Thursday, January 31, 2008

To Do

Jen's To Do list for Thursday:

1. Write blog entry as a way to avoid the rest of To Do list.

2. Put away the rest of my Christmas decorations that are in a big heap in the dining room.

3. Change everyone's sheets. Often an optional task; NOT optional anymore.

4. Put away clean laundry/gather dirty laundry from all corners of the house. Didn't I just do this?

5. Walk into the kitchen to attempt to clean it. End up standing in the middle of it all and cry tears of frustration because there is no point to cleaning this sesspool of a room that immediately becomes contaminated the second anyone of the male species living in this house walks into it and fails to notice the crunching sensation under their feet.

6. Feed Eric. See #5.

7. Try to convince Eric to change out of his pajamas. Ok fine. Then at least put on clean underwear. No, seriously, you MUST wear clean underwear. Look! Here is your glow-in-the-dark Darth Vader underwear! Aren't those fun? No, don't turn the lights out so we can see them glow right now--I have things to do. I said to leave the lights on. PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON. I CAN'T CHANGE YOUR SHEETS IN THE DARK. Yes, I can see them glowing. Can we please turn the lights back on now? Thank you.

8. Try to decide if I should actually vacuum or just put the vacuum away that has been sitting in the living room for 3 days.

9. Pick Ryan up from the bus.

10. Tell the boys they can play the Wii, but there will be no fighting over who is Player One, who gets to go first, which game they are going to play, and whether or not Eric is allowed to talk or breathe during Ryan's turn.

11. Take away Wii controllers 4 minutes later when #9 fails.

12. Try to knit 49 hats.

13. Leave for work at 4:30. Revel in my first moment of solitude since 6:30 this morning.

14. Return from work at 7:30. See #'s 1-12.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Yesterday the big story in Seattle was snow. They interrupted our regular programming several times throughout the day to remind us of the impending storm coming our way that evening. They interrupted Ellen (and by the way, her segment on the Hawaii Chair was just about the funniest thing I've seen her do in a long time. It's on her website...)which really annoys me. 4 inches of snow heading right for us. Last night as Mike and I sat watching Two and a Half Men there was a ticker that ran across the bottom of the screen for the entire show reminding us of the snow advisory. At least two different local stations ran special "weather shows" at 9:30 last night to explain the hazardous conditions, show that the Department of Transportation had 100 trucks waiting to sand the roads, how to drive in the snow, which areas will be hit first....

You would think that we would have seen at least one snowflake. At all. IT DID NOT SNOW. It's not like we got less snow. Or that it showed up a little later than expected. It did not snow. What we did get was a big windstorm, which I am experiencing right now. You know, they weren't even close with that one. Even Ted Baxter could have figured this one out.

Honestly, it's like Seattle is the internship for people fresh out of Meteorology School. It's pretty typical for the meteorologists (and I use the term loosely. Just because they assign that title to themselves, doesn't make it true) on each of our local channels to report pretty different forecasts. Mike and I often will look at a few different channels, then average them out. And for a couple of them, I think it's their first tv experience. Really, I don't think the weather is suppose to be goofy. And what is with people submitting pictures of their pets to the weather guy? Why am I looking at someone's kitty playing with a ball of string when I'm trying to plan my outdoor bar-b-que party for the weekend? Once a weather guy gets really good, they leave Seattle and move on to the big leagues where they can accurately predict the weather in Boston. But no one actually moves on to Seattle for this job. That has got to be the walk of shame for weather people.

But as inaccurate as each local channel usually is with the weather, yesterday they were all completely in sync. They were all so so so so wrong, but they were all wrong in the exact same way. It like they all copied their test from the class dunce, thinking he knew the answers. Tip: when you steal the other team's playbook, make sure it's better then what you've got.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Maybe my dad knows something after all?

Mike saw this at the grocery store today. Perhaps we'll be saying a sad farewall to Paul sooner than we thought? Whatever you do, don't show my mom!

Well, this day sucks

All weekend long the news has been promising/predicting/threatening snow. Cultured Purls was a tomb all weekend long because people were so freaked out by the snow that never was. Ok, I understand you not wanting to go out in the snow. I get that. But this weekend it did not snow. And it was about 40 degrees, so it was not going to snow. A quick trip to the yarn shop was not going to kill you.

And then late last night it snowed and all of Seattle ran shrieking for cover. Now I know there are areas that received a few inches. Those areas are not near my house. We received a dusting. And by a dusting, I mean I could still count my blades of grass and all of my mole hills. And yet, schools throughout Western Washington are closed. And I am home with my kids. There is not enough snow outside to make it fun and, I repeat, I am home with my kids. At least the big grumpy one finally went to work after stomping around and insisting that he was not in a bad mood (self employed people particularly hate the snow. Like it's MY fault it "snowed").

And here is the kicker: Tonight it is suppose to seriously snow. They're already talking about it. We're suppose to get 4 inches and all of this slush we're dealing with right now will turn to solid ice. Clearly there will be no school tomorrow. That is two, count 'em, two days home with my kids. And the big grumpy one will probably have to stay home too. And the amount of solitude I will get in the next two days is zero.

And I need the solitude for some serious hat knitting. I was contacted this weekend by a new shop owner in Fremont who is just about to open up her new store, Willow and Bloom. Apparently she has been shopping and shopping for just the right baby line and thinks I am it. After emailing back and forth a few times and talking with her on the phone, I am really excited to get some hats to her by mid-February. Now I hesitate to tell all of you about this because I'm afraid you may react like my husband did, which was to shake his head and start to mutter to himself. And honestly, I'm not sure how I'm going to pull all of this off because I still have this Artist of the Month business for Venue to work on. I am thinking about dropping Happy Delusions. I have 3 months left on my lease, but my stuff is moving so slowly that I don't have to knit much for them. So that sounds like it might relieve some of the stress, but I guess it really won't. But how can I say no to this? This is what I've been working toward, isn't it?.

I have started Leah's convertible mittens, which are adorable. I'm working on a pair of socks for my sister. Cinderella--not touched. My scarf--slowly growing. And then there are the things I want to begin knitting: the Woolly Snowmen, Paton's Must Have Cardigan, my socks, and new baby Blake's what-ever-I-decide-on. I finished one of my convertible mittens, declared it a disaster, made notes of everthing I did wrong, then took it apart. I think I can fit in a few dozen baby hats into this schedule, don't you think?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Paul Newman's Funeral

During my lunch break today, while I was at work, I noticed that I received a couple of messages on my cell phone. One was from a friend, and one was from my mom. A frantic message informing me that Paul Newman had died. Apparently my dad had been warming up the truck and heard the information on the radio. He came back in the house to tell my mom that sad news, then left for the day.

So, being the rational, reasonable, sane person that she is, she gets on the horn and starts calling everyone she knows--Did you hear the news? Paul Newman has died! All the great ones are gone....She was doing some serious lamenting into my voicemail about this. If you told her Heath Ledger has just died, her response would be "Heath who?", but for Paul she is starting to pack her bags to attend the service. Her casserole for Joanne Woodward is already in the oven.

I called Mike during lunch and during our conversation I mentioned, Oh yeah, and I guess Paul Newman died today.

Mike: Yeah she called me too. Funny thing is, there is nothing on the news or the internet about his death. Nothing.

Me: Well, my dad heard it on the radio

Mike (checking the internet): Well here is something saying today is his 83rd birthday...

So I called my mom.

Me: Mom, what exactly did dad say?

Mom: He just heard the tail end of the story--Paul Newman is 83.

Me: Yes, that is because IT IS HIS BIRTHDAY. HE IS NOT DEAD. You can take off the black now, Mom. Paul is still alive and kicking. Quit calling people to tell them Paul Newman has died. He's eating cake right now.

Mom (Laughing): Oh, Whew! Hmmm...maybe I should let your dad know.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Pressure is Mounting

Eric and I made the trek to Venue today. I dropped off 5 hats, checked out my inventory, removed 4 sets of booties that are clearly never going to sell, and talked with Caitlin for awhile about this Artist of the Month business. She showed me my spot for the month of March, which is a prominent place near the front of the store. I am going to have to knit a lot of hats in the next month to fill that space up. And according to Caitlin, the place will be jam packed the night of the Art Walk. Apparently I will need a ton of inventory since it will all fly out the door that night. I should also have pictures and perhaps even a sign.

I am so out of my league. I know NOTHING about displaying my merchandise. Caitlin wants me to think about just how I want to display my hats. Well, that tiered shelf that I'm currently using seems to be working just fine--can't we keep using that? Apparently I need to be creative and dazzle the baby-hat buying public. Seriously, I have no ideas. Zero. How about a box with a bunch of hats thrown in it? Would that work? A long table with some hats strewn about? Is that not appealing enough? Anyone who might be planning to stop by that night--I would seriously lower my expectations if I were you.

I've pulled some loser items from both Happy Delusions and Venue and have placed them ever-so-appealingly on Etsy. There is no reason anyone perusing my Etsy shop has to know that these items are apparently poisonous and will make their baby's head turn green. So they can sit there for awhile getting no attention and then I will sneak them back over to one of my shops so they look like brand new items again. Clearly these are items I will NOT be making anytime again in the foreseeable future, but I would like to at least recoup my costs.

I would like to finish my own pair of convertible mittens, now that I've calmed down and figured out how to make the flap. I would also like to finish my Tilli Tomas scarf while it is still winter (and winter it is! It was 19 degrees when we woke up this morning! And they're talking snow later on this week. It will either be Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, depending on which channel you watch). I also want to finish my sister's socks, begin Leah's convertible mittens (which are way more exciting than mine, truth be told), and finish Cinderella #2. I have been narrowing down my project options for Tiffany's baby and I'm pretty excited about my selections. When I will actually find the time to begin that project I have no idea, but it's still a step in the right direction. And I found a pattern for a sweater for myself that I am dying to try.

Oh, and I do have a job and a house to maintain. Can't say I'm really on top of the house portion of my life (Eric officially ran out of underwear this weekend. The good new is, Mike was able to teach himself how to use the new washing machine while I was at work), but work is great. I am truly amazed at my ability to sell yarn and books to people. Expensive things that I easily talk people into--people who clearly have much more money that I do. If I can't buy it myself, it is somewhat satisfying to help someone else buy it!

And my parting thought for the day: school holidays should be banned. The only benefit I got out of this 3 day weekend is an especially evil 7 year old who yelled at me all day because I told him to find something else, anything else, to do other than play the Wii.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Things were ho-hum and then....

This has been an annoying week. School has been delayed by 2 hours the past 2 days due to ice and snow. And while I appreciate the Issaquah School District looking out for our safety and all, clearly they didn't pick up on the fact that a 2 hour delay means an additional 2 hours I have to spend with my kids. My kids who have been fighting this week. My kids who seem to miraculously discover the same forgotten toy at the same time and then start to fight to the death over ownership of said toy. One child, who shall remain nameless but is just about to turn 5 years old, is especially annoying because he has given up his naps once and for all (I don't want to hear it, you people whose toddlers quit napping at the age of 6 months. It hurts whenever it happens. The kid has been napping in the afternoon for nearly 5 years--you try giving up a tried and true habit that you have employed daily for 5 years. You'd be grumpy too...). I keep putting him in his bed and order him to close his eyes and his mouth, and he lies there very sneakily and quietly until 42 minutes later when his CD is done. And then I hear the THUMP of his annoying little feet hitting the floor and the pantless wonder appears at the top of the stairs.

The other annoying child, who frankly, is equally annoying, has decided that he is the boss of us all. No one in this house can do anything to his standards. We can't play Wii tennis correctly, we can't use a lightsaber correctly, and our wizarding powers are severely lacking as well. And we have the audacity to ask him to do his homework, eat food, pee, and clean up his own toys. We suck as parents.

So I've been doing my best to ignore these wretched little beasts and KNIT. Oh, the knitting list....

--I'm finishing up a special order of 2 viking hats to send off to Spokane
--I still have the Tillie Tomas scarf
--Cinderella is a mere 2 rows bigger
--Leah's self patterning Regia sock yarn just arrived for her convertible mittens
--Venue and Happy Delusions need some sprucing up
--Erin just asked me for a girl viking hat for her 4 year old

and, the biggie:

Venue just asked me to be their Artist of the Month in March. This means I need to have HATS, HATS, and more HATS by the beginning of March. And as Artist of the Month I am to help host Venue's portion of the Ballard Art Walk, which takes place the 2nd Saturday of each month. So of course I said YES, knowing full well how certifiably crazy this will make me. But how do you turn that down?

I think it's time to teach the boys to knit. If for no other reason than to keep them from fighting over who owns which dvd in our cupboard because my answer that they belong to the family is the lamest answer ever. Honestly, if they could, they would walk around the house with a label maker, slapping their names on every single solitary item in the house. Oh, there I go again, I was talking about something fun and now we're back to the boys. See how annoying they are?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Oh the pressure!

At Leah's request, here are my Valentine's hats. Pretty cute, don't you think?

Last night was fraught with knitting frustration. After a day of parenting frustration. I have not been happy with my beloved Tilli Tomas scarf. It was too wide and I'm not completely sold on the lace concept. I would really like to do a cable knit scarf and I finally found one after spending hours searching for just the right pattern. And now I'm back to my original plan. I always forget--cabling takes up so much yarn. The cable pattern I found calls for twice as much yarn as I have. And while I would normally consider purchasing more yarn to complete the project, at $39.95 a skein for Tilli Tomas, I'm not doing that. So I restarted the scarf with my original pattern and I'm making it narrower. It will be fine and I will wear my $80.00 scarf that has nearly brought me to tears every day.

I also spent time with those horrid convertible mittens. I restarted the flap 3 times before I realized that I was doing it backwards and there was going to be no way it would actually go over my fingers. By the time I realized this I was so angry I just had to put it away and try to finish up my mom's sock (which would be finished by now if I had not spend my entire morning assembling and reassembling, and then reassembling again Eric's Aqua Raiders legos so he could play with them in a big bucket of water in the kitchen because he begs me to do this every day and won't use the bathtub because he's convinced all his legos will go down the drain and he then proceeded to get water all over the kitchen floor and I then had to force him to change his soaking wet clothes while he tried to convince me that they would dry).

And then I am reminded why I don't knit for myself. It's so much easier to knit for others. I don't know why. But I am rarely happy with projects I choose for myself. I guess I feel that if I have to look at something every single solitary day for the rest of my life, I want it to be perfect. Not that I'm prone to exaggeration. Ever.

And I have just learned that the new baby in the family is going to be a boy. What to knit for the new nephew?! It certainly can't be one of my stock items. I need to find just the absolutely perfect and unique pattern that will bring me joy with every stitch and not once make me want to chuck it across the room. All before mid June.

Perhaps he would like 1/2 of a pair of black convertible mittens and beaded scarf?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Making Progress

This week I've been trying to mix things up a bit. In between each hat I knit for Venue and Happy Delusions, I am trying to finish up some long overdue projects. What you see before you is Meghan's completed birthday cake. I bought the pattern and yarn months ago. I saw a sample of it at Hilltop Yarn East and bought the pattern on the spot. I had to have it. Had to. Was not leaving the store without the pattern. I knit it up right away, but had the bottom to complete and then had to have a piece of foam cut for it. Those last 2 steps took me about 4 months. And in the meantime Meghan saw it and claimed it as her own. Which actually works out nicely because I'd like to make another one, if for no other reason than to justify the purchase of my Skacel lace needles. I believe the next cake will be chocolate with pink inside.

I've also started making my luscious Tillie Tomas wool scarf, which is adorned with tiny glass beads.

In the meantime I'm making valentine hats for both of my shops (Mike brought a few hats into Venue last week and apparently one of the valentine hats sold 15 minutes after he left), as well as more cupcake hats and vikings. Oh yeah, and I still owe my mom 1/2 a sock, I have 3/4 of my first convertible mitten done, and my second Cinderella still lies in dismembered parts in a basket under my sofa table. I have plans for Cinderella #2, so I need to get a move on. I also bought sock yarn for my sister, Caroline, at her request, and I have my own pair of socks to knit from the cotton candy hand spun hand dyed sock yarn from Cultured Purls. Will the fun never end? I have something new on the horizon that I'm dying to take a crack at, but I will not allow myself to begin even one Woolly Snowman until I finish up this list. Or the vast majority of this list. Or at least one more thing....

Speaking of Cultured Purls, they love me. Not to get too Sally Field on you, but they really really love me. They want to increase my hours a bit, but they are worried about the time I'm spending away from my family. What kind of boss says that? What kind of boss cares at all that you even have a family? They really want to make sure I'm liking my job and that I'm happy. I told them to bring it on!

And after the day I have had with my two precious cherubs, I may consider working there full time. I jest, of course. They have been anything but precious cherubs this afternoon. I believe the word I'm looking for is ANNOYING. Or perhaps WHINING. BELLIGERENT? SOUL-SUCKING? HORRID LITTLE BEASTS WHO ARE COMPLETELY INCAPABLE OF COMPLETING A SINGLE SOLITARY THING WITHOUT FIGHTING/ASKING ME FOR HELP/COMPLAINING/WHINING/STOMPING/DID I MENTION WHINING?

But I digress. Well, actually I'm going to digress back to the last paragraph for a moment. IF ERIC DOESN'T TAKE A NAP TOMORROW (AND I MEAN A NAP WHERE ACTUAL SLEEPING IS INVOLVED) I AM GOING TO DROP AN AMBIEN INTO HIS APPLE JUICE.

There. I feel better now.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Back off girls, he's all mine!

Seahawk Blue Day
Would you purchase
an IRA from this man?
You would if you lived
in Seattle!

This is how my husband dressed for work today. Mike is a financial advisor, and being that it's a rather conservative industry, he generally dresses in a shirt and tie. His new company is a bit more casual, but a sport coat and dress pants are still the norm.

Tomorrow the Seahawks play their first playoff game. As today is Seahawk Blue Day, well, you can figure the rest out for yourself.

Mike is a huge sports fan. Not in a paint-your-face-wife-get-me-a beer-while-I watch-ESPN-on-my-300"-tv-all-weekend kind of way. But he has a true love of sports. And more specifically, a true love of Seattle sports. Mike has quietly collected every Sonic basketball card from 1977 to 1998. Mike still has his 25 year old Mariners baseball hat, that he use to wear on a daily basis when we met in college (he had to wear it every day because he was always late for work at his 8:00 print-shop job, 3 minutes from his dorm room). Mike was a Mariners fan when no one was a Mariners fan. Mike was going to the games when he was getting in for free. Literally.

In 1995 the Seattle Mariners made it to the playoffs for the first time in Mariners history. There was a one game showdown between us and the California Angels to see who got the last playoff spot. Mike took the day off work and went with his friend Steve to that game. When the Mariners won, Mike cried. Mike did not cry on our wedding day. Mike did not cry when our kids were born. But he cried when the Mariners clinched a playoff spot for the first time ever. And he carried that ticket in his wallet for years. He had no pictures of me in his wallet, but he carried that ticket. He and Steve then, somehow, bought Mariner playoff tickets and he attended every game. He went to a game on my birthday. And he went with my blessing because I knew that for him, this wasn't just hype. He is not a fair-weathered fan. Mike had truly been waiting for that moment since 1977 when he was 9 years old and the Mariners played their first game in Seattle.

Mike reads the sports page daily. He doesn't just read the fluff stories. He reads the stats. He knows the players. He keeps track from season to season. He watches the drafts. And he has strong opinions about issues that he has been following his entire life. He believes Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. As well as Barry Bonds. Not because he loves gambling and steroids but because he believes these players have truly earned their spots, and my quiet unassuming husband can very passionately convince you of his arguement.

Two years ago a friend generously gave us tickets to the Seahawk playoff games. During the first game it rained. It poured. We sat in the freezing cold rain for 3 hours in the exposed end zone trying to eat our lunch before it washed away and Mike loved every single solitary second of it. Somehow I ended up with beer in my hood and peanut shells on the inside of my sweatshirt (and I didn't eat any peanuts) and my jeans were dripping wet, but I loved it because, again, I knew how much it meant to Mike to be there. It wasn't just that he was experiencing history. He was experiencing his history.

And that is why my husband is dressed like Norm from Cheers today.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Mike nearly cried, and then my dad...

It was never my intention to stay away for over a week. But somehow that just happened. Every day I think to my self "hmmm...I should blog...." and then it never actually happens. So now I have a choice. Do I blog about Christmas? Work? Current knitting projects? Knitting sales? All of the above? Does anyone actually care about the mundane details of my life? And yet, that's what the last week has been--just living my life.

Venue: Record month for me. I sold 16 hats and I'm thrilled about that. On to Valentine's Day!

Cultured Purls: Work is great. I play with yarn. I help people pick out yarn. I answer questions about yarn. And at the end of the day my boss tells me how great I am.

Christmas: Christmas was fun. Christmas was great. Christmas was, well, Christmas. The boys were beside themselves with anticipation and we did compromise with Ryan and opened half our gifts on Christmas Eve and half on Christmas morning. We sent the boys on a scavenger hunt on Christmas Eve, the end result being the Wii under the couch. The boys were, of course, thrilled, but I always have to remind myself that Ryan is a kid of delayed reactions. When he opened it he just kept repeating "it's a Wii, it's a Wii....". No screaming, no jumping up and down. Ryan is a kid who needs to process information before he can react. And the bigger his audience, the more withdrawn he becomes. So I was a little disappointed by his reaction (or lack thereof). But once the information is processed, however, LOOK OUT. That kid is now Captain Wii. And watching Eric shake his little buns has he plays Spiderman Friend or Foe is about the funniest thing I've ever seen. And I may need rotator cuff surgery from the homerun hitting contest.
Mike and I had agreed not to exchange gifts this year, declaring the Wii a family gift. But he broke the rules and bought me a skein of my beloved, coveted Tilli Tomas yarn that I pet every time I'm at work.

Mike's greatest fear: My mom is a huge Celine Dion fan. For the last few years she has been lamenting that she wants to go to Vegas to see Celine. And now Celine is leaving Vegas and mom will never get a change to see her. Ever. And so now she's been lamenting about that. My mom is a world class lamenter.

Several weeks ago my sister Caroline had a brainstorm and left the message on our voicemail--Celine Dion is coming to Seattle and would we all like to chip in and buy tickets for mom as a combined birthday and Christmas gift? And although those tickets are way out our price range, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And would forever stop the lamenting (about Celine, that is). Mike listened to the first part of the voicemail, screamed and hung up. The words "would you like to buy Celine Dion concert tickets" are words that make him shutter and cry. Those are words that will keep him up at night. If you're ever looking for a way to torture Mike and make him talk under pressure, blast a Celine Dion cd. Put on the soundtrack to Titanic and he'll just lay there and sob as he hands over his firstborn.

So I listened to the voicemail and told him to get a grip--we are not going to a Celine Dion concert--we're sending Mom and Dad to the concert. And, well, Mike had no issue over the cost of those $300 tickets as long as he didn't have to see Celine Dion with his mother-in-law.

On Christmas morning my mom opened her gift and almost burst into tears when she realized what we all had done. And then my dad realized that he has to be her date and nearly burst into tears himself.

And that, my friends, is the miracle of Christmas.