Saturday, September 30, 2006

We got it!!!

Someone else offered $15, I panicked, we talked and talked and talked, I caved, and we got the house. Holy shit.

Granted, it's pending a satisfactory home inspection and finalizing the financing. And then I'll really panic.and get excited.and panic.and jump up and down in joy.and hyperventilate. I hear this behavior is completely normal.

Thanks for all the love, vibes, reiki, etc. Knitters and muggles rule! Being able to write about this and getting supportive comments has certainly helped the anxiety. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone.

Now I'll ask your permission to slack on knitting while I scrub every corner, strip wallpaper, rip up carpets, sand floors, apply polyurethane, paint, and panic.

For the next week, I'll be dealing with home inspectors, financial people, work, mothering, wife-ing, and job hunting. Yeah, I really need a raise. It's time. Anything else I should be doing? Good lord!

As for the knitting, I need to block my vest, and then I'll take advice from Cate -- cast on some Socks for Sanity.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Brain dump

After reading Caro's podcast reviews, I started listening to Lime and Violet, and if there wasn't so much talk about testicles, I'd have a big crush. Regardless, I might have a crush.

I'm flying through my Ann Budd assisted Jo Sharp sweater vest. I love the yarn. I love the color. I love the fit (thanks Danielle, Rhonda and Beth).

Because I can't help myself
MIT-thanks for the new computer

Left to do: a neckline and one arm hole. Life is good. Speaking of ... wouldn't it be great to have a knitter's version of the classic Life is Good T's? I'm emailing them right now.

Inspired by todays Blue Blog, it occured to me that Sunday (this Sunday!!!) is Oct. 1st, so I'd better get moving on Little Man's annual homemade Halloween costume. Considering his current obsession with Peter Pan, I decided to make a Peter Pan costume for him and a Captain Hook costume for me. Upon hearing this, his next-door best friend decided to dress up as Tinkerbell. Ridiculously cute. I should start sewing this weekend, because if the house deal comes through, our October will be pretty damned busy. But not nearly as busy as our December, January, February, etc. Read on ...

Lest you think my recent bout of house hunting is based on some responsible notion of tax benefits, building of equity, working together toward a common goal ... Rest assured, I am still insane. Proof's in the photos:

Bathroom #1: missing clawfoot tub, holes for plumbing, yummy linoleum and partially painted beadboard (I do LOVE beadboard)

Bedroom #2: kickin' wallpaper and linoleum (hiding original wide-plank hardwood floors)

Looks like fun, eh? Have I ever mentioned how much I adore demo? Banging, slamming, pulling, crushing, stomping. So fun!

I really want this place, and the wait is killing me! Where's my yarn?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Let the Games Begin...

If we were haggling over concert tickets

Face price: $29

Round One:
My Offer: $0
Seller's Counter: $25

Round Two:
My Offer: $5
Seller's Counter: $20

Round Three:
My Offer: $10
Seller's Counter: holding at $20 as other people look at the house and make offers. oy!

Keep the good Reiki, Mazel, Luck, Thoughts, Wishes, and Hopes coming. At this rate, we'll end at $15, but I hope to get closing costs, a refrigerator, stove, and hot water heater out of them too. Negotiating is fun.

ETA, Wednesday afternoon:
Round Four:
My Best and Final: $15 or $20 with closing costs and other stuff
Seller: pending

Before you leave anymore flattering comments about my negotiation skills, please notice that I'm caving a little. Just a little. But a bidding war has started, and I really like this house. Now I'd better call the mortgage broker again and stalk the home improvement box stores. argh. argh. argh. I want this to be done.

Monday, September 25, 2006

House Mazel Needed

I didn't make it to the Boston KnitOut because I made an offer on a house.

No, I wasn't house hunting.
No, I can't afford it.
No, it wasn't part of the plan. at. all.
Yes, this was my secret from last Monday.

But the house is perfect, and there's 1-1/2 hour for the seller to respond to our offer. So I need my knitters to puh-lease send some house mazel. Perhaps making an offer during Rosh Hashana will give us luck? This could be an excellent (and unanticipated) new beginning. Send your house mazel here...

ETA, 10pm: They countered, and so did I. They barely budged from the listing price, and I barely budged from my low offer. My realtor wanted to wait until the morning to submit the new offer, but I told her to call tonight, and give them another 6pm deadline. I'm fighting this to the bloody end, and there's still plenty of space between our offers. So keep it comin' gals; send those good house vibes! Oh yeah. I also caught a cold. At 6pm. Strange. So send some good health vibes too, will ya? Thanks!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Boston Knit-Out?

Will you be there?
I will. Little Man will.
Watch for a small blond streak of pure energy and a breathless Mommy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Deval Patrick wins easily

Now let's get him in the corner office, and give that carpet-baggin' moron the boot.


1. Because he's so damned cute.

2. Because survey responders asked for more Little Man.

3. Because Wifey doesn't read the blog anyway, so she can't be mad at me for posting a real photo.

4. To remind myself that Little Man can entertain himself when Mommy's on the phone.

5. Because PapaTime (our family's Portsmouth-based folk musician) is looking for a drummer and put the sticks into LM's hands.

6. To prove that he's a natural talent, you know ... just in case he grows up to be a rock star.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Freak show

Today I'm a freak show. Although I don't dare post specifics, there's a possibility of some excellent (I think) life changes coming. Huge changes. Scary changes. Expensive changes. Too fast changes.

In the meantime, I'll re-watch this excellent video, The Last Knit. This is me, both metaphorically, and as someone who battles with some biological (or previous drug use related) mental turmoil, perhaps it's quite literal. In any case, only another knitter could understand why this video is so perfect. And only another head-case-freak-show will understand the scissors part at the end.

Thank godog I knit. Now where's my yarn?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Stuck in my own head

My name is The Mafia, and I'm a LaLa whore. The arrival of each little red&white envelope sends me into fits of glee, and for the last two days, I've been listening to Disk 2 of One From the Vault non-stop. Honestly, I prefer disk 1 (the transition from Help on the Way ---> Franklin's Tower is my favorite musical moment of all time), but I'm still waiting on Disk 1. Live Dead, there's nothing better.

Despite resisting the pull for months, I've been sucked into reading about the Getting Things Done and Hipster PDA phenomenons. Mind you, I'm convinced that I have adult ADD, and any strategies that help me focus are very welcome. It took about two mouse clicks to discover Moleskines and Moleskine-hacks. Since the PDA hit the market, I've owned two, but when my Palm Zire died back in the early spring, I didn't replace it. I have reasonably good calendar, address book, notes, and creative journalling systems, but they're all disparate and/or bulky. Hopefully this moment marks the beginning of a new system.

The moment it was posted on WhipUp, I borrowed a copy of Twyla Tharp's book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life. While I find her writing style a bit harsh and bossy, the concepts are great, and it's an interesting peek into the mind of such a brilliant woman. Besides, it's Twyla Tharp. She's allowed to be bossy.

The timing of this books is serendipitous -- for the past few months I've noticed a very distinct cycle to my creativity and creative energy. Specifically, from the time I ovulate until my period, I'm increasingly creative. And for the few days before I bleed, I walk around in a creative bubble. I've started apologizing to Wifey for being "stuck in my own head." Unfortunately those wildly productive days come to a crashing halt as soon as I start to bleed, when my brain turns foggy.

Does anyone else have these strong creative cycles? Do they correlate with any other physical, emotional, environmental, or spiritual cycles?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Gift + Progress

You know it's a good day when something arrives from Canada.

It's a present from my dearest RoRo!

The Canada package contained a hilarious Chicken Scratch bag and pen, some yummy dyke-alicious orange/vanilla loose leaf tea [she knows how to woo a lady], and some cute little pins. The pin shown here is from her excellent show 87% True: The Lies That Bind, which has been touring the Canadian Fringe Festivals all summer.

The three missing pins say "I Dressed Myself Today," which are intended to help Moms avoid social ostracism when Little Man exibits fashion independence. Clearly Little Man was thrilled because I couldn't even get a photo of the pins. but I will. soon. probably while attached to his heinous yellow "turtle shirt".

Wifey said, "It's so strange that you get presents from your online friends."
I smirked and said, "Whatever, she's just a completely hilarious lesbian playwright. It's not like I'm running off to Canada to steal her. No big deal."
I got a raised eyebrow and a dirty look. And now I'll be getting a comment from RoRo's Kate. tee-hee. always causin' trouble.

In other news, I've been clickin' away at my Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed v-neck pullover vest. Look Mom, it might fit! See how it's a tad smaller than my suit jacket? No small thanks to my knitting brain, of course.

Can you tell that photo was taken in my office? Well, Danielle discovered a little camera in our brand new computers. Go see the pix of her awesome new Fountain Lace Cardi. Needless to say, there was inappropriate use of MIT's resources yesterday. Here's my contribution:

My very own Warhol

My eye

My mouth (yes, I used to have a tongue ring)

Now that I've scared you away, have a great day!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Oh the love ...

Apparently people really like surveys. Thanks ya'll [I can't say that without hearing the Indigo Girls' voices in my head. Anyone else own 1200 Curfews and remember that moment?]. Thank you, thank you, thank you for spending time answering my bizarre-o questions. I'll keep it open for a couple weeks, but let's discuss some of my favorite early entries:

To the person who wrote this:
Q: Thoughts? Wants? Needs? Questions?
A: "Tease: I do know someone who met you IRL and though I've known her for 9+ years I've never met her."
you're killin' me!

To the person who wrote this:
Q: Thoughts? Wants? Needs? Questions?
A: "Why do you want to do what your readers want? Your readers will probably change, at least in part, over time. Why is it important to cater to them? Why not just do what matters to you?"
Yes, you are absolutely correct. But sometimes a girl wants to know where she stands. Are we seeing other people, dating exclusively, ready to back up the U-haul? That's all.

To the people who wrote these:
Q: If you encounter the Mafia in public, do you pinky-swear to say "Hi"?
A: "only if she bites me on the leg -- otherwise how will i know her"
A: "Perhaps even more than hi..."
Be careful what you ask for...

To the person who wrote this:
Q: Should the Mafia write about meeting other bloggers, going to sheep & wool events, craft fairs, etc?
A: "in moderation! I enjoy it, but too much makes me feel isolated somehow."
Yep, that's what I was wondering about. I feel that way myself when I'm reading. In addition to the isolation element, sometimes it feels like high school with the cool kids vs. the rest of us. You know?

To the person who wrote this:
Q: Why do you read FemiKnit Mafia?
A: "She's funny, inciteful, a nerd, and a parent"
Thanks. Smooch.
Wait just a minute ... I'm a nerd? Wait another minute ... did you mean "insightful" or did you intentionally say "inciteful"? hmmm...interesting. In any case, thanks (I think).

To the person who wrote:
"I wish I knew you better"
Meow. That could be arranged. :-)

Thanks again. This is wicked fun! I promise an update later today, once I woo my Local Knitting Buddy into borrowing her camera.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Mafia Knows, a survey

As I mentioned last week, I've been working on a survey, which will help me establish a direction for FemiKnit Mafia.

The idea came from my dalliances with SiteMeter, and the striking difference between the SiteMeter stats and the comments I get. I often wonder who these mysterious lurkers are. So I developed a silly little survey to see why people come here. We all know that lurkers won't comment when requested. They lurk because they don't want to comment, and that's cool. But perhaps this anonymous survey will enable the lurkers to speak without speaking. Ya dig?

Please participate. I'm intrigued to see what folks say. Click here: The Mafia Knows

Monday, September 11, 2006

Favorite Things Monday: The Life List

Favorite Things Monday has been languishing, and today isn't an appropriate day to jumpstart it. The memory of 9/11 pervades the blogosphere, the news, and the lives of co-workers and friends. Celebrating my relatively meaningless household possessions doesn't feel right today.

Plus, I have very mixed reactions to 9/11 and the 9/11 anniversary, none of which I'll divulge here. I'm not interested in hate mail, and since there's no clarity in my own mind, why should I subject anyone else to it?

But, in light of the enormity of this day, saying nothing seems disrespectful too. Thankfully my dear sweet Nina showed me the way with her Life List "things that we'd like to accomplish on our short stay on this planet."

My Actually-Possible Life List:

1. Go to Thailand
2. Study Muay Thai kickboxing again
3. See Little Man grow to adulthood
4. Own a house and a postage stamp urban garden
5. Get an MBA
6. Get a PhD (preferrably in Women's Studies or Gender/Cultural Studies)
7. Pay OFF my debt
8. Learn how to keep myself from getting into debt again
9. Move back to the city
10. Buy a condo in Brookline
11. Be content
12. Find a job that doesn't bore me after 2 years
13. Feel really good about my professional accomplishments
14. Swim naked in the ocean (again)
15. Ride a horse on a deserted beach (again)
16. Bungee jump
17. Sky dive
18. Rock climb
19. Ride in a hot air balloon
20. Get a new tattoo for each decade of my life
21. Knit a Sta*more sweater for myself
22. Make a queen size Matisse-inspired quilt of my own design
23. Visit Ireland frequently
24. Finish my geneaological research in Ireland
25. Drive across/around the U.S.
26. Spend time in San Fransisco
27. Go to the Newport Folk Festival
28. Stay in a fancy hotel
29. Eat at a fancy restaurant
30. Sew some formal outfits with pants instead of dresses/skirts
31. Tone my muscles
32. Learn to blacksmith
33. Learn to spin
34. Buy a spinning wheel

My Ideal-World Life List:

1. Be a full-time artist
2. Convince my Mom, my Bro, and my BFF to move to Massachusetts
3. Convince my family, Wifey's family, my BFF, M.I.&Roo, and Nina+crew to buy a huge farm together and live collectively
4. Convert an old red barn into an art studio and share it with my Mom
5. Grow veges and fruit trees and care for sheep and goats
6. Learn to make goat cheese
7. If I must work full-time, own an ocean-front summer home and stay there all summer

Wanna play along? Let me know if you do.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Seasons Change

For someone who is constantly moving, thinking, and comparing myself to others, pure contentment is a rare thing. But this weekend, I've experienced it.

- Farmer's Market

- Recycling center

- Lunch at the Flatbread Pizza Company in Amesbury, MA with Wifey and Little Man

- Holding Little Man while he stared at the fire in the brick oven and squealed "Pizza" every time the cutie teenaged hippies pulled pizza from oven

- Exploring Amesbury and wanting to spend all afternoon at Fiddlestix, a fabulous independent toy store

- Chopping heaping piles of locally grown apples for a pie

- Chopping heaping piles of organic tomatoes in weird varieties from Wifey's little sister's organic farm on the Cape

- Fancy dinner, lots of wine, fresh apple pie and great conversations with our wonderful next door neighbors

- Painting and coloring with Little Man

- Making sugar cookies from scratch and including Little Man in every step

- Closing the windows because it's chilly

- Watching Child Smart's Your Tiny Artist, a wholesome, simple video and listening to Little Man sing, "Can you see the sun? The sun is so warm. Oh, boys and girls what a wonderful world" in tune.

Friday, September 08, 2006


High college debt levels mean millions of young people face decades of student loan payments, which in turn can delay home-buying, saving for retirement, and saving to put their own children through college.

"Overall, the level of debt for college graduates is much too high," said Robert Shireman, executive director of the Project on Student Debt. "It's time for policy-makers to adopt practical, cost-effective reforms that make student loans more affordable for families; and states and schools should rethink their approach to financial aid. Otherwise, college will move farther out of reach for generations to come."

-source: Philanthropy News Digest

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

Apparently Nina is sick of looking at the tattoo on my back, so she's advocating for a real post. Do you think a big-ass post filled with pictures and links will satisfy this woman?

Is it wrong that this was my crafts-to-pack pile?

The bulk of my vacation week was spent on a road trip to my Mom's house. Even though Little Man and I have done this road trip alone before, I was terrified about his meltdown potential of a 3 year old with new attitude and new tricks. I was pleasantly surprised by his ability to sit in the car seat for hours at a time, creating entire conversations between his Papo Queen and her pet zebra. And I'm simultaneously delighted and horrified that the Queen systematically smacked every other wild animal figurine onto the floor. Peace vs. Feminism. Oy.

Hurricane Ernesto made us virtually housebound, but we drove to Watkins Glen, NY for one afternoon. While there, we stumbled upon the amazing She-Qua-Ga waterfall. It normally looks like this, but was so huge that even the locals stopped to take pictures. Here's Mom and Little Man.

Isn't that insane? In describing it to Wifey on the phone, Little Man said "Mama, I saw water on hill. Scary, loud. Went down, down, down. Wow!" After giggling at this wonderful description, I taught him the word "waterfall."

Earlier this summer, Mom clipped an article from the local newspaper about a brand new yarn shop in Watkins: Finger Lakes Fibers. Yep, we stopped there.

The store was amazing! It specializes in Schaefer Yarns, because Schaefer is only 20 miles away. While my lovely Mother sat in the car with Little Man, I spent nearly an hour wandering around, petting everything and chatting with Susan, who was knitting a beautiful fair isle sweater. For many months, I've been looking for a perfect Clapotis yarn, and I think I found it. I feel deeply in love with a Great Adirondack Yarn Company skein of Sierra in Blueberry. But it was $50, so I'm still denying myself.

We also dodged the pouring rains to swing through The Windmill Farm & Craft Market. When I was a teenager, my Mom forced me to go with her to The Windmill and I hated it. But things are very different now. It was amazing. The Amish. The baked goods. The homemade pierogies. The Amish quilts. The Amish furniture.

I spent another afternoon at my Gram's house. She loves her faux chenille blanket, and offered me two huge tubs of vintage fabric "in case I want to make more chenille blankets." As if I'd intentionally shred vintage fabric? The horrors. Needless to say, I nearly fell over a chair, tripped over a cat, broke a handpainted "country" knick-knack from 1982, before diving head-first into the bins. I escaped with a garbage bag stuffed with insanely weird fabric, and crammed it into my teeny rental tin box with wheels. Here's the screwed up (but much loved) faux chenille blanket. Photos of the fabric are forthcoming.

I've made progress on my Mom's poncho, but I tried it on her and despite meeting her specific measurements, she still feels that it's too small. She wants a long poncho. This is poised to be the never-ending project.

After considering frogging the center piece and knitting it much larger, or frogging the lace panels and knitting them much larger, I decided to find a nice lace pattern that would transition from the closed stockinette stitch to the very open vertical lace pattern. Last night, I found 6 patterns in the library's copies of BG's masterpieces (some day I'll buy them), and settled on the Open Honeycomb Stitch.


In answer to a question posed by Beth, the spiral tattoo on my back is brand new. The flower tattoo on my ankle is 13 years old. If you're interested in the stories, you can find them here and here.

I finally boxed up Nina's wrist cuff and gave it to her. She loved it, and I was happy with that.

I had so much fun making the box, which is why it took so long to give to Nina. It featured a huge red foam hand that popped out of the box when you opened the lid. Of course I finished it in the wee hours of the night, so I woke Wifey up and scared her with it. tee-hee. Since Nina and I spend precious little time together, spending two consequetive days with her and her beautiful wee ones was a highlight of my vacation. We're pledging to set aside no-kid crafty time in the very near future.

We had a lovely dinner with "the blogger formerly known as M." and her family, which now includes Roo, a most adorable newborn. 'Member that blob of orange I posted? It's a baby hat for Roo, intentionally designed to grow with his head. There's nothing as perfect as a newborn sleeping on your chest. I love having a new little guy around to corrupt play with.

My next door knitter Danielle gave me two LOVELY sculpy-covered baby food jars. If you scoot over to her blog, you can swap for one too. And because she's just that amazing, Danielle also brought me black/grey fabric scraps after I mentioned my plan to do a Herb Ritts black-and-white mini-quilt.


I've swatched, measured, washed and re-measured in preparation for knitting a v-neck fitted pull-over vest for myself. The yarn is Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed, which I got from Christine at a bargain basement price. Yes! Here's the vest-in-progress:

I've also been dilligently working away at the Icarus shawl for Wifey. I've completed the 4th repeat of chart #4, which means I'm a reasonable distance from the fun part.

While watching Braveheart with my Mom until 2am (why? I have no earthly idea), I found a mistake 5-6 rows back. So I held on tight, let about 8 stitches drop down those 5-6 rows, and spent an hour trying to fix the mistake. Here's the money shot. Do you think the wonkiness will block out?

I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming holidays, as well as the new and pending babies in my world. Since everyone in my family is too bored by knitting to actually read the blog (even Wifey), it's safe to post my current Knit Gift List, in order of anticipated deadlines:

Roo: Sweater (1824 cotton from Christine)
Clancey: the Lotorp bag from Noro Revisited in a blue-green-purple Kureyon
Gramma: Wedge Hat from IK Winter '05 (in some tweedy wool)
London baby-to-be: ? sweater
Little Man: basic raglan sweater (cornflower School Products yarn)
Little Man: requested new socks


You will soon see a "Cast of Characters" on my sidebar. It's a pain to constantly explain all the monikers, and since I won't stop talking about my peeps, I'm trying to make reading easier.

I created a survey to determine how I'll proceed with the blog, and would love to hear from as many people as possible. It'll take about 2 minutes to complete and I'll post it tomorrow.

Please, please, please ... if you comment to a post, please include your email address. I try to reply to everyone, especially new people. It might take a bit, but eventually I write back. And for the most part, if you read mine, I read yours. [I'll show you mine if you show me yours] If it's a substantive response, I'll send an email, but I won't generally reply with "thanks" or "you're so right." Instead I prefer to post a comment to your blog. Circulate the love, yo. So if you're asking me a question, be sure to include your email.

Happy Thursday! It's almost the weekend!