March 25, 2012
depending on which side of the family tree you look at,
i’m either fifth or sixth generation michigander.
i’m also the first generation
not to grow up in detroit.
my family emigrated from ireland and settled in detroit
and did all those big life things in the motor city:
burial (i discovered our family plot)
all with a particular irish catholic flare.
my grandmother’s grandfather was chief of police.
my grandfather’s grandfather built a house there for a staggering sum.
(though that might be the german side. not as popular in the family lore)
last time we checked, someone’s still living in it.
the same feeling that made me weep when i found my ancestral knock in co. kerry i often feel when i go to detroit.
getting to know detroit
makes me feel closer to my family history.
it may be silly or illogical or whatever,
but it’s something i enjoy doing.
i was lucky enough to make it to john k. king used and rare books.
(sorry for the photo quality. clouds + iphone + no photoshop = reality)
walking around a factory
that purports to have 1,000,000 books. . .
overwhelming just isn’t a big enough word.
being there ignited the hoarder within
and i left with more books that i need.
while i doubt any of my family members went there
it’s still a really cool piece of detroit history.
and now, it’s part of mine.
February 5, 2012
i got a package today.
yes another one.
(i’ve considered changing the blog to ‘bitches get packages’)
but this one didn’t arrive at my doorstep, oh no.
i had to track this bitch down.
stupid post office put that little brown sheet in my mailbox
the one that tells you you have to pick it up, you know?
but it was tucked against the front
so i didn’t see it for 2 days!
so i hauled my ass to ass nowhere lansing
where the post office was holding it hostage.
i handed over the brown paper
and my passport which elicited a
“what in the hell is this?” from the postal worker.
apparently she’d never seen a passport before.
then it took a manager to find my package,
because someone had checked the wrong box or something.
wanna know where it was?
right freakin’ next to the worker bee.
if she had reached 3 feet to her right,
she would have touched it.
now, lest you think me an unfrugal grad student,
this membership is courtesy of an anonymous sugar mama/daddy.
that’s right. someone made a generous donation to the bitches get stitches happiness fund in the form of a rockin’ sock club gift card.
i’m one lucky son of a bitch.
while i actually think that rockin’ sock club is underpriced, especially if you compare it to what you get from other clubs. my guess is tina does it on purpose so more people can afford to be in the club.
she’s cool like that.
(seriously, have you checked out other yarn clubs? crazy pricey!)
still, it’s always been just out of my budget.
don’t get me wrong. i’ve dropped some dough on yarn in my time,
but generally, i’m a layaway guy when it comes to big yarn purchases.
(excluding, of course, fiber festivals or travel. that’s what debt is for)
and because i’m not really a sock knitter,
i’ve never been able to justify sock club.
luckily, i don’t have to!
[insert mental .gif of me doing a salacious victory/booty dance]
ps what should i knit with this?
January 10, 2012
how much i love getting packages?
because i really, really do.
back around my birthday,
when i was in new york turning twenty seven,
a package was sent to my old pittsburgh address.
(this happens when someone moves as often as i do)
it was from blue moon fiber arts.
generally speaking, i know when a package is coming from blue moon
because, generally speaking, i’ve placed an order with them.
not so in this case.
(i think i remember getting a little aroused)
luckily, veronica still lives at the old abode.
i knew it was going to be a while before it was sent on to me,
since, with all the holidays, veronica wasn’t there to forward it.
yesterday, it finally arrived on my stoop. i may have squeed.
(note: can you imagine being me, knowing you have a package, and then having to wait for three whole weeks to get it? brutal)
then i thought of the blog, as i often do.
i thought, this is totally blog worthy; it must be blogged.
(i have so little material these days)
but it was dark out when i got home
and therefore i couldn’t take a good photo.
so i waited.
yes people, i waited until the sun came up so i could properly document the moment and share it with you all.
i believe this shows some growth on my part.
(i need to ask frankie for a refresher on how to shoot true colors)
regardless, these colors are perfect.
you can never go wrong giving me a green,
but this deep purpley blue has this acid yellow on the back
that just. kills me.
the crazy thing is i’ve been planning my rhinebeck sweater
(yes i know rhinebeck is in october, but i will not fail this year)
and i wanted to try knitting some mopsy for it.
it seems like it might be meant to be.
but i kinda don’t want to knit this yarn.
it might go into the precious ‘keep forever’ section of the stash.
we shall see.
the card is unsigned,
but the sender has the handwriting of a serial killer.
that can only mean it came from one person.
edit: i just looked up the description for grawk – raspberries in pond scum drowned in black. loud and just a wee bit obnoxious. attention is what he craves and he will get it. from the primordial ooze, he has risen to wreak a bit of havoc. trickster? definitely! hmmm
December 16, 2011
i’m no buddhist.
by which i mean,
i thoroughly enjoy
and revel in
i desire desire,
in all its many forms:
an unfortunate combination of events meant i would not be able to do anything fun to honor my epic 27th birthday.
(it has special meaning for me)
my longing was all the more poignant because
veronica, my best friend in all the world
and former bitches get stitches model,
would be in new york city,
and had been pleading
with me to come too.
it wasn’t going to happen.
instead, my birthday would entail
a half-bottle of whiskey and blog post
enumerating the many things i want to have,
from extravagant designer leather goods
to a smile from the cute phd student
in the college of ______.
(i need some secrets)
languishing in pre-birthday despair,
i looked at all the $700 flights to nyc,
wishing somehow i would find a grand
tucked in my the crannies of my couch.
then, a miracle. the heavens opened up,
and the expedia.com gods’ light shone down
on poor, wayward graduate student, steven a.,
offering me a round trip flight to nyc for $160.
to any of my peeps in the nyc,
my stay there will be brief.
so let’s coordinate a time
for us to meet up so you
can give me my presents.
happy birthday to me, bitches!
September 5, 2011
a daylight search found mo trapped on our property. he is a little guy after all, and country life can be perilous for a city pup. when i came upon him, he was just lying there calmly, waiting to be rescued. when he saw me, he gave me eyes that said, “ok you’re here now. take me home.” after a few rounds around the house at lightning speed, he is now sleeping happily at my feet.
thank you all for your prayers and well wishes.
not only did it provide extreme comfort when i felt alone,
i have to believe that somehow they brought us back together.
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.
why look at that!
my nausea is back.
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 wedding ring?
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
sometimes i wonder if passing on a name is important to me,
or important enough to me.
i’m not sure, but
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.
that email was a solar flare during a starless moment for me.
you’re timing couldn’t have been more impeccable.
i’m allergic to alpacas.
this is my life.
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
leaving is the only choice i have left.
so i didn’t recognize the signs.
you and yours snuck up on me,
and my only wish is that i could stay
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.
June 16, 2011
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.
this i can make mine.
and i will have it.
June 2, 2011
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..”
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,
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,
i doubt it.