showed up with the tea AND the most adorable little homemade lunch: tuna sandwich, pasta salad, a fork wrapped in napkins, jolly ranchers and twizzlers. Nina - will you marry me?

Anyway ... her Most Adorable Father Ever was in tow and said, "I brought you a present too!" with a jolly twinkle in his eye. He led me to the mom-van, opened the trunk and I nearly fell over. This was my present:

Can you believe that??? I've been talking about getting a new dresser for over a year, but since I'm too cheap to buy a new dresser I love antiques, I asked Mr. Former Antique Dealer/Most Adorable Father Ever for advice. I asked a year ago (!) and he still remembered. Puppa - will you adopt me?

In the spirit of love and gift-giving, Nina and I are heading down to the Bazaar Bizarre this Saturday. You going?

Just a tip: don't stand between me and a cute messenger bag, and no one will get hurt.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Major Fire at MIT

If you have access to local news, you may have caught news about the major fire in an MIT building in Kendall Square. I don't have the details yet, because it just started, but there are people trapped, injured, etc.

The fire IS NOT in or near my building.

I am fine.
Danielle is fine.
The fire isn't anywhere near Beth's building either.

I'm holding my breath for our colleagues in 1 Broadway.

Annual First Sentence Meme

Found at Plomise.

Instructions -- Copy the first sentence that you posted in each month of 2006. Post it in the following format:

Here's a sneak peek at the Panic Attack of Dec. 23rd: Wine (sedative); Tea (upper); Cake (just because I wanted it, damn it); Very large ball of thread (can you guess which giftie caused the panic attack?).


I have been accused of many many things in my life, most of which were more or less true.

Still working away at the Koigu SockPal sock, pattern-Rib & Cable socks by Nancy Bush from IK Fall '05.

After spending a night in the ER last Tuesday to combat Little Man's croup, and a couple days with a very cranky boy with an incredible seal cough and very labored breathing, I got some nasty bug on Saturday.

It's Blogging for LGBT Families Day, so I'm blogging* for LGBT Families!

Thanks to Suzanne for the fun.

When some very important news arrived in my inbox yesterday, I immediately cast on for a very small project.

Apparently Nina is sick of looking at the tattoo on my back, so she's advocating for a real post.

In celebration of her 50th birthday, my Mom booked a trip to Ireland.

This is my favorite scarf.

This weekend, when I wasn't running up and down the stairs carrying boxes and wood monstrosities furniture, I sat like this:

** March is my favorite.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Martha's Mambo

I was looking for an e-card for a friend and stumbled upon a hilarious one:

1. Click* the link.
2. Then click "Start."
3. Then click "Mambo."

Seriously. It's hilarious!

*while a strong suggestion for everyone, if you're a big ol' queer, consider it a dictate.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Reunion with Old Friends

With Massachusetts tempuratures in the 20s-30s this week, my hands are quite chilly. And my Mommy-guilt kicks in when I see Little Man head off to daycare in a baseball hat or last year's too-small knit hat. I have yarn for Mafia-mittens to match my Celtic Cable Hat, so I need to cast on asap. And I've day-dreaming about yarn options for Little Man's winter accessories.

With that in mind, I got permission from Wifey to spend the evening playing in the stash unpacking.

Can you guess what's in this box?

Yarn filled the bottom of one box, as well as two other small boxes, so it felt like an orgy of wool as I dove in face first and tossed wool in all directions.

Although I didn't toss fabric around the room, peeking into this box and re-discovering some of my fabric stash was utterly delightful.

With PMS, the move, trying not to kill parenting a routine-loving child through a move, and trying to keep my f.t. job, the creativity has taken a back seat [no, the big gray Arwen back doesn't feel creative], so my impulsive fit of flying yarn was purely medicinal. It felt like that scene from Chocolat, when the mayor sneaks into the shop and gorges on the window display. Yeah, kinda like that.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Favorite Things Monday: Heat

This weekend, when I wasn't running up and down the stairs carrying boxes and wood monstrosities furniture, I sat like this:

Ms. 1890 was seriously cold. But today, at 8am sharp, this van dropped from the heavens:

After some grunting at a big ass pipe wrench and the installation of a couple air vents, we have functional radiators. Thanks to This Old House, I was able to have a real conversation with the plumber about the new air vents. See those little dials? If you have steam heat, get them.

Armed with that knowledge, and a spare $200, I'll replace the remaining 8 vents at a later date.

The plumber also hooked up Wifey's newest love:

You should've seen her when Sears arrived. She danced around like a little kid. Granted, she held the 7mo surro-preggo belly while dancing, but dance she did. As soon as Sears left, she ripped the tape off and set up all the little gadgets. When I offered to help, she snarled at me like a wolf over fresh kill. Backing slowly away, I worked on setting up Little Man's playroom. So far, so good:

I plan to paint a tree on the wall, like this one but less spindly. Very much like this one.

For my last bit of house news (phew!), I present my favorite sculpture in progress:

Isn't she lovely? Danielle, they're ready when you are.

Knitting News: I'm 15" into the back of Arwen! Hooray!

Now 'd better get dressed for work before this 1/2 day off turns into a full day.