Yup.  This was pretty much life for the past few months.

Yup. This was pretty much life for the past few months.

Hooray! Our pond finally melted! It is still super cold, but I don’t care.  We threw all the windows open to let the frigid air swirl through the house and kiss the dusty corners with promises of sunshine-to-come.  It has been a hard winter. You probably know that.  Thanks to the open windows, our house is extra freezing cold.  I have to wear a winter jacket inside but, dammit, I am keeping the windows open! Because IT IS SPRING! And I’m not going back!

If you live in a part of the world where there are peepers, you know that there is no sweeter elixir to the cold ear than the first hint of this little frog chorus.

Peep! Peep! Peep!Peep! Peep! Peep!Peep! Peep! Peep!Peep! Peep! Peep!Peep! Peep! Peep!

Peep! Peep! Peep!Peep! Peep! Peep!Peep! Peep! Peep!Peep! Peep! Peep!Peep! Peep! Peep!

Peepers are the musical ushers of spring, far more dependable than that Punxatawny Phil charlatan. All winter I yearn for them.  A couple of months ago the shocks on my car were squeaky and it sounded like peepers, and I was like, “YES!!!!! SPRING!!!!FINALLY!!! Oh, whoops. No. My car is falling apart. Argh!! “

Now finally all the ponds have come to life with the glorious, rolling squeak of spring.  Yesterday I rode my bike for the first time in months. It was invigorating to coast down the trail from one symphony of peepers to the next. It made me wonder what the collective noun for peepers is.  You know how some self-satisfied wordsmiths got together and decided that animals should have fanciful collective nouns? Like, a murder of crows, a parliament of owls, a charm of finches.  Surely, in light of the great service they do for our souls, the wondrous peepers are deserving of a dedicated collective noun.  I nominate “jeepers” ….Jeepers of peepers?  Anyone got a better idea?

So yeah, feeling pretty stoked on spring.

Not to knock winter.  Winter was actually pretty good to me this year.  I got to bunker down and be productively antisocial.  I made a lot of sweaters. Maybe you noticed.  My past three collections were my biggest ever. It lead me to do some intoxicating math, like, “if I can keep up this production level, then my the end of the year I can afford to (insert any one of dozens of silly, expensive projects I have dreamed up)”  I spent the winter dreaming of hot tub grottoes and palatial out-buildings that I was gonna build.

Then my body was like, “Are you out of your mind??”

How I have been feeling lately.

How I have been feeling lately.

I pinched a nerve in my shoulder. Has that ever happened to you?  It hurt so freaking much! For the better part of three weeks I was a frustrated Quasimodo – in so much pain, but forcing myself to hunch over my sewing machine and keep sewing, despite the fact that I literally cried out in agony just trying to lift a pair of scissors.

It was a pretty clear message from my body to lighten up on the work stuff. I have built my empire on a masochistic work ethic and a resilient constitution. Now my body just kind of slapped me across the face and warned me not to take that for granted.

It did force me to look at my right arm with a bewildered respect and realize that absolutely everything I have right now I owe to my hands.  If they can’t work, my livelihood is screwed. I hadn’t realized how vulnerable I am! It is yet another reminder that I really need to move along with my ambitions to write. I can’t take for granted that I can just keep churning out sweaters.

Time for a new tutorial?

Time for a new tutorial?

On that note…I have decided not to put out a big sweater collection until May.  I plan to use the month of April to pursue other interests. I have begun working on another tutorial that people keep asking me for.  It is just going to be a tutorial about making Hoodies.  On the surface seems kind of redundant after the whole Sweater Coat tutorial (Because a hoodie is more or less just the top half of a coat, right?)  My challenge is to make it illuminating enough that people will find it worthwhile, even if they already have my other tutorials.  Thankfully, I never seem to run out of things to say about sweaters.  I will try to make it fun and awesome. At the very least I can try to clear up the things about my other tutorials that were confusing. In addition, I can find brand new ways to confuse you so that I can then correct those confusions in my next tutorial. (wink)

Actually, let me take this moment to ask you folks who have used my sweater guides – is there anything specific you want me to address? And particular secrets you want me to share? I would love to hear what you would like to know more about.

The snowplow did a number on the rockwalls.  Time to restack!

The snowplow did a number on the rockwalls. Time to restack!

Having decided to take April off, I automatically filled it with ridiculously ambitious projects.  Naturally, it being springtime, the gardens are crying for attention. The rock walls all need to be re-stacked.  Waterfalls need to be created. The house needs to be purged of the accumulating crap that never ceases to infiltrate.

One of the casualties of this brutal winter was our beloved old barn.  It has been slow motion imploding for years.  I had so much faith in the old girl.  I thought for sure that the ravages of time were no match for her strong character.  But I guess a meter of snow proved to be too much, and she caved in. It was sad to see her go.

Wasn't our old barn cute?  In the rumpled troll-cyclops kind of way? I will miss her!

Wasn’t our old barn cute? In the rumpled troll-cyclops kind of way? I will miss her!

This of course leaves me with a tremendously exciting and distracting project – creating a new barn studio! I think we’ve talked about this before.  Left untethered, my barn plans quickly spiral wildly towards multimillion dollar eco pleasure palaces. I wish I could just design gorgeous, impractical buildings that other people paid for.  I would be so good at it. I would love to give old man Hundertwasser a run for his money.  Take that, Gaudi! But alas, I can only build what the sweaters will afford me, so, I have to be a little more humble in my ambitions.

I have taken to carrying around a notebook of graph paper that has been scribbled upon to all hell.  I can barely look at the road when I drive, because I am distracted by checking out the lovely old houses with their gables, dormers, and wrap around porches.  I just collect fantasy architectural elements and try to figure out how to incorporate them in my out-of-control new barn.  Thank god I have never delved into the world of Pintrest, because I could just see myself going on a cute-cottage bender and never coming up for air.

Wouldn't it be awesome if the new barn looked like this??

Wouldn’t it be awesome if the new barn looked like this??

Or a church?!?! I always wanted to build a church!

Or a church?!?! I always wanted to build a church!

Or howsabout this?

Or howsabout this?

I have to put on the breaks a remind myself to contemplate the absurdity of it all.  I am setting myself up to have to WORK MY ASS OFF just to build a studio in which I will be condemned to WORK MY ASS OFF to pay for it.  Its like I am building my own prison.

I don't even have a building yet, but when I do...this is gonna be the path to it!

I don’t even have a building yet, but when I do…this is gonna be the path to it!

Then I think, “Maybe instead of getting so caught up in this material game, I should just use that energy to do yoga instead.”   As I marinate in that thought, I quickly arrive at ”Yeah, Yoga. Yeah! My new barn should have a light drenched room with 12 foot ceilings that I can practice yoga in.  With stained glass windows! And Geothermal radiant heat!”   Ugggg.  I am so doomed.

So here I am, chomping at the bit to build some preposterous structure that I totally can’t justify. I’m still holding back on actually jumping in, but I am a woman obsessed.  In order to scratch the itch just a tiny bit, I convinced Mason that what we really needed to do was go to the Door Jamb to look at windows.  The Door Jamb is the jam!

omg....white boxers are the cutest.  This isnt the actual dog from the Door Jamb, but you get the idea. Now just imagine him sitting on a rolling chair, presiding over a big desk, and that is what the Door Jamb dog looks like.

omg….white boxers are the cutest. This isnt the actual dog from the Door Jamb, but you get the idea. Now just imagine him sitting on a rolling chair, presiding over a big desk, and that is what the Door Jamb dog looks like.

It’s this great place that sells windows and doors that got rejected from other construction projects.  You can find anything there. I can’t ever talk about it without pausing to mention how everyone who works there is SO NICE and they have the cutest, most indignant-looking, deaf, white Boxer dog in the world.

On the way to the Door Jamb we stopped to meet Johanna for brunch. For some reason during our conversation, we all started singing a Billy Joel song.  As they faded out, I took it away and dazzled them with my sparkling knowledge of every lyric.  They looked at me like, “Why the hell do you know all the words?”


Dude.  Billy Joel.  I am from Long Island. It makes no difference if you like Billy Joel or not, it is just the rule that you have to know all of his songs. Billy Joel is the fabric that permeates our existence.  He is in our ground water. Every single time I go to the thrift stores to buy sweaters, guaranteed that Billy Joel is playing on the loudspeaker.  Every. Single. Time.  If your crappy car radio only gets one station, there is no question that the song which comes through will be Billy Joel.  I want to despise him, but I can’t, because he is in my mitochondria.  You don’t even think about him, he is just there.

billyI told Mason and Johanna this, and I could tell they didn’t have the same relationship to Billy Joel. They seemed, dare I say, dismissive. Like he was just some second rate Phil Collins or something.  P-shaw!  Whatever. Actually, that reminds me of when I lived in California there was a local band called “ Who Even Likes Billy Joel?”…. I’m telling you, it isn’t about LIKING him, it’s just that he is omnipresent. Resistance is futile.

Ok, so, we left brunch and continued onto the Door Jam, “just to look” at what sorts of windows might be available. When you hear me say that I am “just going to look” at something, that is a clue that I am lying.  I was ready to throw down and get me some ridiculous windows.

Yeah! Cuz, really, who needs stupid walls!

Yeah! Cuz, really, who needs stupid walls!

The Door Jam is stuffed to the brim with every manner of octagonal vent, French door, skylight, and casement window you can dream of.  It is super hard to focus, because right away I start thinking that, actually, I just want to attach all the windows together in the shape of a house, throw a roof over it, and simply forgo the nuisance of walls.

But then… THEN… There they were. Three doors. They were huge. Three huge doors.  I loved them so much that they seemed to grow before my eyes. Three strong, beautiful 8-foot glass doors towering over the rest.  BAM! Those are my doors!!  I don’t have a plan.  I don’t have a permit. I don’t have a budget or a clue. Other than some scribbles on graph paper, I have no idea what I am gonna build or when it is gonna happen or who will pay for it.  BUT THOSE ARE MY DOORS.  I don’t even have a  barn left to store them in, but, they are my destiny!

Mason is far more practical, and he usually advocates the, “let’s take a moment to think this over” approach. Gah.  I pretended to look at other windows, but I was anxious to get back to my doors.

We asked the nice man to pull the doors out so we could look closer.  Then I couldn’t believe what he said.  Or rather, what he said made total sense in my universe:

IMG_1229“Funny thing: these doors are Billy Joel’s.  He rejected them for some reason.” I looked on the side, and sure enough, there was typed: Billy Joel’s Living Room

What? They are Billy Joel’s doors!  We were JUST singing Billy Joel! I was just talking about how he is EVERYWHERE.  And now his doors are right here in my grasp! How is this not KISMET! Everything makes sense! My dream barn begins with these doors! Obviously, right???

But, argh. Rock star doors are expensive.  Even reject rock star doors are out of my reach. Maybe Mason was right and we should “think about it”… Ugh. Being practical sucks.

I went home, obsessed and uncertain.  My sweater sale was that night, so my attention went elsewhere.  The next day I was looking at my sales numbers and realized to my delight that I had miscalculated.  I had actually made a little more money than I anticipated.  That is a great feeling, like when you find a nicely cleaned $10 bill at the bottom of the clothes dryer. It feels like free money.

Right after we took the packages to the post office, where I received a call from the friendly man at the Door Jam.  He said that he was running out of space, and he would make me a deal if I would get the big doors out of his way. He told me a number.  Not only was it far below the original price, it was the EXACT SAME amount that I had miscalculated my sales by.  What are the chances!  Thus, in my fantasy math world, that means that if I use that found money to get to doors, then essentially, THE DOORS ARE FREE!  And who in their right mind would ever say no to FREE BILLY JOEL DOORS!!

I got them!

Yay! I got my Doors in the truck! Happy dance!! I will show you what they look like later, when they are part of my outbuilding empire.

Yay! I got my Doors in the truck! Happy dance!! I will show you what they look like later, when they are part of my outbuilding empire.

I have nowhere to put them. They are in my neighbor’s barn, and may very well get tenements of spiderwebs grown on them before I can ever afford a structure worthy of their pedigree. But, whatever! I have rock star doors!

A couple of days ago my friend was visiting from the other side of the river.  It is more bourgeois over there.  My friend, in lamenting the influx of fanciness, made the exasperated comment, “Everyone in Hudson is just such a star-fucker.”

I was like, “Yeah….Lame…… Oh hey, did I tell you I got Billy Joel’s doors?”  Ha! I’m not even cool enough to be a star-fucker.  I am a star-door-fucker. Not even.  I am a star-reject-door-fucker. Yeah! High-fiving myself!

No seriously, I wasn’t going to even write about this stupid Billy Joel stuff because so often if I make a funny reference to celebrities, certain people feel compelled to pipe up and assert that celebrity is such bullshit, and they are not impressed. Like it is far too frivolous to care about.  I know. I agree.  Celebrity IS bullshit, and who cares.  But then I am like, come on! I don’t care that you don’t care! I still have a right to find celebrity amusing. It is not important, but it does give you a little tingle sometimes. So, stop being cooler than me, and just play along.

Honestly, I wasn’t going to bother polluting the interweb with the essentially pointless story of my Billy Joel doors. But ….  I’m at a café writing this.  I came here after yoga class at my gym.  At the end of yoga we were in starfish pose, emptying our minds of thought.  Being that I have no gift for yoga (at least not until I build my illustrious three tiered, mosaic yoga pavilion with rockstar doors) my starfish pose is more like an injured hermit crab.  My “empty mind” was jittering with thoughts about what I ought to write about today.  Then, from the stereo in the weight-room next door, I heard Billy Joel come blaring through my tranquility. “You didn’t count on me, when you were counting on your ros-a-ry!”   He infiltrated my yoga practice.BILLY2

Still not convinced the story was worth sharing, I came here to the café and just started typing.  Right when I got to the part about my barn falling down, the gal behind the counter started whistling.  I kid you not – she started whistling BILLY JOEL. She isn’t that great a whistler, so, it might actually be Rachmaninoff or something, but I am gonna go ahead and round it up to Billy Joel. “I don’t care what you say anymore, this is my life…..”

Guess what?  That’s not all!  Any moment now, in your life, out there on the other side of the computer, YOU are gonna hear Billy Joel too! And when I do, please think of me nodding my head knowlingly and saying, “See?”   (Bwahh hahhh hahhhhh).

And if you feel compelled to brag to your other friends that you know a girl who owns Billy Joel’s doors, you just go right ahead.  There is no shame in being a star-reject-door-fucker-fucker.

Ok, this is stupid.  I’m gonna go play in my garden.  Bye!



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