Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weekend Update

It's 90+ degrees right now, which means my ability to be witty has been greatly diminished, so I'll just cut right to the chase.

Baby Blake: We finally got to meet our new cousin/nephew Blake! Blake was born about a week ago, but he had a couple of minor hiccups, so the kids and I stayed away and just sent Mike to visit Tiffany. Yesterday we all got to meet Blake. Blake, who is only 7 lbs and still the size of my boys when they were each still inside of me.

Ryan was very excited to meet Blake and really enjoyed getting to hold him. However, this whole new baby business came as quite a shock to Eric. We've been getting the boys excited for their new cousin for several weeks now, but Eric truly has never been around a newborn baby. I don't know what he was expecting, but it certainly wasn't this. Eric looked at Blake like he was seeing a new creature for the first time. And he was looking at us, trying to understand why we were so excited about this little alien mutant that clearly was not an actual human baby. And every time Blake made a little newborn squeaking noise, Eric would laugh nervously and quickly look away. He wouldn't touch Blake and he was not about to hold him. I think Eric has decided to wait until Blake turns into an actual real baby, because clearly that transformation has yet to take place. Eric, who loves snakes, lizards, frogs, and man eating dinosaurs was not going to get involved with this thing.

Critter update: It has been confirmed--we have a mouse living in our ducts. The ducts that run through one of our kitchen cupboards, next to the microwave, which has now become a vacation stop for the little rat bastard. Mike plugged up the vent opening where the mouse seems to be entering, and then made a point of calling me at work to ask if I knew about the hole that had been gnawed in the bag of brown sugar. I don't think I actually shrieked, but I did alarm a couple of customers. And now that cupboard is dead to me.

The sweater: I've been plugging away at it and actually found buttons for it yesterday. And at only $1.30 a button, a true steal. They are pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.

The rest of my life: on hold until this infernal hell-on-earth-100-degree heat leaves the Seattle area. I am unable to function. Fortunately it has not affected my ability to drink.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What day is it?

It is Tuesday? Really? I guess that means yesterday was Monday. Less than a week into summer vacation and I'm already losing track of the days. We had an impromptu day long play date with Leah yesterday, which you can do when you have NO PLANS FOR THE NEXT 10 WEEKS. Ok, I'm exaggerating a bit. We have a week of Day Camp at church next month. So really, we have NO PLANS FOR 9 WEEKS. I keep meaning to sign the kids up for swimming lessons, but that means finding a pool, checking the schedule, and figuring out if it's in the budget for swimming lessons.

Leah and I have known each other for 15 years. She is one of my very dearest bestest friends and we just don't get to spend time like this together, so it was so great to spend the day catching up. And while we were having our General Foods International Coffee moment (well, ok, it was a Mike's Hard Limeade moment), all 4 boys were digging for Indiana Jones artifacts in the backyard. Which meant we got to have an impromptu bath after the impromptu playdate.

And how is the knitting coming, you ask? Shannon is tightening the screws on my sweater production and I was able to negotiate an extra month. That means I have one month to finish that sweater. One month. 30 days. Miya just emailed me with 4 special orders and Zizia wants 2 more. I also am hopelessly behind in getting hats to Venue. And as soon as the Laundry Fairy shows up I'll get right on all of that.

I also had this brilliant idea that now would be a great time to repaint the boys bathroom. It's kind of a long story that involves them repeatedly pulling the towel rack off the wall, which will result in a standing towel rack from now on. But I have no more of the weird green paint that I used 10 years ago to paint that room, and I want to repaint our downstairs bathroom a different color, so I'm going to use the downstairs paint for the boys bathroom as soon as I'm done priming it. Which means that, instead of just patching the holes and touching them up with paint, the entire room needs to be repainted. And you could argue that this is a really bad time for me to take on a project like this, but the drywall patches have been staring me in the face for about 10 months now, so clearly there is no good time to do this. And there is so much of my upstairs that needs to be painted. SO MUCH. That I need to keep chipping away at it. Really. Sanding and painting my house could be my full time job. I have dreams of both kids being in school full time so that I can have hours and hours of uninterrupted time in which to sand and paint. You think I'm kidding....

Well, I have now procrastinated another 45 minutes by writing this post. I must face the music. Tuesday is upon me. The search for clean boys underwear must begin.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I guess I'm a pacifist at heart

Things over at Sock Wars III are not going well. Not that I've done my part to keep the game going. At all. Several days ago the Supreme Commander sent an email, declaring the the original contest over and asked everyone still playing to send her a postcard, to her home in Ireland, and she would draw a winner from those entries.

The member forum lit up like Vegas when she did that. Some people paid up to $25 and expressed their postcards from Topeka to Ireland to make the June 21 deadline. Seriously? My sock yarn didn't even cost that much. Some people flew into a rage, spitting and sputtering their thoughts at having their contest yanked out from under them. And others, like myself, pulled back to watch the fight.

The next day another email was sent out, by someone who I think represents SWTC (SouthWest Trading Company, who is donating yarn to the winner), but that was not made clear, and she set up her own website and wants everyone who is still participating to sign up with her so that SWTC can keep the contest going and award their promised prize. I kind of wonder about validity of the connection to SWTC though because it was a very unprofessional email and I can't imagine an actual representative from a legitimate organization actually calling someone "stupid" in writing for the world to see. Who knows.

And since the war has taken a drastic turn and invaded new territory, I have decided to make my move to Switzerland.

Instead I am spending my days making BEADED CUPCAKE HATS. I can't even stand it, they are so cute. I went back to the bead store the other day, armed with a bag of Skittles for Eric, and was met with a surprise 25% off sale. It's as if I had been sent a personalized invitation. I bought more beads than I know what to do with, all for a grand total of $12. I want everything I knit to have beads.
This whole hat business has really become a little crazy. A friend of my mom's went to a baby shower the other day and one of the gifts turned out to be one of my cupcake hats, purchased from Willow & Bloom. It's only a matter of time before I attend a shower and see this happen for myself.

Willow & Bloom and Venue are all clamoring for more hats, which I am knitting as fast as I can. I dropped off some hats at my newest shop, Poptops, and Zizia has gotten into the act again. Have I mentioned lately that I still have a sweater to knit? That is due right now? I won't even get into the mile long list of "fun things I want to knit with no strings attached that I guess I will knit when I'm retired".

In other news, school ends tomorrow (as does my life), Tiffany is in the hospital right now having her baby, and Ryan's yearbook was stolen at school today. All three issues worthy of tears.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This is no better

The Raiders of the Lost Ark theme song that had become the soundtrack to my life has now been replaced by this. Steve Martin singing the King Tut song. Last night Ryan asked me to tell him a story about me as a little girl. Since we have been very interested in archaeology, Raiders, and pyramids lately, I decided to tell him about the time I saw the King Tut exhibit. I was about 10 years old and two of my aunts had several cousins spend the night. The next day we all went to the Pacific Science Center at the Seattle Center and saw the exhibit.

I remember a lot about this event. I remember sleeping on my aunt's living room floor. I remember my cousin Lora and I getting such a severe case of the giggles that we were unable to breathe. I remember my aunt taking a picture of all of us standing on the steps outside of the science center (where I am wearing a very stylish yellow jacket with rainbow stripes), and I do have vague memories of the exhibit itself. I mostly remember all the hype because that was all anyone talked about that year.

As I told the story to Ryan it suddenly came to me that back then I had the Steve Martin King Tut record. And I remember playing it over and over and over again. How my parents survived that phase, I will never know. So this morning I found it on You Tube and showed it to Ryan. Hoping he would think it is as funny as I did. After all, it's the dad from Cheaper by the Dozen, you know. Ryan thought it was ok. I, on the other hand, cannot get the 1979 pop-Egyptian music out of my head. And this I share with all of you.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Critter Update

The bats have made their annual migration to the eaves over our breezeway into the mudroom. I get a friendly reminder of this each time Eric announces "watch out for the bat poop!" I guess I should count my blessing and feel grateful that the bats have not chosen to live above our front door.

The bear that was found just a few miles from our house has now been released back into the wild. Great. Because there is no chance it would find it's way to my neck of the woods. Our house seems to be sending out some kind of beacon to all wildlife. A bat signal, if you will. JEN LIVES HERE AND SHE HATES YOU. COME WATCH HER SCREAM.

I won't even get into the mole issue. I'm much more concerned about the creature that seems to be living in our duct work. Think I'm kidding? Mike, who gave up listening to me rant long ago, is the one who freaked out the other night. Mute the tv! I hear something! There it is again! And I was paying no attention to him until I too heard scurrying from the vent behind the couch. And then from the vent in the next room just a minute later. This should become very interesting in about 3 more days.

And of course there were the honeybees that chose to mate on my back deck door window. They can choose to make their sweet insect love in all of Renton, and they chose my window. At eye level. Where Ryan and Eric, and Emily and Daniel from next door happened to be watching and decided they all wanted to go in the back yard right at a critical, yet intensely private moment. How do you explain honeybee porn to a bunch of kids? All who are talking excitedly at the same time: What are they doing? Look at those two bees! One is on top of the other! They are stuck together! Yeah yeah, get your shoes on and go. Overt your eyes and go.

I'm going to start sleeping with a baseball bat and a can of Raid under my pillow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I've been intrigued by knitting with beads. There was a time, in the not too distant past when I abhorred the idea. And then something struck me one day and I became a little interested. And then I became quite interested. And for the past few weeks I've tried getting beads on my yarn, with no luck whatsoever, which spurned me on even further--I know there is a way to get these beads on the yarn and I know knitting with them cannot be as hard as I originally thought.

A couple of weeks ago I went to You Tube and found a video on how to knit with beads. That got me even more hot and bothered, seeing how simple it is to add the beads. And yet I still could not get the beads strung on my yarn. So last week Eric and I took a trip to Beads and Beyond in Bellevue. In the immortal words of my 10 year old niece, Ellie --"O. M. G." That place is amazing. Overwhelming, really. An employee showed me how ridiculously simple it is to string beads, gave me some tips on what size to buy for my yarn, and I then stood there in a stupor trying to decide which colors to buy from the kabillion vials of incredibly inexpensive beads. For $8 I got a pearl needle, some special thread for stringing, and 4 vials of beads. Last night I made my first beaded baby hat. People, I am hooked. HOOKED!

I have a new reason for getting up in the morning. Suddenly the drizzly rain seems not so drizzly. I have a little spring in my step. I am now going to knit everything with beads! $1.25 a vial?!? I am buying a crate of beads! Every knitting project will be adorned with beads. I will become known far and wide as the woman who discovered beaded knitting. Ok, ok, I know you're starting to get a little scared. Scared that I will become the crazy bead lady with those weird beaded things.

I have been giving this some thought, truly, and then it struck me. Struck me like one of Eric's lightsabers. Struck me like a chop from Kung Fu Panda. Beaded cupcake hats. BEADED CUPCAKE HATS. BEADED CUPCAKE HATS! I can't even stand it. It is the epiphany of all epiphanies. I know I promised both Ryan and Mike that I would do their laundry today, since they both came to me half dressed looking for clothes, but clearly that was before I had been able to channel my new found talent into the most adorable project ever.

See you in a month.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tooting my own horn

Shopping Around: The Secret Life of FlowersPhotos by Amber French By Lei Ann Shiramizu

Unfurled in February, Willow & Bloom’s tiny space belies its capabilities. The Fremont floral boutique, painted clean green with accents of white, provides everything from gifts-on-the-go to sophisticated flower arrangements. Owner and floral designer Miya Ferguson loves layering organic components like stone, fruit, sticks, leaves and branches with exotic blooms, especially long-lasting cimbidium orchids. Prices range from $2 for a beautifully wrapped gerbera daisy to $500 for a Willow & Bloom signature arrangement of tropical blossoms, such as South American roses, antique hydrangea, protea or succulents nestled in a one-of-a-kind vessel. Beyond flowers, Willow & Bloom is full of other fresh finds: hippie chic Gypsy Bella Akoya pearl necklaces strung on leather ($50–$250), Elum letter-pressed card sets ($12) and Jennifer Keene cute-as-a-cupcake knit caps for kids ($28).
As found in Seattle Magazine, The Premier Seattle Monthly

Monday, June 2, 2008


This has been really bugging me. Don't ask me why, but clearly it's bugging me to the point that I'm going to share it with all of you. Hand knit soakers. Why why why why why do people make these things?

Let me back up. Hand knit soakers are all the rage in the world of knitting. All the rage. They are all over Ravelry, all over Knitty Bloggy Baby Bumpers, everyone is making hand knit soakers. They are wool diaper covers that all moms who are better than I am use to cover cloth diapers. Cloth diapers that are used to save the environment and prove they are better moms than I ever was during the 6 years I purchased disposable diapers in my diabolical way to help clog up the land fills and aid in destroying the earth. I also use hairspray in an aerosol can.

So, many knitters are making these wool soakers to cover the cloth diapers. Here is my issue. Knitters are making them out of 100% unwashable wool. Unwashable wool. Wool that will shrink the soaker to the size of your Barbie doll's butt if you wash it. Wool that CANNOT BE WASHED. AFTER COVERING A LEAKING DIAPER. Two regular knitters that come to the shop have been making these soakers for their kids. They are making them out of this darling hand spun wool that CANNOT BE WASHED. Now keep in mind that there is a lot of washable wool out there. A lot. In fact, I sold some Cascade 220 to one them for this very purpose the other day and when I tried to direct her to our enormous display of Cascade 220 SUPERWASH, she said, no, she wants the regular stuff. Seriously. She made a point of choosing the unwashable wool over the machine washable wool. So I just had to ask her the obvious question: How does she wash her soakers?

Her answer? When they need to be washed, she just hand washes them. When they need to be washed? WHEN? In other words, there are times when they don't need to be washed? There are times when the soaker, which is covering a leaking diaper, doesn't warrant a good spin in the sanitizing cycle of the washing machine? And she has time to hand wash these things? What--does she have 239 pairs? I barely have time to hand wash my kids, let alone their fine unmentionables. I don't hand wash my own clothing.

Seriously, this is really bothering me. People come into the shop all the time to buy yarn for baby projects. And every sweater, hat, and blanket must be machine washable. I hear it time and time again. People want to make washable items for babies. And yet, that criteria does not seem to apply for the one item that, in my humble opinion, should be boiled into oblivion.

I'm sure someone will read this and comment on the evils of disposable diapers and try to educate me on why superwash wool destroys their baby's brain cells or something of that nature. But honestly, you can say anything you like and it won't change my opinion of unwashable diaper covers.

Tiffany, if I ever see one of these things on that new baby of yours that you are about to issue forth, I will gently rip it from his tiny little body and ever so carefully protect him with a nice sanitary Pampers.

And P.S. don't your kids get HOT?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

And I'm Still Tired

Last Sunday I was tired. I believe 4 of you read all about how tired I was from taking a group of 8 year old boys to the movies. I was tired. I was so tired I could barely see straight. I was so tired that it carried late into the week and I had no energy to get anything done around the house. I was so tired that, well, this is how tired I was:

On the day of Ryan's birthday party Mike drove us all in the van to the movies and used my keys. Also, I switched to a bigger bag to hold all of the contraband candy for the kids. The next day I had to work and Mike wanted to use the van again and asked me to take his car. Now, I hate Mike's car. It scares me. I'm always afraid of being attacked by the creatures living under the heaps of trash in his car. And throwing Diet Coke cans at me. But he rarely asks to use my car and I was going to be at work all day anyway, so I agreed. But I made a point of telling him that he could not use my keys because the key to the shop is on my key ring.

I then said goodbye to my family as they went off to church and I sat around in a daze until it was time to get ready for work. Yes, I skipped church that day. I told you, I was TIRED. I needed to pack up my bag for the day and decided I was too tired to switch purses again, so I just went with the bag from the day before, hoping it contained everything I needed. I was sure to include my little mini Land's End tote that Leah gave me years ago for my birthday. It's the perfect little knitting bag and I bring it with me to work, inside of my purse, to keep behind the counter. It holds a small knitting project, my cell phone, and my keys. I keep my main bag hidden away upstairs, but I need the keys with me because on weekends I open and close the store.

I got to work, stood in the parking lot and cleaned out an entire grocery bag worth of trash from Mike's car so that I wouldn't have to listen to the clinking of Diet Coke cans on the way home, locked his car with his keys and then looked in my hand and remembered that I wasn't holding my usual set of keys. I fumbled around in my big bag, that was not my usual bag, and discovered very quickly that there were no other keys in there. The store was to open in 15 minutes and I had no keys .

I called Mara, who lives 3 blocks away, to come in on her day off to unlock the door. Because that didn't make me feel like a loser at all. I then called Mike, who was at church, and who had not been planning to go back home, and asked him to go home and look for my keys because I would need them by 5:00 to lock up. It was all too much! Too many changes. The wrong car, the wrong bag, the wrong keys...

About 30 minutes later Mike called me at the shop and said that he could not find my keys anywhere. At that very moment I turned, grabbed my mini tote which I had placed behind the counter, opened it, and saw my keys sitting inside.

THAT is how tired I was.