Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

It is Christmas Eve at 8:22 am and I have about 8 loads of laundry to do. My floor hasn't been vacuumed, with my new Bissell bagless vacuum, in days, and the bathrooms....there are no words. I wouldn't care so much if we weren't having Mike's sister and her husband for dinner. And well, that means I need to feed them. And church starts at 4:00, which means I only have until about 3:15 to get all of this done. My Christmas cards are only 1/2 addressed and we just finalized the letter last night. We have no stamps and Mike needs to go to Kinkos to make copies.

Perhaps I should concentrate on what I have accomplished so far. My shopping is done and, as of 7:00 last night the gifts are actually wrapped. We've planned a scavenger hunt for the boys which will result in finding the Wii under the couch. I worked close to 20 hours at Cultured Purls this week, and I was completely successful at doing absolutely no baking at all.

My job is great. The people I work with are so nice and I get to help people pick out yarn. This week I got to help a lot of husbands select gifts for their wives. I'm having a great time there. I'm actually accomplishing some of my knitting backlog and I have finished the boys' Harry Potter bookscarves, Jeremy's hat, and I've made significant strides in Meghan's cake.

Anna canceled the rest of her order (which I had suggested to her a few times, but I guess it needed to be her idea) because the stuff is not selling as fast as she had hoped and the thought of making 4 more pairs of booties right now was just about to do me in. I still owe my mom a sock and now I'm starting to compile new projects for ME. Cultured Purls sells this really fun hand dyed sock yarn, so I had to get some of that! I also plan to make some convertible mittens, a really great scarf (I'm not a scarf maker, but this one is very pretty and is a lot more interesting that 10000 rows of garter stitch), these cute woolly snowmen, and oh yeah.....I still have to replenish my stock at Happy Delusions and Venue.

We're trying to talk the boys into opening all our gifts tonight. We're a Christmas Morning family, but tomorrow we have to leave early to make the 2-5 hour trek up to my parents' house. I've explained to the boys that I don't want to rush them and I want them to be able to enjoy their gifts. They will still have their stockings in the morning, but opening the rest of the gifts on Christmas Eve makes more sense this year. According to Ryan, I am ruining Christmas! Why would I do that? We HAVE to open presents on Christmas morning or it will all be RUINED. Fine. I'll get up at 5:00 am and then MY Christmas will be ruined. I'm kidding. If it means that much to him, that's what we will do. But I will be the first to say I TOLD YOU SO when he complains that there is no time to play with his new toys because we're in such a hurry.

Merry Christmas to my 6 faithful readers!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Griswolds strike again

This is a copy of the Renton Reporter, our little local paper. And while it certainly does not have a readership of The Seattle Times, it does have a distribution of several thousand households.

See that little article I circled? In the Christmas Calendar, under Christmas Lights? That would be a blurb about Clark and Ellen and their garish disjointed seizure-inducing light display. They contacted the Renton Reporter and actually advertised their hideous display, inviting people from all over Renton.

Seriously? The only reason this should be in the paper is if it were in a "how not to decorate for the holidays" section. If you're writing an article on "don't let this happen to you" then this is the house for you.

And no one else on our street has really decorated. A few of us have a string of lights up, but that's about it. My home is inviting and tasteful, but certainly not worth a special trip. I can only imagine what people think when they've piled into the car to see the "light display featuring more than 5000 lights, figures, and a hi-tech light and sound show synchronized with 40 holiday songs", and then they arrive on our street.

I also need to point out that they posted different days than what was on the little flyer they sent around the neighborhood. According to the paper, they are holding the show Fridays through Sundays. Which, again, is pointless because in reality they are running it 7 days a week.

Why does all of this bother me so much that I feel the need to share it with all of you, my 4 faithful readers? I don't know. Maybe because Clark and Ellen/Todd and Margo are such an anomaly to the rest of the neighborhood. Maybe it's because I'm a little sensitive about my own Christmas decorations. Or maybe it's because I'm trying to avoid my mile-long to do list of household and holiday chores and this is a good diversion!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


This is a paper Ryan brought home from school yesterday. His class has been learning about germs and they had to write a summary. I have copied it verbatim, spelling errors and all:

Ryan Keene #13 11-29-07

Bacteria and Viruses are alike and different. Read this paper to find out more information.
First, bacteria are very interesting. Did you know that bactiria are responsible for causing cavities in your teeth?
Medicine can cure an infection caused by a bactiria. Even though bactiria are bigger than a virus. They are fasinating.
Second, viruses are different than bacteria. Medicine will not cure your sickness if it's caused by a virus. Unlike bacteria, they can come in all kinds of weird shapes. If you do get a virus don't worry because you'll never get the same virus twice.
Third, bacteria and viruses are alike in some ways. They can both make you sick. Germs are everywhere. All of them are microscopic which means you can not see them with the naked eye. In conclusion you have learnd all about bactira and viruses. Read books or go online to learn more.
Watch out because germs are everywhere!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Something really bad must be coming....

....because this has been such an unbelievably good day.

The Wii: Our search for the Wii has ended victoriously. Mike has spent countless hours this week driving from store to store, checking multiple internet sites, and just narrowly missing the very last Wii each time. The rumors about Best Buy, Target, and Fred Meyer are that a lottery will be held on Sunday morning for any and all people insane enough to arrive at the store by 5:00 a.m. (and then there was another rumor that Target was going to be first come, first serve--who really knows?). Last night Mike and Meghan were on the phone strategizing (I completely checked out about a week ago) and at one point the discussion turned to hijacking a UPS truck. No one loves a good hunt more than Meghan and she was even willing to stand in line at GameStop for us on Saturday morning because we have a Christmas brunch to attend.

30 seconds after Mike and Meghan hung up, our friend Mark called, asking if we were still on the prowl for a Wii. Apparently Mark has a colleague who knows someone at Nintendo and is able to buy products from the employee store. And somehow Mark was able to ask this colleague to buy one for us. Which he did. This nameless, faceless person used up a favor buying a Wii for us. Mike and I are practically giddy with excitement! We are now trying to figure out just the perfect way to give it to the boys.

The vacuum: Shirley's vacuum has been permanently returned to it's rightful home. I am the proud owner of a new Bissell-bagless-$129-it's-not-from-Sears vacuum. Although I still covet the Dyson, I am perfectly happy to be vacuuming with a working machine that is not from Sears. And when it dies 2 years from now I will very happily replace it, knowing I only paid $129 and it did not come from Sears.

Happy Delusions: I popped in today to pay my rent and check up on my inventory. Cinderella has sold! I was practically speechless when she told me.

My house: This is where my giddiness ends and I come back to reality. My house is a mess. A disaster, really. In fact, it's down right dirty. I think I have some time to clean it on Sunday.

The knitting: Again, a bit of a sore subject. It's the current reason for the state of my house.

Misc: I am living with a 4 year old, a 7 year old, and a 39 year old man who has been hunting to the depths of the universe looking for a Wii, at Christmas time. They are all making me crazy and I fully understand why my mom never saw the magic of Christmas the way we all did when I was growing up. I still have a ton of shopping to do, I have not even ordered my Christmas cards, let alone written the letter or even made a list of names. I may be sending New Years letters. For years Leah sent Epiphany letters, which I always found funny until now. I may be asking all of you to celebrate January 6th with me. I'm working a lot at Cultured Purls this next week, which is wonderful, except for the fact that I still have to purchase many of my gifts and actually wrap them. The thought of baking anything makes me laugh. And twitch. Oh yeah, and we're hosting Mike's sister and her husband for Christmas Eve. I wonder how they feel about pizza for dinner? Eric has already requested it, so I know at least he will be happy.

And currently Emily-the-neighbor-girl and her brother Daniel are here for the evening. Ryan and Eric have been acting like their long lost relative from Timbuktu is about to arrive, bearing gifts (or a Wii), rather than the people they see every single solitary day of their lives.

There is a Mike-arita in the fridge calling my name.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Weekend Update

So much to tell, and so little time! Let's begin:

The new job: It's fabulous. I love them and they love me. It sounds facetious, I know, but it's true. Never has my ego been stroked so much. I've worked at Cultured Purls for two days and they're already talking about teaching me to close up the store. They look at me in amazement, like they can't believe what a gem they've found, and I stand in complete amazement that I've found the perfect job. It's a match made in heaven. I know, I know--I've only worked there two days. I can't fully explain it, but this was meant to be. Anyone reading this who knows me at all, knows that I'm a glass-half-empty-kind-of-gal. NOTHING in my life is ever meant to be....

Venue, Zizia, and Happy Delusions: I am freaking out. I am slowly and steadily moving into a nervous breakdown (see, the happiness can't even last a paragraph). I actually did sell something at Happy Delusions and in January a more prominent spot is opening up for me, so that's something. At Venue I've already sold 7 hats for the month of December. That is about my quota for the average month. Unable to bask in my success, I immediately start to think HOW AM I GOING TO REPLACE ALL OF THOSE HATS WITH ALL I HAVE TO DO?! It's as if a red flashing buzzer is going off and the only way to turn it off is to replenish my stock. And Anna keeps calling me with special orders. Those damn viking hats. I never should have introduced them. They are a total and complete success at both stores and are in constant demand. One is fun to make. 6 of them are a royal pain.

Special orders: part of the reason for the freaking out. Christmas is 15 days away. I have the power to make or break someone's Christmas by the knitting of a baby hat. I also want to make Harry Potter book scarves for the boys for Christmas. I still have 4 special orders to complete by Christmas. Eek!

The search for the Wii: ok ok, I haven't actually posted about this yet, but you should know it partially responsible for the freaking out. Mike and I decided we would like to give the boys a Wii for Christmas. What Mike and I should have done is purchased it last July. Because now everyone, and I do mean everyone, is giving a Wii for Christmas. Mike routinely stops in at Fred Meyer, Best Buy, Gamestop, Fryes, Target...anyplace selling electronics has had a visit from Mike and has had the pleasure of telling him that he just missed the last one in stock by mere minutes. I was at Costco today and saw several people clutching them to their chests as if they were sneaking their newborn baby out of war torn Baghdad. It goes without saying that I was not one of the lucky few. We do have a plan B and, in my mind I'm already there. But Mike is determined to get one of these things before Christmas Eve. Apparently Target will have a bunch of them early on the morning of the 16th. Mike says he is planning to go there at 6:00 a.m. that morning to wait in line. This is a man who wouldn't get out of bed that early if it were on fire, so this should be good.

My vacuum: still broken. About once a week I borrow Shirley's extra vacuum for a couple of days. It's a 20 year old Hoover which works better than my 4 year old piece of crap Kenmore did when it was brand new. Since I still have a boatload of Christmas presents to buy, I haven't had the extra $100 ($200? $300? $400?) to spend on a new vacuum. But I'm getting tired of carrying Shirley's vacuum around the neighborhood, so I believe that is what I will be spending my first paycheck on.

Clark and Ellen/Todd and Margo: their holiday show is in full production. The other day they sent notices around the neighborhood, explaining this is their gift to all of us and to expect a little more traffic. On their notice they explained that the light show will be held between 7 and 9, Thursdays through Sundays, from December 1 to December 23rd. Which is interesting because the light show goes 7 days a week, from about 5:30 until 11. Honestly, I don't care what their "hours" are, but they have this thing going all night, every night, so I don't know why they're telling all of us their schedule. Also, what's with the 24th and 25th? Are they saying there will be no light show on Christmas Eve and Christmas night? The entire reason for the existence of the light show? Adam and Meghan came over last night for a viewing. Apparently my description did not do the show justice. Frankly, they were horrified. And I could tell the completely random blinking pattern was really getting to Adam.

Mike put our lights up today. Ryan is really disappointed. He wants to know why we can't have giant blow up monstrosities. I think he's too young for the term "no way in hell..."

I don't work again until Saturday. I wonder how many hats I can get done between now and then?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A New Adventure

So, I start working at Cultured Purls on Saturday! I get a discount on yarn, they aren't open late into the evening, and honestly, how bad can the customers be? I use to do customer service for an insurance company. Compared to the array of insults and complaints I received in that line of work, what's the worst that can happen? It's YARN.

I think I'm up for the challenge.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

This was not on my list of things to do today

Today Eric and I went to the yarn shop in Issaquah, Cultured Purls. I don't frequent it as much as some of my other yarn haunts, but it's a nice shop and lately I've discovered they do have many of the things I need. So Eric and I went to Cultured Purls to pick up more cupcake and viking materials. Posted on the door was a help wanted sign for part-time help.

I don't know what prompted me to ask about it, but I did. I suddenly found myself seated with Shannon the owner, and with Eric, interviewing for a job. At one point I had to apologize to her and explain that I would never dream of bringing a 4 year old to a job interview, let alone wear my "Whine? No. Wine? Yes." shirt. Had I planned this at all, I would have made a few changes. It didn't seems to phase her in the least as she asked me about my knitting experience. She told me to go home, talk it over with my husband, and show up at 8:45 tomorrow morning with samples of my work. She needs someone to start right away. I explained that I can only work evenings and weekends because, clearly, I have other responsibilities during the weekday. She'll see me tomorrow.

I haven't worked in 8 years. And while I've been thinking for a while now that I should really bring some money in, it's been too stressful thinking about finding a place to work that would give me the hours I need AND that I would not hate.

I actually may go to work in a yarn shop. Who would've thunk it!

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I am, after all, the Queen

I realize I've spent very little time discussing knitting lately. As this blog is titled The Knitting Queen, I should probably touch on actual knitting from time to time.

The fact that very little knitting has been posted as of late is NOT an indication of the amount of knitting I have been doing. Quite the contrary. The other day Mike dropped Eric off at preschool and Teacher Meghan, who had been expecting me, asked Eric where I was. Eric told her "Mommy's knitting. She always knits." Lately, that is a very true statement.

Mike has set up Excel spreadsheets of each store and project to help me keep track of my vast knitting responsibilities. He and I have lengthy discussions about my knitting projects. Yes, that's right. I spend so much time knitting that Mike has now assumed the role of my lovely assistant. He helps me with my inventory and has even been known to purchase yarn for me. If Mike didn't have 4 thumbs I would probably teach him to knit.

And just how much knitting am I doing? Anna (the owner of Zizia) has ordered 31 baby hats from me and 8 pairs of booties. I drop in each Friday with a bit more of her order and pick up a check from her. I still owe her 4 pairs of booties and 5 hats. Initially Anna sold a lot of hats, and now has sold none. I keep bringing them to her and I've questioned her order a few times. Is she sure she wants it all? Yes, she is quite sure. She has every confidence it will sell. And since she pays me up front, I'm not complaining too much. However, it is a little perplexing that the hats are not selling. Her store is very nice, in a great location, and is surrounded by other fun gift shops. So while I agree that they will sell, I'm confused about why that have not sold yet.

Venue: Venue Venue Venue. I do still love Venue, although sales there have been so-so. I am still selling there and the hats are still popular, but I guess I expected to see a big jump this time of year. It's cold, it's the holidays....for 6 months now I've been waiting for the Christmas season to see the hats really take off. And my sales are about the same as they are every month. I sell 7 or 8 hats a month and it's pretty consistent, but still. The nice thing about Venue is, I can control my inventory and make whatever I feel like. Making 9 Viking hats for Anna is starting to get a bit tedious.

And Happy Delusions? Not so happy. I have not sold a thing. Not. One. Thing. Zero. Nada. Zip. I'm confused as is Mary, the owner. I'm making no new inventory for Happy Delusions since there is nothing to replace. But if I look at the bright side, that gives me much more time for my special orders: 3 cupcakes hats for Mike's co-worker, 2 marley hats for Cori, socks for mom, hat for Jeremy, baby daisy hat for Karis--all before Christmas. And Meghan has gently nudged me about the birthday cake, which she would like before her birthday in March.

So there you go. The Knitting Queen is still knitting. Now I don't have to change the name of my blog.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Toy Story for you

Buzz and Woody
Eric was about 2 and Ryan
about 4 when this picture was
taken. Eric is wearing Ryan's
old Buzz costume. He wore
it so much that it literally fell
apart and we had to throw it away.

Both of my boys absolutely completely loved Toy Story. Ryan started watching it when he was about 3 years old and he idolized Buzz Lightyear in much the same way my husband idolizes Ken Griffey Jr. Ryan was Buzz Lightyear. He could quote lines from the movie, he dressed in costume daily, he played with his Toy Story toys as if he were Andy himself.

Eric caught on a little quicker. I have pictures of him at 18 months old wearing the Buzz costume. And Eric adored Woody. Adored him. Ryan had a Woody doll that Eric claimed as his very own. It was to the point that we bought 18 month old Eric his own doll, but the one we bought was "sturdier" for a baby. Eric wanted nothing to do with that Woody impostor and we ended up buying another Woody, just like Ryan's, which Eric dragged around with him for what seemed like forever. In about 3 weeks time Eric's Woody looked as beat up and worn as Ryan's 2 year old version.

Eric had just turned
3 when he received
his Buzz Lightyear

Both boys stayed in this Toy Story phase for a long time. Buzz is every little boy's first super hero and there is something about that story, the characters, the animation....

I have to admit I was really sad when it finally became clear that the boys had outgrown Toy Story. Buzz Lightyear is so sweet and innocent when you compare him to Spiderman, Venom, and Optimus Prime.

Honestly, I don't think those toys have been touched in any way in close to a year.

There are no words....
I think this is one of my
all-time favorite pictures
of the boys. Words can't
describe how adorable 3
year old Eric was, with
his Woody doll dangling
from his hands. That
doll was permanently
adhered to Eric's hand
for a good 6 months.

About 4 days ago I had a thought. I did not say it out loud to anyone. In my head, just between me and me, I had a thought that it might be time to go through the rather large Toy Story bin and decide what to save and what to toss. I fully intend to save a Buzz and Woody for each boy, but we have so much Toy Story paraphernalia, it just seems silly to save it all. So I had this private thought, to myself.

That very day, I kid you not, Eric announced to me "hey--it's been a long time since we've played with our Toy Story toys! Can you bring them downstairs for me?"

That child, that almost-5-year-old-I-heart-Venom-kid has been watching Toy Story and playing Toy Story for 4 days now.

Clearly there is a lesson to be learned here. And that lesson is this: I have magical powers and I must learn to use them to my advantage. What thoughts can I have that will coerce my husband into sweeping the kitchen floor? How can I subliminally convince Ryan do his homework? Maybe if I think really really hard, I can cause "Todd and Margo's" blow-up atrocities to explode.

And how does any of this relate to knitting? It's as if Eric has been given a brand new box of toys. The child has never been so delighted. The movie is being seen through almost-5-year-old-eyes and now he can understand the deeper meaning in the complex relationship between Buzz and Woody. I suddenly have all the time in the world to knit. Knitting in the middle of the day has never been so easy.

Anna isn't going to know what hit her when I show up tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tis the season, I guess....

I love National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I'm not necessarily proud of this, but it's true. It's as much a part of my Christmas movie tradition as It's a Wonderful Life and The Bishop's Wife (I have many layers).

Do you remember Clark and Ellen Griswold's snooty neighbors, Todd and Margo? They were completely unfriendly and had that perfect house and hated Clark Griswold. "Todd and Margo" live across the street from me. My Todd and Margo have no kids and spend all of their time working on or around their house. They have remodeled everything there is to remodel, there is not a blade of grass out of place, they wash their cars more than I wash my kids. This is all they do. From dawn to dusk, 365 days a year, they are doing something to their house, their cars, or their yard. It has taken Mike a year and a half to remodel our barn, and it's not done yet. "Todd" built one from the ground up in a weekend. They are the uber homeowners and it's simply exhausting to watch them. And it's impossible not to watch them because they are always outside, from sun up to sun down, rain or shine, in sleet and snow, perfecting their already perfect domain.

I think they hate us. No, really, I think they do. And it's not just because our lawn is always in need of a good mowing. They are really unfriendly to us (and to be fair, everyone else in the neighborhood). For most of the year, while the rest of our little cul-de-sac is hanging out in the street and chatting about the latest yard projects during which Ryan, Eric, Emily, and Daniel are racing around and around the loop, "Todd and Margo" are pretending we are not there and sending silent vibes for us to GO AWAY.

And then, for reasons we still do not understand, around mid October "Todd and Margo" transform into Clark and Ellen Griswold.

At Halloween they become That House. While we have a few pumpkins on the front porch and a cute little harvest sign hanging by the front door, "Clark and Ellen" have transformed their perfect little domicile into a haunted house. Skeletons, ghosts, an 8 foot tall blow up grim reaper, a freshly dug "grave", the talking candy bowl with the creepy hands.....they seem to love it when Ryan and Eric come to the door in costume and they greet us as old friends. After Halloween the decorations come down and they go back to pretending they've never seen us before in their lives. And then Christmas hits.

This year Clark began decorating for Christmas about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. Because he needed the time. We're somewhat familiar with some of their decorations from years past, but this year Clark and Ellen did some serious shopping.

Frankly, we're confused. Shirley and I talk almost every day on the phone and the conversation usually starts with "are you watching this?! What is he doing now?!"

They have pulled out all the stops. These pictures do not do it justice, but I'll see if I can paint a picture for you. Keep in mind, all of this was in place before Thanksgiving and was in full swing on Thanksgiving evening. They have:

A giant blow up snowman, giant blow up santa which pops in and out of a giant blow up chimney, a giant blow up santa riding a Harley, 3 technicolor Christmas trees that play Christmas carols, light up moving reindeer, giant light up candy canes, medium sized light up candy canes, mini light up candy canes, a neon Happy Holidays sign, a red and green Snoopy windsock, and flickering flashing lights in all the colors of the rainbow strung all over the house, shed, and landscaping, all timed to flash at different and random times. And the thing is, they're not done. They keep pulling more and more out--I can see a giant light up snowflake propped up on their deck, just waiting to be hung.

These pictures are not very good but trust me when I say, this is the tackiest, gaudiest thing you have ever seen. Nothing matches, there is no rhyme or reason to it--it is so completely unlike "Todd". At one point I remarked to Shirley "maybe he's doing this because he hates me." She decided that he put way way way too much work in to it for it to be a big screw you to our side of the street. And while I do agree with that logic, I simply have a hard time believing that Mr. and Mrs. Perfect-in-every-way could lose all control and sensibility like this. I can't even imagine what their electric bill is going to be in January.

Today, the 27th day of NOVEMBER, I am going to put my fall decorations away and perhaps get my snowman collection out. We've decided to wait a week or so on the tree, being that it's NOVEMBER and all. I have a sweet snowman I hang next to my front door each year. I'm going to teach it to blow raspberries at the Griswolds.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Weekend Update

Mike and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for the 2nd time in 17 years of marriage. The first time was about 6 years ago, and it was such a disaster the entire family silently agreed to kick us out of the rotation.

Somehow it ended up back at our house this year. Mike and I knew this was our chance to redeem ourselves. I made a delicious turkey breast (and I do have to say, it was one of the best roasted turkeys I have ever had. Ryan not only ate the turkey, he even asked for more. That is your Thanksgiving miracle right there!) as well as a glazed ham, and then the normal Thanksgiving food. I even made Leah's stuffing, which I overcooked a bit, but hey, at least I branched out.

My Favorite Pan
This is what my favorite
pan looked like.
Beautiful and

So things were going along just great. The cousins were all playing together (except for 15 1/2 year old Daniel, who spent much of the day texting his girlfriend), Mike and Jeremy were watching football, my mom and Randy were helping me cook...your typical Thanksgiving day. Then it came time to take the turkey out of the oven and make the gravy.

Since I was just making a turkey breast, I was able to use my 9x13 Pampered Chef cranberry glazed stoneware baker. It is my favorite pan. I hosted a Pampered Chef party a couple of years ago and was able to get it with my hostess points. I love this pan and use it all the time. And, with my permission, this is what Randy and my mom placed on top of the stove to make the gravy.

Not so favorite pan
And this is what
it looks like now.

About 5 minutes into the gravy-making, the pan exploded and broke into 3 large pieces, with gravy splattering everywhere. I was nearly in tears because I lost my favorite pan, and Randy was nearly in tears because we lost the turkey gravy.

But after we cleaned that up, things went back to normal and I really have nothing more to report (except for all the dishtowels I ruined by accidentally sanitizing them with my tablecloth and now they are all this disgusting grayish-pink color. The are still in the dryer. I can't bear to take them out and fold them yet). We had a really fun family time.

The Cousins
Ryan, Eric, Jack,
Ellie, and Ben
The rest of my weekend has been all about the knitting. I won't even go into how many orders I have. But all I do is knit. I delivered stuff to Anna yesterday, I'm going to Venue today...knit knit knit.... I am taking a break this afternoon and going to the movies with my mom, sisters, and niece Ellie. We're going to see Enchanted. Mom and Ellie are going for the fairy tale story line. The rest of us are going for Patrick Dempsy. And then I will come home and knit knit knit....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Knitting, knitting, knitting, knitting....

It's me again--crazy knitting lady. Still knitting, still receiving orders for Christmas from people who apparently just got the memo that I knit. Last night at book group a friend asked how much advanced notice I need for a Christmas gift for her daughter. Leah piped up and said "4 months ago, before people knew she could knit!".

Aside from the 16 hats I still owe Anna (we've decided to put a hold on the rest of the booties, thank goodness, as the ones I have made have not sold yet. And part of me hopes they never do...), I have one more marley hat to make for Cori, a special order cupcake hat that I have not been able to make until now because I couldn't find the yarn, 3 cupcake hats for Erin at Mike's office, Meghan's blasted cake that is just sitting there like a big pink and white lump, and my mom's socks.

Today is Saturday. And it is one of those glorious Saturdays where we have NOTHING TO DO! Mike was going to mow the lawn, but it's been raining. I'm going to do very little housework because I have to clean later this week for Thanksgiving. So I think I'll just sit around and KNIT KNIT KNIT and then maybe later I will READ READ READ. And do you know what is scary? I can read and knit at the same time. Yes, I am that talented. In fact, I can knit, read, and drink a glass of wine all at the same time. But not until the evening.

Did you catch the part where I have to clean for Thanksgiving? Yep, I'm hosting Thanksgiving. It's been six whole years since I tried to serve my entire family undercooked salmonella laced turkey, and they have all agreed to try it again. Truth be told, I'm not a big roasted turkey/mashed potatoes kind of gal, so this is my chance to mix it up a bit. I will be serving turkey breast and ham. Yes, that's right, I'm serving a non-turkey meat item for Thanksgiving. My dad will complain about it the entire day, right up until the time he eats all of it. Much like the way he will complain about the appetizers and the way they fill us all up before dinner (frankly, that's how I make it through the holiday), as he is stuffing his face with everything laid out before him.

I've already warned Shirley that I need to borrow her vacuum on Wednesday night (Mike and I are still in discussion about the vacuum issue. I really want a Dyson. Don't have $500 to spend right now. The replacement part for my Kenmore is $149, but after borrowing Shirley's 20 year old Hoover, it became very clear just how crappy my vacuum is and I don't want to sink even $1.49 into it. And I hate Sears and have vowed to never shop there again. So I may just run to Target and buy an $89 vacuum to get me through the holidays and then in the spring I can buy a Dyson. I don't know. Any thoughts?) and there is no point in wasting time cleaning bathrooms that I will reclean in just a few days.

I believe my biggest challenge of the day will be convincing Eric to put on clean underwear.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My cup runneth over...all over the floor

I did something quite spontaneous last night. I had no time for this, or money, but I sure had fun! Meghan and I went to the Seahawks game. A friend at church works for the Seahawks and called Meghan yesterday asking if she wanted four tickets. I was at Meghan's house when Ronda called and I was joking that Mike and I would take them. There was no way Mike and I could go together and I knew that Ronda really wanted to give the tickets to a pastor's family (Meghan's husband is our youth pastor). Bummer for me--none of the pastors were able to go. So the tickets ended up with Meghan. Both Mike and Adam sent us off to the game with their blessings, and we took my sister Caroline and her husband Jeremy with us.

This was the Monday Night Football game of the week, so the crowd was insane. And I always forget how different the NFL crowd is from a MLB crowd until I get there. NFL crowd--all men. This is evident from the way they "wait in line" getting off the freeway (we were cut off countless times. It's as if our car was invisible), to the way they "wait in line" to get in. And it is very clear that Qwest Field was designed by men. The few signs that are posted inside the stadium are completely useless. Signs pointing to elevators that were non-existent (we decided it must be like Platform 9 3/4, and clearly we didn't know the magic words) and the complete lack of directional signs. We had passes to the Club Level and could not find our way to the Club. We had to ask 3 different people. Honestly, I don't know how all the people who were in the club found their way in. And then we couldn't find our way back out to get to our seats. No signs. Zero.

Near the end of the game (in which we were witness to the couple in front of us making out in between bouts of the girl applying chapstick to her boyfriend's lips) we decided to leave to get a jump on vacating our $40 parking spot (Caroline and Jeremy found a free spot, but it was a mile away and they had a pay a homeless person to move). We could not find our way out. We just kept walking in circles looking for an exit sign or a stairwell. We finally found a closed door with a little sign that said "stairs". We went down the stairs onto the street, only to be told, by a man, that we weren't allowed to exit there. Seriously?! We are actually out of the stadium and you're telling us we did it wrong? So he sent us through a door and told us to take a couple of lefts, then we would be near our parking garage.

He sent us into the employee locker room. We were completely lost, wandering around the employee locker room, complaining out loud that we were totally lost, and not one person stopped to question us. We finally found our way out of there and ended up in the bowels of Qwest Field. We walked right past the entrance the players use to run onto the field. Again, we're wandering aimlessly, looking and sounding completely lost, and not one person questioned us. We walked right past a security office, full of security guards who did not notice us at all. No one questioned us when we walked past the player's parking lot, or when we ended up in the loading dock with the ESPN trucks. We knew that wasn't right, and finally found an open doorway to the street.

Again, we were immediately stopped and told we could not exit there. We just looked at her incredulously and said "We just want to leave! How do we get out?!". Her response: "Well you can't go this way". "No, really, we're wandering aimlessly around here and there are NO SIGNS. Can't you tell us how to get out?". "You'll have to go through the loading dock".

So that's what we did. Walked through the loading dock until we found our way to the street. Zero security, zero signs. Meghan and I are contemplating writing a letter to Qwest Field suggesting that they use a portion of the $16.50 we were each charged for a hotdog and beer to purchase a couple of exit signs.

As fun as that adventure was, it did put me further behind in my knitting. Last Friday I brought 8 hats to Anna, who sold 6 of them on Saturday. On Sunday she emailed me, tripling her order. You think I'm kidding. She just placed an order for 20 more hats. And Venue has also emailed me asking for more Candy Cane stocking caps and Viking hats. And I am honestly trying to see how many hats I can knit by Friday. This is gift buying season and Saturdays are big shopping days. Let's is Tuesday....

I have to stop writing about this now before you all start to figure out how truly insane I am.

And I have just 7 months to figure out the absolutely perfect thing to knit for Mike's sister Tiffany's new baby!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A moment of silence...

Out of respect for those who mourn the great loss in our home today, I will postpone writing of my knitting foibles until tomorrow.

Slimey--beloved tree frog, true friend, eater of live crickets, bought the farm this morning. May you be reunited in that great tank in the sky with those who have gone before you, Croaky and Hoppy. R. I. P.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Now I'm Delusional

Lately Mike and I have been joking that, when Eric grows up, he would like to be retired. He wants to skip the productive portion of his life and settle into a life of leisure (I do feel compelled to tell you that despite his best efforts, Eric is quite bright. He draws exceptionally well for a 4 year old, loves to write, and the other day he did Ryan's math homework. Seriously. Eric did a 2nd grade math worksheet and got all but one of the answers correct. I find his brain to be a little frightening. I can only imagine what he would be capable of should he choose to actually put forth some effort into something). He wears pajamas on his non-school days and has been into "reading" the paper. Eric loves the newspaper. We get the Renton Reporter delivered once a week and it always goes right to Eric. He thumbs through it, colors on all the pages--he gets more out of that paper than we ever do. Until now.

Yesterday the Reporter came and Eric left it lying on the couch unattended for a moment. I noticed a front page article on a new shop in downtown Renton called Happy Delusions. When he wasn't looking I tossed the paper in my purse on our way out the door to preschool, to read when I actually had a moment alone. Happy Delusions is a new artisan shop for crafters. In Renton. I live in Renton. I couldn't believe it. Here was the shop I had been looking for. I met Mike for coffee (Mike has "offices" at several Starbucks and Tulley's all over the greater Eastside) and we talked about it and ran the numbers--if I can sell more than 4 hats a month, I would be more profitable than I am at Venue. So I ditched him and raced down to Happy Delusions.

Happy Delusions is located in the old part of downtown Renton. There has been a revitalization of this part of town in recent years and this particular area is full of antique shops, little book stores, the boys' comic book shop, little breweries, etc...Happy Delusions is actually next to the tattoo parlor, but from what I understand, it's one of your nicer tattoo parlors. I went in, checked it out, met Mary the owner, and discovered that even though they have a few baby things, they really don't have much. When I explained what I do, Mary told me that is exactly what their shop needs! She only had a few open spaces left, but the one I want is right in front, just as you walk in the door.

So this morning a pajama-clad Eric and I are going down to Happy Delusions to sign my lease and drop off a bunch of inventory and business cards.

Am I taking on too much? Yep. I am delusional? Always. But this is such a great opportunity. How can I pass up this chance that is just a few miles from my house?

Happy Delusions opens in 2 hours. I am going to need that time to gather my things, tag them, write an inventory list, and convince Eric to put on clean underwear. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Ryan came to me yesterday morning, unable to get dressed for school because all he could find to wear was a pair of football pants and some old sweats. Do you think maybe I should reconsider my priorities if I've forgotten to do laundry this week?

This is my desk. It is NOT representative of the rest of my house, but I have allowed it to become the receptacle for all things that don't have a good home. Also, after spending the day picking up after all of these people, the last thing I want to do is clean my desk, which is tucked away in a back corner of the house, behind the playroom. However, I'm noticing that it is beginning to take on a life of it's own.

Currently residing on this desk is a birthday party blower, a cake recipe, a broken stapler (which is next to Ryan's stapler, which I swiped from his desk), mail-in election ballots which I forgot to complete (and yesterday was election day. Oops), knitting patterns, clothing catalogs, a swim lessons schedule for a pool where we do not take swimming lessons, a coloring book, various lists, the manual for my broken vacuum cleaner (I guess that should save me some time, since I can't vacuum right now), my camera case.....clearly all very important items that belong on a desk. The other day I was tearing this pile of crap apart looking for the notes Leah wrote me on using HTML code to add pictures to my blog. It took me several minutes to realize that I had tacked it up on the memo board behind my computer, for easy access. Again, I'm wondering if I need to rethink how I'm spending my time.

On the flip side, I have 7 hats ready for Anna, one pair of bumble bee booties, and a half a pair of duck flippers and minnie mouse booties. And I did make dinner last night.

I can just hear the conversation between my kids and their therapists, which I have no doubt they will need by the time I am through with them : "I never had clean underwear and my mom could never seem to find a working ball point pen, but boy could she knit a mean cupcake hat!"

Monday, November 5, 2007

I'm Back

Anakin and Spidey
Need I say more?

Yes, I know I know--I went to Audrey's Holiday Bazaar and then the 3 of you who actually read this blog never heard from me again. I have been meaning and trying to get to my computer since Friday, but, well, I've had a few things going on.

First of all--Halloween. Here are my boys--Anakin Skywalker and Spiderman. We did the trick-or-treating thing and now I'm eating all of their candy.

Friday: What did I do Friday? Oh yes. I brought the kids to school, went to the yarn store and did not buy anything fun or even anything for me, killed a bit of time at Barnes and Noble, picked Eric up from school, knit, picked Ryan up from school, and then babysat Emily and Daniel for the afternoon and evening as part of our date-night swap with Walter and Shirley. No time to blog.

Saturday: Mike and the boys dug a big hole in my garden so we could have a filter installed in our septic tank and have our pump tank serviced. My garden was ruined for septic maintenance. But really, can you put a price on septic tank maintenance? Do I need to go into further detail? While all of the boys were playing in the dirt, I was mulching leaves. About 1 billion leaves. Approximately. They all then left for a bit to run errands and I did more knitting for Anna. When they returned we completely cleaned out and rearranged the playroom. We sorted toys, organized papers, removed the giant train table in the middle of the room, created a drawing station for the boys, since all they do is draw when they are not battling the forces of evil with their light sabers, cleaned out costumes....this took hours. An entire Saturday came and went with no time to blog.

Sunday: After church I went with Ryan to a 6 hour birthday party. Literally, a 6 hour birthday party. I helped chauffeur 8 boys to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch, then to the movie theater for Bee Movie, then back to the birthday boy's house for cake and presents. We didn't return home until 5:30. I had a bowl of cereal for dinner. And a beer.

And now somehow it is 5:00 on a Monday evening and I refuse to let another day go by without reporting to you, my 3 faithful readers, about the bazaar. Mike is in the kitchen making dinner. I believe I will be served hotdogs. But since I am not in the kitchen making dinner, I will not complain.

OK--here we go--THE BAZAAR!

The bazaar was pretty amazing. Audrey has a really large, beautiful home and she filled it with vendors. There were tables set up everywhere--the living room, family room, hallway, dining room, and in the big bonus room upstairs (where I was). She had people selling Southern Living, Silpata jewelry, framed art, hand painted pottery, hand made picture frames, candles, scrapbooks, hand bags...I don't even know what else. She had vendors everywhere.

And the food! Oh my word. About once an hour I went downstairs to fill my plate. Marinated pork, cheeses, yummy fried things with meat inside, crackers and spreads, and the wine....mmmmm.....oh and I can't forget the chocolate fountain with the cream puffs, angelfood cake, pretzels, cookies...All I can say is, Audrey knows how to throw a party. And I was just a little ill that night.

She must have had a good 150 people coming through the door . Seriously, this was no Tupperware party. This was an event. And how did I do? Well, I did ok. Yep, just ok. I made about $160 and did generate some interest, but I was hoping to sell about twice what I actually did. The entire event was really fun, but my area was a little on the slow side. I will do it next year if she asks me, but I really hope to sell more next time.

The good news? I was able to pull a few things for Anna, which did relieve my stress in that area a bit. I'm planning to drop some things off for her on Thursday. I have to say, as adorable as the booties are, not my favorite thing to make in bulk.

Tomorrow I'm taking two boys to the dentist. Which is about as much fun as taking myself to the dentist. And then I will knit...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Floodgates

Today is Audrey's holiday bazaar. I think I'm ready for it and I'm excited! I have no idea what to expect. No idea at all. But I have a lot of hats and they are pretty darn cute, as well as cupcakes, felted pears, and Cinderella. I'm bringing my milk glass cake pedestal for the cupcakes and I'm putting the pears in my Candlewick salad bowl. I also have a couple of makeshift hat stands and I printed out a bunch of pictures to put in an album if people want to see more of my work. And there has been the promise of appetizers and wine, so that alone will make the afternoon a success!

Despite all this, my state of panic has risen to a new level. "Why?" you ask--well let me tell you. I've just met Anna. Anna visited Venue last week and fell in love with my hats and booties. Anna owns a little artisan gift shop in Burien (from what I'm told, it's in old Burien. As in Olde. Who knew?). Anna contacted me last week about the possibility of buying some of my stuff. We talked inventory and prices for a bit and I emailed her a list. I didn't hear from her for a few days and so you all know where my mind went. Anna hates me. Anna has changed her mind. Anna has found someone much better and cheaper... and then Anna emailed. Anna's email just about knocked me off my chair. This whole time I had been thinking she wanted a few hats. No no, Anna has a LIST:

3 pairs Minnie Mouse booties
3 pairs Bumble Bee booties
2 pairs Duck Flippers
2 Pumpkin hats
1 Strawberry hat
1 Blueberry hat
1 Eggplant hat
2 Viking Boy hats
1 Viking Girl hat
2 Cupcake hats

That is $350 worth of merchandise. Paid up front. And she wants it by November 10th. I was really straight with her and told her there was no way I could make it all before the 10th. No way. Even if I gave my entire family knitting lessons--well, actually that would be a step in the wrong direction, but you see my point. Anna has a big open house on the 10th, so I told her I would get as many to her as I can by then, and then deliver the rest soon after. She seemed ok with that, but let me tell you, the pressure is on. I have less than 10 days to knit as many items as I can. So far I have 1 completed hat and 2 partial hats. I actually need to buy yarn for the booties and making 8 pairs of booties fills me with a little bit of dread. I love the booties, but they can be a little tedious. And I need to make 16 of them.

But before you become too judgemental about how crazy I am, let me remind you that this is gift buying season and my things at Venue are becoming popular. Last Saturday I brought them a Boy Viking hat, a snowman, candycane stocking cap, and some more cupcakes. Diane emailed me that night. The Viking hat didn't even last the day and I sold 2 more cupcakes. So I have to keep up with Venue as well!

I have to keep reminding myself--this is what I have been working so hard to achieve. This is a good problem to have. This is what success looks like. Unfortunately success also looks like piles of laundry, dishes in the sink, dust all over the furniture, and toothpaste all over the boys' bathroom counter. But after I'm done with Anna, I'm hoping success will also look like a big trip to the mall for me!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Separated at birth?

Friday, October 26, 2007

M. I. A.

I have been missing in action from my blog this week. I would have taken a picture of all of the hats I have been knitting, but uploading the pictures takes time and frankly, I can't be bothered right now.

Audrey's holiday bazaar is in 6 days. Less than one week. I have become a knitting fiend. And I have to say, a significant portion of my stress is the fact that I don't know how many hats to knit. I've never done this before and I've developed a sort of bi-polar attitude toward my progress. In a 60 second period I can swing from "Oh my word I'm a crazy person who has just spent the last month knitting 500 hats" to "I'm going to sell out in 10 minutes, and then what will I do?". I don't know what to expect. And yet I keep knitting. Diane from Venue has told me to start bringing the holiday items, so I'm feeling that pressure as well. To date I have:

a pile of plush cupcakes
a pile of felted pears
3 snowman hats
2 candy cane striped stocking caps
1 viking hat
8 cupcake hats
2 pumpkin hats
1 strawberry hat
1 watermelon hat
1 blueberry hat
5 different hats that I think are adorable, but no one on Etsy seems to think so

It's been all knitting all the time. And I have a special order to do, I still working on that birthday cake, I have my mom's socks, and Ryan keeps checking in with me to make sure I have the right yarn to make his Harry Potter bookscarf from my new birthday book.

Oh yeah, and I have a family and a life to lead. And by "a life to lead" I mean it's my job to make sure other people in this house have a life. I cleaned the bathrooms yesterday. It had been a while. A long while. The kids were commenting. So I spent some serious time cleaning bathrooms. Alice's new litter box is in the boy's bathroom and between the boys and Alice, that room is practically a bio-hazard. When I'm not looking I think Alice is sneaking a little shovel into the bathroom and digging a hole in her litterbox, tossing the contents of the shovel over her little kitty shoulder. On to the bathroom floor. I have to clean that up twice a day. NOT that I'm complaining, mind you. Alice has not had an accident in weeks--even though she is too lazy to take her 15 year old bones down to the laundry room litterbox, we are delighted that she has agreed to use the litterbox 7 feet away from our bedroom. I have to tell myself that each and every time I clean up the cat litter.

I have boys to take to school, swimming lessons, birthday parties, kid's choir and playdates. I have laundry. L A U N D R Y. I have thank you notes to write for birthday gifts I received 2 weeks ago. Notes I really want to write because I received some very thoughtful gifts. These people who live here keep telling me they want to eat. Most of them don't actually eat what I give them, but I still feel obligated to provide them with food when they ask for it. And then I feel the need to clean up the food. And today we're having lunch with Ryan at school because he is a Student Of The Month, and Students Of The Month get to eat at a special table, invite their families (who are instructed to bring McDonalds. It's really funny--a big long table lined with McDonald's bags, because that seems to be the universal special lunch of choice) and hear a presentation from the Principal.

I've volunteered in Ryan's class, and I've volunteered in Eric's class. I completely cleaned my kitchen from top to bottom--including washing out the pantry and the refrigerator--because we brought fruit flies home from the grocery store (Mike and I spent hours cleaning out the kitchen on Saturday. Hours. And we still have fruit flies). I repaired my garden after the septic tank guy came and I've made about 3 trips to Target this week.

THAT is why I have not been blogging.

Friday, October 19, 2007

People have been shot doing this...

Yesterday was a crazy day. There was a big storm predicted for the Seattle area, but I had plans to go to Venue, so to Venue I went. I had a bag of new hats, including this Viking Hat. When I showed it to Diane, the owner, she squealed. Literally, squealed. Then ran to the back room to show Caitlin. Diane said they're going to place bets on how fast it sells. And I need to make sure I make plenty for Viking Days. Viking Days--I forgot all about Viking Days! Isn't this hat just a scream?!

Eric and I went back home and hung out, waiting for the storm to really kick into high gear. Which it did around 2:30. Our neighborhood lost power and we didn't get it back until 3:00 am. I know that is when it finally came back on because everything came back on. Lights, tv, washing machine (which had been in the middle of a cycle when the power went out)--so I had to walk around the house at 3:00 in the morning and turn everything off. This was about an hour after Eric woke us up shrieking because the little battery powered touch-light we gave him burned out. We all then woke up around 7:30, which is pretty late if your 7 year old has a bus to catch at 8:00. Needless to say, I was very tired this morning, and had quite a bit to do, since I had been without power for 13 hours.

So after dropping Eric off at preschool, I came back home to tidy up and get some laundry done. I decided to take a couple of minutes to check my email in the office when I heard a sound. In the house. I am suppose to be alone in the house and I am hearing noises coming from inside the house. I heard the sound of footsteps, clicking on the hardwood floor. The last time I heard that sound, it was a squirrel in my house. Only the more I listened, I decided they were human footsteps. There was another human in my house. Or a squirrel. Or a human. Or a squirrel. I was really starting to panic when I realized it was the sound of a human wearing size 10 1/2 dress shoes. Attached to the soon-to-be-deceased father of my children.

Mike had come home at 10:00 in the morning. Without calling or warning me. And I didn't hear him come through the door because, well, we have door issues right now. Really, we have house issues right now, as in our house has many many many issues. One of them being our doors. Our front door is always locked and it has a safety lock on the inside to keep Eric from opening the front door. So when we come home we can't use the front door. We've always used the garage door opener, but our garage door needs to be replaced--it's falling apart and the opener won't work. It opens it, but can't close it. Or the other way around. Whatever--it's broken. We can open it manually, but it's heavy and a pain. So we've been using our mudroom door to get in and out of the house. Problem with that is, that door is broken too. It's as ancient as the garage door and desperately needs to be replaced. The locks don't work from the outside and the only way to make sure it is truly shut is to deadbolt it, but the key won't work in the deadbolt, so you can only deadbolt it from the inside. During the day we leave it unlocked and use that door to go in and out. Yes, what I am saying is we have 2 broken unlocked doors, just begging for someone to break in. Only if someone broke in, they would be so frightened and disappointed by what they saw, they would immediately leave and look for better prospects.

Don't get me wrong--I don't take the door issue lightly. But it is what it is and we need about $2500 worth of doors, locks, and openers to fix this problem. This is how we're making due. Only with the windstorm yesterday, we had to deadbolt the mudroom door because it kept blowing open, and use the heavy, broken garage door to get in and out of the house. And this is how Mike got in. He pushed up the garage door, walked in through the garage, and quietly walked into the house. I didn't hear any of this. I just heard an intruder in my dining room. Or another squirrel.

When I realized it was Mike, all I could do was start yelling at him. "What are you DOING? WHY are you HERE? You nearly gave me a HEART ATTACK! You couldn't have called?!" And all the yelling made Mike start to laugh because apparently it never occurred to him that his little surprise visit might startle me. And when I told him I thought it might be another squirrel (and honestly, I'm not sure which I was more concerned about--another squirrel or an intruder), he responds with "Why would you think there was a squirrel in the house?" like it would be totally inconceivable that we would have a 3rd squirrel in the house. Those first 2 made sense, but a 3rd? Please. The more I yelled, the more he laughed. Apparently he had been in the neighborhood and needed to print out something for a client and decided to do it at home rather than find a Kinkos. Not once did he think it necessary to warn me he was coming home at a time that I expect NO ONE to be at home.

And then, just like a man, Mike started to hint...we're alone....YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! I'M STILL RECOVERING FROM A STROKE HERE AND YOU WANT TO KNOW IF I'M IN THE MOOD?! And he honestly gave me a look like I was the one being completely unreasonable. At that point I was actually sorry it had not been a squirrel. Or an intruder. Or that I didn't have a baseball bat in my hands.

When Mike returned home this afternoon he shouted "IT'S ME, MIKE. I'M HOME!" from the kitchen doorway.

I really need to find that baseball bat.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How do you know a 4 year old needs a nap?

When he started crying uncontrollably, lamenting that he is NOT tired and does NOT need a nap, and then proceeds to go down the laundry list of everything in his life that he hates.

Nap time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

But what if I don't want to Get Things Done?

Mike has been reading books by this organizational guru/freak about Getting Things Done. GTD. That's all I hear these days. GTD. David Allen says this, David Allen says that...let's Get Things Done! This wacko, who I think lives with his mother and their 14 cats, has this system for how to organize your office, papers, boxes of important things that you never look at, your inbox, email, voicemail, actual mail.....Mike is trying to apply these systems to all areas of his business, my house, and now he is trying to convert me. What this means for me is piles and piles of papers and files "in the works", and a critical eye over my half of the office. I suddenly find I have an important phone call to make right around the time Mike starts to talk about GTDing my stuff.

The other day Mike started looking at some of our living room furniture. My mom sells antiques and I think I have yet to return home from a trip to Whidbey Island without a treasure I cannot live without. She finds incredible bargains and is happy to pass them on to me. Like the double-signed/triple matted Charles Wysocki currently hanging in my living room that she bought for $40 at a garage sale. Or the precious silverware caddie that looks adorable next to my fireplace, found for $45. And although Mike clearly benefits from my mom's shopping talents as well as I do, he does get a little wary when my mom says "let's run out to the shop for a few minutes. I have some new things to show you..."

A place for everything, and everything in it's place
At least now I can justify the
existence of this silverware
caddie to my husband.

I think my stashes of yarn have been starting to get to Mike. They are everywhere. In baskets, in piles, in bags, and stuffed on top of books in the bookcase in the office. My knitting needle collection has not much better. And it just so happens that I have an antique desk and a silverware caddie with nothing in them. Empty drawers. Wouldn't it be a good idea for me to organize my yarn and needles and make use of our existing furniture at the same time?

Damn that David Allen. He is actually starting to make sense. So I spent all Saturday morning clearing yarn and all other knitting paraphernalia from every nook and cranny and placing it all into the desk and silverware caddie. It is actually convenient. And helpful. And quite useful. Damn it.

This yarn bowl/holder/caddie thingy came from my mom's shop. I can't even remember how little she paid for it, but of course I had to have it. And of course I have to use it.

Even though I still loathe David Allen and all he stands for (because, thanks to him, I have piles of papers and client files all over my dining table where a tablecloth and attractive centerpiece should be) I will admit to you, my faithful readers that in this one particular circumstance, David Allen has a point. But hear this, Mike--I am NOT David Allenizing the rest of the office. Life is too short.

I am still knitting like a mad woman. I'm part way through the viking hat and I LOVE it! They sent the kit with Karabella wool, which is just about my bestest favoritest yarn. When I emailed them to ask for the horn directions because apparently the girl viking is suppose to have wings, which I can't even talk about, Bella Knitting was so nice about it and sent me the entire boy pattern for free. I'm planning a trip to Venue on Thursday and I will be extremely annoyed and blame David Allen if I don't get this hat finished by then.

I also just finished a special order from Venue for a pair of baby mittens and I'm just about to get started on another Venue special order for an adult ski hat. The boys' swimming teacher wants another hat, and I have just 2 weeks until Audrey's gift show. Whew! I'm out of breath just thinking about all of it! I still have to finish the bottom of Meghan's birthday cake and I can't even begin to tell you the restraint it is taking to keep me from starting anything from Charmed Knits: Projects For Fans of Harry Potter. Sounds weird and little obsessive I know, but this book is truly adorable. Precious. Must knit one of everything. Leah gave the book to me for my birthday and I know she was as excited to give it to me as I was excited to receive it.

Perhaps if I knit myself a magic wand I would be able to Get Things Done!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rodney Atkins said it best....

My family is recovering today from a trip to my parents' house yesterday. The Prince of Darkness himself woke up in Eric's room this morning. At 5:00 a.m. Let's go back in time and see how the day went, shall we?

My parents had invited us up to their house on Whidbey Island for a birthday lunch, as my birthday was last Wednesday and Mike's is this coming Wednesday. My 9-year-old niece, Ellie and her 6-year-old brother, Jack had been staying the weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's, so we thought it would be a delightful time up on the farm for the boys to see their grandparents and their cousins.

We left our house around 9:30 in the morning, ran through the Starbucks drive-thru, and were on our merry way by 10:00. The freeway was clear, the boys were happily watching a dvd in the back of the van, and there was no line for the ferry. Zero. We literally drove up to the ticket booth, then immediately drove onto the ferry. It was such a happy little trip, I'm surprised we didn't see cartoon birdies flying around our van all the way up to Whidbey.

We had a delightful time at mom and dad's, ate lunch and birthday cake, the kids played, Mike watched football, I started knitting my mom's socks and showed my parents the Viking Hat (my dad, a Norwegian born and raised in Ballard, had some design tips on making the horns just right), again--a complete fairy tale day, except for the moment when Ellie socked Jack in the nads while the kids were all in the hottub.

Ellie and Jack's parents were back home from their weekend away, so Mike and I agreed to take the kids home since it was on our way. No sense in Caroline and Jeremy coming up, or in my dad taking the kids back to Seattle when we were going to be practically driving through their neighborhood. And then all 4 kids could spend more time together. In our van. On the drive home after a long day. This is what Mike and I like to call fiveshadowing (NPR had one of their game shows where people make up words and funny definitions for the words. Fiveshadowing is a blatantly more obvious form of foreshadowing).

Ryan and Jack ended up in the very back of the van--a 6 year old and 7 year old boy, sitting side by side in an enclosed area. Eric was in his usual seat in the middle section, and Ellie was next to him. Ellie is a very sweet, loving, sensitive young lady. She is also extremely moody, emotional, feisty, and has been a pre-pubescent in training since she was about 18 months old. We all fear for the day she actually turns 13 (on the flip side, no guy will ever mess with her. Ever).

So we very happily drove away from my parent's home for the 4 minute drive to the ferry dock. Only to discover the 2 hour wait up the hill. Ryan and Jack were in rare form and spent that entire 2 hours burping, giggling, laughing hysterically, and talking about Star Wars at a volume level reserved for rock concerts, not a tight-knit group in a van. Eric was watching a dvd and Ellie was using her free time to brood. And about once every 3 minutes she would order Jack to pipe down using the most disgusted tone of voice she could come up with.

After 2 full hours we finally made in onto the ferry, let the kids wreak havoc on the boat, bought them each a treat from the vending machine, then set off for home. Got on I-5 going south, thinking we would be at Ellie and Jack's house within 20 minutes, and ran smack into a horrific accident. All but one lane was closed off for miles. In the dark. At dinner time. After already being together for 2 1/2 hours after a long long day on the farm after Ellie and Jack spent an entire weekend on the farm. For whatever reason, this prompted Ryan and Jack to up the ante:

Ryan: Hey Jack, I have something to tell you

Jack: What?

Ryan: Use the Force!

Both: Haaa haa haaa heee heee heee (wiping tears from their eyes), whooooooo hooo hooo

Ellie: (through gritting teeth) be quiet!!

Jack: Hey Ryan, I have a question for you

Ryan: What?

Jack: Use the Force!

Both: Bwaaaaaaaahaaaaa haaaa!!! Heeee heeee heee heee......

Ellie: I said be quiet!

This went on for 30 minutes while we sat on the freeway trying to get past the accident. At this point, Mike and I gave up. We had tried placating Ellie, we had asked Ryan and Jack to keep it down to a dull roar--they were too far gone. So I turned up my ipod, which was running through the car stereo and started hand picking songs to liven things up. We first blasted AC/DC's Shook Me All Night Long. Will Smith got Jiggy Wit It, Eric bopped along to Josh Turner's Firecracker, and The Eagles had a Heartache Tonight. While the Eagles were singing "somebody's going to hurt someone/before the night is through/somebody's going to come undone/there's nothing we can do" I know Ellie was starting to plot our demise. She was trying to decide who to bump off first--Ryan and Jack for acting like a couple of giggling maniacs, or Mike and I for not tying them to the top of the van for the ride home so Ellie could brood in peace and quiet, as brooding should be done.

I then picked a song which I felt summed up the entire 3 1/2 hour trip--Rodney Atkins If You're Going Through Hell (If you're goin' through hell keep on going/Don't slow down if you're scared don't show it/You might get out before the devil even knows you're there) Around that time we arrived at the scene of the accident and saw all the commotion--a car that was completely upside down and had clearly flipped a few times before coming to a stop. So we tell the kids--wow--look at that car. What a terrible accident. To which Ellie replied "O. M. G." Mike and I had to turn the music up louder so she wouldn't hear us laughing.

We arrived at Caroline and Jeremy's around 7:00, walked in the door, and I said "to quote your daughter, O. M. G."

This morning was picture day at preschool. One of the 3 days a year I actually insist on picking Eric's clothes. He gets 362 days to wear what he wants. I get 3 and this is one of them. So glad I got to have that battle on the morning after the car trip through hell and back, when the Dark Lord himself arose to greet me at 5:00 this morning by yelling demands from his bed because apparently his legs were temporarily broken. I told him he could have gummy worms if he would wear the shirt. "I want 4". "Sold".

Thursday, October 11, 2007

2 Days Closer to Death

I know anyone over 40 reading this is just rolling their eyes at me, but I am seriously having a little crisis here. I am 39. 39 years old. 363 days away from being 40. I always thought that my life would be so different at 40. I would have traveled, have matching furniture, finally figured out what to do with my hair...I don't know why I thought all that. 40 just seemed like such a long way away. I remember when my parents turned 40. I was in college. And here I am--that same age, wearing my Old Navy clothes, plumping up the pillows on my hand-me-down couches, running a 7 year old and a 4 year old to school every day.

Being ME at 39 does have it's good points. Yesterday Mike and the boys took me to Red Robin for dinner and I was carded when I ordered a margarita. I do look younger than Mike, despite the fact he is an entire week younger than I am, so there is some justice in the world.

Our day began yesterday with Ryan in our room at 4:00 a.m. asking if it was time to get up for Mommy's birthday. As it was indeed my birthday, I chose not to acknowledge him and let Mike deal with him. I finally got up around 6:45 when Ryan asked me, very nicely, for the second time if I would like to get up and go downstairs. The boys had hung up a couple of happy birthday banners and were literally jumping up and down waiting for me to open my presents. Which they then opened for me. From the boys I received the complete first season of I Love Lucy on dvd. The boys know how much I adore I Love Lucy and when Ryan was younger he thought every black and white show on tv was called Lucy. Last week TVLand had a Lucy marathon which I Tivo'd, so the boys and I have been watching a lot of Lucy. They great thing about it is, even though much of the dialogue is over their heads, there is a ton of hilarious physical comedy. And Ricky speaks Spanish, just like Dora.

Mike gave me a table-top swift (an accordion like thing for winding yarn) and a ball winder, so he rocks! The boys were very excited to see it in action, so I promptly put a skein of yarn on it and proceeded to mess the whole thing up and had to unwind it by hand and then use the ball winder to wind it up again. All 3 of them looked at me like "what do you need that thing for? we've seen you make a mess of your yarn without all the fancy new tools". So I'll try to redeem myself today.

I then had lunch with a friend and proceeded to go shopping without looking at the clock because Mike was taking the day off to deal with the boys for me. It didn't take him long to figure out why I get so cranky on Wednesdays, after driving Ryan to school, then driving Eric to school, then coming home for an hour and a half, then picking Eric up, then having a 15 minute lunch, then picking Ryan up, then coming home for 20 minutes, then driving Ryan to the doctor, then going to Kid's Choir at church that evening. All that, and he had to dig some holes in the back yard, in the rain, to prepare for the septic guy today...I, on the other hand, went to 2 yarn stores, the bookstore, and bought a new coat at Costco for $29. And when I returned home, the Viking Hat was waiting for me! Hee Hee!

My head is so full of things to knit for Venue and Audrey's gift show, I just don't even know where to begin. I'm cranking thing out as fast as I can.....cupcake hats, fruit caps, snowman hats, pumpkin hats....and have a special order for some baby mittens and another hat for the boys' swimming teacher. Eek! I guess I better get my 39 year old fingers moving.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The End is Near

Tomorrow I turn 39 years old.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Our 15 Minutes of Fame

Last Saturday Mike's sister Tiffany invited us to be their special guests at the Mariner's game because Marcus was to sing the National Anthem again. So we ran the kids over to Walter and Shirley's as fast as we could and high-tailed it to downtown Seattle.

As special guests of Anthem Guy, we were allowed entrance in the hoity-toity door, where all of the people inside just looked like money. The hair, the make up--even in jeans and sweatshirts the women just exuded money. And this is how we looked.

The Press Room
Mike trying to answer
the questions from the "press"

We hung around this special elite lobby for a while, scarfing down kettle korn becasue we were so hungry. And of course we left a trail of kettle korn all over the floor. No one else was eating, so maybe that just "isn't done", but we were seriously faint with hunger. I know they whipped out a vacuum to clean up after the riff-raff as soon as we left.

We were then escorted to the Press Room. THE PRESS ROOM. Apparently Marcus usually goes into the Green Room, but that was occupied by Kevin Durant from the Sonics and he does not share his space. So the 5 of us had the run of the Press Room (a very funny opera friend was with us). We all just sat there for a couple of minutes saying "we are in the Mariner's Press Room. THE Press Room...." And then we all took turns sitting at the mic answering smart ass questions from each other. Mike was both Lou Pinella and John McLaren. But he didn't throw anything. Just swore a little when I asked the all important and pressing question "...and when do you think you'll be buying your wife some new clothes", just as a family with a couple of little boys entered the room. So we left and went out onto the field.

Before the anthem
Yep, that's us, ON THE FIELD, at Safeco Field,
just before Marcus sang. Everytime we
took a step a member of the grounds
crew would rake over our footprints.
It is apparently someone's full time
job to make sure there are absolutely
no footprints anywhere on the field. At all.

Yep, that's right, we went out on the field. We stood right next to the visitor's dugout, saw New York Vinnie walk by, and had our picture taken with the Mariner Moose. Mike, Tiffany, and I then got to remain on the field while Marcus sang, and then we all went to our seats.

Our padded seats. In row 3. Behind Jay Buehner's family. Next to the Mariner's dugout where Arthur Rhoades tossed baseballs to the fans between innings. Where the attendant met me on the stairs and helped me to my seat because my beer was spilling all over my fish and chips. Those seats. The last time I had seats even remotely close to those was a Spring Training in 1998. And I'm sure I'll never see them again. We did have such a great time!

In other news, I am delighted to report that Alice has received a stay of execution. The traveling vet had recommended a litter box upstairs, which we did, and for the first couple of weeks Alice was completely blind to its existence despite my repeated attempt to show it to her. And then suddenly, she is using it. She is using it every day and has not had an accident anywhere for a week. Mike and I have been gushing over her, telling her how proud we are of her, and I am horrified at how close I came to poisoning her food. But that is how desperate I was. We are still protecting our bed and keeping the boys' bedroom doors closed, but our long national nightmare appears to be over. For now.

The knitting front: Hats for the swimming instructor. Check. Peter's sweater. Check. Trip to Venue to drop off 3 more hats (via Mike). Check. Australian Faye's elephant--on the needles. Inventory for Audrey's show--I'm working on it, but every time I complete something for it, it sells. I know, I know--it's a good problem to have. But I truly am in a panic over having enough for her show. I'm close to being done with an absolutely darling snowman hat, but my sister called yesterday and asked if I have anything seasonal for a newborn baby. You mean like a 3/4 finished snowman hat? Yep, that would be perfect. And she needs it by Tuesday. And I've convinced Mike to let me buy the Viking Hat. I may have to hide it from myself when it arrives to prevent abandonment of all current projects. Perhaps I could just toss it into one of the boys' rooms. Or in the vicinity of my husbands "important papers". Or in the playroom. Then it would be lost forever.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Weekend Update

Peter's Birthday Gift
The arms really aren't that short--
I have the sleeves folded so they
will fit in the picture. Master
photographer, I am not.

I have been MIA this week, due to extreme knitting stress and an evil child, who shall remain nameless but he is 4 1/2 years old.

Peter's pirate birthday party is today! I finished his gift at 9:00 on Friday night. It is a pirate sweater (duh) from Little Badger Knitwear. And although it did give me a few fits along the way, I am quite proud of how it turned out. One of the arm holes is a little bunchy because for some reason the sleeve width was a little smaller than what I allowed for the arm hole (actually this should not be a surprise. Math has never been my friend), but I made it work and Leah will never notice if she doesn't look too carefully.

I did show it to Leah yesterday because she was at my house and I just couldn't wait. She was very excited and can't wait for Peter to see it. She said she may have to break her own rule and allow him to wear it to church (she and I have similar rules about church clothing--you can wear anything you want as long as it has no pictures or words). So 3 year old Peter will be a walking picture of living death at church. Hee hee hee!

I'm in a bit of a panic about the rest of my knitting projects. I have one more hat to knit for the boys' swimming teacher. I haven't started on the elephant for my new friend Faye in Australia, and I have exactly one month to create some inventory for Audrey's holiday bazaar. I'm also still working on Meghan's knit birthday cake and my mom just reminded me about the socks I promised to knit her. I was coming to terms with all of that when I received an email from Caitlin at Venue this week. Apparently they have moved my display to a larger and more prominent place in the shop. Yea for me! She also specifically requested more inventory because this time of year is one of their busiest. Gulp. I mean, this is not news to me. The weather is turning, Christmas is just a couple of months away...but the reality has hit me. The reality has also hit my family, as Ryan came to me this morning and told me he has no pants to wear to church. I looked in his drawer--no pants. Big empty place where pants should be. I did find a pair in a rather large pile of clean laundry in a basket on the dryer. It's been there for several days. Guess I should get on it, since I'm wearing my last pair of clean pants as well. Pants for Eric is not so much of an issue, as he is wearing pj's and his brand new Spiderman costume.

And as if all this were not enough, I just discovered this on Ravelry: a baby Viking hat. I must have it. I must knit it. Venue is located in the heart of Ballard, which is the Scandinavian capital of Washington (ok, fine, so is Poulsbo, and I'm sure a couple of other places, but just go with me here...). Ravelry is this new website that is all about knitters and their projects and patterns...I'm still trying to figure it out. I had to wait in line for over two months to be "invited", but now that I have access, I have to say it's pretty cool. Here is the problem. Mike. The designer of the Viking hat is only selling it as a kit. Kit, schmit, I want it. Mike keeps trying to rain on my parade by telling me how many hats I will have to sell to actually make a profit from the kit, let alone break even. I told you, math is not my friend . What I hear? Blah blah blah blah, money, blah blah blah, don't you have enough to knit, blah blah blah....

Switching gears a bit, I have so much to tell you about the Mariners game we went to last night where we WENT ON TO THE FIELD, but I'm going to wait until Mike's sister sends me the pictures.

Time to get to work. Today's project? Hmmmm....perhaps a snowman.