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.

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.

d-day

May 1, 2011

right before i went into the hospital,
everything was all set for my summer romp in new york;
i was ready to apartment hunt, and add my body to hordes.

then i got sick.
then there were surgeries.
then i almost died a couple of times.
and the proverbial wrench was thrown into the works.

my internship in new york didn’t disappear.
i just had to wait till my picc line was pulled,
and the doctors said they were done with me.

as of yesterday,
they’re done with me.

now it was up to me to decide if i’m well enough,
strong enough, to take on the big apple.
no pressure or anything.

the truth is,
i am still healing.
i’m weak, and even with big time drugs,
i’m in a lot of pain.

since the day i got out,
the question has been,
how badly do i want this?
is my desire for a summer of fun greater than my need to heal?

finding the answer has been all i could think about for weeks.

and as if my family hasn’t been through enough,
my father flipped his suv friday night and is in the hospital.
(note: whoever decided that waiting all night to notify my mother that my father was in the hospital so she had to wait up for hours wondering where her husband was, fuck you. you should be fired.)

he’s fine,
or as fine as possible.

the pressure has been unbearable.
finally, i just had to ask myself, what do you want?
and the answer came right out of my mouth.

so listen up, bitches.

i have made my decision.

i’m giving up my internship.

shocking i know.

i simply don’t have it in me right now.
i just need to have a relaxing summer.
i want to spend time with my family,
with the people i love.
i need to heal.

soon enough, i’ll be thrown back to the wolves,
to ruthless maw of michigan state’s english department.
don’t get me wrong, i’m totally stoked that i’m going there.
getting my phd has been a goal i’ve worked toward for years now,
and there’s no better place to do the work i want to do than at msu.

but taking this summer means i can really prepare,
that i can take my time to get ready for the next five years of my life.

i always knew i might have to choose between the two opportunities,
that they would end up conflicting with each other.

in any event,
this is what i want,
which i suppose is all the reason i need.

now all i need to figure out is
where the hell i’m going to live this summer.

in other news, i fully recognize that there is only so much life drama you dear readers are willing to put up with before you get bored.
fiber is your drug of choice.

tomorrow there will be a post.
and i promise, it is completely
and totally knitting related.

cross my heart.

all work and no play

March 27, 2011

hey there bitches!
how’re things with you?
good?
good.

how am i doing?
well i’m feeling a little . . . odd tonight.
i think it’s this house sitting gig i’ve got.
all this alone time in a big old house,
no one to talk to but some cats,
and the tivo,
my god! the tivo!

i think it’s making me a little stir crazy.
i feel the cabin fever descending.

since all i’m working on is some super secret knitting,
i have nothing at all fibery to share with you all tonight.
but i still feel the need to keep you entertained.

let’s go to the bathroom shall we?
a photo shoot in the shower is just the ticket.

let’s have some fun with facial hair!

beard
chops
goateehandlebarporno stash

i can’t show the last pic.
a naked-face pic is just going to far,
even for me.

i’m a lady.

my time of the month

February 24, 2011

i’ve been on my man period pretty hard lately.
i don’t know if there is any science backing up the theory that men do in fact have periods. since we don’t bleed out once a month, i’m sure there’s been little interest. however,
at least speaking for myself,
i have one.

i remember my mom had really bad pms when i was a lad,
the “batten down the hatches” kind of pms.
my dad and i would brace ourselves,
make ourselves scarce,
and clean something.

this is apparently yet another trait i seem to have inherited from mom. (i’ll forgive her since she also gave me my killer good looks)

my man period usually involves the following:

insane emotions and mood swings
fear the world sees these crazy emotions
analysis of my complicated love life (such as it is)
insomnia and seclusion in my room
a desire to cast on many new projects
consuming unhealthy amounts of red meat
an increase in booty calls/sexting (sorry mom)*
a mad desire to start smoking again (sorry mom)
and the inevitable hunt for the ever illusive xanax bottle.

for christ’s sake i ate peanut butter and loved it!
(ok so only my parents can understand just how not “me” that is,
but trust me, that is some twilight zone shit!)

today was the first day in about ten
when i woke up pretty much even-keeled.
but instead of my brain being back in balance,
i think it’s world that has just changed to fit my mood.

you see, tonight, a few friends are coming over to celebrate my birth.

i was born in december.

apparently,
veronica feels that,
even though i had a whirlwind trip to nyc to commemorate my birth,
it was necessary to have a celebration in pittsburgh.
so a few peeps who missed out are coming over,
and veronica is making me a butter pecan cake.

i wonder if there will be presents?
i’ve gotten some good ones this year.

a skein of handspun from tina
a skein of handspun from tammy
a lovely skein and pattern from kim
some lovely body butter for my ashy skin from cheryl
socks from lisa b
socks from weirdypants jenn
a hat/needle organizer from the lovely yvonne
a lovely batt from my boss
(i really think she’s just trying to tempt me into buying a wheel)
two, count ‘em two stephen west stripy neck accessories from anna
and the emotional support i need, whenever i need it,
from my sister/aunt kelli.

i got groped on my birthday by a hot stranger in new york,
and smooches from a guy i like before we even got there.

and now,
my roomie,
the closest thing i have to a sister,
is having a party in honor of my birthday
in the middle of february.
not too shabby

i’d say a(n extreme) chemical imbalance in my system once a month
is totally worth it for this life i’m living.

speaking of presents,
the february package for my secret pal is in the mail,
and am enjoying the book my secret pal sent me last month.what do you think? does mo need a balaclava?

* just to clarify, i don’t do the booty calling. it happens to me. i’m a lady. (sorry mom)

bomb

February 10, 2011

that’s what i was last thursday; the mothah fucking bomb.

ok maybe i’m being a little dramatic.
i did do an excellent job, though.
and i’m very proud of myself.

this is how things went down:
i drove through the mountains of pennsylvania,
passing through state college, and ending up in historic boalsburg, pa.
(don’t ask me where that is or anything about it. i have no. idea.)

i sat down to lunch with the lovely krystn madrine,
the knitter responsible for booking this gig,
and went over the evening’s progression.

i took some notes,
wrote down some names,
headed over to the venue,
and continued to silently shit my pants.
this left me with one hour to prep;
writing out how i wanted to open,
giving my first impression.

with ten minutes till doors,
i headed to my dressing room to change.
(i really wanted to bring a star to tape to the door)

i took a turn about the room, and was pretty surprised;
even though this was an event about knitting,
the organizers had invited a bunch of other guilds.

there were embroiderers,
bobbin lacers (any one got the noun for that one?),
spinners,
weavers,
sewers,
dyers,
shepherds,
raisers of alpaca,
and a yogi.

i was thoroughly impressed.

i found a seat and knitted a few rows before i had to get things going,
you know,
find my center,
open my chakras,
ohm shanti and all that.
and a girl from state college asked if she could interview me.
(she was writing a paper for her event planning class)
when she asked where i came from, it was her turn to shit her pants.
she couldn’t believe someone would drive all the was from pittsburgh
for a knitting event.

after blowing the mind of america’s youth,
it was time to get to work.

of course,
there was no microphone.
i had to use my big mouth to get people’s attention.
no problem.

based on the sign in sheet,
i was standing in front of just over a hundred people.
and now that i had their attention, i had to do something with it.
i’m looking at a couple hundred eyes, but i don’t care,
because i know exactly what i’m gonna do with the scene.
and of course everything happens, my god, the emotion comes up, i chase it away, i bring it back,
it’s rich,
it’s full,
it’s subtle.*

people laughed when i wanted them to,
paid attention when i wanted them to.
that room was mine!

for about five minutes.

then other people took over with the talking and such.
my job for the rest of the night was to be pleasant to the people who came up to talk to me, make the raffle interesting, and make sure people got the fuck out by nine.

i happily posed for the obligatory photos.
that’s kate, the guild president.
and krystn, the knotty girl who roped me into this.

but my favorite part of the night was meeting a reader.
this is tammy. she was a little disappointed that i didn’t wear my hotpants, especially since she spent a good chunk of her time at maryland standing in line at the fold staring at my ass.

sorry tammy. krystn wouldn’t let me wear them.

notice i’m clutching a skein of yarn in my hand in that photo?
tammy is spinning 52 skeins in 52 weeks.
i’m holding skein #4.
it’s beautiful.
i told her so.
and she gave it to me.
just fucking gave it to me!
can you believe that?!

i had an emotion.
(you can see it here)

overall, i had a blast.
everyone was really friendly, and cheerful.
totally worth driving across the commonwealth and back.

i didn’t even need a xanax.

*mad points for who ever knows where i stole this little bit of text from.

2011

January 1, 2011

we had a party here last night.
there was much drinking
and eating of the food.

i only have a tiny headache today,
a sign that, at 26, i know my limits a bit better.

2010 was a trying year.
overall, a good one,
but exhausting.
i am more than happy to bid it adieu.

so from my house to yours,
happy new year, bitches!

christmas

December 25, 2010

anytime i go on some kind of adventure,
i have a difficult time writing about what happened.
writing about my first trip to new york might be the hardest.

i mean, how do you put new york into words?
it is truly unlike any city i’ve ever been to.
i felt like i could fall into some hole,
and no one would ever find me,
or even notice.

my brief time in the n.y.c. taught me a few things,
lessons i’ll take with me when i move there in the summertime.
here are but a few:

1. new york city is big. obvious i know, but having never been there, i didn’t understand what “big” actually meant. other cities may be larger in actual size, but i challenge you to name one that can make you feel as small as new york can.

2. people in new york are prettier. they dress better,
and are possibly genetically superior.
take for example my strawberry blonde friend sarah s. gorgeous right? (and she only lives in brooklyn!)
this of course means, when i move there,
i too will be prettier.
score.

3. cool people work in new york city
like kim. no one is cooler than kim.
after a little galavant in soho, she bought me a birthday lunch,
very cool.

4. at sant ambroeus in the west village
they’ll let you breathe the same air as celebrities and aristocrats,
diamond-studded trophy wives and their cheating husbands,
and eat the best birthday chocolate cake ever. ever!
i mean there’s gold on for christ’s sake!
thanks for the recommendation rocco dispirito.

5. little bits of history are all around you
and if you aren’t careful,
they’ll bring you to tears.
(you didn’t really think i’d let that photo get out, did you?)

6. a fabulous birthday dinner at buddhakan
is best shared with good friends.
if only to help eat all the food when you over order.

7. sometimes, a costume change is necessary
before heading to the next location.

8. you can find a yarn store anywhere, even brooklyn.

9. unless you’re rich,
you’re going to spend hours each day in the subway.

10. and finally, i learned 26 ain’t so bad,
especially in new york city with my soul twin.

after all,
she’ll always be older than me.

merry christmas bitches,
and a fucking fabulous new year!

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