worst day of my life

September 4, 2011

i don’t know why i’m writing a blog post right now. i guess it’s because i don’t know what else to do. and perhaps also, i’m so sick and twisted that i need there to be a public record of today . . .

this morning mo let me know it was time to walk him, that i’d slept too long. in the fog of sleepiness, i grabbed my spare set of car keys (not my actual set of keys) and locked myself out of my apartment. with no phone, and no wallet (and unfortunately no underwear), i had no way of getting in touch with my landlord on a sunday to let me in. taking a deep breath i bundled up mo in the car and headed to my office on campus where i was sure an ancient computer and phone would be my salvation. of course as soon as i parked i realized it was sunday, and without my keys there was no way in.

i went back to my apartment in hopes that if i parked very close to it, i could get my car’s built in blue tooth to connect to my car and i could call someone. of course who i had in mind, i don’t know. it was a pipe dream anyway.

so i decided that, since i had on my sleeping clothes, i hadn’t showered, and hadn’t brushed my teeth, i’d head to my parents house.

an hour and a half later i arrived at my childhood hope. my parents are out of town for their anniversary (i won’t even get into what i had to do to get into their house without my keys) so i looked at this situation as a mini trip to the country until monday tuesday when i could get ahold of my landlord and get into my apartment. i did of course check my lease and their website to see if there was some phone number i could call in an “emergency”, but alas there is none.

how bad could it be? sure i have no wallet and no phone and internet from about 2001, but i could make do. i printed off some readings so i wouldn’t fall behind in my school work, and i could prepare my little spiel for my first day of teaching on thursday. i took some meat out to thaw for dinner, and mo and i took a nap.

this is where things get serious. this is where you all will think i’m crazy for writing a blog post. like i said, i don’t know what else to do.

i headed out back with some pork chops to grill, and mo hung out on and around the deck with me. somewhere while i was concentrating on the grilling outside, and the food inside, i stopped paying attention to mo.

with a sinking feeling, i thought, “where is he?”

and that’s the question of the hour; where is mo? he has run off. in the pitch black countryside, i have walked up and down country roads, up and down neighbors driveways hoping to find him, or find the person who has him. i’ve even gotten in the car to drive a ways in all directions to scan the road for his body. i didn’t find one which might be today’s only mercy.

somewhere from the depths of my being, my catholicism came out. i’ve been invoking saints and jesus, begging anyone with any power in the world to bring him back to me.

i’ve stopped crying long enough to make a flyer which i will spend all day tomorrow putting up all over town.

tonight, i’m sleeping on my deck in case mo decides to come home in the middle of the night.

i don’t know what to do. my whole family is gone. i’m on my own in this, and i’m ill-equipped to handle it.

i’m a 26 year old man holding my dogs harness weeping, that kind of crying you only do maybe three times in your whole life when you’re completely overwhelmed by sadness, and nothing can comfort you.

if you believe in something, god, the universe, whatever, please pray for my momo to come home to me.

i don’t know what i’ll do without him.

orienteering

August 22, 2011

let’s get cracking.

1. i made a knitter. my student on saturday was amazing, a natural, a joy to teach. she will very soon spread her knitter wings and take off. i shall always remember alejandra, the scrub nurse from colombia and my first real knitting student. (actually, i’ll probably forget which is why i’m writing it down here).

2. today was my first day of t.a. orientation. for some bizarre reason i was really nervous about it and only slept for about three hours last night. but of course when i got there, it felt totally natural and, even though i feel really nervous about teaching, i am clearly more competent/less nervous than a lot of people in that room today. and a lot prettier which is of course a bigger comfort.

3. i saw a girl i went to highschool with at t.a. orientation. she either didn’t recognize me, or purposely ignored me. i’m not sure which is worse.

4. perhaps even more random, i saw the guy i bought my new craigslist couch from. he too either ignored or didn’t recognize me. either way, freaky right?

5. i was the only person in the big lecture hall knitting. this didn’t surprise me, but i was a little disappointed.

6. this week, i have been eating, on average, a half an onion and a clove of garlic per day. i am single, and mo doesn’t seem to mind so i’m going with it.

7. i’m getting really close to getting my wheel. i’m waiting on an email about it.

8. speaking of emails, i sent a bunch out to the knitters of the world, but only one responded. i fear that this is because i am a knitting nobody and do not merit a response. worse still, they could absolutely know who i am and have decided not to respond. it couldn’t possibly that they’re just busy people like me and have yet to respond. never. clearly, they either don’t know, or hate me.

9. i have an insane amount of laundry to do. rather than haul my ass to the laundromat, i just keep opening new suitcases to find clean clothes. or else i “sniff test” clothes i’ve already worn, and wear them again. (more evidence of my transition to manhood) this plan has worked for me for three weeks, but i see the end is near. today i had to go commando to my orientation. i made to sure to wear a belt, but kept obsessively checking my fly after the sexual harassment segment of the day.

11. since this is technically a knitting blog, i better show you a picture of some knittingi have embraced the fact that i am a shawl knitter. if other people can be sock knitters, i can be a shawl knitter. give me a triangle and i’m happy. of course, i’m using smaller yarn and needles meaning i’m going to have to do some maths to make the lace section work, but i’m sure that won’t pose any problems at all later on.

12. my rereading of the yarnharlot’s blog continues to be an inspiration. i’m pretty sure that’s why i’m doing a list post right now.

13. i recieved the awesomest of text messages today from a dear friend of mine:

“i’m knitting! also, loved the ‘sleep with as many people as possible’ note.”

what can i say, i’m part knitter, part scholar, part slut apparently (sorry mom). miss you jenny!

14. i thought rhinebeck was out of reach this year, but i may just have found a way to get there. this of course means i must find a pattern i like, and knit a new rhinebeck sweater.

15. fuck.

16. i’m toying with the idea of getting my knitting mastery. is this a stupid idea? has anyone done it? help a boy out.

17. now that mo and i are reunited, my mother wants to alpacanap steven jr. i think this is some kind of manifestation of her desire for a grandchild. watch out sally.

18. extra large eggs are stupid.

19. mo has let me know in his not so subtle way it is time to be let out or else i’ll have a date later with the paper towel. later, bitches.

August 9, 2011

i’ve moved around quite a bit in my adult life,
and i’ve found the most important thing to do
is immediately set out into the world
and find some places to call you own.

having done my undergrad at michigan state,
i already have a couple places where i feel comfortable,
places that make me forget for a few hours that
school starts in less than three weeks.
in less than three weeks,
i will be teaching,
shaping the minds of american youth.
this gives me less than three weeks to get all the nervous vomiting out of my system. (pray for my esophagus).

the other day,
to counteract my nausea,
i thought it best to suck in some yarn fumes,
and maybe see what the weaving class schedule was like at woven art.
there are a few other yarn stores in the lansing area,
most of which are closer to me than woven art.
i’ve scoped them out in prior visits,
felt their vibes and,
for all kinds of reasons,
it’s clear this is my new lys.

of course i wasn’t really prepared for the fact that they “know me from the blog”, and nancy welcomed me back to the area with a hug.
i’m very fragile right now, and that kind of gesture meant a lot.
it’s nice a nice feeling to be immediately welcomed,
to know someone wants you to be here.
thanks nancy (and meg!)

then nancy really shocked me by asking me if i’d like to teach.

you have to be kidding me!
of course i wanted to teach!
and so very shortly i’ll be offering classes at woven art,
easing myself in with some beginning knitting until i get my bearings.

they already wrote lovely blurb about me in their most recent newsletter to which you should subscribe.

why look at that!
my nausea is back.

we do what we must . . .

August 6, 2011

a long time ago,
a mason from ireland left
and came to the united states.
he briefly settled in brooklyn, married
a woman who’s name has been lost,
and upon having a son, john,
finally settled in corktown,
detroit’s oldest neighborhood.

this man was named stephen martin,
my great great great grandfather.

upon my birth,
my mother decided to give me his name,
tying me forever to a man without whom
i would never have made it here.

but in what can only be called the metaphor of my existence,
she misspelled it.
and so my ancestor’s name,
already anglicized from the irish,
had now been americanized
in a city once owned by the french.

i’ve often heard that there’s a lot of power in a name.
and this misspelling, i now feel, was a kind of curse.
nothing i seem to do ever follows a proper path;
everything must have an accidental twist,
one based on false certainty.

what this has meant for me is that,
while my life won’t ever be what one’s should,
it has been one that i wouldn’t change anything about.
not one thing.

would i trade finding the “knock” my family left behind in county kerry,
or petting a panda bear while he at an apple in chengdu,
or walking the early morning streets of paris at christmastime,
or burning in the himalayan sunshine outside the potala palace,
or a shockingly thorough olive oil massage from a burly greek woman on the coast of santorini for
a mortgage?
a wedding ring?
financial security?
approval?

i can’t say as i would.

but i have often wondered
if marching to the beat of my own disco
means i won’t get the chance to pass along a name,
misspelled or otherwise, if,
in twenty years time,
i’d regret not
being more
normal.

sometimes i wonder if passing on a name is important to me,
or important enough to me.
i’m not sure, but
i wonder.

in what can only be considered the craziest of signs,
it turns out that my name will live on,
just not in the usual form.
(bien sur)

and so here we meet little steven ambrose (jr)
a baby alpaca, born on august 5th, 2011.
he’s sure to spend many a happy day with sally of rivendale farms,
who you may recognize from the comments.

that email was a solar flare during a starless moment for me.
you’re timing couldn’t have been more impeccable.
thanks sally.

of course,
i’m allergic to alpacas.

this is my life.

farewell pittsburgh

August 4, 2011

the movers are coming today,
and it’s all i can do to keep from collapsing.
leaving you, pittsburgh, . . . it feels like
. . .i’m dying in a way.

i feel like i do at funerals,
like my legs could buckle at any moment,
like my heart needs to be closer to the earth.

i’ve never been in love before and
it’s crazy that my first time would be you,
a city, the steel city.

you made me laugh constantly,
shared with me all your secrets,
tucked me in on so many nights
with a smooch and a smile.

you were nothing but good to me.
i can never repay all your kindnesses.

at the same time,
it wasn’t enough.
or not fast enough
for me to realize
this is it!
you were the one.

it’s my fault
we didn’t work out.
i should’ve done more
to maintain your affections.
by the time i knew it was you
i wanted, you’d stiffened,
and i was being pulled away.

i could’ve done more to be with you, but i didn’t.
i was disloyal
and untrue.

leaving is the only choice i have left.

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i’ve never been in love before
so i didn’t recognize the signs.
you and yours snuck up on me,
and my only wish is that i could stay
somehow.

i know we’ll always be friends,
that i’ll see you now and then,
that this isn’t a forever goodbye.
but i’ll never have you like i did before.
we’ll never be as close as we once were.
nothing has ever hurt me more than that.

i love you, buddy.

i’ll miss you.

you were my home.

lucky

July 7, 2011

around the beginning of each month,
i go and get an hiv test.

i’m a gay dude in his 20’s.
it’s only practical.

and even though i should be used to it by now,
it’s a surreal experience every time.

as i sit in the little testing room,
making small talk with the lovely tester,
all i can think about is how very lucky i am.
not just because, so far, i always test nonreactive,
but because there exists a place where i can literally walk in off the street, say i want to get tested, and in thirty minutes or less, i walk out with an answer.

anonymously.

free of charge.

i grew up in the era when aids decimated the gay population in america, but i was really too young to be aware of what that would mean for me now.

it destroyed a way of life,
a connection to history,
the chance for the children of today know their elders.
all i have are ghosts stories, and the few “lucky” ones who survived.

it changed everything,
and i find myself mourning
as i imagine someone mourns a parent they never knew.

i get really choked up about it sometimes.

and during the twenty minutes i sit there
waiting to see if there’s one line or two,
i never think about my own results.
i only wonder
why the waiting room isn’t full?
why isn’t there a line out the door?
are people really that scared to know?
or are they so naive as to think they couldn’t test positive?
i think about the millions, millions who had to die
so that i can sit here,
pay nothing,
and know.

it’s not like hiv and aids have gone away.
but i don’t hear people talk about it anymore.

i don’t get it.

there’s a lot of things i don’t understand;
i admit to being slightly ignorant about hiv myself.
but what i do know is,
i’m a lucky guy.
not because i’m negative,
but because i know.

i’m just one small voice among the millions of bloggers.
i don’t command much attention.
i definitely don’t have much money.
still. i’d still like to do something.

right now all i can do is give away this skein of handspun.
fiber: 2oz spinning bunny pixie batt = merino, black and/or blue face leicester, tencel, angelina, angora, silk, and bamboo.
if i did my math right,
there’re 315yds of 2ply lace weight.
hand spun by me.

i just ask that you consider making a donation to the pittsburgh aids task force who provide so much more than just free rapid testing. if you don’t have much money, i’d ask that you considering going and getting tested.

either way,
you only need to leave a comment to enter.
but if you do make a donation, i’d love to know.
it’d be pretty cool if we raised a couple hundred bucks.

i’ll pick a winner in a week.

with my hospital bills all paid (i hope),
and electronic ink still drying on my lansing lease,
i should be squeezing my pennies like a scotsman.

so the first thing i do,
when assessing my funds?
i decide to make a purchase.

it was eight and four months ago,
when i learned to treadle steady,
and witnessed the power of twist.

i was hooked.
it was magic
worked by my fingers.
there was no going back.

it changed me.

a year is a long time to want something
wanting a thing for that long means
i make it my business to have it.

you can’t always get what you want, they say,
no matter how deep the desire.
true.

but this?
this wheel?
this i can make mine.

and i will have it.

layaway bitches!

**this post is dedicated to the über cool beth smith of the spinning loft. you should give her money for things. i did.

i try to keep entries that don’t involve knitting to minimum
since it’s kind of the point of my blog.
but because brooke insists,

“the holiday weekend is over.. we want the scoop on the “mild debauchery” – dish dude, dish.. we want the nitty gritty of your weekend.. don’t hold back..”

i’ll tell you about my weekend at camp valley view.

just to keep things legal,
here’s some knitting.
i’m testing knitting this little ditty for my friend andrea.
when it grows up, it will be a kimono-style sweater.
when it has a name, and is available to the world,
i’ll give you more details.

but back to my weekend.
i’m afraid brooke is going to be disappointed.
when you’re traveling with four old married ladies
there’s only so much debauchery that can happen.
let’s not forget i did say mild.

i mean, there was everything you’d expect of five dudes at a rustic cabin in rural pennsylvania:

walking in the nature,

artistic expression of the inner self,

cigar/ettes and beer and campfires,

the grilling of meats,

skipping stones,

lounging about,

a best friend,

buying of junk,

and excessive blurry photography.

there was also stuff the camera didn’t capture like nude sunbathing (i was not present for that), nighttime nebbing in trailer parks, tons of wildlife (beavers, deer, an opossum, a toads, a baby rabbit, rednecks, loons, and many many porcupines), and peeing anywhere that wasn’t inside.

if that’s not enough, i did make a bottle of whiskey disappear.
that’s pretty debaucherous.

really, though, trips like this
are about getting away from our lives,
no matter how good or bad we think they are,
and just being a less complicated version of yourself.

at least that’s how it was for me.
i got some quality thinking time in,
and left some of my highly traumatic couple months back behind with the flies.

hope your memorial day weekend was a good as mine,
but somehow,
i doubt it.

i’m sitting in a starbucks in royal oak,

a town where i spent many an hour in my youth
watching movies,
eating middle eastern food,
and smoking camel lights.
you know.
kid stuff.

a lot has changed. (camel lights don’t even exist anymore)
i’m not sure if it’s just living in pittburgh for a the past two years,
or the fact that it looks like a bunch of money got poured into this town.
but somehow,
i feel very underdressed.
like someone’s going to ask me to park their car or something.

i miss the dirtier, poorer royal oak of my youth.

i digress.

this is my third trip to michigan in as many weeks,
doing the whole family duty thing.
mowing grass.
chopping up trees.
moving old people around,
both automotively and manually.

i’m hoping to make this my last trip
before i actually move back here.

last week, while driving home,
i wrote a hilarious little blog post on my iphone,
but the wordpress app ate it.
fucker.

it felt dishonest to try to reconstruct it,
so i’ll just say this: it involved heartfelt comments about my family,
observations about michiganders’ relationship to food a the road,
my current knitting project,
and a cinnabon.

don’t you hate my wordpress app as well?

now, i’m going to eat dinner with this fine lady.

this is mallory (non-knitter),
a good friend from college,
and soon to be doctor.
(i’ve been calling her dr. mally mal since she got into med school)

it’s been almost two years since we’ve been in each other’s company,
but she’s that kind of friend where you pick up right where you left off,
laughing and gossiping like we were 18 all over again.

it feels good to know i have a friend like her in the world.

i hope you do too.

**tomorrow, i’ll show you my big bag o yarn. promise.

on the road

May 9, 2011

when some bloggers travel, you get photos and witty banter from the airport. i, on the other hand, am driving home to michigan, and am too tired to be truly witty.

i’ve got no knitting on me so i hope you’ll be content with this picture of my rest stop breakfast.

it’s not much, but it’s what I got.

besides.
it’s not easy blogging from an iphone.
give me a little credit.

i promise there’s more maryland sheep and wool fun coming soon. just cut me some slack, ok?

sheesh!

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