Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Recently I was asked why I’d kept this blog quasi-anonymous.  Was I afraid of the stigma associated with being a guy who knits?  And wasn’t I perpetuating the stereotype of knitting as somehow effeminate by “selling myself as a novelty”?

Weighty questions, these.

The first is easy to answer.  I’m not afraid of people knowing that I knit.  In fact, most people who know me on a personal level have seen me in the middle of a project.  And since I’m a big proponent of knitting in public, and do so essentially every workday, I feel like if I had anything to prove in terms of knitting bravery I would have proved it long ago.  I’m afraid of many things - spiders, for example - but having people learn that I like to knit isn’t one of them.

The second question, though…  That’s a doozy.  Am I perpetuating a stereotype with this blog?  I hope not as it certainly isn’t my intent.  For that matter, I’m not particularly comfortable with the idea of “selling myself” – regardless of whether it is as a novelty or otherwise.  There’s something a bit too transactional about that notion for my taste. 

But regardless of whether perpetuating a stereotype was my intent, is it a consequence of my actions?

I don’t know.  

But after discussion with my most trusted advisor (Mrs. TSMK), I’ve decided that it makes sense to clear the air, state my position on a few things, and try to put to rest any questions that might otherwise linger about who I am, or why I write these intermittent and frequently goofy posts.  So here goes.

My name is Brian.

I am 38 years old. 

I grew up primarily in the Southeast and now make my home in the Pacific Northwest.

I am happily married (15 years) to a woman I began dating when I was 17.

I am the father of three boys.

I am a practicing Buddhist.

I believe that my purpose on earth is to try to help alleviate the suffering of others.

I believe that the idea that one’s gender or sexual orientation dictates all of one’s choices in life is false, and that this falsehood is one significant cause of suffering.

I am hopeful that by writing these posts I may help to eliminate this suffering.

And I am hopeful that by writing these posts I may provide some small measure of enjoyment to those may read them.


With that out of the way – let me share with you my most recently (almost) finished project.  It is a messenger bag, knit and then highly felted.  All that is left is to attach buttons for the front flap.  But with this bag, I’m thinking that I want something handmade for buttons.  So I’ve found some particularly nice beach rocks – which I hope to make into buttons for the bag. 

I like this quite a bit, and plan to use it for my commuting bag for the foreseeable future.  In fact, I like it so much that I've decided to part with what was previously my favorite bag.  I put that one up for auction.  Should someone of a particularly crafty mentality decide to buy it - I hope you will let me know as I'll make sure to include some sort of yarn or other knitting goodness inside when it is shipped off.

may you be free from danger
may you be healthy
may you be happy
may you live in peace


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

We Are Stardust

March is now memory.  Or is it?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been spending some time on the existential hamster wheel.  Spring is finally here – and in a gesture inclined toward seasonal solidarity I have thrown off all vestiges of facial hair.  With luck, a freshly shaven chin will help usher in a season of growth in the garden.

But it isn’t just the garden that seems to be experiencing growth.  And it isn’t only our rabbits that seem to be multiplying. 

In these past several weeks I’ve learned of three additional arrivals.  One is here, and two are expected any moment.  None are relations, but all are indeed related inasmuch as I find that their arrival impacts those around me and I am in turn changed by their arrival.  And, though I know that suffering finds roots not only at the rejection of the unpleasant but also the grasping of the pleasant, and acknowledge full well that they are not exactly “new”, I nevertheless find myself feeling joy in welcoming these friends to this particular corner of the neighborhood.

The first is a girl.  As I write this, she has not yet arrived.  But I have seen her mother, Chanel, almost every weekday for the last several years.  In fact, she is often one of the first people with whom I converse.  When I see her, she greets me with a smile and a cheerful voice:  Are you having your usual?”  And with those five words, and the promise of hot coffee in hand, my workday begins. 

A short while ago, I noticed that she wasn’t standing behind the register any longer.  Instead, she had begun propping herself up on a stool.  And it was only then that I noticed something was different. 

Now in fairness, I stand by a firm rule that I will not insinuate, suggest or acknowledge the fact of a pregnancy unless either: (i) I have been informed by the expectant mother of the pregnancy; or (ii) the child is actually crowning and assistance is required.  Standing by this rule has allowed me to avoid congratulating many not-yet-expecting mothers.  And since I am capable of embarrassing myself quite well enough without committing this particular faux-pas, I think this is a rule worth keeping.

When I saw her leaning against the stool, I almost violated this most sacred of rules.  But at the last moment my wits returned to me and I was able to reshape the question that was swirling in my mind: “Are you feeling ok?  It was a great relief when she took the bait – telling me that the baby was starting to make her feel very uncomfortable.  A few mornings later, I learned she was having a little girl.  This was helpful information, since I had already decided the child needed a blanket.  Nothing too fancy, but something with bright contrasting colors to attract the little one’s eyes.  I decided on square, with mitered corners. 

But procreation, it seemed, was in the air.  For when I was about half finished with the blanket, I found myself on the phone with a good friend and former colleague, Megan.  A few years back, I saw Megan nearly every day.  Now, I talk with her quite a lot but rarely see her in person.  And as we chatted about the crystalline beauty that is the federal regulation of securities – she seemed distracted.  In fact, she seemed unwell.  Without knowing the cause of her discomfort, I asked if she was feeling unwell.  Heartburn” she replied.  I let it pass – but, seeing as we were at the lunch hour I suggested at the end of the call that she might benefit from a bite to eat.  Wouldn’t help,” she replied.  “Pretty much anything I eat these days gives me heartburn.  But I only have about three weeks left…”. 

To say that there was a pregnant pause on the phone would be both an understatement and a bad pun.  So I will avoid such a comment.

But sure enough, when I expressed disbelief Megan confirmed the truth.  She was indeed expecting, and quite soon.   A boy.  I redoubled my efforts on the blanket – wanting to get it finished so that I could get started on something for the little fellow.  I decided on a toy, found a pattern and set to work.  The pattern is 60+ years old – originally published in a newspaper in Sydney.  And although it claims to be a bear, I think it might serve as a stand-in for a mouse.  Either way, however, I’m hopeful that the moss stitch texture will feel good in little hands.

But good things come in threes – and there was still one shoe left to drop.  For Mrs. TSMK’s mother called and began dropping hints.  A friend was becoming a great-grandmother.  It would be a little girl.  Could I make something?  Just something small – like booties.

I resisted the urge to go with booties – too pedestrian.  But the footwear theme seemed right.  So how about a pair of mary jane shoes, done in sparkly pink with a pearlescent button?  Too much?  Probably – but I had to make them anyway. 

Welcome to the neighborhood kids.  Have a good time.