It only took me 7 years.

September 25th, 2014

7 years ago, I was a single girl living in Maryland. I worked middays at HOT 99.5 in DC, I had a long-distance boyfriend who lived in New York, I was moonlighting at Knit Happens (R.I.P.) and I’d just come out of another (much shorter) knitting drought.

It was around this time, that I cast on for a little cabled sweater known as the Central Park Hoodie. Maybe you’ve heard of it? (Oh, you knitted one already? 7 years ago? You and *everyone* else. There are 5038 Central Park Hoodies in Ravelry.)

Central Park Hoodie was there with me later the next year when I got laid off and replaced by Ryan Seacrest. She went with me on a trip around the Greek Islands. She moved with me to NYC. And then, I can’t remember exactly when, she got thrown into a closet and forgotten. It was somewhere around the part where all the pieces had been knit, but they all needed to be blocked. After that, I needed to sew the shoulders together, knit the hood and button band, and sew the rest of the sweater together.

I’m pretty sure this is why she was shoved into a closet. While I consider myself a pretty good knitter, finishing has always scared me a little. I have attempted mattress stitch on a few occasions (baby sweaters) and while the results weren’t horrible, they weren’t great either. CPH has sewn shoulders. It has SET-IN SLEEVES. I think I abandoned her because I was terrified of her.

And yet, occasionally, I would be cleaning out the closet and come across my sweater and think, “Maybe I should finish this.”

Last September, it almost happened. I pulled her out, I sewed up the shoulders, and I knit the hood! It was happening! I even thought I *might* finish it in time to make it to Rhinebeck (my first wool festival since I moved to NY in 2008!)! However, when I didn’t finish in time for the festival, she went back into the closet to make time for Halloween sewing (a post for another day). My knitting renaissance faded as quickly as it had begun.

I have never given knitting proper credit for its therapeutic abilities, but the truth is, I need it in my life. Over the last spring and summer, I have really been feeling the stress of being a stay-at-home mom in a house with three kids. I’d been laid off from my DJ job and somehow, as often happens, I’d sorta lost touch with all the things I used to like to do for myself. So, struggling to find some sort of outlet that would allow me to find ME, I poked around in my bags of unfinished knits.

I pulled out my Central Park Hoodie.

I finished her.

7. Years. Later.

And you know what? It turns out finishing isn’t that scary. It’s actually kind of easy.

Who knew!?

yarn: 11? balls of Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed
needles: size 8 and 6 addi turbos

Hi. We’re the Vibefam!

September 22nd, 2014

My dead cat killed my blog.

No, seriously.

Apparently, I was so overcome by the loss of my cat, I completely abandoned this blog for nearly FIVE YEARS. 4.5 if you want to get technical.

Ok, so that’s not really what happened, but by the looks of this blog, it was totally the cat. I loved Hayley, but LORD what a depressing note to close on, no?!

So much has happened since I up and deserted this place!

First, this:



His name *was* Isabella until we figured out HE wasn’t a SHE (took about 4 days and the help of Google Images). Now his name is Béla Lugosi. No one actually calls him that though. He most commonly goes by Chumpy. He’s a Tonkinese, like Hayley, and is actually her Grand-Nephew!

Then, this happened:



Which led to this:



Which DIRECTLY led to this:



Ms. Zuzu Anne-Marie, named after the aunt without whom she never would have existed. After all, if there was no Anne-Marie, there would never have been an Adam & Lara. <3

What can I say? We move fast. Also, I think we were in denial.

It was our HONEYMOON!

What are the chances?!

(Pretty good, apparently.)

Anyway, fast-forward 2 and a half years:




And here we are. All caught up.

Oh.

Except.

This:


HOLY TWEENAGER.

How have you been?

(I’ve missed you.)

My Sweet Friend.

February 24th, 2010

Back in October, 2000, I was having a hard time. I had just gone through a bad break-up, I was living on my own (without roommates) for the first time, and I was lonely.

It was around that time that I adopted a kitten. I had always wanted one, but either my parents wouldn’t let me have one (as a kid) or my roommates were allergic. I did a little research and found a family that had 4-month old Tonkinese kittens for adoption. 6 little girls and 1 boy, born to a beautiful dark-brown cat named Phoebe. I couldn’t for the life of me tell them apart. One minute I’d make a friend and the next minute I’d lose her in a sea of cuteness. That is, until one little girl jumped on my back. Amused, I lifted her off my back and placed her back down on the ground. Within minutes, she was back on top of me. I remember taking this as a sign that she was choosing me. No matter how many times I put her down, she kept jumping back up. Then she would bite my hoodie zipper.

That night, I told my mom about the kittens. She said, “Don’t pick the jumpy, bite-y one!!! That one is a trouble-maker. Pick a nice, quiet one.”

I didn’t listen. A day later, I went home with the jumpy, bite-y kitten – *my* kitten, named Hayley.


As it turns out, she just liked jumping on people. She also liked to be in high places. Anyone who has ever stood in front of an open closest or bent over to do *anything* around her can attest to that one.

She was the tiniest, softest little cat I ever met. She never weighed in at more than 7lbs. Her size and her insane amounts of energy always tricked people into thinking she was a kitten, even at the “senior” age of 9.

She liked the color blue and she was relentless in her attempts to get a lick of your pear or peach.


She always liked to be warm and sought out the warmest spot in the house. Most of the time, this was under the covers between your knees, but often it was the cable box, or the laptop or, most recently, the kitchen table.

She rarely liked to sit *next* to you. *ON* you was her preferred spot. Close to your head. So she could lick it.


She had a bit of an oral fixation – she’s left cat-tooth marks in mini blinds, shower curtains, mouse cords, knitting needles, magazines, cell-phone chargers, and especially shopping bag handles.


When she wanted a cuddle, she would crouch by my feet and jump up straight into my arms.

She was a terror to other animals and tended to attack in a “fury of hell” (a blur of waving paws and claws). I even once saw her try to beat up a GINORMOUS German Shepherd. She was fearless. And Funny. Sometimes Bitchy, but mostly sweet and ridiculously affectionate. I jokingly called her “My Furry Tumor” because she followed me *everywhere* and was constantly physically attached to me.

She loved boxes and bags and couldn’t stand to be left out. If there was a closed door she would cry and cry and cry to be let in. Often, she’d shove her little paw under the door and wrap it around to rattle it. She. Wanted. In.


She hated being alone or left behind. My neighbor Ian teased that he always knew when we weren’t home because the hallway of our floor would fill with her sometimes irritated/sometimes sad complaints. She also hated being kept in. Every time the front door was opened was her big chance for escape! Coming home meant crouching down to catch the cat (or chasing her down the hall)

She talked a lot and had opinions on everything. I pretended I didn’t *really* think she understood what I said, but I always secretly believed that we did understand each other, at least a little bit.

She was Hayley, Haylstorm, Kitty-boo, Pussy Pants, Hayley-Schmaley, Haylers, Poopers, Winky, Wheezy, Hayley-Bop, Honey-cat and Hayley-Tonkers.

She was my friend.


She saw me through breakups with boyfriends and breakups with bad friends. Job promotions and job losses. Together, she and I lived in 7 different apartments in two different states. I was a single, lonely girl when we met and I always felt a little selfish for adopting her. She was always a comfort to me, but I know she was often lonely. I wasn’t around enough for a cat like Hayley. I was so happy when we moved to the Bronx because finally she had a family to love. Short of one of her sisters being with us, I felt she finally had the type of full-house home she always needed – Adam and I to give her cuddles and love, and two little boys to keep her entertained and on her toes. As feisty as she was, she showed amazing restraint and patience with those kids, sometimes scolding, but never harming them. Considering her crazy antics, I was always very impressed with how kind she was to those boys.


For the last year and half, Hayley has been pretty sick. Her occasional cat-puke incidents grew to be a daily (or several-times-a-daily) occurrence. Three vets, countless tests and piles of drugs later, no one could say any more than, “She has a tough case of IBD.” One that never really responded to any treatment. One that kept her sad and queasy most of the time.

It wasn’t until the night she passed away – February 22, 2010 – that we finally found out what was wrong with her. Our poor Hayley had been suffering from Intestinal Lymphosarcoma, CANCER, and no one had found it. The vet who diagnosed it did it in 20 minutes, over the phone while he was supposed to be celebrating his 41st birthday. When I took her in to see him that night (at 10pm!!), he confirmed it, letting me feel the lumps in her abdomen. He gave her fluids, and I took her home. Her temp was 10 degrees below normal and her body was already shutting down. I wrapped her up in blankets on my bed, curled my body around her and sat with her for almost four hours until she died at 2:40am.

I loved that little cat. She was my friend, and a better friend to me than I ever truly was to her.

RIP, my little baby cat. You will be greatly and forever missed.


2009.

January 1st, 2010

Life sorta has a way of floating by without being noticed.

At first, looking back on the year, I didn’t think much had happened. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that a *lot* had happened in 2009.

  • Thanks in part to the kindness of family/friends, I was given an opportunity to end my 9-month bout of unemployment. I guess you could say I got the job on my own, but if it were not for the initial door-opening, there would have been no job to get.
  • My boyfriend of 3 years finally asked me to move in with him. After 2.5 years of long distance and half a year of dancing around the issue once I was back in NY, we made it official and got an apartment together. Correction… We made made it official and built a home together. Because it’s not just an apartment, it’s a home.
  • I retaught myself a lot of the web skills I’d lost over the last 7 or so years. IMHO, I now have some mad skillz.
  • The coolest new station in the number 1 radio market in the country called me and offered me a job! I don’t think I give this one enough appreciation. This one deserves a weekly “HOLY SHIT!”. I can’t believe I got so lucky!
  • Somehow, over the last 6 months, I turned into a real, bone-fide stepmother! I pack lunches, I read bedtime stories, I give baths and I bake pies for 1st-grade holiday parties. FROM SCRATCH. I don’t know how it happened, but I am a mom!
  • I worked nearly every day of every weekend through most of the spring, summer and fall and paid down my $7,000 credit card debt to $0. Of course, then my clutch died (among other things) and $3000 was promptly charged back on. But hey, I still did it.
  • I made took some really solid steps forward towards advancing my voice-over career. I didn’t get as far as I’d hoped (mostly due to laziness and exhaustion), but hey, that’s what resolutions are for, right?
  • I got a little of my knitting mojo back and started up a Riverdale Knitting Group! I should say I resurrected it, because Sylvia and I originally brought it to life shortly after I moved here, but it had laid dormant for nearly half a year! I’m so grateful for our Monday evenings! I look forward to them every week!
  • I was able to spend a lot of time this year with Adam’s family. I’ve always really liked them, but now I {{heart}} them to pieces. I can’t tell you how much this Thanksgiving meant to us, bringing both of our families together for the first time and seeing how well everyone got along. There really are no words…
  • LATE ADDITION!! A brand-new nephew joined us! BABY HAYES! I can’t believe I left him off this list initially! I was just reading Carrie’s blog and saw his smiley face and ran back here to add this! He’s the kinda of baby that makes women want babies! I’m so glad I have the privilege of knowing him…

Now, had I written this post when I meant to write it, that’s where this list would have ended. Except, at approximately 11:12pm on New Year’s Eve, when I was waiting on the couch for Adam to bring us some snacks from the kitchen, he showed up with this*:

It was just a quiet night at home. The boys were asleep and Adam and I were in our sweats, watching Lost on DVD, waiting for midnight. He had pulled a few Jim Halpert fake-outs in the past (bending down on one knee, looking like he was going to ask me something important and then just saying something like, “Will you… wait for me to tie my shoe?” They always make me laugh because hey, who doesn’t like an Office reference, right?), and due to some not-so-subtle moves on his part, I knew he’d been up to some stuff – but there we were, 11:08pm. We’d just finished watching one episode and it was time for a snack break.

“Honey,” he said, “You wait here, and I’ll go get the snacks.”

So I waited.

When he came back, he didn’t have any snacks. He started to do a fake-out, getting down on one knee and saying, “Oh, and just one more thing…” Except it wasn’t a fake-out. Instead of hummus and cheese, in his hand he held a little black box with a sparkly little ring.

“I love you very much. Will you marry me?”

In case you’re wondering, I said yes :)

Not a bad way to ring in a new decade.

Happy New Year, my loves. May many more blessings find us all in 2010.

* Due to the scrappy nature of our appearance on the night in question, Adam refuses to let me post our actual post-engagement pictures. Therefore, I give you this picture, which was taken the day before at an Italian restaurant with my momma. They went together to pick out my ring and in the process formed a sweet little friendship…

** For the girlie-girls in us all, I give you a close-up of the sparkly:


The diamond was from my Grandmother’s engagement ring, generously given to us by my momma. The setting was picked out by my fiancé(!!), who I think has impeccable taste :)