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.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


In my eternal quest to be just like Cate, I've taken to living in one room.

I repaired the living room ceiling, but despite my best seriously-pissed-off-consumer routine, had zero success at convincing Buck that it might just be his fault(gasp). Meanwhile, after my complaint that the upstairs floors felt like sandpaper, he decided to repair them, starting Sunday. After no Buck sighting on Sunday, Wifey called. Buck was watching football "very busy with 6 other jobs" and pledged to complete the floors on Tuesday.

90% of our possessions were moved into TWO rooms of the new house this weekend, with huge thanks to Wifey's tireless family. The piles completely fill the two rooms, floor to ceiling.

Our apartment now contains a mattress, the computer, some clothes, some food, and a couple totally random piles that are destined for a cardboard containment system.

On Thursday evening, we'll move those final items into the living room of the new house, where we'll be sleeping (in ONE room) until the 2nd floor polyurethane is dry, and I can hoist the bedroom furniture up the stairs. Note: Wifey is 7 months surro-pregnant, and Little Man is 3-1/2, so neither will be much help in moving furniture up the stairs.

Wait ... wait ... it gets better.

The refriderator arrives on Thursday, but the outlet needs updating and I haven't secured an electrician, despite a couple days of calling. The stove arrives on Sunday, but I can't find a plumber with an opening until the end of next week. We have to keep the heat off because the radiators downstairs are spewing steam trying to ruin my ceilings, and we have to wait for the plumber to fix those. So the refride will end up in some totally random polarized location in our house, we'll cook exclusively in the crockpot, microwave and electric kettle, and we'll cuddle for warmth.

Seriously -- I'm quiting my job and becoming an electrician. Become a plumber? No thanks, it's too yucky. But electricians make serious bank, and are clearly in short supply.

In the midst of all this, I try to remember that I'm so frustrated because I'm oridinarily so privileged. Many people in our world would feel blessed in my situation. In the spirit of thankgiving, my love goes out to my incredible family, friends and community, and my appreciation goes out to a roof over my head, clean water to drink, health, a job, and leftover turkey sandwiches.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ode to the F-Bomb

Wifey called.
"Are you sitting down?"
"Yes, why?"
"I talked to Buck."
"What the *&^% happened???"
"Well, apparently the heat clicked on last night, steam came rushing out of the radiator pipes, and since the radiators are all sitting in the kitchen, the moisture damaged the floors."
"W H A T ?"
"Wait ... there's more. Your ceilings..."
"Don't even tell me they *&^%ed up my ceilings. I'll kill them. Seriously. My ceilings?"
"Yeah, the living room ceiling fell down, and smaller sections in other rooms fell down too."
"What the *&^% does 'fell down' mean? What the *&^% is wrong with these people? How can you *&^% up the ceilings while refinishing the *&^%ing floors? I'm Gonna Kill Buck."
. etc .

Monday, November 20, 2006

Favorite Things Monday: Ms. 1890's centerfold

Just after the closing, Ms. 1890 begged for new ceilings and floors. She strongly stated that ceilings and floors are much harder to fix while living in the house, so I should focus on ceilings and floors for her 1 month of loneliness vacancy. For the most part, I listened to her sound advice. I've done a LOT of scraping, mudding, sanding and painting. In fact, a couple weeks ago I had a dream that I woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and noticed that my arms were jacked. It was hot. Anyway ...

Two weekends ago (in the time of MafiaBro), it took no less than 7 (yes 7) people to convince me to pay someone else to refinish the floors. We got a fantastic price (which was due, in no small part, to my Halloween crowbar frenzy) from an experienced guy, and I'm thrilled with the preliminary findings.

You want photos? I'll give you photos ...

Living & Dining Rooms (before)

Living & Dining Rooms (after)

Entry/Stairs (before)

Entry/Stairs (after)

What every ceiling looked like

Front bedroom (with repaired ceiling)

Front Bedroom (before)
-why yes, that is a stack of linoleum, subfloor, and linoleum you see there, and yes, I did nearly break my back ripping it out.

Front bedroom (with nearly finished floors)

Middle bedroom (before)

Middle bedroom (with nearly finished floors)

As we near the move-in date, there are precious few evenings during which to work on the house. I need to finish the ceilings, so I'll be swinging from the ladder again as soon as that poly dries.

* Despite a rapid influx of champagne, I didn't embarass myself at the fancy restaurant on Friday. The food: un-freakin-believable. The company: stellar.

** Go wish Cate a Happy Birthday. She's 37 today.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hittin' the Town

Warning: I'm bragging. I can't wait to see DW tonight, eat amazing food, drink incredible wine, and roll around laughing in her fancy hotel room. Stop it! It's not like that. I swear.

The shiny green shirt stayed at home. I decided on the ice blue silk, black suit pants, and my newest shoe-love.

The required boob shot:

The buttery silk that makes me want to pet myself (reminder--not socially acceptable):

This one's for Cate. Admit it -- they're just as hot as wingtips, especially when I'm steppin' on the prez. Admit it.

Oh yes, there was knitting. Arwen has a back hem and 3" of knit fabric.

All bragging aside, I'm terrified to enter such fancy establishments. I'm usually a bumbling idiot at such events, so I need some good vibes. okk? fanks.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

32 is even

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Biiiiirthday to the Maaaaafiiiiia
Happy Birthday to me

Today I'm 32.

And I like even numbers. Have I ever told you about my wicked weird obsession with eating small things in twos? Small things = rieses pieces, M&Ms, pasta, french fries, etc. By the end of the bag/box/bowl, I can tell you if there was an even or odd number of items in that bag/box/bowl. I've been doing it since I was a small child. In fact, I can't remember not doing it. Strangely enough, more often than not, it's an even number. Not a very scientific study, I grant you, but my data clearly supports chaos theory.

And I'm wearing my new Sophie's Toes Blueberry socks. My toes are happy.

And I'm the proud new owner of an incredible skein of Sophie's Toes in Froggy, thanks to Suzanne (apparently she was the "a-hole" who bought "my" skein - oops!).

And I'm the proud new owner of an awesome kit with the pattern for Elfine socks and a beautiful skein of J-Knits in multiple shades of green with some brown, taupe and yellow, thanks to Nina.

You guys rock!

And in the spirit of suspense, I might break out my fancy green shirt and shoes* again tomorrow night, for a fancy dinner with a generous friend who's flying up from NYC to take me out for my birthday, see the new house and donate to the Fund for the Historic Preservation of Ms. 1890. I'm a lucky, lucky girl.

Stay tuned ... there might be photos.

*the matching shoes are open and backless (read: cold). Do women really wear that style in the winter? Do they intend to simply jump from cab to curb? Please tell me that this resurgence of 80s fashion means that I can wear handknit socks with the shoes. Or please give me permission to wear my newest cordovan Danskos. tee-hee! I'm so clueless ... help!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Knitting? I do that?

Thank Dogod for the MBTA, because I present to you [drum roll] my finished Sophie's Toes Blueberry Socks! Who-Ray!

Last night, Wifey had a Borders date with Nina, so I stayed home, gave Little Man the longest bath in history so we could have an entire conversation without interruption, snuggled in his bed while he fell asleep, popped LOTR-2Towers in the DVD, and curled up on the couch with a cone of yarn, formerly destined for an Eris. An hour later, I had a swatch for Arwen! I promptly washed it, measured it and moaned about the gauge. Then I woke up, boarded my train, and measured again. Magic! It's perfect. I present to you [drum roll] the yarn for my Arwen*. Who-Ray!

*If you're interested in joining the KAL, drop a note to ACardiganForArwen AT gmail DOT com.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Favorite Things Monday: Dust & Peeps

I am tired, sore, emotionally unpredictable, and so happy. How can this be? No time to knit. or sleep. or eat. or think. or really blog. I'm covered in dust, swinging from a ladder, weilding a putty knife in one hand and a sanding block in the other. I am a student of joint compound, and a master of ceiling white.

Through this whole crazy experience, I've been surrounded by incredibly generous people. HUGE thanks to MafiaBro for an awesome weekend of work and play; Suzanne for an incredible birthday suprise visit and present;

Danielle for her mad sanding and wallpaper stripping skills;

Adge & Neek for performing Rent while scraping wallpaper;

Kat for warm brownies with caramel, cutting them with a corner putty knife, the bar, live music and beer;

Nina for spontaneous eating, precious wees, and an amazingly thoughtful birthday present. Wifey for serving many meals this weekend to many MafiaHelpers; and to Little Man, for moments like this:

LM: Mom, I'm a boy.
Mafia: yes ...
LM: And you a girl.
Mafia: yes ...
LM: And Halle Berry a boy!

[where he got that, I have absolutely no clue! perhaps there's a girl at daycare named Halle Berry?]

Back soon with real pics, yarn porn, and birthday fun. Did I mention that I'll be 32 on Thursday?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election 2006 + Marriage Upheld

My version of the Super Bowl dance goes something like this: Yippee. Weehe. Yippee. Weee. Happy Dance and slide to the left.

Yes!! It just keeps getting better! It's a good day to be an American (and I don't say that very often).

Introducing Ms. 1890

To appease, here's a photo of my new house, henceforth dubed Ms. 1890:

She's a cutie, huh? However, as I mentioned before, there are many challenges inside this cute house. Within these walls are 1,000 reasons why the house was within our non-existent price range. And I'm knocking them down one by one.* As soon as I have a few hours of daylight at home (probably Friday), I'll post before-and-after shots.

*If anyone has a can of Pine-Tree-B-Gone, please send it to me at P.O. Box Will-Climb-&-Chain-Saw Avenue, Massachusetts.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I'm one tough girl

Seriously. After 6 days of working on My Old House aka Ms. 1890, I'm feeling supremely tough. My ass is SO bad. Thus, I will subject you chronicle. If you're bored with home renovation, feel free to click away. If you think Rich's shiny head is sorta cute, or Kevin's strawberry curls are drool-worthy, stick around.

Total Days: 6
Mafia Hours: 21
Mafia-Helpers: 5
Mafia-Helper's Hours: 29
Total Person Hours: 50


Dining Room: wallpaper stripped; carpet ripped; boards, tacks & staples pulled

Playroom: wallpaper stripped; carpet ripped; boards, tacks & staples pulled

Living Room: wallpaper stripped; floor OK

Downstairs hallway: carpet ripped; linoleum ripped; boards, tacks & staples pulled

Stairs: carpet ripped; boards, tacks & staple pulled

Upstairs landing: carpet ripped; linoleum + subfloor demolished; antique spikes pulled

Front bedroom: linoleum + subfloor demolished; linoleum#2 ripped; antique spikes pulled; ceiling scraped

Middle bedroom: linoleum ripped; ceiling scraped; 90% of wallpaper stripped

Back bedroom: linoleum ripped

Upstairs bathroom: wallpaper stripped; gouges in wall skim-coated with joint compound (coat 1 of 3)

Prior to the arrival of the Helpers, I destroyed floors. Lots of linoleum and effing carpet:

See how tough I am? As proof, here's my first haul away. FYI-that's 4 bags of -heavy- linoleum in FIL BigTime's car.

And now, for your entertainment, I will sleep.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Lotorp pattern, anyone?

So my cell phone rings on Saturday and Danielle's number pops up. Huh?

She's at the Fabric Place, they're having a big sale, do I need anything that's not ordinarily on sale?

Sticking her nose into my phone call, Wifey insists that I

Hush! I do to. For your stepmom's Christmas present. [Mafia-1, Wifey-0]

Monday, these beauties get dropped on my desk.

Danielle rocks.

Anyone own Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton's Noro Revisited 3 and want to share the Lotorp bag pattern with me?