Thursday, August 28, 2008

Today's Rant

Today's rant is brought to you by Toys R Us. And then Target. And then Staples. And then back to Target again.

I took the boys shopping for school supplies today. While shopping for school clothes we happened to be near a Toys R Us. Armed with my supply lists I suggested we drop in to Toys R Us to see if they had any super deals. And unless Ryan wants to become a walking billboard for High School Musical 3, that was not going to happen at Toys R Us. Also, they had no supplies. They had many empty bins with room for the supplies, just no supplies.

Fine. Target was where I had intended to go anyway. After finishing up at the mall, we went across the street to Target. There Ryan found his backpack pretty easily, but he agonized over his lunchbag. Since his backpack is plain blue, I thought maybe he would want just a plain lunchbag as well. But no. After an eternity, in which all of Northgate Target now knows that I am not buying Eric a blue notebook because we have 14 notebooks at home and it's not on the supply list so don't ask me again seriously Ryan just pick a lunchbag already, Ryan settled on Spiderman. "Are you sure 3rd graders still do the character thing?" "3rd grade--yes. 4th grade NO". I guess he's been paying attention.

And then back to the supplies. Which again was a short trip because of the lack of supplies. As in, there were no pencils. Between the two boys I was suppose to buy 6 dozen pencils and I could not find one. Not one single pencil. Nor gluestick. Zero glue sticks. I needed 32 tubes of white gluestick and Target had none. And there were no crayons. You think I'm making this up, but I was one of 5 moms with horribly whiny kids roaming the ransacked aisles of the Northgate Target muttering "where is the glue....I SAID KNOCK IT OFF...there is no glue anywhere around here...".

So I bought some overpriced pencil top erasers, the wrong box of colored pencils, a package with too many highlighters, and some other random supplies that were too expensive and not quite right and told the kids we were going to a different Target.

Drove all the way back down to Renton and went to our beautiful brand new Target. On the way there I remembered the Staples that was right next door and decided to return the supplies at the new Target and try Staples. This actually proved to be a good move. Found 3/4 of our lists at Staples for a steal. Including a box of 6 dozen pencils on sale for $2.99. However, that cursed gluestick issue was beginning to rear it's ugly head again. Staples did have gluestick. And they actually did have white. But for $0.83 a tube. I can't do it. I can't spend $26 on glue. And while I'm studying the glue Ryan is next to me urgently pleading "but Mommy, it HAS to be WHITE. IT HAS TO BE". And I'm saying "there is NO WAY I'm paying $26 for glue....back to Target, kids!"

So we went next door again to the new Target and, in the school supply section, guess what we found--no glue. None. Big bottles of Elmers looking all forlorn like wallflowers at a school dance because apparently Target didn't get the memo that it's all gluesticks all the time.

And then, just for fun, we went to the office supply section. And lo and behold, glue stick. For $0.11 a tube. And I bought every package they had. I'm still short by about 10 tubes, and yes, it's the dreaded evil purple gluestick made by the devil, but you know what? It's GLUE. It's a sticky substance that NO ONE SEES. The kids don't care about the color of their gluestick and I apologize to no one for the fact that I spent $3.08 on glue rather than $23.24. Besides, I needed all that extra money to purchase 2 pairs of adult sized scissors for Ryan's class. Because apparently his teacher will need 20 extra pairs of scissors.

I'm not even done. I still have to buy hand sanitizer, Kleenix, sanitary wipes, and ziplock bags. My kids better not get even as much as a sniffle after all the antibacterial goop their teachers apparently intend to squirt on everything and everyone.

We found out the other day that Eric is in morning kindergarten and we're hoping one of these days he will learn to pronounce her name. Ryan--still no news. However, you will be happy to know that both boys are currently wearing their new school clothes for this afternoon's viewing of Hook.

That bottle of wine I finished off last night would sure come in handy right about now.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekend Update

This weekend our dinner group gathered for a day at the beach at Andy and Michelle's beach house on Camano Island. Normally the adults meet once a month for dinner and we leave the kids with sitters, but twice a year we try to include the kids.

These kids have all known each other since the day they were born and they really love each other. Getting all 8 kids together in someone's home is, quite frankly, a royal pain, but it's always so worth it because they enjoy each other so much.

Upon arrival, those kids and dads could not get to the beach fast enough. Andy has an old jet ski that each and every one of them could not wait to get their hands on. Early on, Mike decided to take Ryan for a ride.

This goes without saying, but Mike has never used a jet ski before.

After dumping my precious 8 year old into Puget Sound twice, Mike relinquished his life vest.

...and Andy stepped in to give Ryan the full jet ski experience.

Ever the daredevil, Eric wasn't going to let a little thing like Mike and Ryan's near death experience spoil his fun. Eric had all the dads zipping him around the Sound. If you ask Eric his favorite part of the trip, he will tell you without hesitation that it was the jet ski.

While the dads took turns chauffeuring the kids around on the jet ski, Ross and Paul, the two oldest boys, took turns rowing the younger kids around in a rowboat.

For the dads and the kids it was a day of beach, swimming in the lagoon, more beach...

The only other thing we did that day was eat. And eat. And eat. We had chicken. Fresh crab. Hot dogs. Chips. Salads. Watermelon. Zucchini bread. Veggie trays. Pie. Mud Pie. Chocolate concoctions. S'mores. We at until we were sick.

The Girls
This picture was
taken a couple
of years ago at
another family
dinner group. Too
bad no one thought
to take an updated one!

And then we ate some more.

This picture is not from this trip. In fact, this picture is not from this year. Guess who takes the pictures? Yep. Those girls over there. So guess who is never in a picture? Right again. But that's us. We were there too. Sitting in lounge chairs, drinking pineapple margaritas, laughing at my husband, watching me knit socks, and throwing food toward our children when they complained they were hungry. And we are also the ones who washed our dirty disgusting kids the next morning only because it was too late to wash them when we got home that night. We are the ones who washed the dirty disgusting clothes from a day at the beach, and who vacuumed up the sand from the kids' beds, and, inexplicably, the couch.

That day was even better than a day at the yarn store.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Anybody got a pencil I can borrow?

Will these do?
The boys have an
entire drawer
devoted just to
pencils.Do you
think Ryan's teacher
would notice if I spray
painted them all yellow?

School starts in 11 days. For Eric, 12 days. I have issues with the boys' school right now. For instance, why does kindergarten have to start a day later than the rest of the grades? I'll start to complain and some Issaquah person will explain to me about the Wednesday half days and why they are so valuable to the teachers blah blah blah...I don't care. And what is worse, my kindergartner won't care when I try to explain why Ryan is going to school a day earlier than he is. I also don't care about their excellent reasons for why Kindergarten Orientation must be on Ryan's first day of school, at 8:30 in the morning because for me it means trying to find childcare for Eric at 8:30 on a Wednesday morning on Ryan's first day of school.

I'm sure the boys' school has a darn good reason for breaking up curriculum night into 2 nights this year, but again, for me, don't really care. Because now Mike and I have go to Curriculum Night both nights, deal with childcare both nights....and don't even get me started on the fact that school starts in 11 days, 12 days, whatever, and we don't know who the boys' teachers are, I don't know if Eric is in morning or afternoon kindergarten, and we don't know their bus route yet. All of which would be helpful in answering Ryan's incessant questions about his 3rd grade teacher and my boss's questions about whether or not I can work on Friday afternoons.

So perhaps I shouldn't feel so bad that things at Knitting Queen central are just as behind. I have not purchased school supplies yet (and I will be going to one store this year. One. I gave up trying to find white glue stick from their 13 year old supply list back when Ryan was in 1st grade. That purple glue stick works just as well, there is nothing wrong with it, and I will say it to the teacher's face if I have to. And unless Eric's teacher is planning to clean MY painted walls with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, I fail to see how this will aid in his education. This item was not on Ryan's kindergarten school supply list and yet he still learned to read. Go figure. Ryan's list has him bringing 5 dozen pencils. FIVE DOZEN. For each child. The class needs 110 dozen pencils? Really? Ryan's 3rd grade class will go through 1,320 pencils? Are they disposable? Is the 3rd grade from Briarwood Elementary supplying pencils for the rest of the school? Will Ryan received a failing grade in P. E if he only brings 4 dozen? Is the teacher worried about a world wide pencil shortage? These lists get more ridiculous each year).

I still have to buy Eric pants, they both need shoes and a winter coat, and haircuts. And I just can't be worried about funding Ryan's on-line school lunch money account yet, since he is still eating at home until September 3rd, so I wish they would quit sending me reminders that his account is low. Of course it's low. THERE IS NO SCHOOL RIGHT NOW. I'll fund his school lunch account when you start to feed him lunch. Until then, lay off and put your efforts into raising money for pencils or some other worthy cause.

There. I think I got it all out of my system. I do like their school. Very much. The staff is great, I adore the principal, the class sizes are manageable. All of the important things at the school are good. The reasons I love their school are all still very much there. They just really need to get this pencil inventory thing figured out so that Ryan Keene isn't single handedly supplying pencils for the entire student body, staff, and the high school down the street.

Ah yes, things here at Knitting Queen Headquarters are blissfully happy. We're not sick of each other at all. It's just a little slice of heaven here, under the piles of laundry, legos, and half-drawn pictures of Spiderman strewn all over the floor. And kitchen table. And the stairs. And like Pavlov's dog, each time I pick up my knitting needles I hear "mommy can you.... [fill in the blank]".

Just 4 hours until I go to work. A child free, laundry free, lego free, cat litter free environment where we have just 5 pencils in a handy little cup next to the register and somehow we're all still able to go on.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I'm making progress, people! Linda's socks are finished, have been mailed, and have been received. Check. Emily's fingerless gloves are finished and waiting for her. Check. The bag portion of Leah's Noni bag is done. Check. Cupcake hat special order-done and mailed. Check. The back of Ryan's sweater--I'll be able to check that off as soon as I learn to read the directions completely and accurately.

That still leaves Leah's other yoga sock, the flowers for Leah's bag, the rest of Ryan's sweater, and Ellie's socks. I lied to you. I told you that I wasn't going to start them. And then I did. I have no self control. And I wouldn't even be telling you this but Mike caught me. He was reading my blog the other night, where I specifically stated that I would not be working on Ellie's socks, and there I was, right next to him, knitting Ellie's sock. More muttering and shaking of his head. He seems to do that a lot when he's around me.

And baby hats, baby hats, baby hats. I absolutely will not allow myself to begin Mike's sweater yet. And I don't have the yarn for Baby Blake's sweater or Eric's, so I'm safe there. For the moment.

That's all I have for now. School starts in about 2 1/2 weeks. It's raining this week and the neighbor kids are on vacation, so you know how much fun the boys and I are having. Lot's of precious, valuable togetherness times. Because we never get any of that.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I made 8 baby hats this week. 8. Eight. EIGHT. I was a machine this week. I was knitting non-stop. But I was able to get some much needed inventory to both Venue and Willow & Bloom. And now I have a couple of days to knit anything I want.

I finished up the Mother-In-Law's socks and am ready to send them off to Michigan. The woman goes through socks like you would not believe. Many of my handknit socks are older than any of Linda's, and yet she has utterly destroyed her socks. All of my socks are perfectly fine. I have no idea where she is wearing these socks and/or what she is doing with them, but she wears through the soles until they completely disintegrate. Which is the biggest compliment you can give a sock knitter. I'm still wondering what in the world she does with them to destroy them so completely, but I'm always happy to knit her a new pair, and nothing brings a knitter greater sastisfaction than to see their work being so fully enjoyed.

I've also started on Leah's Noni bag. Right now it's 50 rows of brown knitting, but soon I will get to make lime green sparkley flowers. Hee hee...

I'm finishing up Emily's fingerless gloves and it is taking all of my strength to not start on Ellie's Cascade Fixation socks. But I have admitted to myself that I have started way way way too many projects, even for me, and it would do me good to complete a few of them before starting yet another new project.

So I still owe Leah one more yoga sock, I'm close to shaping the shoulders for the back of Ryan's Harry Potter sweater, and it's probably a blessing in disguise that Caroline's sock yarn is still on order. Because I still have baby hats to knit. Lots and lots of baby hats! It's 100 degrees here today (literally, 100 degrees. After I finish typing this post I'm going to wring out my bra. At dinner Mike and our neighbor, Keith, were both talking about how nice it would be to have a sauna. I had to do a double take when they said this. "But we're in a sauna right now!". To which Mike responded "but in a sauna you can be naked") and people are buying up the knit baby hats like tomorrow is Christmas morning.

The orders are coming in, the hats are going out....things are hopping here at The Knitting Queen headquarters.

I'd like this post to be more inspired, but my keyboard is beginning to melt. As am I.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our young Padawan

Last night's Clone Wars sneak peek was the stuff memories are made of, as far as Eric is concerned.

Mike came home from work early and we were in the Pacific Place parking garage by 5:00 (well, actually we were there at 4:54 and wanted to pay the after-5:00 parking prices, so we drove around the block a few times. No small feat in downtown Seattle). When we finally reached the top of the last escalator we were dismayed to find a pretty good line of people already forming for the movie, which didn't start until 7:00.

Our plans to go to McDonalds were scrapped when we realized that we needed to stay in this line, so Mike got takeout from the Johnny Rockets next to the theater for us while the boys played I Spy and checked out all the different lightsabers in attendance. This gave me a chance to take note of the crowd. Never have I felt so out of place. In a good way. Aside from the grown men in full costume, we had the unwashed teenage boys complete with bedhead, deeply engrossed in their DS's. We had scary-comicbook-store-guy wearing his looonnnnngggg lank hair, old concert t-shirt, and his man skirt with combat boots. We had alternative-girl-with-attitude proudly carting around her book on Ancient Religions (I'm thinking Druid). I know it looks like I'm stereotyping here, but I'm just tell you what I saw. It should come as no surprise that I was the only person in line wearing lipstick and knitting a cupcake hat.

The premier was sponsored by KISW, Seattle's hard rock/heavy metal/classic rock/I-don't-know-we-don't-listen-to-it station. The KISW guy coming around handed out Clone Wars activity books to the kids (and all the geeky adults wanted them for their shrines back home). He thought Eric was especially cute and made a point of telling him that, if he wants to win a t-shirt later on, be sure to say "KISW" to him. So Mike and Eric practiced that until it was time to go in.

Inside the theater we were greeted by several Storm Troopers and a creepy looking woman from the movie and this one Storm Trooper gave Eric a high 5. I have never seen a bigger grin on Eric's face. He gave a Storm Trooper a high 5! And then while we were waiting in line to check in our cell phones (yes, they honestly made everyone check in their phones), the KISW guy found Eric and, after several tries, Eric proudly said "KSIW!" and got himself a t-shirt. Which he wore during the movie, last night to bed, and I'm thinking all day today.

We all got wanded by security and when I beeped they asked me if I had keys or a recording device. I explained that I just had knitting needles and they shrugged and let me through. In other words, sharp impaling weapons are fine, but a 30 second grainy diagonal recording of the movie from my crappy 2 year old phone with a box of Mike and Ike's rattling in the background will get me thrown out.

We saw the preview for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which scared the crap out of all of us, and then the movie began. Aside from the weird animation, the movie was not as bad as I had feared. It was actually pretty funny in some parts (including Jabba the Hutt's flaming gay uncle doing a great Truman Capote impression) and the boys loved it. I knit half a hat.

And the best news of all--apparently Clone Wars is becoming a series on Cartoon Network this fall. Does this mean we can replace Pokemon?

Monday, August 11, 2008

oh, the agony...

Tonight my family is torturing me by forcing me to attend the sneak preview of the new Clone Wars-cartoon-fake-Star-Wars-longest-90-minutes-of-my-life-movie. Seriously, this movie looks horrible. Zero desire to see this thing. Now, I'm as big a Star Wars fan as the next person. I mean, who does not love episodes 4, 5, and 6 (except my mother)? One of my fondest memories is of my dad taking my sister Emily and I to the UA Cinema in downtown Seattle in November when I was 9 years old. My dad never took us to the movies. Frankly, we couldn't afford it. But this movie was so big, that he spent an entire Saturday, waiting in line with us for 3 hours (I distinctly remember the line circling the theater) and spending money he saved for this event, while my mom spent a quiet afternoon at home with our baby sister, Caroline. Since my boys are essentially the same age Emily and I were back in 1977, my dad must have really wanted to see this movie to be willing to stand in line for hours, before sitting in the theater for hours, with a couple of squirrelly kids.

Being a purist, I'm not a huge fan of episodes 1, 2, and 3. The fact that my cat could have done a better job of acting may be part of my issue, but I argue that these movies did not need to be made. Prequels can be interesting, if done right, but these movies were just OK.

But this new animated thing? Enough already!

Mike and the boys were at the comic book store last week and they were given free passes to the advanced screening. The movie does not officially come out until the 15th and we have been watching the previews on tv for the past month. Eric is giddy with excitement. It's as if they made this movie just for him. This is all he has been talking about for weeks. And this was looking like a great evening alone for Mom until Ryan begged me to go. As in, all you do is work and you NEVER do anything with us even though we have spent THE ENTIRE SUMMER together and you are home all the time but I'm going to make you feel guilty because you have not devoted 100% of your life to just ME.

Fine. The movie is free and I am just talented enough to knit in the dark, so at least my fingers will be entertained even though the rest of my body and soul will be dying a slow and painful death. At least I can look forward to someday owning a copy of this fine piece of filmography since Eric has already put it on his Christmas list and, when Eric gets into a dvd zone, he will watch a movie over and over again until a permanent groove is burned into the disc.

As a bonus, I think I get to eat at McDonald's tonight. This is the special evening I have been dreaming of for months.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Tiffany and Blake came over for the day yesterday. That baby. I tell ya...both Ryan and I fought with each other all afternoon to hold him. Mike came home from work early so he could enjoy the visit as well. This is the most time Mike has ever spent with his new nephew and he wanted to make the most of it.

I think this may be my new favorite picture. Of all times. How can you not completely fall in love with this little monkey? He almost makes my womb ache. And that's saying a lot because this is by far the closest I have come to baby fever since the birth of my VERY LAST BABY FOREVER AND EVER AMEN THERE WILL BE ONLY 2 CHILDREN AND NO MORE. AFTER ERIC IS BORN WE ARE DONE. MIKE HAVE YOU MADE THE APPOINTMENT WITH THE DOCTOR YET BECAUSE I HAVE SOME SCISSORS HANDY....
But this kid...I dare you to turn away from this picture. I dare you to find a picture, even of your own child, that is as hilariously precious as this.

It took Eric all day,
but he finally asked
to hold Blake. And
then he wouldn't give
him up!
Eric was all ready to hold Blake this time. Until Blake actually arrived. Eric then suddenly remembered that this kid is really rather dull and Aunt Tiffany is a lot more fun. So Eric and Tiffany played the Wii while Ryan and I played Pass the Baby. And then, in his own Eric way, in his own Eric timing, he finally announced that he was ready to hold Blake. And he was hooked. Eric has officially jumped on the Blake Bandwagon and there is no turning back. I think the clincher was when Blake was flailing his arms around and got a finger stuck in Eric's nose. Because if you are Eric, a baby picking your nose is the funniest damn thing in the world.

In knitting news, the polls are in and it is the Hoodie by a landslide. Now I think that cardigan is pretty darn cute as well, but I seem to have a very opinionated audience out there. All 4 of you.
I just picked up a copy of A Fine Fleece from the library and am trying to figure out a way to lock the boys in a closet so I can study each and every page in blissful peace. And that big list I shared with you earlier this week? Yeah, that's still there.

School starts in 27 days.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I don't even know where to begin. Finishing my sweater seems to have had a freeing effect on me. I suddenly am New Project Crazy, which is a little scary because I actually didn't gain any time by finishing that sweater. I still have a kazillion baby hats to knit and I still have a big messy pile of unfinished projects. And yet I'm crazy with the new ideas. Crazy, I tell you!

Turns out that the Alice Starmore book, Aran Knits, that I want to use for Mike's sweater, is a hot commodity. It is a rare book, out of print, and currently going for $200 or more on Ebay. She still has some of the most stunning and compelling patterns out there and there is a side of me that wants it all the more, knowing that it can only be found on the black market (apparently she had a big falling out with her publisher and so, while her books were, and still are, wildly popular, they are no longer printable). I have it on reserve at the library, but so do 34 other people. For one copy. And so while I am still coveting the Irish Moss pattern, I'm not sure it is meant to be. In the meantime I have also discovered this brand new book, A Fine Fleece. I was able to sit at Barnes and Noble yesterday and peruse it. You have no idea the willpower involved in placing this book back on the shelf. Must Knit Every Item In Book. Including a fabulous sweater for Mike that they made out of Cascade 220. It is perfect in every way. Must. Have.

At the same time, I have narrowed the finalists for Baby Blake's sweater down to 2. This precious Trellis cardigan, or

this adorable cabled hoodie. I can't decide. They are both too darling for words. Tiffy--your thoughts?
And if that were not enough, I realize that it's time for me to start on Ryan's Harry Potter sweater. If he is going to have it for the late fall and winter, I should probably start now. And so I have. I'm using Cascade 220 Superwash, so it is both economical (only $29 with my discount!) and practical. But of course, after I made a sweater with a giant R, I will then have to make one with a giant E.

I've started on Leah's felted bag....
and I'm also close to being done with one yoga sock (her Panda Silk project was suppose to be a surprise, until Caroline spilled the beans. Of course, I should take some responsibility for not actually telling Caroline it was a surprise).

and then there are the fingerless gloves I am making for Emily out of my beloved Sublime Baby Silk Cashmerino.

On top of all that, I have about 2/3 of Linda's 2nd sock to go and both Caroline and Ellie have selected special sock yarn for new socks.

Yes, this is my knitting To Do list. Maybe To Do isn't the right title for the list. It should be Things Jen Really Wants To Knit. Because To Do is reserved for tasks like sweater design classes, cupcake hats, the laundry (we have so much laundry right now that Mike accidentally brought down a basket full of folded clean laundry, thinking it was dirty. I finally had to explain that clean laundry is in the giant unfolded heap on the right. Dirty laundry is in the giant unfolded heap on the left. I DO have a system).

And so how am I spending my morning? Certainly not working off either of my overwhelming and insurmountable lists. Instead I'll spend the morning taking pictures and blogging about it.

This may not be the best time to tell you that these are just my current projects. I'll save the list of Cardigans Jen Must Make For Herself Before She Dies for another post.