in which I am hoping my feet don’t fail me now

It’s been a big month. I’ve been in and out of my house more than I can remember. Between my trips and his job, Sam and I are in a haze of gratitude for the time we do get to spend together. Kiddo turned 21 this month, which seems both absolutely natural and utterly impossible. Where did my sweet little mop- headed monkey go? While we are at it, how did it take so long for the world to acknowledge she’s an adult? TIME JUST DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE. Oh, and hey, Rhinebeck happened, too.

I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting, journaling, sketching, blank knitting, any sort of meditation I can get my head into while everything is happening. My physical practice is so scattered lately; mostly a few daily sun salutations followed by whichever poses I’m working on at the moment. (A lot of upper back and arm balance work lately, but I’ve been doing some interesting things with hip openers, too. I have ideas about splits, and that’s new, I’ve always kind of dreaded them previously.)

I feel as though I should be doing more yoga as we move through all this stress: for alignment, to keep limber, to work out knots before they happen, to keep my massage therapists from needing to do more work than they ought— all of that. It’s an issue of time, always. I work on my posture, try to be mindful of body mechanics and hope that’s enough, instead. I’m getting better at self- care, certainly, but still wouldn’t say I’m awesome at this stuff. When do we ever prioritize ourselves, or our own bodies, enough? And then we expect ourselves to be able to take care of our homes, our families, our friends and our lives like superheroes. Hm.

Yeah, I know. And I can hear a select few of my friends telling me things I never want to hear. I’m writing it down, I know the right things. It’s a learning process.

Along that vein, though, I think I did something good for myself today. I hope so, at least! I’ll know for sure by tomorrow morning. For the last few weeks, I’ve noticed this lovely shift in things. When I work in Fells Point, I frequently need to use metered parking, which means sprinting to the meter to pop my card in, add funds, and then jogging back to my job. Parking tickets in the posher bits of the city are no joke, folks- I think my last ticket in Federal Hill was about $32, give or take, and I just missed that by about 6 minutes.

Here’s the thing; it’s been maybe 3 years since my last real run; I gave it up after the relapse before my meds switch, the one where my left leg didn’t work correctly. The fear of a fall was just too much, especially at speed. Gilenya has been going so well, though, and my neuro PT & yoga have me in a really good place with balance- I think I’m better off than most people, unless I’m having a bad day. Working on it offsets both the disease and age, which is nice- I would never have thought of that without MS. Small, un- thought- of benefits. It’s those tiny things, you know?

Anyway. Those sprints to the meter have felt good. Really, really good. The weather has been just right, too; those grey, cool- but- not- cold fall days. I got to thinking about how much I missed my runs, so I pulled out my shoes this afternoon and gave my old route a go. I didn’t aim for the full 5 to 6 miles- that would be begging for an injury- but instead ran my old 2 mile warm- up, which seemed about right. It felt so familiar, like falling into an old pattern, with that sweet flying feeling once my muscles opened.

Hugo had no idea what to make of it all.

Hugo had no idea what to make of it all.

I know that running isn’t for everyone. It isn’t for every body! It can be brutal on knees, hips, and backs. I love it, though, when my body will allow it. For me, there’s a magic to running: timing my breaths to the pad pad pad of my feet, the single- mindedness of the action, the way it clears the head. Much like meditation, archery, sex, and yoga, running has a way of silencing the outside world and bringing me directly into the present moment: there is nothing but this, here, and now.

I’ll spend the evening carefully stretching, to be safe, but I think I’m pretty all right after my teeny run. I’ll admit, I wasn’t completely sure about it, but I’ve been feeling better than I have in a very, very long time, and I’ve been hoping this might be possible again. I’ll give it a few days before I try it it another time, but this was my day- before- my- birthday present to myself, and if this is how I come into almost- 40, that’s really great by me. Thanks a lot, feet. You’re pretty rad.

Complete subject change: let’s talk yarn. You all have some GOOD IDEAS, folks. And I have GOOD YARN. Let’s trade.

Jody, we are running with your idea first, which means two things— first, please send me an email, I’m sending you some yarn! The OTHER thing that this means is that for the next yarn giveaway we have a new set of rules, and you’ve written them.

Jody’s suggestion really grabbed me; I’ve been thinking a lot about kindnesses, love, and compassion lately. Here’s what she suggested: “What if everyone wrote about a kindness they’d done or that was done to them? The news is so full of bad things -let’s hear about good things!”

I AM INTO IT. Here’s what I’d like- in the comments, please share TWO THINGS: the last random kindness that was done for you, and the last kindness you saw done for someone else (it counts if you were the doer!) I’ll choose the winner late next week and send them yaaaaarrrrrnnnns, winner pays shipping.

Be kind to yourselves in the meantime, Gentle Readers. I’m working on remembering that I’m no good to the people I love if I’m not taking care of myself, which means I’m reminding everyone I care about to do that, too. So hey, remember that self care stuff, okay? Good good.

in which I am recovering from last week (but that’s a good thing)

Hey, everybody. I still do this, I swear. Last week was a bit of a blur is all. I was in CEUs last week in Arlington, VA, which is just outside of the District (for those who aren’t familiar with the DC/ Baltimore metro).

You know who was in the District last week, right?

Why didn’t I check the news to see if anything was happening in the capitol when I knew I’d be spending all week crossing through? Oh, friends. Friends. FRIENDS. After 13 years in this region, I know better, damnit.

It’s cool. It was actually great while His Holiness was in the city proper; everyone was too scared to drive, I think, but still, the commute was a lot, and CEUs were physical as hell (Thai yoga massage at the Thai Institute of Healing Arts, it was amazing). I basically woke up, drove to class, drove home, spent an hour with Sam, slept, repeated for a week. You don’t even want to know what the house looks like right now. It was absolutely, 100% worth it, but I’m still recovering, without a doubt.

This course was tricky for me; Thai yoga is a hands- on activity, and Hatha yoga is a very low- touch modality. Yoga teachers are generally trained to look at clients bodies from a perspective of there only being very specific, highly limited places and ways in which you touch; Thai yoga encourages creative touch by its very nature and has extremely few limitations on contact areas for both practitioner and client (although there is quite an endearing emphasis on being “polite”, which I just adore). Getting my head around that (and dismissing the image of all my yoga teachers’ disapproval of what I’d been doing to folks’ sacrums that afternoon) wasn’t easy. Once I could shake that off, though, it was so terrific to have hands- on access to that much raw anatomy. We are such remarkable machines.

Aaagh, that’s a different entry for a different day, I have housekeeping to attend to right now, but THAI YOGA, folks. I have things to say about it.


I have these flat rate USPS Priority Mail boxes ready to go for my brave, awesome video- creators! You’re the best, frosh and Michelle. (I think it’s a pretty cool coincidence that you both chose paper arts for your subjects, too.) You both did really great jobs with your videos and Kiddo will be thrilled— I know I am. Could you drop me an email so we can talk about shipping? These are standard flat rate boxes, so no major surprises— outside of the contents!

Speaking of yarn, I GUTTED my stash this afternoon. There are some seriously good things up in the shop right now, including some Sochi Pride in Traveller, Barber Pole Hopper in Skinny, and Ponycorn in Beastie. That stuff will not last, if I know my market, so if you’re looking for the rainbow variegated stuff I’d get on that now. There are some tamer things up there, too- Montauk Monster in Bugga, Doune Castle in Traveller, a couple skeins of Fire Ant, that sort of thing, if you aren’t a screaming color sort of person.


I still have random odds and ends to get rid of. STILL. It’s getting down to the dregs, but there is still STUFF, folks. I’m looking for creative ideas as to how to clear things out, because I don’t believe most things need to be a drag, even housework. Actually, housework can be sort of soothing at times, performed mindfully; “carry water, chop wood,” etc, etc. Who has ideas? Here’s the next game: inspire a girl, please? I’m too tired this week to be creative on this front. Come up with the winningest idea (or two) for the next Great Yarn Giveaway, and I’ll send YOU the next box of random yarn from my house. It won’t have any acrylic in it, but I can’t promise anything else (but please, do tell me if you have any sensitivities, okay?).

YOU WANT THIS BOX, TRUST ME. I’m an old school indie dyer who dealt in luxury fiber; I may be down to odds and ends, but there are still some fun odds and ends lying around here. Let me know if you spin; I’ll throw fiber goodies in, too!

Drop a little inspiration in the comments, loves. I’m guessing the videos were a little intimidating? I get that. Being in front of a camera gives me the weirds, too. What works better for you? (I’m still feeling the idea of information sharing, so if you can work that in, that’s always a good angle with me.)

I’m taking names this Sunday, so get your ideas in by then!

in which there is anxiety and impatience and neither matter

There is so so so much going on right now, folks. Things went from, Hey, check that out, I could do about anything right now, what do I want to do? to I think I might want to do these things, to I have conflicted feelings, to WHELP, I GUESS WE ARE DOING A THING NOW, in very quick order. If you’ve heard something sort of hard to believe about us recently, it might actually be true! But hey, keep it to yourself for a minute, because we’re still telling folks and making plans.

I’m not getting into it details right now because nothing is actually set in stone and I have people who need I need to speak with first (VAGUEBLOGGING, everybody’s favorite), but I’ve hit at least 85% of my people so far. I’m still missing 4 super- important folks, at least, though, so mum’s the word til the end of the week. (Hey, J. Lunch on Saturday? Yes? Of course, yes.)

I’m writing because I’m a jumble of nerves and excess energy and it has to go somewhere. I feel like Hugo when he hasn’t had a good walk; bouncing off the walls, all anxiety brain and unperformed action. Bark, friends. Bark bark bark bark bark. I want to get a coffee with Cacie and ask for coping skills but coffee is probably the very last thing I need right now. My brain is full of stupid, silly contradictions that aren’t in alignment with my inner self; I need to stop and re- center so much it’s almost ridiculous. Anxiety brain is for the birds, y’all.

It’s all irrelevant, though. This period will pass (all things pass) and relatively quickly, too; I’ll come back to stillness and things will settle. It’s my impatience that’s the true issue;  I want things over and done with, I want to know the outcome, I want the space and time to just press through the work and be done already. Whoa. How greedy is that, right?

There’s a woman I know very vaguely from when we were in grammar school. She told me this story of when we were little: when were would eat lunch it struck her as funny that I’d always eat my bag lunch first, dessert after. I mean, “dessert” was usually fruit or a roll- up or whatever, but still, it was the best part. Some other kids, they’d tear into dessert first, then see if there was room for their sandwich, but apparently that wasn’t my thing. It’s a funny image. It stuck with her, and her telling me that stuck with me. I don’t remember that at all, and at the time I interpreted it as my having been a somewhat over- controlled child. “Dinner before dessert” is a motto for me, though. There’s something to that level of discipline, reinforced through the service: let’s just get through the not- as- fun parts so we can really lay back and enjoy the good stuff.

I’m feeling impatient now. Anxious, too. Worried over an uncertain future, okay, but since when is the future not uncertain? Every future is uncertain— even yours, Gentle Reader- who- might- not- be- enacting- any- immediate- change. Even yours. We just don’t think about it when we aren’t doing anything significant to change it. Boof, that’s easy to forget. That’s one of those things we likely need to forget in order to live our daily lives, but it’s helpful to hold on to in this moment: it’s all in the air, always. Submission**, etc, etc.

(It’s like you can watch me talking myself down, right?)

It’s good. I don’t have to be cool all the time. I don’t want to be cool all the time. I most definitely, certainly, 100% am not cool all the time, in case you were wondering, and if I’ve ever given that impression, shame on me, seriously. If you’ve met me in meatspace you definitely already know, I’m just letting the folks on the internet in on the secret, especially with this post. It’s normal to be a bit of a mess at times, and it’s fine to let other people see that occasionally.

Plan of attack: put on pants, Post Office, errands, wellness studio for short shift (hooray!), spend evening doing comfort activities with family. I’m thinking sorbet, fizzy water, dog- snuggling, and casting on some Dragonfly Fibers for a test knit, maybe a board game. I SHOULD be doing the embellishment of two test pieces I have in the works (a pattern I worked up in DK and fingering versions, Dragonfly Fibers and Neighborhood Fiber Co, so close to being ready) but I think that’s more daytime work.

What are you working on right now, friends? Yarn things or otherwise. I just want to know. And hey, don’t be afraid of the video contest on the entry from the 5th! There’s cashmere in that trunk, folks. I’ve had people promise videos but there’s nothing up yet- c’mon, let’s see what you’ve got. You don’t have to show your face, and you don’t have to go too far out of the box! Make a sandwich, make jewelry, make up your friend’s face, make a cable stitch. Show us stuff. :)

(Ooooh, hey, before I go: side note. Anyone want to do a test knit? DK or fingering, two complimentary & contrasting colors, 400 yds one color, 200 yds second, skills required are knit, purl, knitting in the round, basic embroidery. I can’t supply yarn but you get the pattern and you get to keep your sample; you’re free to put it up on Rav as well- I’d prefer it!- although please no identifying details until we go live, and you will be credited in the pattern notes. Drop me an email!)

(Last side note, I swear: I’ve updated the de-stash. I keep doing that and forgetting to tell folks on the blog. There’s a model that is doomed, right? I put up some Hawaiian Bobtail Squid in Traveller and Barberpole Hopper in Skinny Bugga, too- that was our rainbow self- striping colorway. Oh, and two things I kind of hid on the second page, half hoping nobody buys them because they’re lovely fall colors and maybe I’m going to keep them for myself? IS THIS A DESTASH OR NOT, SARAH. MAKE UP YOUR MIND.)

Barber Pole Hopper!

Barber Pole Hopper!

(**It is interesting to witness how very much I am actively engaging in my Buddhism these past two years, btw. I know folks tend to draw on their faiths in difficult periods, but Buddhism isn’t a precisely a faith, so I found this a little surprising. A subject for a different post, but it has been a strange and wonderful ride.)

on secret stashes

I’m giving away secrets today.

I’ll start out easy: Despite all this yoga business, I’ve never been able to turn a cartwheel. Just can’t seem to manage it. I thought it might be the whole “feet over head” thing- I had a thing about that for a while, lots of people do. I could do a handstand, but thought- maybe putting it into motion was the problem? I’m still not sure what the issue is. I don’t worry about it much. It’s just one of those funny things folks assume I can do because I do yoga and: NOPE. I wasn’t ever even vaguely gymnastic until WHAM: my thirties. Life is some kind of weird, right?

Also, I was pretty scared of dogs until my early twenties. There’s some murky, no- idea- what- it- was bad dog experience in my early childhood, and then another one involving being chased really briefly when I was in grammar school, too. I don’t remember ever being bitten or anything big like that, but we never had or were around dogs growing up, either, so there wasn’t a positive to outweigh those negatives. I’m so happy I learned we are dog people. Hugo is curled up next to me as I’m typing, and Lilu is on her bed in the corner of the living room, snoring away; they’re such a huge part of our lives. You’d never guess I wouldn’t have anything to do with dogs at all until I was about 23 or so.

Speaking of snoring, a guilty secret for you all, now. There are mornings when Sam will tell me he feels just awful and I don’t want to tell him the reason why: some nights, I will be in bed and he won’t be snoring, won’t be making a sound at all, not even that slow, heavy sleep- breath, and I will nudge him, because since his second stroke I am on alert. I know I should let him get every bit of his rest, but the less- balanced parts of me remember holding a compact mirror over Kiddo’s mouth when she was an infant, and wonders if this is a better option, wonders if Sam would trade better sleep for the undoubtedly upsetting conversation which would follow his inevitably waking up and seeing me holding a stupid mirror over his face. This is not 100% sane partner behavior, I know. His vascular neurologist assured us years ago I didn’t need to do things like this. I do them anyway, and consider myself “pretty all-right” because I don’t do that mirror thing.

Ooof, Sam will be annoyed when he reads that.

Anyway. (Ha! Another one: I said “anywaysforever, until my friend Teresa fixed me, and told that “anyway” was the correct form. It’s one of her top grammar peeves and she put up with it FOREVER because she is patient as Job. Now, I am so vigilant about it and it jumps out at me like a misplaced apostrophe.) ANYWAY— other not- so- secrets: I really dislike polo shirts, the only bodily fluid that truly sicks me out is spit/ mucus (Need someone to clean up anything else? A childhood in a home daycare/ with many siblings makes me your huckleberry!) I cannot stand bobbles and I do not care HOW GOOD THE DESIGN IS OR WHO KNOWS IT THEY ARE AWFUL TO MAKE AND TERRIBLE TO LOOK AT, I will always try any sour food presented, I have learned to love hugging strangers and that is a big surprise.

Also, I have this chest of wicked old yarn from I don’t even know when, folks, that I never even look at, don’t open for swaps or projects and don’t even really think about which is full of mystery and adventure and it is tied to what is currently my biggest secret of all, extremely tangentially, in that it needs to go. (This actual trunk, BTW, we picked up for all of twenty pounds in the UK when some sergeant was clearing house; I wasn’t even a knitter at the time and I straight lucked into a 100% cedar chest. How does that even happen? We are keeping the trunk.) It sits right in the middle of my living room.

Forgive my cruddy iPhone photo.

Forgive my cruddy iPhone photo.

There is some of my earliest dyeing in here, some old early 2000’s indies, some Kureyon Sock (come on, it’s pretty, I was a new knitter and it was that time), some handspun, it’s all over the place. I can’t vouch for what’s in here- some of it is amazing, some of it is embarrassing.  I’m not even sure what’s in here, it’s been so long since I looked. I think I saw a little Sundara? Anyway, it’s one of my saddest little secrets as a knitter; my right- out- in- the- open, utterly neglected, uncategorized, earliest real stash.

Clearly, I’m not using any of this. Ok, there’s one skein of Bugga in Sweetheart Underwing that I can see right on top— that colorway from the very first Sock Summit which was so, so pretty and almost impossible to make, we made maybe 36 skeins of it ever- I’m going to keep that. The rest of it, I think I can part with. Here’s the plan:

1.) I ask you, Gentle Reader, to do something silly, and hopefully you play along. See below for the “something silly”. **

2.) I randomly stuff four USPS Priority Mail envelopes (blank plastic envelopes of similar size for my overseas friends) FULL of yarn from this trunk. Sorry, no requests, but please let me know if you’re allergic to anything. All packages will contain wool, may also contain silk, cashmere, alpaca, angora, linen, cotton, nylon, bamboo, angelina, sea silk, baby camel, and other assorted textiles. There is ZERO acrylic in this trunk.

3.) I choose my two favorite responses and let the RNG choose two, as well!

4.) I’ll announce winners late next week. (I’m making Thursday, September 17th the cut- off to leave a video, everyone, although I won’t make any announcements until most likely a day or two after that- we’ll be travelling a bit around that date.) I will ask them for shipping for these– I know, I’ve been lax about it so far, but these will be heavy!

5.) I probably do all of this again, because I don’t think 4 envelopes is going to do the trick. We’re playing this by ear. And I’m going to have to do this with some Bugga/ Skinny Bugga minis in a minute, too, but we can talk about that later. Let’s get started on this trunk. Help me out, friends?

** Hey, what’s that “something silly” you have to do to enter, right? I’m not going to ask you to tell me your secrets, even silly ones. That’s a bit invasive, right? I am upping the ante for this Giveaway, though. There’s silk in that trunk. When I floated this to the family, Kiddo thought that it would be fun if we turned this into a sharing circle, and I’m into stuff like that. If you post a link in comments to a video of you making something, you’re entered for a package. You can show your face or just your hands; you can get really creative and animate yourself, too. Show us how to make things!

in which a little conflict can be a good thing

I mean, just... come on, already. This summer has been a little surreal.

 This summer has been a little surreal. 

Hey, ap4c? You’ve got some yarn coming your way, sugar. Drop me a line with your address— I know I have it, but just in case anything has changed. Hooray!

You all have lovely ideas, and I have to say you’ve inspired me, greatly. You only get so many days, right? Interestingly enough, almost immediately after I’d asked that question we were presented with an opportunity to make a change. That’s how things happen, right? It’s funny; I originally sort of laughed this opportunity off, but it stuck with me. And stuck. And just kept sticking. Now here we are, the two of us, mulling it over and discussing it with friends. If you are one of the friends I’ve mulled with recently, thanks for the advice. I’m still shocked that we’re considering this. If you’re a friend and we haven’t mulled yet, don’t worry. It’s likely coming.

I don’t know. Who ever does? We’re chasing down the idea and seeing where it takes us. At the worst, it’s a dead end- no harm, no foul, right?

In the meantime I’m doing the same things: paring down, thinking, crafting, doing yoga, teaching folks how to meditate, working on gathering new skills. I’m taking Thai yoga massage (nuat phaen thai/ nuat phaen boran) next month; who wants to get in line to be a guinea pig? If you don’t know what Thai yoga massage is, look it up/ click on that helpful hyperlink I put up there before volunteering. I’ve talked to a few folks who had some pretty interesting/ funny/ weird ideas as to what it might be, so, you know. The best description I have for this modality is “lazy person’s yoga”, which— not 100% accurate, but pretty close. You get to wear clothes for this and everything, y’all. Come on, you know you want to let me bend you. LET ME BEND YOU. YOU WANT THIS. IT’LL BE AWESOME.

More yarn in the shop tomorrow, naturally. Maybe some fiber, too? Let’s see what I can haul out of the hut. I get really distracted by the masses of green tomatoes in the garden, frankly, and my burning desire to turn them all into pickles. I’m not patient enough to wait for them all to go red when green tomato pickles are just so damn good. There are farmer’s markets chock full of perfectly good red tomatoes but good pickled green tomatoes are hard to find, so I think I’m just going to cull our crop and focus on my priorities, which have really always been green tomatoes, friend and pickled. I need to stop lying to myself and just get it done.

Off to stretch and eat, possibly not in that order. ap4c, you know what to do. Keep being wonderful, keep dreaming big, everybody. Or small. Dream small, too. Small dream are just as beautiful, some times.

in which there are infinite possibilities

So that thing I said about posting more destash early last week: what I meant to say was middle of this week, really. I’ve had this pile set aside all week, I just couldn’t get around to snapping pictures; I’d have time, but it would only be in the evening, or I’d have afternoon time, but I’m a tool and my camera battery needed charging, because PREPARATION, SARAH. Hrm. It’s up in the Etsy shop now, although some of it has already been nabbed- you folks are fast, much respect.

You will NOT find this in my destash. EVER.

You will NOT find this in my destash. EVER.

While I’m paring down, a skein of Pigeonroof Studios‘ Silky High Twist in Meteorite did end up joining my stash, though. No shame. It’s really hard to show just how subtly gorgeous this colorway is in real life, but trust me, this stuff just hums color at me, and I’ve set it on the dining room Hoosier until I find the perfect lace pattern for it. I’ve always enjoyed Krista’s dye work, but seriously, this is just unreal. I can’t wait to see what this becomes.


Things here are strange these last few weeks. Not bad- strange, just unsettling- strange, in a head- tilty, vaguely, maybe- positive sort of way. It’s been a long and frankly pretty dreadful year– hell, it’s been a dreadful two years, if we’re being real with each other, and we’re going to do that, all couple thousand of you and me. There are days when Sam and I can hardly stand it, we have both lost so much together; there are also evenings when we lay in bed, holding hands and whispering that if this is drowning, there’s no one else we’d rather go under with. It is a very, very honest time, which is both brutal and beautiful. I enjoy being emotionally uncomfortable in this way: we are so very raw and bare lately. There is nowhere to hide.

I don’t know where we will wind up, in every possible way that can be interpreted. I am, weirdly, at peace with that, too. In every stage of our lives together, as difficulty has arisen we’ve leaned in, leaned toward each other and learned that extending kindness within and without has gotten us through. We are careful with one another. We make the small efforts. We talk, constantly. He is and has always been my ride- or- die, no holds barred friend and companion, which makes this period simpler to navigate: we don’t know what we are doing, but doing it together feels reassuring. (Like anybody actually does know what they’re doing, anyway: “grown- upping” is and has always been a damned dirty lie.)

And it’s funny: I’m writing this when we’re doing better than we have in a long time. It’s good right now: I like the work I’m doing, things are going well enough for him at his job (okay, he hates it, but the money is fine and he’s doing well, so there’s that), we have bonfires and silly backyard hotdog roasts in the evenings, I’m making things again and he’s begun talking about things that are both surprising and maybe, really exciting. The future is wide open, vague, nebulous, joyful & terrifying in that we could jump any moment now, what will it be sort of way that I remember from my twenties. It’s been a while. I’d chased stability so hard post- Afghanistan, post- I’ve- come- to -some- serious- realizations- and- need- copious- amounts- of- stability, actually, and I’m ready to let some of that control go now. Not that I want my life to get all loopy, obviously, but I don’t think it needs to be quite so… locked in, either.

Anything is possible. We’ve been looking at the infinite possibilities and my glob, I don’t know. It’s like being a teenager again, except this time I have backup. The whole world is waiting: now what? I’ve taken a year to rest and heal and I think I feel almost ready to make a move. I’ve spent the last six months working on this body: resting it, respecting it, feeding it, letting old meds work their way out, stretching and kneading muscles that were locking into place. Outside of muscular pain I feel pretty healthy most of the time, which is goddamned remarkable- and really, forget the muscular pain, that’s so pedestrian for MS, it’s manageable and as crappy as it’s going to sound to anyone not living this life, it’s just natural: for me, this is as good as it gets, and it’s actually super- good. I could probably pick up running again in the fall if I wanted (and I don’t know, I might actually want that).

I’m taking a few CEUs this fall (continuing education units, for those who don’t need to do things like this), learning new skills for what I think might be a Plan. I’m trying to keep myself mobile and aiming for the ability to run my own gigs again, just in case; I don’t have any ideas about moving, but I want to keep myself open, because I know what this feeling can mean, and it’s just a good thing, life- wise. (I am so much happier when I am in charge of myself.) The Plan, though: beginning to have a plan again feels good. I don’t do well when I am without internal direction. While I still have no idea where we are actually headed, or what will happen, I at least have an idea what I’m trying to become, and that’s a start. Aiming to regain self- sufficiency is a good beginning.


Today’s Great Yarn Giveaway is somewhat related: I’m working with attachment this week, folks, trying to let go of things that aren’t essential. With that in mind, I’m setting free a caked, full- sized skein of Skinny Bugga in Widow Dragonfly. It’s gorgeous, but I don’t have any plans for it and thus, it isn’t necessary. Give it a useful home, lovelies.

Aaaaagh, I'm not good at attachment either some days, but seriously, I like space more than I like stuff.

Aaaaagh, I’m not good at attachment either some days, but seriously, I like space more than I like stuff.

In order to win, riddle me this in the comments: if you were suddenly set free to do… well, pretty much anything you wanted with your adult life, what would you do? I mean it. Things are still in the “reasonable” realm, so no off- the- charts stuff, we aren’t Rockefellers, but if you found yourself in the position where you genuinely had the freedom make a down- to- earth, radical shift, would you- and if so, what would it be? Would you change homes, neighborhoods, cities, states, nations? Jobs, career fields, retire? I’ve already cut off all my hair, so drastic changes in appearance are maybe out for me, but what about you? Shaving one’s head is liberating as HELL, let me tell you.

I’m not looking for advice here- we are on the path we’re on, and I’m really interested to see where it takes us, without outside interference. I am curious about how many other people would consider the things we’re considering, and what they might do in our shoes. How many choose the status quo? How many choose adventure? Let me know down below, and next week- hopefully Tuesday, but Thursday at the latest, I’ll use the RNG and choose a winner. (I really want it to be Tuesday, but I’m also prepping for a trip Up North, so time gets weird.) There are no right or wrong answers! Let’s talk about change.

in which I need to warn you: there are slugs in this post

I mean, it just seems like the polite thing to do: slugs give folks the willies, but I don’t want to surprise anyone, all— HEY, LOOK AT THESE SLUGS, because I don’t think that’s what anybody is coming here for, you know? I’ve got to talk to you about the leopard slugs, though. I really, really do.

I mean, nobody is forcing me, but I’m going to anyway.

About two years ago I was doing trunk shows on Long Island. A lot of trunk shows on Long Island, actually; New York, SW CT and MA were good markets for Cephalopod Yarns, and I did a ton of trunk shows up that way. One of the first things I noticed on the Island were the leopard slugs; I was sitting outside my Air BnB one evening, saw a couple of them just crawling along and just sort of watched in horror. I’m not scared of slugs, but I also don’t like them; they’re just… meh. Snails, yes. Slugs, ick.

Leopard slugs are these huge, spotted monster slugs; they can grow to 4- 8 inches (some of you are beginning to understand that whole “horror” bit now, I’m guessing) and if you see one, look for a whole bunch more; I’ve never seen a solo leopard slug. They aren’t native to the States, but they’ve been here for a few centuries. Click that link for more info and some pictures; I didn’t want to put any in the post, so as not to offend delicate sensibilities, but they’re actually kind of pretty. I mean, for a slug and all.

So here’s the thing: I remember sitting there, on maybe my third, fourth visit to the Island, just staring down a crowd of these slugs and thinking about how boats are pulled out of the water in certain places, you know, where there are invasive species, and cleaned off. I’m not what you’d call a “boat person” (if that’s even what you’d call them?) but I’m a coastal girl and I’ve been around enough of them to know a little— my uncle, my in- laws, my sister M, friends— and I know this one thing, right? If you’re taking your boat out of an area that contains a potentially invasive species, you’re expected to scrub the bottom of your boat.

So I’m staring at these slugs as they drag themselves around, thinking about my car, thinking about how I really, really don’t want these slugs in Maryland. Ever. We have enough wildlife, really. It’s terrific here. Loads of nature. We are rich with the stuff. I’m just not into giant slugs, folks. They are not my thing. But what do you do? It’s not like there’s a car- scrubbing station, and the whole idea is ridiculous. Just one of those silly things you think at 12am after a completely exhausting drive. Whatever. I laugh at myself and go to bed.

Let’s jump forward in time to last Tuesday night, okay? Sam and I are in the backyard, sitting around the firepit, because SUMMER and FIRE and AWESOME. It’s about 11 pm and everything is amazing and I et up to grab a few medium- sized logs to feed the flames and LO AND BEHOLD THERE IS A CROWD, yes, A CROWD OF LEOPARD SLUGS BY THE WOODPILE.


Naturally, because I am incredibly important and influence things like the migration of an entire species, I turn to Sam and say, “I knew I should have scrubbed the goddamned Fiat.”

Right? Anxiety works this way, I know. It’s funny, though, because for one horrible, shameful, hot second I really did think that; this is probably all my fault. I brought an invasive species into the state. I am the worst.

That’s obviously, patently ridiculous; the sort of self- blame I picked up from a childhood of scapegoating, and it’s really helpful to be able to point it out, laugh at it, hold it to the light for the silly, overblown worry that it is. Viewing my anxiety with humor doesn’t change the fact that there are now giant slugs all over my woodpile, though. That’s a reality that won’t change regardless of who is to blame, and I’m pretty grossed out over it.

I guess we’ll end up leaving a pie pan of beer out for them, although they’re so prolific I’m not sure there’s a point, and really, my Buddhist heart isn’t quite all right with that— so perhaps we’re just going to get good with our new, slimy overlords. It’s strange, though; like a blast from the past. I think of my friends Lauren, Todd & Cori who live on the Island every time I see these monsters, which is really weird but also very, very sweet. (I’m so sorry, L. I know that being associated with giant slugs is not terribly flattering, but it does mean I will be thinking of you a LOT, because these things are everywhere.)

Hard break to the right: for these of you here for the Great Yarn Giveaways— I’ll be picking up with the shop and the Giveaways next week. I’ve gone through existing stash and I’ve got things ready to list, so keep an eye out early next week- I’ll put up a post before the shop goes live with new stuff. Best of luck!

in which we are missing a small but significant friend

Our sweet Emma.

Our sweet Emma.

Emma left us suddenly this Sunday night. Sam and I came home from a late lunch with friends and she was panting like a dog, laying on her side on the kitchen floor, Barrett curled up beside her. Kiddo had texted us when we were on our way home to say she was worried, and we knew as soon as we saw her that we needed to take her to the ER vet. She made it as far as the waiting room, and passed in her carrier, on Sam’s lap. In retrospect, I think I might have preferred she died at home, but there’s also comfort here.

The vets did their best, but she was already gone. She’d had a heart attack; it was quick, and that’s another comfort. We took her home and buried her somewhere she would have liked.

Emma liked to sneak into the bedrooms. Every so often I'd break the rules and let her stay.

Emma liked to sneak into the bedrooms. Every so often I’d break the rules and let her stay for a little bit.

Emma came to us out of the blue; we used to call her our “accidental cat”. It was December, and there was a really nasty snowstorm due in— one of those “we’re going to be snowed in for two- three days” sorts of storms- and exactly then is when we found out that Kiddo had been feeding a neighborhood stray in the carriage room under the house. Emma was in early adolescence, only barely out of kittendom. Kiddo revealed that she had been feeding her for several weeks, and it was a Friday night, which meant our vet’s office was closed.

She also liked to follow us around and have conversations.

She also liked to follow us around and have conversations.

So we did a very foolish thing which I don’t regret at all; we took her in “just until the storm passes/ the vet’s office opens/ we can get to a shelter,” and we can all see how that turned out. She lived in segregation in our bathroom for two days and that was all it took for us to fall in love with her.

Emma, pretending to be shy.

Emma, pretending to be shy.

Emma was a talky cat, if you know what I mean; she’d follow us around the house, meeping and waiting for a response. She’d get ornery if you didn’t answer, too; she expected a conversation. She waited for us to wake up in the morning, and she followed us up to the bathroom every evening to talk to us while we got ready for bed. She was the perfect cat companion: she loved her people fiercely, and pretty much nobody else (although she made a few exceptions); she had an ice- cold glare but also these love- stares that just reached right down into your soul, you know? She was always wholly her own animal.


She only lived to be eight, but she had a really good life— full of love and cuddles and conversations and even snuggles with Hugo. Much better than what she would have had if she hadn’t stumbled into Kiddo, no doubt. I’m so glad she got that.

We are sad, these days. I miss my talky cat friend. I miss our late night conversations about politics in the Cat Party, the way she shouted at us when it was time to eat, and her generosity with headbumps. I know that this will fade, even though right now I don’t 100% want it to; eventually we’ll go back to feeding the other cats without wanting to cry. Right now, we just miss you, Emmeka. Rest well, sweet girl.

on tardiness and better subjects

Everything is going to work out in the end. I keep telling myself that, because it is in the nature of things to be transient—as we are, ourselves, all transient. Everything changes, so when things are feeling crap I remind myself that hey, it can only be this way for so long, that the pendulum will swing the other way soon. One of the very best things about being older is the realization that nothing lasts forever, especially feelings— agh, that’s something to add to the every expanding list of Things I Need To Make More Serious And Longer Posts About, but that it isn’t for today. Today I want to tell you about my friends.

First up are Higgins & Maeve; really good people who are just not having a banner year, culminating in Higgins being jumped last week by a group of people while walking home. They didn’t take anything, just knocked him down,  kicked him in the face, smashed his glasses, and stomped on his chest until they broke his collarbone. A passerby walking his dog helped out, thank glob, but Higgins’ primary profession involves holding up really large cameras with one arm, so the whole “looking for work” thing is on hold for the moment. He’s been working on his bachelors while doing occasional National Guard weekends and taking on side jobs, but with a completely broken collarbone he’s been worried about making rent, paying his medical bills, replacing those glasses, etc. Higgins is looking for work he can do with a jacked up wing, but with more time left on his degree it’s slim pickings; his fiancee, Maeve, is already working her lovely tail off.  Friends have set up a GoFundMe to help them get by for the moment, and if you’ve got a couple of bucks to spare, hey, I would personally appreciate that. (Anything that comes in and isn’t used to help the two of them make ends meet while Higgins is on the mend heads out a Baltimore youth charity, but I kind of don’t see much surplus coming along, you know?)

Yeah, it’s an awful thing to have happen, I know. People can be shitty. Then again, people also sent food and support and love to both of them immediately afterward, so, while I’m at it: people can be pretty great.  I keep thinking that Higgins & Maeve are really nice, sweet, good people- folks who care about other people, who care about the city and the politics of the city and their friends and art and you know, just care. Caring, btw— that’s a skill, and it gets overlooked; it can be easy to stop caring, especially in a city. You get busy, you get overwhelmed, you get overbooked, you get blunted. Caring matters, folks. Giving a damn about where you live and what you do is always cool. That stands out.

This shouldn’t have happened to them but in reality, it shouldn’t have happened to anyone, because violence is bullshit: I wouldn’t want this to have happened to a jerk, either. Not even the jerkiest of jerks from my way- back past: I’m not into violence. Higgins’ curse upon his attackers- that they be caught and be forced into a future working as osteopaths- that’s so more my style.




Here’s something happier that’s happening: the brilliant Acacia Sears put up her Yes Means Yes Kickstarter this month, supporting her album of progressive feminist children’s music and it is going really, really well. (Some of you might have met Cacie at a show or in the studio. ) She’s getting a serious amount of buzz and we are all watching this, crossing our fingers and— I don’t know how to explain it. It’s amazing, witnessing someone you care about reach out and snatch up their dream: she’s so good at what she does, she has a clear vision, she’s very focused, incredibly driven and then… cover it all in whimsy and top it with a flower crown. It’s perfection, and it’s a privilege to see this take off.

There have been trolls, because it’s the Internet. Also, hey, let’s be real: ” fun, progressive music for children: songs about consent, ableism, anxiety, non-binary gender, dinosaurs, robots, and more!”… What isn’t there to troll over in that, right? Of course, right. Agh. You can’t begin to talk about feminism, racism, or equality in any form online without being targeted. She’s taking it well, but it’s scary stuff. I’m glad she has songs about dealing with anxiety, because some of those comments were just walking proof that her work is necessary.

One of the lighter examples.

One of the lighter examples. People can be gross. (Also, please don’t make your kids hug people, folks.)

We skipped most children’s music when Kiddo was little; so much of it contains gender stereotypes, weird religious overtones, violence, etc. She grew up dancing to The Cure, Pet Shop Boys, Tupac, Eve, Dropkick Murphys, Billy Bragg. I would have loved a resource like this when she was little, and I’m so glad it exists for my new baby niece, Alyssa. I’d love to see this as widely available as possible.

So: yeah, I know. I just asked you to support my boy Higgins a second ago. It’s cool. Nobody is made of money, but if you can? It’s one hell of a project, seriously, and her rewards are great- a $10 donation gets you the album, she has some amazing ideas for stretch goals, and just a couple of bucks is a huge help to artists trying to get a project started.



See what I mean? Higgins got jumped (so not okay) but friends came together to help him & Maeve (so very good). Cacie’s Kickstarter is beginning to get some really awesome positive attention (Dan Savage promoted it! Amy Poehler favorited it on Twitter! Kickstarter made it their Staff Pick!) but also TROLLS, and (that can get weird and scary and always gross). It’s like that here lately. Very eeeeuuurrgh where’s my blanket fort/ oh wait, maybe it IS a finger painting and playground day after all. I’m guessing it’s going to shake out on the finger painting and playground side of things. OPTIMISM, it’s my thing.

So I have that Gregor Samsa packed and in my car, ready to go except for a shipping label. I’m not putting up a new giveaway until I reload the Etsy shop; I need to take a moment and take stock, see what I’m putting up, etc, but I’ll do that soon, too. In the meantime, if anyone wants to leave their favorite comfort behaviors below? I offer my gratitude in advance. Here’s hoping your July is much more playground than blanket fort.


on attachment, clearing out, and hey, who wants yarn?

I thought this was going to a lot harder than it has been, to be frank. As I’ve been shipping things out, I’ve been feeling really good about creating space, and it just gets easier and easier to put things in the “destash” pile. I’d originally suspected I’d struggle with relinquishing CY yarns, especially tests, out of sentimentality: this is quite literally the very last of this stuff, and I can actually remember the days some of these skeins were dyed. It stings a little at times; I need to remind myself that we were always making items of use and beauty, that it’s a disservice not to see them being utilized. Archival just doesn’t sit right with me, though; it isn’t my style.

There are a few things I just can’t let go, and I’ll make a post about those later, once I’m absolutely sure of what those are. I know a few off the top of my head: a bag of Sochi Pride in Traveller, the last few skeins I dyed in the studio, four braids of BFL/ silk fiber in a perfect oxidized copper.

Mostly, though, I want to keep a few things dyed by members of the studio, yarn made by my friends, a few things with clear intended projects, and my fiber stash; everything else is on its way out, and that feels like a relief. Next, I’m going to take on my comic book collection. Oh, gutting. 

So: the winner of last week’s Great Yarn Giveaway is Ela— please, drop me a line with your address and I will send you a shipping estimate & get your yarn out to you! Next up for Giveaway purposes: one skein of Irregular Skinny Bugga in Gregor Samsa. This skein has two small smudges of lilac on one strand; imperfect but utterly knittable.

Gregor Samsa this time!

Gregor Samsa this time!

By the way- for the folks who’ve asked, I got the yarn bowl above from Skeletal Dropkick, and I swear that the name only pushed me into purchasing from them a teeny, tiny bit. They’re really great and I love the pieces I have from them- solid, one custom, and relatively affordable (at least when I was buying- it’s been a while). Also ADORABLE, obviously.

Want to give that skein of Gregor Samsa a proper home? TOTALLY EASY, you folks. Tell me your current favorite indie yarn company and why you love them. That’s it! I’ll RNG the answer, but I’m seriously paying attention to this one. Bonus points for telling me which of their yarns makes you the happiest, but just the company name/ link does the trick. I’ll pull a name next Tuesday— good luck, everybody!


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