Monday, February 25, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good: I have switched yarns for my sweater. It's a long story, but I've switched yarns and it is costing me NOTHING. Shannon had the suggestion that, if I were willing to work with yarn from particular distributors, I could knit a sample sweater for the shop. The sweater would stay on display for a few month, the yarn company would pay for our yarn, and after we fulfill our obligation, I can keep the sweater. And did I mention it will cost me nothing? My new yarn is Sublime merino wool and I have been secretly coveting it since I started working at the shop. I found an arched cable pattern I like and I've already knit my swatch.

The Bad: Shannon is really excited for me to get moving on this sweater design class and knit my sweater. She even called me yesterday at work to remind me to take some of the yarn home to get started. I know that sounds like a good thing, and it is, but now I really have to knit this sweater and do a great job. Shannon's generosity has moved this project up considerably higher on the priority list. Don't get me wrong--I really am excited to do this, especially with this sublimely Sublime yarn, but when am I going to find the time to knit an entire adult size sweater?

The Ugly: A life sized man eating spider crawled out of Eric's laundry hamper as I dumped it on to the laundry room floor this morning. I turned around for one brief second to prepare the vacuum for spider annihilation and the spider disappeared. It's been hours now and the spider has not re-emerged. It is lurking somewhere...somewhere....

More Ugly: I'm really sick of knitting hats. I want to finish my Tillie Tomas scarf. I want to finish Caroline's other sock. I want to work on Leah's mittens. I want to start on MY socks. And I have an entire adult sweater to design and knit. And then there is the Paton's Must Have Cardigan which I also want to knit. And my Woolly Snowmen. And Harry Potter socks for the boys. This baby hat business will slow down after March, don't you think? I mean, no one wears hat in the spring, right? I want my business to be successful and all. Don't get me wrong. But you know the challenge has completely left a project when you can read book while knitting. Serious reading comprehension going on while the blueberry hat is forming. These are things I can knit while in traffic. While I'm standing around waiting for Eric to come out of preschool. But I truly need more of a challenge right now. Isn't there something wrong when I can knit while driving?

The Ugliest: I have this horrible song in my head. It's the joke Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon played on Jimmy Kimmel. I am so appalled that I find it funny and that it has been running through my head all day. It is such a profane song...I can't even recommend that any of you watch it because I am so utterly ashamed. But seriously, it makes me laugh.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Eric's Birthday Party

The Birthday Boy
Wearing his new
Spiderman pj's,
new custom superhero
cape and mask, and
holding his brand
new frog Webkinz,
named Spider. Spider
is next to his Christmas
Webkinz, Dirtpup.
Ok, fine. You can say "I told you so". The party was a huge hit. We ended up with 11 kids, all of whom were very well behaved and seemed to have a lot of fun. The weather was unbelievably gorgeous, especially for 10:30 on a February morning in Seattle. And Eric had a great time. It was exactly the way he wanted it. He got a Darth Vader Transformer, a Hot Wheels racetrack, a Cars racetrack, this enormous furry Transformers blanket which he absolutely loves (this kid would wear his pj's and go around wrapped in a blanket all day if he could), a custom super hero cape and matching mask with a Super "E" on the back, Operation Spiderman......he is in heaven.

We played a funny music game, listening to "Purple People Eater.

We went outside and played a balloon stomp, which was very funny,
and then we played tug of war, which was hilarious. Most of the kids had never played this before and they loved it. My nephew Jack was on the losing side and didn't understand the goal of the game--when he was pulled across the middle he started celebrating his win!

Tug of War
This game was
such a hit, even the
dads and grandpa
got into the act.
We ended up playing tug of war several times because it was so hilarious. Then my dad, Mike, and Andy got in on it...

We also played several indoor games--we had a Wii Bowling station, a Pin The Head on Bumblebee station, and a Megatron Target Practice station. We actually had to reign them all in so we would have time for presents and cake. I've never actually had too many activities at a party before! Usually I'm looking at the clock, saying oh crap, that only took 4 minutes. Now what am I going to do with them?

Eric was so excited about this Spiderman cake! The Spiderman toy on top came with suction cups, so Eric spent much of the afternoon sticking Spiderman to various windows throughout the house.

And this is how my living room looked for the rest of the day. Ryan and Eric had a great time opening and playing with each and every single toy, while my dad critiqued each and every toy. If only he were a toy maker and could actually engineer these toy to his specifications. The Spiderman-over-the-door-basketball-hoop was not made well, the Cars racetrack did not have enough speed least this time he did not remind me that we still have not put windows on the barn.

That night Eric went to bed with each and every birthday gift. In his bed.
I'm already prepping Ryan for a much smaller, big-kid birthday celebration, for when he turns 8 in May. Doesn't a movie with just a few close friends sound good? He's not sold yet, but I still have 3 months to wear him down.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Day 4

We're all still alive, although I think Ryan would have liked it better if the 3 of us had taken a vacation and left him in the house alone this week so he could play Super Mario Galaxy undisturbed. Apparently we all breathe too loud and that makes him lose. Many a time has the game been turned off and the Wii controllers removed from his sweaty little palms because of the colossal grumpiness displayed during Super Mario Galaxy.

But you will be happy to know that this morning Ryan beat The Last Bowser and saved Princess Peach. I was hoping that that would mean the end of Super Mario Galaxy until we purchased #2 (we've heard rumors), but never fear--when stars die their dust is released into the galaxy and each dust particle becomes a baby star. It's the circle of life. So you can play the game again with new stars. Whatever. It means nothing to me, but Ryan takes on the intensity of someone who is truly saving the galaxy. I wonder how often Captain Kirk was sent to his room for yelling at Mr. Spock?

On the birthday party front: I have decorations, goodie bags, the cake has been ordered (Safeway does not make a Transformer cake. Of course. I explained to Eric that we would not be going to another grocery store. He found a super awesome Spiderman wall-crawler cake. Done). I have outdoor games if it does not rain, and indoor games if it does.

The house: Certainly not ready for a party. Or even a visit from the neighbors. The laundry is actually washed and folded into baskets. The upstairs bathrooms are clean (and the boy's toilet is broken. As in, we had to turn the water off because the tank won't stop filling with water and starts to overflow. So Mike will have to replace the guts of the toilet tank. In all his spare time). But the living spaces our party guests will actually see? Disaster. I haven't been cleaning because I want to do it as close to the party as possible. Why clean a playroom on Tuesday when I'm going to have to clean it again on Friday night? So now it is Thursday and I have some serious scouring to do.

The garden: We have had unseasonably good weather this week. Spring-like. So my roses have been pruned and about 1/4890 of my weeds have been pulled. I was feeling pretty good about getting a jumpstart on my gardening until I looked across the street at "Todd and Margo". They took a fir tree down on Monday. Took it down, chopped it up, and disposed of the whole thing in about 2 hours. Seriously. They pulled it down right before Mike and the boys left to get haircuts. When they returned a couple hours later, all eveidence of the tree was gone. The last time Mike and I took a tree down it took us about 3 weeks to clean it up. And then "Margo" mowed the lawn. In February. Really? Has your grass even grown? Because mine hasn't.

The knitting: ha ha ha ha ha

I get to work today! You think I'm kidding, but truly I am excited to go to work! I love my job. And it will be my first time alone all week, not counting the 40 minutes I was at Target last night trying to prepare for Lame Birthday Party '08.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

When is MY mid-winter break?

This is how my children are spending the morning of Day 2 of mid-winter break. Watching Zathura. In their pajamas. After being served breakfast.

I would LOVE to lay around in my pj's and watch movies all day while people served me meals and folded the laundry in the basket you can see behind Ryan. Nothing would make me happier than to have a break during mid-winter break. But no. I have to plan an impromptu birthday party.

Eric's 5th Birthday was on Sunday. This 5th Birthday was tantamount to the 2nd coming. We have been hearing about this 5th Birthday for months. What he wants to receive, who he wants to invite, what he wants to do....Eric has focused on nothing but this 5th Birthday. As one of my many failings as a parent, I must confess that I hate throwing birthday parties. I carry quite a bit of guilt around regarding this issue, but it's true. I hate throwing the kid parties. HATE. H.A.T.E It's the decorating, the goodie bags, coming up with 42 activities to keep them occupied, the frosting on the dining room walls, being silently judged by the other parents for throwing such a lame party--the whole package, really. So I was delighted when Mike and I came up with the idea of having Eric's 5th Birthday at the bowling alley.

It's a great bowling alley. Smoke-free, family friendly, lightweight balls, chicken nuggets served on a platter--a very popular place for parties. This was our plan. Birthday at the bowling alley. I show up, pass out cake, and go home to a "clean" house. And then about 3 days ago Eric announced that he does NOT want his party at the bowling alley. And the more he talked about it the more upset he became. There were tears running down his face as he begged me to have his party at home, so he can show his friends his room and his playroom and his Wii and so they could all sit around him in the living room and watch him open his presents. All 14 of them. All 14 little boys we invited because we were suppose to have his party at a bowling alley. All 14 guests who rsvp'd YES. He was begging me. And because I very reluctantly agreed that the party should really be about Eric and not about me and my hatred for kids birthday parties, I agreed.

And so now I have to plan a 5th Birthday party at my house. Which will take place in 5 days. I have to come up with games, activities--all that crap. Did I mention it's a Transformer's party? At least that's an easy theme to work with. How about we transform the party back into a bowling alley party? Now I have to clean--clean the bedrooms, actually put the laundry away, clean the playroom, clear Mike's client files off the dining table, shop for Transformer party whatevers, and try to find a way to entertain 14 boys in my house for 90 minutes.

And the thing is, I already had things to do before this party business came up. I have more hats to knit this week for Zizia and Willow & Bloom. I still have a boatload of hats I need to knit before March 9th, which is the Art Walk for Venue. And I have to knit a sleeve for my sweater , also by March 9th.

Meghan, who frankly is not right in the head, loves to plan parties. So she has done a bunch of research and emailed a list of ideas to me. I confessed to her this morning that I have not opened her email yet. Reading the ideas would force me to use some serious brain cells in thinking about Transformers and those brain cells are currently in use, keeping me in denial that the party is in 5 days.

Party or not, I have to fold laundry now because Ryan will have no pants to wear until I fish them out of that laundry basket next to him.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Things are not going well here at chez Knitting Queen. My business is booming, which I know is a good thing, but this is really getting out of control.

My living room is strewn with yarn and hats. I'm not kidding. I have piles of hats everywhere. I have piles of yarn. Just out there in the open. I'm not even being neat about it any more. The Knitting Queen has taken over every spare surface in the living room and, the sad thing is, I don't think anyone has noticed. What they have noticed is the lack of clean underwear available to them. When your husband comed downstairs draped in a towel, looking for underwear, you know it's time to re-evaluate things.

Here I have my half-finished Tilli Tomas scarf, lying helpless under Leah's just barely begun convertible mittens. Surrounded by hats. This is all making me twitch just writing about it.

Venue: I am so behind. So behind. I haven't given them my bio, I haven't given any serious thought to my display, and I only have about half the hats I need for the beginning of March. I'm avoiding talking to them about my inventory because I'm scared of the answer. I think I should email them today. I don't want to. But I think I should. But I really don't want to know....

Zizia: I hadn't heard from Anna since Christmas and just sort of assumed, well, I don't know what I assumed. And then the other day she called. She wants 3 more cupcakes and 3 more vikings. Pronto. And since I don't know how to say NO to anyone, well, you know the answer.

Willow and Bloom: my new shop in Fremont. They have only been open for about 4 days and she has already contacted me for more hats. She wants as many as I can give her as quickly as I can get them to her. So I have a pile of them to bring tomorrow. Two of which I still need to finish today.

And since my stuff for Venue is still not due for a couple of weeks, I keep putting it off for more pressing issues and now I am so far behind!

Bookgroup: Mike and I are hosting our bookgroup on Friday. I love our bookgroup. Love them! And I am so completely unprepared in every way. My house is a disaster. Scary dirty. I have no plan for dessert to serve. I am nowhere close to finishing the book. We are reading Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. I am only 92 pages into it and it is quite the slow, meandering, cryptic read. I feel very strongly about finishing our books for bookgroup, out of respect for the person who chose the book, and so I can contribute to the discussion. And yes, one of my hidden talents is the ability to knit and read at the same time, but this damn book won't stay open unless I lay something heavy on it, and my eyes won't stay open when I try to read more than one paragraph of this odd book, so I need a new plan. AND, it's my turn to present books this month. So far I only have 2 ideas and need to actually get the books to show everyone. I think they may get Amazon print-outs to review.

Cultured Purls: Work is going well. I really do love working there. However, there is the issue of this sweater design class. We had our 2nd class last Saturday and Shiori started launching into the mathematical equations used to determine my number of rows and stitches and all that. I was immediately back in my 9th grade math class and nearly burst into tears. When she began to use a fake example I immediately interjected with "hey--let's use a real life example. Like MINE for instance." I have to have a sleeve knit by our next class on March 9th. Which, incidentally is the day of the Art Walk. More tears.

And next week is mid-winter break. 5 glorious day with the boys.

This is all I have for you today. One great big long post of whining and complaints. Sorry. Just be glad you don't have to live with me.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

In all my spare time

When I was hired at Cultured Purls Shannon, the owner, explained that any classes they offer are free to me as long as I'm not scheduled to work. A fun perk, and practical, since I truly would like to learn how to knit socks on 2 circular needles as a way to prevent impaling myself again when I toss my half-finished socks into my purse with my size 1 double pointed needles, and then am painfully reminded of them as I dig for my keys.

We have a new instructor, Shiori, at the shop and she is an extremely gifted knitter and teacher. She is teaching a sweater design class and Shannon wanted to make sure all of the employees had a chance to take this class. So she conveniently scheduled the employee class at 8:00 on Saturday mornings. Mara, my manager, made a point of telling me that the class is optional, but since Shannon cheerfully waved to me with a "see you in class!!", I decided it would be in my best interest to go.

After returning from a full day of work, which was preceded by my first 2 hour sweater design class, Mike naively asks "how was your class?"

Me: well, we need to talk about that.

Mike: uh oh

Me: this class is way more than I thought it would be. Half way through the class Shannon started suggesting types of yarn we should select for our sweaters.

Mike: you have to knit a sweater?

Me: apparently

Mike: what about that pattern you just bought? Can't you just use that?

Me: you mean that Paton's Must Have Cardigan pattern that I bought from the Pacific Fabric's going-out-of-business sale for $4.00? I don't think that would go over very well.

Mike: but didn't you buy the yarn for that one already?

Me (thinking to myself): you mean I could have already purchased the yarn for this and he wouldn't have known? Why am I even having this conversation with him?

Me (outloud): no, I bought hat yarn for Venue. And I can't take a class on designing my own sweater and then use a store bought pattern.

Mike: what do you mean you're designing a sweater? I thought that meant you just picked out the color.

Me: I wish. Apparently I have to draw the whole thing from scratch and then actually knit it. And I'm suppose to show up to class next Saturday with my swatch all ready to go.

Mike: why are you taking this class?

Me: because Shannon said "see you in class!"

Mike: and how much is this going to cost?

Me: about $80. Our customers are paying $175, before materials, for this class. So this is a bargain...when I will actually find the time to knit my swatch, let alone design an entire adult sized sweater and then knit it, I don't know. But how do I not actually do this class?

Mike: [mutters something unintelligible and shakes his head as he walks away]