Friday, August 31, 2007

Weekend Update

Ryan-- Ryan is fine. After 3 days of being sick, Ryan is now back to Ryan. 7 year old, I-only-talk-in-silly-voices, bouncing-through-the-house-like-Tigger, aggravate-his-little-brother Ryan. I am about to become Rabbit and tell him to stop that infernal bouncing, but he is in such a good mood...

Eric--Never got sick. Wearing his Spiderman costume today. Over his pajamas. Never saw that one coming.

Mike--Never got sick. Continues to obsessively-compulsively clean his office while failing to notice the coffee grounds he spilled all over the kitchen floor this morning.

Alice--Sick in the head. Continues to pee on my bed and the boys blankets. Should be paid millions to advertise the Whirlpool Duet Washer and it's miraculous sanitizing feature, both for its cleaning properties as well as durability. I told Mike last night that I HAVE HAD IT. I'M DONE. WE MUST TAKE ACTION. Mike: what do you mean? Me: I'm so done dealing with her. Mike: what do you mean? Me: how do YOU feel about it? Mike: what do you mean? Me: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE FACT THAT SHE CONTINUES TO PEE ALL OVER OUR BED AND ON THE BOYS BLANKETS??!! WHAT DO YOU THINK WE SHOULD DO? Mike: I don't know. what do you mean? put her to sleep? let's try that home vet again. Me: you mean the one who would not come to our house?
And that is where the conversation continues to hang, in the air over the couch in the living room...

Me--Never got sick. Am preparing for tomorrow's garage sale at Cori's house. Mason is still in the hospital and I have tried several times to explain to Cori that this garage sale is NOT something she needs to worry about. We can reschedule. It's really ok. Cori is a very very scheduled person. The garage sale is on her calendar, so we're doing the garage sale.

That means today I'm bringing the kids to her house, to play with Lauren, while Cori's husband Mark and I finish preparing for the garage sale. And tomorrow Mark and I will be doing this garage sale together. Which just makes both of us laugh. So he and I will drink coffee all morning, then switch to beer when the sun goes over the yardarm.

The Knitting--I seem to have a severe case of knitting ADD combined with some bad ju-ju. And to top it off, Mike has put me on yarn-buying restriction. He actually wants me to knit from my various stashes rather than buying new yarn. I can't talk to him when he's being this unreasonable.

After finishing the Minnie Mouse booties, I moved on to a pair of T-strap booties with a heart on the front. I pulled out an old skein of yarn, which was apparently not the right weight, and made a bootie to fit me. So I need to take it apart and use smaller needles, but I'm too annoyed right now. I then moved on to the ducky flipper slippers. Going along great until I came to the realization that I'm about to run out of yarn. I then decided to pick up Peter's birthday gift. I got through the mistake I made and was feeling pretty smug about my progress until I made another mistake. Involving rulers and counting and numbers and knowing your left from right and all that trivial stuff. I am also making a felted pumpkin which is not nearly as fun as I thought it would be, still working on that completely delightful birthday cake, Cinderella continues to lie in dismembered parts in a basket, and I have more hats for Venue to make. A good trip to the yarn store often sets me right again, so really I blame Mike for all of this.

I just went to the kitchen for more coffee and found Eric's underwear on the kitchen floor. It appears I need to divert my attention away from my computer and on to the carbon based life-forms in the house.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Queen for a day

Today my goal is to wash everything Ryan has touched. Lots of laundry and 3 bathrooms. The fact that all of this needed to be cleaned anyway is beside the point. Vomit forces cleaning to the top of the list.

In order to do the laundry I needed to put away the clean laundry, located in baskets all over my house. This also raised the issue of the suitcase in our bedroom. Do you remember that episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Ray and Debra fought over who was to put away a suitcase from their trip? This suitcase has been sitting in our bedroom since last Thursday night. And like Ray and Debra, we have been taking clean clothes from the suitcase all week. We have not had one discussion about this suitcase. Not one word has been said. We have both passive-aggressively (clearly a trait we learned from Alice) been taking what we have needed from the suitcase and stepping around it. A few days ago I realized that one of my bras was missing. It took me a while to realize that it was in the suitcase.

Today I put the suitcase away. I cleaned it out and put it away. Mike when you come home today you will notice that I GOT IT. To quote Debra, I GOT IT. I did not fill the suitcase with cheese, like Ray did (that would have just forced me to clean out a suitcase full of cheese. I don't think Mike would ever know there was cheese in the suitcase). I did not rant and rave about how I have to put every single other thing away in this house. No, let's all just remember that I GOT IT.

But Mike has his good points as well. He went to Venue for me today to bring in some new hats and take inventory. Sounds like I've sold an additional 5 or 6 hats! I was all set to send those Minnie Mouse booties too, but Penny saw them in yesterday's post and is currently on her way over to pick them up. Oh well--I guess I'll have to make more! Right after I finish making some baby duck feet booties! Hee hee hee hee hee....

I haven't gotten sick yet, but I still hold out hope. I'm still within the vomiting incubation period. It's always good to have a goal.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Adding Insult To Injury

Our power went out for 5 hours today. Today. The day Ryan was too sick to go anywhere. Today. The day he was allowed to watch as much tv as he wanted because it is all he is capable of. Today. Of all days.

I would do some breathing exercises, but if they didn't work for me during childbirth, they're not going to work now.

And Now, We Wait...

Minnie Mouse
Hee hee hee hee hee hee.....!

I was pretty proud of myself. I've been making some plans this week in an attempt to keep us all alive during this last week of summer break. Ryan has a playdate with a school friend on Friday and today I was going to drop the kids off at my sister's house while I visited a Cori and her son Mason at Children's Hospital. The boys love to play with their cousins and I really wanted to visit Cori and Mason, so this was a win-win. Mason and his sister Lauren are good friends and my boys really love playing with them. Mason is 4 1/2 and has Downs Syndrome. And like many kids with Downs, he has several medical complications that have put him into the hospital many times over his short little life. Mason is very susceptible to lung infections and even the slightest cold can instantly turn into pneumonia. Mason became very sick on Friday and has been in the hospital ever since. And that means Cori has been in the hospital. It's not actually pneumonia this time, but he is having a very difficult time breathing and does not seem to be making any noticeable improvements, which is a little scary. So, I was going to spend the morning with Cori at the hospital.

And then Ryan greeted me this morning by telling me he had to throw up. Which he did about two hours later. After much crying, screaming, and gnashing of teeth. Ryan has a mortal fear of throwing up, like his mother. Ryan would pay good money to never throw up again. Like his mother. When Ryan was about 5 he asked Mike and I about the glasses of wine we were having with our dinner. We explained it was a grown-up drink and too much can make you sick. Can it make you throw up?! Why yes it can. The look on his face was priceless. This may be the only talk we will ever need to have with Ryan about drinking. When the time comes I plan to tell him that smoking, drugs, hitting his brother, tattoos, wearing pants that are so baggy the waistband is around your knees, and premarital sex also lead to throwing up.

Now that the actual vomiting is over and done with, the fun can begin. I will sit in fear for the next 36-48 hours, waiting to see if I get sick. It's one thing if my kids are sick. But now this is all about me. I can make myself feel queasy just thinking about the possibility of getting sick. Everytime this happens, or if my kids have been exposed to someone who has thrown up, or even if someone I know has been throwing up, I need to call Cori, who is a pediatric nurse, and have her remind me of vomiting germ incubation periods. She is rarely reassuring.

And I don't know what to do with Eric. As the person with the vomit, the tv belongs to Ryan today. Eric is not too pleased with this arrangement. He would like to be sick to and even snuggled up on the couch with his blanket and pillow and asked me to bring him things. Problem is, he is fine and is going to end up driving me crazy since we can't go anywhere and I've completely run out of ways to entertain perfectly healthy kids in my home. If both of them were sick, I could spend the day sitting on the couch, pretending to be at their beck and call, while secretly delighting the the fact that I could knit all day. I'm still trying to get away with that, but Eric seems to see right through that ploy.

I did finish those Minnie Mouse booties. Don't they just make you squeal?!

I have to go now and spray lysol on my kids.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Summer Break, Last Week

Birthday Cake
I have no business starting this project.
But I absolutely
cannot resist. The yarn is
wonderful and I LOVE
the new Skacel addi turbo
lace needles I'm using. The whole
thing is like butter in my hands.

This is the last week of summer break. School starts in one week and one day. And I truly will be surprised if we make it until then because I believe this last week will do me in. I know I say that every week but this time I mean it. I am tired of my same 3 pairs of shorts and my collection of t-shirts. I am tired of flies in my house because we open the back door 3493 times a day. And I am tired of trying to entertain two children who can no longer be entertained.

We have no plans this week. Through a series of mishaps and other unfortunate scheduling changes, we have no plans. This is going to be the longest week of my life. The only thing that saved my childrens' lives today was the fact that Eric, who is utterly exhausted, actually fell asleep during nap time and Emily-the-neighborgirl came over looking for Ryan. I sent them to her house. I had spent the morning saying the same 2 things over and over again: 1. "All Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle play is for outside". and 2. "I am on the phone!" The fact I was on the phone completely alluded them this morning. As in, they would each come to me and carry on detailed conversations with me, while I was talking on the phone, about the snack they want. Or they would start to play the piano. Or turn into Ninja Turtles. Again. And I may host a giant Spiderman book burning if they don't stop fighting over those damn books. We have about 17 of them--how can they each want the exact same one at the same time, every single solitary time? Did I mention school starts next Tuesday?

In the meantime, I've been folding laundry (that I washed 3 days ago) and knitting things I should not be knitting. I made a rather large mistake in Peter's birthday gift. Nothing difficult. Just incredibly annoying and completely avoidable had I chosen to read the directions. So I should really get on that. But that knit birthday cake was calling me. Loud. I just had to try it. It is a complete joy to knit and I am now in real trouble since the last thing I needed to do was begin another project.

Minnie Mouse Bootie
This bootie will have a
red knit bow on top
and a knit ankle strap.
It's so cute, it just
about kills me.

And then yesterday, just to see how it would go, I decided to make a set of booties from the new book I picked up at Knit/Purl last week. Oh. My. Word. Completely adorable. So great. Now I'm working on 2 projects that I should not have started. But I can't help myself. The sheer adorableness of both of these projects is like a drug. A really yummy drug. The booties are so precious, I was actually amazed that I was able to produce it with my own two hands. I don't often stare in wonder at something I have knit, but I did that with the booties. Serious drug. They even make me giggle a little. Of course, I'm shipping any and all booties I make right off to Venue!

I believe these knitting projects may be what gets me through this week. That, and beer.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I Killed The Tooth Fairy

Ryan just lost his 5th tooth. He is about to start 2nd grade and definitely has a 2nd grader's smile! His two front bottom teeth have completely come in, he has one top tooth 3/4 in and one just starting to poke through, and now he has a new hole.

The other day he was really working on this very loose 5th tooth and he asked me, point blank, if I was the Tooth Fairy. He wanted to know if I was the one to leave the money. Last March we had a similar discussion about Leprechauns, with disastrous results. So I tried everything. I tried to change the subject, I gave him the old "what to you think", I tried to focus on the loose tooth again....he wasn't buying it. He asked me, flat out, "are you the one who gives me the money"? So I told him the truth.

He really wasn't that bothered by it. When I explained that we can keep playing the game and he'll continue to get money for lost teeth, that seemed to settle things for him. Ryan was fine. I think he suspected the truth and was ready to hear it.

Not so for his father. Oh My Word. MIKE was the one to have a complete fit over this. He practically accused me of sabotaging Ryan's childhood. Why didn't I call him at work to discuss this?! Seriously? Ryan asks who the Tooth Fairy is and my response is "wait, let me call your dad"?!? I have been over this with Mike several times. Many more times than I have with Ryan. I have explained it in great detail. It's not as if I sat this kids down one day and said "it's time you knew the truth. We've been living a lie.....". Ryan really wanted to know. He was ready to know. I tried to distract him and get him to answer his own questions, but he would have none of it. He was ready for the truth.

And that is the real issue here. I cannot look my kids in the eye and lie to them. I'm fine with leading them along the primrose path and allowing them their childhood fantasies. But when I'm asked point blank if I am really the Tooth Fairy, I feel convicted to tell the truth. I don't ever want Ryan to feel that I've lied to him. I've caught him lying a few times lately, which just furthers my point. I have been lecturing him on the evils of lying. I need to walk the walk.

According to Mike, he would have no problem saying the words "yes, the Tooth Fairy is real". Big talk for the man who was not there and did not have to make that decision Nyahhhhh.

So now Mike is convinced that I'm out for blood and that Santa is next on the chopping block. I am NOT willingly trying to destroy their childhood dreams. But at some point all kids figure it out. I distinctly remember a time when I believed in Santa. I can remember lying in my bed listening for reindeer. And at some point I stopped believing. I have no recollection of the event. No trauma. Apparently I was ready to grow out of it.

Am I looking forward to the Santa talk? Absolutely not. In fact, I think my answer will be "let's ask your father"!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Everything Has Its Price

Mike and I have returned from the Kah-Nee-Ta High Desert Resort & Casino in Central Oregon. Located in the middle of nowhere. Seriously. Middle Of NOWHERE. You drive east for about two hours upon leaving Portland into a vast and never-ending desert until a resort appears along the side of the road.

Mike was there for an investment specialist conference, completely paid for by his company. Including the $50 in chips for the casino. So a lovely time was had by all. I sat by the pool and read and knit. I sat in the lodge and read and knit. On Wednesday Mike had the afternoon off so we drove again through the vast Oregon desert until we reached Sisters. Bought some coffee from the Bad Ass Coffee company, bought some yarn from The Stitchin' Post, went back to the resort and watched a movie in our room while Mike schmoozed with other schmoozers, then we went to the casino to play blackjack. Between the two of us we pretty much lost the entire $50 that had been given to us, but then Mike won $100 at one of the slot machines. Which paid for our trip to Powell's.

I really wish we could have spent more time in Portland. I never go there, which is strange because it's only a couple of hours away. Maybe it's the fact it's in another state. We only actually made it to two stores in Portland. In the time we spent looking for these stores we could have done quite a bit of damage, but time was of the essence. So I was able to go to Knit/Purl, which was everything I had hoped it would be. I found the yarn I have been searching for to make the knit birthday cake, and I found a wonderful book on making these adorable baby booties. And Powell's--there are no words. We gave ourselves exactly one hour. Which is such a small fraction of the amount of time we needed in the greatest bookstore I have ever encountered. Ever. I would only allow myself to purchase used books, and I found 2. And we made the mistake of buying really cool Spiderman books for the boys. Which we thought they could share since it seemed really dumb to buy identical books for them. Clearly we were having a moment of temporary insanity, since they have done nothing but fight over these books since we came home at 8:45 last night.

Ryan and Eric stayed with my parents on Whidbey Island for 3 nights. A very long time for little boys who aren't use to sleeping away from home. Apparently Eric was sick one day with a cough and fever and one night when I called it was almost 10:00 and they had not gone to bed yet. My dad drove them to our house yesterday to wait for us, and fix the giant hole in my bathroom ceiling, and the initial meltdown occurred about 30 minutes after we returned home. They are both grubby, grimy, and exhausted. They really missed us and it's clear that they need to spend no more time with each other. This morning when Ryan started to sob when he heard that Daddy had to go to work, Mike told him to brush his teeth, load up his backpack, and meet him at the car. Ryan went to work with Dad while Eric stayed home with me and did not nap.

I have spent the day cleaning, doing laundry, and starting on the knit birthday cake. And if I don't wrap up this blog entry, my bookgroup is going to get to witness post-vacation meltdown, day 2. I'm not sure which I am more concerned about--a meltdown by the boys, or by me.

And you may be wondering how Alice, the passive aggressive-neurotic-peeing-cat fared while we were away. No accidents on our bed. Zero. Nada. Used her litter box faithfully during the entire time she was alone (with Shirley, Emily the Neighbor Girl's mom looking in on her). Peed on our bed within an hour of our return.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I think I may be forced to be happy

Front and Center!
This is just a sampling
of my hats in the front
window. They have a
whole display of me inside!

This is actually starting out as a good week for me. Shocking, I know. First of all, it is raining, and has been raining for two days. I do love a rainy 65 degree day!

Second, I went to Venue yesterday (in the rain!) and look what I found! I am on display in the front window. I stopped in to give the owner a stack of my brand new business cards and hang my brand new tags from my hats. Leah created the design for my cards and they are absolutely adorable. The owner of Venue just raved about them and said the tags were just the finishing touch I needed. Leah, did you hear that?!? All the way over there in China? She LOVED them!

I also took inventory and got to listen to Diane the owner gush over my hats and tell me how much her customers love them. I sold another 4 in the last week and the news threw me into a little frenzy of what shall I knit next and how quickly can I get some new hats to her?! So I celebrated by stopping into the bookstore across the street and buying a new book, Becoming Jane Austin (I had a very girly weekend. Not only did I get to go shopping with Shirley for scrapbook supplies, but I also saw Becoming Jane with my sisters. Given the fact that I just bought the book, you can see how much I loved the movie).

Cards by Leah
How adorable are these?!
We may even be able
to trick people into
believing I'm a pro!

Third, I am bringing my kids to my mom this afternoon for a 3 day stay at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Mike has a conference at a resort in central Oregon and I'm tagging along for the ride. Mike and I have not had more than 30 minutes alone in about 2 years. This evening we can fix whatever we want for dinner. Or not. We will get to eat a whine-free meal at home. Our first in about 7 years. And then tomorrow morning we will drive to Oregon for Mike's conference of investment specialists and other people who do things with money. Should be a rip-roarin' time! They can spend 3 days talking about the virtues of paperclips for all I care--I am bringing a stack of books, a pile of knitting, and I've ordered Mike to make an appointment for me at the spa. He can knock himself out mingling with other people-who-wear-ties-to-work and I will meet up with him again on Thursday afternoon.

I have been researching yarn shops in both Portland and The Dalles and hope to make a stop or two along the way.

I'm sure I will find something to spoil my good time before the week is out. I'm pretty good at it. I've had a lot of practice and I'm sure I can figure out a way to rain on my own parade pretty quickly here. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer Break, Week 8

Today I took Ryan and Eric shopping for school supplies. That utterly ridiculous list of supplies that none of us had to buy when we were kids. Ok, Ok, calm down all you teachers--I don't blame the teachers. The schools do not supply the basic necessities anymore. I GET it. And no, I absolutely do not expect the teachers to personally buy supplies for my child. But I still reserve the right to complain about the fact that my property taxes keep going up, we're certainly not paying the teachers out of it, and now I'm buying all of the supplies. I'm sure there is a perfectly good explanation for where my tax dollars go, but the bottom line is, I had to take 2 children to Target today.

So my morning started with Mike commenting, again, that he sees no reason for me to buy school supplies in June. The fact that it is mid-August and school is starting in 3 weeks does not stop him from saying this.

Of course Ryan picked out a new Spiderman backpack. His 3rd in a row. I tried explaining to him that the quality of this backpack is not good and it's not all that roomy either, but there was no talking him out of it. Just like there was no talking Eric out of a Spiderman head shaped lunch bag that he absolutely does not need. We then selected all of the basic supplies, along with Kleenex, sanitizing wipes, sanitizing hand cleaner, and baby wipes. If Ryan gets sick even once this year, I'm going to be really pissed and demand to know why each child wasn't completely decontaminated each and every day with the $20 in cleaning supplies each of us purchased.

We then went to Barnes and Noble. For weeks now Eric has been begging for the Klutz How To Draw Marvel Comics Super Heroes book. Ryan has one and it has been killing (yes, actually killing) Eric not to have his own. Today was the day. And to be fair to Ryan, I told him he may select one book as well. We found Eric's book and we then had the painful experience of watching Ryan try to make his own selection. He really wanted a comic book. The comic books at Barnes and Noble are very expensive and completely inappropriate for 7 year old boys. I refuse to have Ryan's first sex talk with him as the result of one of these graphic novels. We then finally found a really cool Marvel comic book/action figure set in the bargain book section.

I took the unmarked box to the cashier who told me that even though it was marked $24.99, the bargain price is $14.99. Fine. I had her hold it, watched her put the price on a post-it and stick it on the box, and we then looked around a few minutes more. Went back to the checkout counter and the new cashier threw the post-it away, right in front of me, and told me the box was $24.99. I explained that Sue looked up the real price for me blah blah blah and rather than calling Sue, she called the manager who will now be referred to as The Ass. The Ass told me that $24.99 was the bargain price. I explained again that all of the other bargain books have a special bargain price sticker on the front. This does not. Sue looked it up for me. There is a big stack of these Marvel things in the bargain section and by the way it was on that post-it you threw away. The Ass then shrugged and said again, nope, it's $24.99. The fact that he made a 7 year old boy cry didn't seem to bother him in the least, let alone the fact that he was refusing to honor a price given by one of his employees. I can only assume that he took Sue out back and beat the crap out of her after we left.

I was a woman on a mission. I get to make my son cry anytime I want, but no Ass is going to do that! We were going to get Ryan a comic book if it took all day. Which it did. We then went to a childrens bookstore nearby, that actually had very few books, but was run by a woman who apparently got The Memo from The Ass and completely insulted my kids. I asked if she had any drawing books and she told me that she had a few Ed Emberly thumbprint books, but they would be way too advanced for my kids. Are you kidding me? No wonder she had no other customers. I then explained that my 7 year old likes to sketch and she asked me why I didn't take him to the art museum. I am not making this conversation up. A simple NO would have sufficed.

We then called Mike, knower of all sports card shops in the Seattle area (he should know--he owns most of the cards) and asked where to find the nearest one, as many of then also carry comic books. Or rather, use to, as we found out.

Ryan again reminded me, in his most polite voice, that there is a comic book shop in downtown Renton that Daddy takes him to. I had been avoiding that because I hate downtown Renton. But thanks to The Ass and his sister, I ran the kids through the McDonald's drive through for a very late lunch and headed to Renton. To The Comic Den. A veritable treasure trove of comic books. Eric immediately found the Venom section (Eric scares me. He is only 4 and can't read yet, but was able to find the V section and pull out a Venom comic book with no assistance whatsoever). And despite the fact he was missing several teeth, the man behind the counter could not have been sweeter. He showed me how to read the ratings on the comics, where all the kid-friendly comics are located, as well as Spiderman. He even gave each of the boys a free Spiderman poster and perused Eric's Venom comic to make sure it was free of naked women.

We arrived home at 3:00. We left at 9:30 to buy school supplies and got home at 3:00. Eric immediately put his new Spiderman underwear on (and asked me to throw away all of his Spidey and Friends underwear. It's for babies, you know), then his Spiderman costume, and the boys settled in to Spidey heaven.

I knit a felted pear and then washed away the bat droppings from our breezeway.

I feel like a princess.

At least he is reading.

Monday, August 13, 2007

It's All About ME

"One of my strongest-held beliefs is that no one should ever finish a book that they're not enjoying, no matter how popular or well reviewed the book is. Believe me, nobody is going to get any points in heaven by slogging their way through a book they aren't enjoying but think they ought to read." Nancy Pearl, Book Lust.

I can't tell you how liberating Nancy's words were to me the first time I read them. I am someone who will slog my way through a book, and in some cases, through several books, spurned on mainly by guilt. I often suffer from a severe case of "the shoulds" and I find my life becoming less and less enjoyable. I love to read. LOVE IT. I can't find the words to describe how enraptured I can feel when I'm reading a truly enjoyable and/or well-written book (ok, no one will find a book about, say, The Holocaust, enjoyable, but being moved to tears is just as good). But lately I've been reading (slogging) my way through a couple of books that have felt like 100 pound weights.

My sister Caroline gave me I, Elizabeth for my birthday last year. I love historical fiction and had been reading a lot about that era. Give me anything by Sharon Kay Penman or Phillipa Gregory and I'm in heaven. But I, Elizabeth proved to be painful. I wanted to love it. I wanted to learn everything I could about Elizabeth I and I wanted a juicy romance with Robert Dudley. But right now this is not a lovable book. My guilt is two fold. First of all, Caroline carefully picked out a book for me, knowing I would love it. Not reading it and declaring it to be dry, boring, an insult to Caroline. Also, I really do love that genre, so there must be something wrong with me if I am having a hard time with that book.

At the same time I've been reading the biography of Marie Antionette. Again--a subject with which I am very interested. I have read Antonia Fraser before and thought I remember liking her work. I am a fast reader but it was soon apparent that it was going to take me a year to finish that excruciatingly detailed book. My copy of Marie Antoinette is a library book, which has added a level of urgency and upped the guilt a notch.

So last night I finally gave myself permission to quit both of those books and actually enjoy one of the many many books I have in my to-be-read pile that I keep glancing at longingly.....Life is too short. I wasn't even finished with page 1 of Julia Glass' The Whole World Over before I knew I had made the right decision. I am 38 years old. I have a college degree (in English Lit, no less!) and I have no intention of furthering my education at this point in my life. So why am I wasting my time reading books that make me feel like I'm back in my Beginnings Through Milton English Lit Survey class and I'm almost in tears because I actually do have to read Beowulf and comprehend it! (and by the way, I recently saw a movie poster for a new big screen version of Beowulf. I almost started an anxiety attack right there in the theater lobby. Beowulf?! Seriously?? I could barely handle the Cliff's Notes for it back in 1987. Someone actually pitched this idea to a movie exec and they bought it?! It will be 3 hours of pillaging and plundering by neanderthals in hair shirts. At least they won't have to pay them for speaking parts).

At the same time, I'm finishing my socks. MY SOCKS. The socks I will wear on my feet. From the sock yarn that I special ordered from Canada. A year ago. I'm not knitting for Etsy, Venue, or anyone else until I finish my socks. I realized that I was turning the things I love into assignments. And then becoming resentful. And then I love these things a little bit less. And if I end up not having a batch of felted pears for my mom's shop, so be it. Worse things have happened. But if I'm going to keep doing to things I love, I have to do them in the way I love them.

I do intend to pick up I, Elizabeth again some day. And I will of course get right back to my knitting assignments (assigned with love, mostly!), but I need focus on ME for just a moment or two.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

In Knitting News....

One of many baskets I have
around my living room.
Cinderella takes up so much
room, she gets her own basket.

I realize that my last several posts have contained very little, if any knitting. As if to indicate that knitting has not been a part of my life lately. Could not be further from the truth.

I have been a knitting machine. I am actually stressed about knitting. I am making lists about knitting--lists of yarn to buy, lists of projects to finish, lists of projects to start.

It's almost bordering on, I hesitate to even think it let alone type the words to be read by my vast and ever growing fan base, not being fun. I'm really having a hard time with this. Knitting is something I love. Knitting is something I do every single day. And it's really starting to stress me out right now.

In one month I have sold 8 out of 17 items at Venue. Nearly 50%. I am truly very excited about this! Then I just got my check. It was exactly what I thought it was suppose to be, yet for the first time since I began this venture, I'm struggling with how much, or rather how little I am making. I did not lose money on this. I want to make that perfectly clear. But can't say I'm going to be contributing anything significant to the household budget with it either. Also, I have been in a knitting frenzy, making more of the popular hats and bunny slippers since the owner has been encouraging me to do so and, well, that's how you do business, right? And while I may bump up my prices by a few dollars, I have to be realistic. Clearly people are willing to pay $28 for a fruit cap. They did it 4 times last month. But will they pay $38? I wouldn't. So how do I price them so that I make money on my 50% and still buy yarn that has at least some natural fibers in it?

In the meantime, I'm trying to whip up a bunch of felted pears and cupcakes for my mom's antique shop. She thinks they would sell really well there, and I do agree with her. Her shop is only open on the weekends and will only be open from now until November (it was closed for the last several months for a variety of reasons...) so my window of opportunity is short.

Why do I feel compelled to make these things for my mom's shop? Because she told me so? Because I want to be all things to all people? Because I'm trying to be a human dynamo?

Peter's Surprise
It's killing you, isn't it Dave?!
And then there are my other projects. Peter's birthday gift, Cinderella, the 2nd half of my socks, and the projects I want to start, but just haven't for various reasons. I'm dying to get at that knit birthday cake but the yarn I ordered has not come in yet, which is a double blessing since I have neither the time nor the money to work on that project.

So knitting is being done. It's being done at playdates, during nap/quiet time, in the evening while I watch tv, and basically any other time my hands are free and I'm not actually needing to clean something or feed someone.

I'm hoping I'll get into some kind of groove with Venue so I don't feel a panic every time something sells and I need to REPLACE IT RIGHT NOW OR THE CUSTOMER WILL TAKE HER BUSINESS ELSEWHERE BECAUSE THERE ARE ONLY 2 LAME HATS ON THIS DISPLAY AND NOTHING FROM WHICH TO CHOOSE. Not that I'm one to over-exaggerate, but that thought has crossed my mind once or twice.

I have trim in my house to paint, a stack of half-finished or not-even-started books, not to mention my ever growing list of domestic duties--but I'm afraid that if I begin a non-knitting project, I will lose my knitting ju-ju and then where will I be?! Probably in a much safer and saner place.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Learning from the master

Learning from the master
Although there are certain scenes from Spiderman 2 that we don't let him watch (for obvious reasons), Eric is absolutely glued to the parts of the movie that we do allow him to see.

Eric wears his Spiderman costume every day. Every Day. I do not exaggerate when I say that he literally wears his costume every day. The velcro has been ripped from the back of the mask and is held together with a binder clip, and there is a growing hole in the back near the zipper. The sleeves are practically black from constant play, as is the front. It has been washed numerous times and we have to fight with him almost nightly and insist that he not wear it to bed. Eric is a very sweaty kid and letting him sleep in a polyester costume stuffed with poly fiber muscles just seems like a really bad idea.

It is all Spidey all the time around here. Eric spends countless hours drawing pictures of Spiderman, and often begs us to draw more elaborate pictures for him. He has taped many of these pictures on the playroom wall, as a kind of montage to Spiderman. He has Spiderman shoes and Spiderman bedsheets. It's a phase, just like Toy Story was a phase, then The Wiggles (thank goodness that one ended!), just like he goes in and out of dinosaurs and dragons and lizards and other disgusting creatures. But Mike and I are finding this particular phase to be quite funny.

Aside from the fact that he wears this disintegrating costume 24/7, Eric is really into the villains of Spiderman. Eric loves Venom. And Carnage. And talks about them like there his buddies. In his little 4 year old voice that is missing the L's: "I wuv Carnage" with a sigh and a dreamy look in his eyes. I don't even know how he knows who Carnage is. I don't know who Carnage is. And then people look at us in a horrified way and ask why we've let him see Spiderman 3 when he starts to wax eloquent about Venom. He has not seen Spiderman 3. Are you kidding? WE have not seen it. I don't know how he knows all of this.

I will say this--he is making a really good argument for Nature vs. Nurture because I'm convinced that little boys are born with the superhero gene. It's not as if I spend all day talking about the virtues of Carnage. That part of his brain recently developed and Viola!

I think I should be worried about which part of his brain will develop next. What can be worse than Carnage?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Take us out to the Ballgame!

Take us out to the Ballgame!
Our Uncle Marcus sang today
It brought tears to our eyes
We love to watch the M's play
Please bring us some Rally Fries!

Yesterday our family went to the Mariners game. We had all been looking forward to this day for several weeks! The boys have been hounding us to take them to a game and our brother-in-law, Marcus (Mike's sister's husband) was to sing the National Anthem as well as God Bless America. (Click on his link--you can hear him sing. It's really amazing).

The boys really wanted to make a sign. Mike Blowers, former Mariner and the tv color commentator for the games always sends a basket of fries to the person in the stands with the best sign.

Marcus is an opera singer. Now, I know nothing about the opera. Seriously, I know as much about the opera as I do molecular biology. Or Nascar. But I do know that any reputable opera company is going to have some standards. I mean, they don't accept just any yahoo who can carry a tune. And Marcus proved yesterday that he is no average yahoo. Holy cow can he sing! All he needed was a set of Viking horns on his head.

My 3 Boys
Eating a hotdog at the ballgame--
life doesn't get much better than that!
The idea of a ballgame is more fun than the actual ball game, if you are Eric. Eric completely lost his ability to sit still before the end of the 1st inning. I think the woman in front of him was kicked in the head about 6 times. I lost track of the number of times he kicked the back of her chair.
We left our seats during the 6th inning when no one could take Eric's wiggling any more. We walked around the stadium for a bit, then popped down to the 100 level to watch Marcus sing God Bless America.

That's me, holding Eric.
We're next to Marcus and Mike's sister,
That's me, holding Eric. We're next to Marcus and Mike's sister, Tiffany. Other than getting to hear Marcus sing, (twice!), the most exciting part of the game was seeing the Blue Angels buzz the stadium several times. The crowd cheered louder for the Blue Angels than they did for anything the Mariners did that day. Of course the 30,000 Red Sox fans there that day were quite exuberant, as the Sox beat the pant off of us, 9-2. We then trudged back up to the van and had to listen to the boys whine and cry the entire ride home because we didn't buy them anything at the team store.

This has been my first experience with "floating" pictures. Up until now, I would just plop a picture into my blog, write text around it, and then swear a lot when I lost all of my paragraph breaks. I knew they didn't look great, but, well, what was I suppose to do?

Leah The Maven to the rescue! The boys and I spent the day at Leah's last week and while Ryan and Eric played with Henry and Peter, Leah showed me all kinds of HTML-this-is-how-a-real-blogger-includes-pictures tricks. It's only taken me a hour and a half to complete this post and I've missed dinner, butI actually did it, HTML code and all! You have my permission to be impressed.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I'm So Confused

Today I am doing laundry. I have a ton of laundry--it's on the floor in the laundry room, it is in baskets waiting to be folded, and it is on the couch and coffee table in segregated, folded piles. In other words, it would be apparent to anyone walking into my home that today is laundry day. I also dusted my living room and vacuumed this morning. This is happening while trying to deal with my two boys who are fighting over a black marker. Just to clarify, we have 6 different black markers, which I presented to each of them, but apparently they were each ready to risk a trip to their rooms over one particular black marker....whatever.

All this to preface the fact that it is virtually impossible for me to keep my house clean. Portions of my house are clean, but on any given day, there are always several areas in need of attention. If I'm doing my job right, then those areas change on a regular basis, but the bottom line is, I just can't keep up with all of it every day. It is phyically impossible.

Here is where I am confused: there are people out there with the spotless homes. People with small kids and you know that if you walked into their home unannouced you would find their home to be CLEAN. You all know someone like this. (Who knows, maybe you ARE that person). These are homes that have no clutter. It's as if no mail is delivered to this house. The kitchen counter contains a beautiful bowl of fruit and an espresso maker. That's it. No mail, no dishes in the sink, no alphabet magnets on the refrigerator, no loaf of bread next to the toaster, no crayons, legos, action figures under the table. And for that matter, no crumbs under the table. This house has always JUST been vacuumed. When you open the pantry, boxes of cereal don't fall on top of you--all the food is neatly organized and labeled. This is the kind of house where even the junk drawer is clean. The beds are always made and the laundry is always put away. There are 3 perfume bottles on the dresser and a wedding picture. The playroom looks like a Pottery Barn Kids catalog and the kids actually are only playing with one truck at a time.

My point is, HOW DO THEY DO THIS?? How are they able to maintain this level of insane cleanliness on a daily basis? Even on days when I really, REALLY try, I can't even come close. And I end up exhausted and frustrated as my kids proceed to destroy what I have just done. Seriously, how can EVERY SINGLE ROOM be clean all the time? I mean, what do they do when their kid comes home from a birthday party and wants to play with the goodie bag for 3 days? If I were able to have this house, where would my half-finished books go? How about my knitting projects? WHERE WOULD I PUT THE MAIL?

I'm not saying this would be a fun house in which to live. The rest of the family must fear for their lives on a regular basis. When you want to inventory your dinosaurs, they have to be displayed SOMEWHERE. But I just don't see how it is phycially possible. How can every single drawer, cupboard, and closet be neat as a pin? How can you cook dinner and not mess up the kitchen? Do these people seriously clean their bathrooms every day? Because it sure looks like it.

I long for that Stepford house, where my front porch is always swept and my lawn looks like a golf course. But I can't deal with the yard today. Today is laundry day. And if my family is really lucky, I'll even put it away.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My Husband the Biker

I finally finished Gordon's hat. I finished knitting it several weeks ago, but I still had to weave the ends in. A thankless, tedious task for any knitting project. I'm not sure what finally prompted me to do it, but something inside of me said that today is the day to finish Gordon's hat once and for all.

Gordon wants a hat for bike riding. Not biking, as in riding a Harley, but CYCLING, as in something else I never want to do. Gordon rides 365. Gordon rides to work. 20 miles up hill in the snow both ways. Gordon rides in these insane races and rides his bike, excuse me, cycle, up places like Mt. Rainier. So he asked me to knit him a hat. Of washable merino wool. And here it is! Viola!
This is not Gordon. This is the love of my life and reason for living. And the person I'm legally bound to for better or for worse, in laundry and in crumbs on the floor. In this picture Mike does not look much like a cyclist. He's more like the biker. Eyepatch not included.

Things Are Looking Up For August

Upon finding the Gameboy charger which has been missing for the last 3 weeks. Perhaps we'll survive the last 4 weeks of summer after all.