Monday, March 31, 2008

Time Flies

Eric and his gray kitty Webkinz, Whiskers, are joined at the hip. Whiskers does everything with Eric. Apparently today Whiskers is 30 years old. Eric informed me that today, Whiskers is not a boy, he is...(in a whispered, hushed tone) a grown up.

He then shook his head and walked out of the room saying:

"They grow up so fast".

Friday, March 28, 2008

Is it a keeper?

This is what I have been doing this week. Thinking up a new hat design, drawing the new hat design, shopping for the new hat, and then, of course, knitting the hat. I've been thinking for a few weeks that I need to come up with something new. Partly to refresh my inventory, and partly because I'm so completely bored with viking hats and cupcakes. I was at Venue this week dropping off some more hats and noticing that my display is looking sad and boring. I need something new. And then it hit me--I had been going to Venue via the U District and there are many Husky alums in the Ballard area. Would they buy a vintage football helmet for their little boy? (and Leah, I totally and completely forgot to pick up your little bag from Venue. I don't know what I was thinking! But I'll be going back soon...).

Does this even look like a vintage football helmet? Or is it a little too close to Elmer Fudd? I must say, I am quite proud of my W. I graphed it all by myself and I think it turned out very well. I am now about to start on a girl version. I'm not quite sure what it will be, but it will definitely have something foofy on top.

Feel free to weigh in on this one--I could use the feedback!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Why my husband is mad at me this morning

4:00 am

Me: Mike! We forgot to fill the Easter baskets!!

Mike (growling): It's Saturday

Me: Oh phew!

Do you think this is why I found him sleeping on the couch at 7:30 this morning?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

To Do

1. Pick a dessert to serve to Book Group tomorrow night.

2. Clean my bathrooms so I don't scare the members of my Book Group tomorrow night.

3. Tidy up the knitting projects so I don't impale a member of my Book Group with a sock needle when they try to find a place to sit in my living room tomorrow night.

4. Play Spiderman Concentration with Eric.

5. Convince Eric to put on clean underwear and clean pj's (it's pajama day today, you know).

6. Force myself to knit some more hats for Venue. Diane has been severely hinting that I need to stop in. Apparently this Artist of the Month business lasts for the entire month.

7. Write up my arm hole decreases for my sweater design--a task I have been avoiding because I'm scared of it.

8. Go to work at 3:00 today! We're having a trunk show and they need the extra help to set up. I don't exactly know what a truck show is or what it entails, but I do know this: there will be a bunch of new stuff to fondle at work and my kids will be at home with their grump of a father who is not in a bad mood at all and quit telling him that he is because he is FINE.

9. Decide which of my drab, dreary outfits I should wear on Easter Sunday since I have no spring clothes and it's 40 degrees and raining this week.

10. Make sure my dentist appointment is now noted on the correct day on the calendar since I was pacing back and forth yesterday, waiting for Senior Grumpola to get home so I could leave since he was 30 minutes away and 30 minutes late and trying to convince me he could be home in 10 minutes, which would have involved theory of flight, and then I called the dentist to explain how incredibly late I was going to be and their response was "you don't have an appointment today". Apparently my appointment on their calendar is for the 26th. Not the 19th. The date I had on my calendar. Which does not excuse the love-of-my-life's behavior and complete inability to judge time and distance at all.

11. Drink a Mike's Hard while watching Lost tonight. What is up with Jin and Sun?!? Do you really think he's dead? Or his he caught in that wacky time warp think and not remembering that he's married to Sun? And if that is the case, why does she think he is dead? And why does Kate have Claire's baby? Did someone bump off Claire? This whole Jin and Sun business is really bothering me.

12. Play Go Spidey with Eric and try to convince him to fan his cards rather than holding them in a big wad so he can't see what he has and try not to get frustrated when he keeps flipping the same cards around and around.

13. Live in denial that there is no school tomorrow for either of my kids.

Monday, March 17, 2008

18 Years of Wedded Bliss

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. This morning when I wished Mike a Happy Anniversary I said "wow--18 years! That's a whole person we've been married!" Mike's response: "yeah, if we had been married under different circumstances, we would be celebrating the fact that someone was moving out today!"

Mike and I met when we were 19 and in college. I worked at the university bookstore and he worked across the street at the printing and mailing shop. Part of my job was to mail books back to the publishers, so I had to visit the printing and mailing shop every day. And somewhere along the line the magic happened. That and the fact that we attended a pretty small university and sooner or later everyone there hooks up.

By our junior year we were seriously dating and by our senior year we were engaged. We were married the first Saturday of our senior year spring break. We rented the scariest apartment you have ever seen. People were appalled. And frightened. Looking back, I am mortified. Our ceiling leaked when it rained--we were on the first floor of a 3 story building. We were about 2 blocks from Seattle Center in a street side apartment with a big window facing the street. Our bedroom did not have a door. Our next door neighbor smoked so much that our apartment filled with smoke and his windows were stained yellow. I'm surprised we were not killed in our sleep. It was in this little love nest/hell hole that we got our 4 week old cat Binx, who was rescued by a friend in an alley. Binx lived for 16 years.

The day our lease was up we moved. We found a much safer and cleaner apartment on the other side of Queen Anne Hill and lived there for about 3 years. Some dear friends from college, Scott and Kristin, lived above us and we spend many an evening in their apartment, in our pajamas, playing Spades while drinking cheap alcohol and watch Honeymoon in Vegas. The 4 of of could recite the whole movie and still do when we see each other. It was in this apartment that we rescued Alice, the passive-aggressive-neurotic-no-longer-peeing-on-our-bed-cat. Mike was working for Aldus/Adobe Systems and loving every minute of it. I was working for Northern Life Insurance, doing customer service and hating my life. Honestly, I think sanitation workers have more fun that I did at that job. And they make more money.

My mom selected the fabric for these dresses.
I think every single bridesmaid hated them.

Mike's sister Tiffany is our 9 year old
flower girl in this picture. She is now
married and about to have her first baby.

We then decided it was time to purchase a home and do something responsible with our money. We bought a condo in Issaquah and lived there for about 4 years. We loved our condo and we loved living in downtown Issaquah. We bought real furniture, reliable cars, invested our money, belonged to a gym, and Mike was still loving his job as a tech support manager of the dynamic media division of Adobe. I hated my job so much that I quit. Just up and quit. I was becoming a miserable bitter person who worked with other miserable bitter people. So I quit. And this is when I learned to knit. I was taking a break from the miserable bitter part of my life and decided that in my time off I would learn to knit. I took to it instantly.

I got a new job as a tech support lead for a very small software company. I worked there for 3 years and tried very hard to like it. But in the end I realized that I hated it just about as much as my insurance company job. Customer service for angry bitter people is not my gift. Too bad it took me 9 years to figure that out! During this time we bought our money-pit that we are currently living in. In the last 10 years we have scraped, sanded, painted, demolished, rebuilt, added-on, replaced, dug up, planted...this house has been more work than we ever thought possible and we are not even close to being finished.

It was during my stint as a tech support lead that I became pregnant with Ryan. I quit working once and for all to stay home with him. While at home I honed my knitting skills while doing the whole mommy thing, then had Eric 2 3/4 years later. Mike was RIF'd from Adobe, along with just about every other employee there and took advantage of his generous severance to find himself. He had been wanting to get into financial planning and realized that this was his golden opportunity. He got his Series 7, did a bunch of interviewing, and got his first job as a financial advisor. I won't even get in to how magical life can be when your family's only income is purely commission based.

Ryan is now almost 8 and Eric just turned 5. Mike is now 7 years into his career as a financial advisor and well, you all know what I do.

And what have we learned from our last 18 years together? I can tell you this:

Mike will never, ever change anyone's sheets. That cell was never part of his brain's composition. The one for dusting is missing as well. Mike can spend hours, nay DAYS organizing and sorting through his half of the office, but cannot for the life of him transform Optimus Prime back into the semi truck. Mike can teach the boys anything and has the patience of a saint when it comes to homework, computers, games, baseball scores....after 18 years of marriage we have discovered that Mike can teach me nothing due to my impatience and unwillingness to relinquish control. And I am unable to teach anyone anything. That's right. I have neither the gift of teaching nor the ability to be taught. 2nd grade math homework? Daddy's job. Why Ryan can't tie his shoes at the age of 8? Mommy is afraid of strangling him with the laces in a fit of rage.

After 18 years of marriage Mike knows that I hate scary movies and loud noises. He knows nothing makes me happier than a big bowl of Haagen Daaz coffee ice cream and that I will not, ever ever ever deal with any kind of pest in our home. He knows how much I hate to see food at the bottom of the sink and that I'm prone to tossing my clothes on the bench at the foot of our bed. Mike knows, without me ever having to tell him, that I like to sit on an aisle near the back at the movie theater and that I like to be very early.

I know that Mike does not really care for chocolate, but loves anything with pumpkin or strawberry. After 18 years of marriage I have come to know that he truly will watch anything if it's on ESPN. He likes indie movies much more than I do and is always running 10 minutes late. Mike is very passive-aggressive and has one of the best laughs I have ever heard. And after 18 years of marriage we both still hate camping with a passion and neither of us can stomach American Idol.

Mike is my biggest supporter and fan, selflessly does the grocery shopping for me, and despite the fact he seems physically unable to ever shut the pantry door, he is my best friend.

Happy Anniversary Mike!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Force is strong with me

Leah was driving home from church on Sunday and passed Willow and Bloom, my newest shop, and saw my cupcake hats hanging in the window! (they are to the left of that spiral tree, next to Starbucks). Look at me, on display!

Once again you have caught me procrastinating. What I should be doing right now, since Mike took Eric to preschool for me and I have 2 1/2 hours of uninterrupted time to myself before my weekly Wednesday-afternoon-from-hell begins (not to sound like my mother, but honestly, when I was in school, we went to school. All day. None of this half day Wednesday crap) is finishing the laundry, clearing away the breakfast dishes, and working on some serious knitting catch up. What I am doing is blogging, relisting my Craigs List items, and registering for Sock Wars III, the original and bloodiest death-by-knitting tournament. It's a kind of on-line world wide sock knitting assassination game. My friend Kristin originally emailed me an article about Sock Wars II and really piqued my interest. And last week at work I was thumbing through a new magazine and saw an article on Sock Wars III and knew I had to look into it. It only cost me $2.00 to register. How can I not do this? Just the fact that my confirmation email was signed " Mwah hah hah. Supreme Commander" tells me that I must be a part of this. It doesn't begin until May 9th, so I'm sure I will have completely rid my life of all stress by then.

Sigh.....guess I better get back to Eric's underwear. He informed me this morning that he is wearing his last pair. The magic in my life is unending.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Weekend Update

Artist of the month
I chose not to include a picture with me in it because,
well, the one I have is a little frightening. The model
of the solar system you see above the display is actually
balls of yarn hanging from the ceiling. Diane thought it
would jazz things up a bit.

I know, I know--it's Tuesday and I haven't given you an update of my weekend, namely, my big Venue event. I do have other things to do besides blog, you know! I have Ryan's pants to wash, a yarn shop to help keep running, preschool board meetings to attend...I'm a very important person around here. Without me, there would be no one to clean the cat box.

My Artist of the Month night went very well. It was a nice evening so there were plenty of people around for the Art Walk. I took 2 special orders for hats and sold 2 hats off the shelf (and since I average 8-10 hats a month, I thought that was pretty good!), and drank plenty of wine. My sister Emily and her husband Randy came, my parents came, and my Dinner Group came after they all enjoyed dinner. I handed out several business cards and my display will remain in the place of honor for the rest of the month, so we'll see what happens! I know I should say more about it, but truly, I did a lot of standing around, and then a lot of sitting behind the bar and helping the bartender. Diane could not have been sweeter to me about the evening and, having never done it before, I think it went well.

Sunday I worked all day. I always work alone on Sundays--I open and close and I'm there by myself all day. It's really strange to be totally and completely in charge like that, but I enjoy it and when things are slow I take the opportunity to rearrange the displays. A little surprise for the girls on Monday morning.

This morning Eric had his 5-year well check at the doctor. My little pipsqueak is in the 25-50th% for weight and the 10th% for height. He had to get a surprise chicken pox booster shot which he is now milking as much as he can. He has let me know several times today that he is unable to use his arm. I think it may be about to fall off. I'll keep you posted on that. Watching about 6 episodes of Tom and Jerry seems to have helped.

That's all I have, people. A sink full of dishes, baskets full of laundry, and a 5 year old who is just full of it. I'm off to knit a sweater sleeve.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

How to kill a Stormtrooper

Overheard at breakfast this morning:

"You can choke them"
"...and you can throw them against a tree"
"...and you can toss them out into space"

Good to know.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I don't even know what to name this post

Do you see what I'm doing here? I'm writing my blog instead of taking care of any of my responsibilities. I do that. If I have a list of things to do that I don't want to do, I find something else to do. Like complain about it to all of you. Aren't you sorry you popped in here today?

Today Eric and I have to drive to Venue and set up for Saturday. I finished my big foam board picture display thing, but I have to tag the rest of my hats that I'm bringing with me today. I'm feeling very inadequate about the whole thing, so I'm writing my blog instead. I should have even more hats, but I haven't been knitting them. I don't know why. I've been working on other things. Leah can tell you all about it. She yelled at my voicemail yesterday when she returned my call regarding questions about her mittens. She demanded to know why I was working on her mittens instead of baby hats or my sweater. A valid point. Best friends have permissions to kick you in butt once in a while.

I have no new hats for Happy Delusions right now. Again, I could claim that I've been focusing all of my attention on Venue right now, but that's not really true. I could also claim that I'm not really making any money at Happy Delusions, so why focus time and energy on it, but then you could also argue that if I don't give them new hats, it's kind of hard to sell them. Bottom line--my brain is overloaded and overwhelmed, so I'm sort of frozen in a state of suspended animation and it's just a whole lot easier for me to watch I Love Lucy reruns while knitting Leah's mitten than deal with my reality. I'm beginning to see why so many businesses fail in the first 5 years.

And then there's my sweater. We had class last night and I showed Shiori my calculations. Yes indeed, I did it wrong. So very wrong. And when she explained it to me, it made perfect sense. Why I didn't get that the first time around, I don't know (well, actually I do know--6 year of Jr. High and High School math came flooding back to me). So I sat there in class and ripped out my sweater while listening to Shiori explain how to calculate more centimeters for a cardigan and button band because Leslie and I both want to make cardigans. And Leslie, who use to be an engineer, is spouting off numbers with Shiori, while all Mara and I hear is "blah blah blah sleeve cap blah blah blah or it won't fit" and we just looked at each other and decided that Leslie must be taking the advanced class. The only thing that made me feel better about ripping out my sleeve is the fact that no one else has started. So I'm not really that far behind in relation to the other employees.

I could go on and on and on about all of this, but there is no getting around it--it's 9:30 and I have to be at Venue at 11. Eric is not dressed, my hats are not tagged...I'm just going to make a few phone calls, surf the web, drink another cup of coffee, and then be on my way. Unless I can find something else to further delay myself...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tuesday's To-Do List

1. Get dressed in sweats and just enough make-up so as to not frighten any small children I may come across today, including my own. Made the decision to not wear actual adult clothing when I realized that my biggest adventure today was going to be a trip to the bus stop. In the van.

2. Fold laundry.

3. Clean the kitchen. And by "clean the kitchen", I really mean to make it safe and inhabitable for others. Spend quite a bit of time on the floor and try to decide if the contents of the dustpan would actually make up a nutritious lunch for Eric. After all, most of the food I swept up did originate from his meals.

4. Fold more laundry.

5. Knit viking braids while glancing wistfully at my pretty, grown-up projects.

6. Get out the vacuum and put it next to the stairs as Step One in thinking about vacuuming upstairs.

7. Watch Eric play the Dino Pirhana level of Super Mario Galaxy.

8. Put away the laundry that's in the basket in my bedroom. Secretly curse my spouse for putting away his laundry and assuming that the laundry fairy would be swooping in later in the day to put away everything else. And by "his" laundry, I mean only items that he wears on his body because obviously sheets, towels and anything he cannot readily identify must clearly be considered "my" laundry and is therefore unputawayable by him.

9. Read more Daughter of York while harboring guilt that I still have not finished our bookclub book from last month, that we all agreed to extend for another month.

10. Finish cleaning up from Eric's party. Put the dining room back in order. Remove the Transformer poster from my living room and stick it back in it's rightful place--over Eric's bed.

11. Fold laundry.

12. Pick Ryan up from the bus. Spend the rest of the day refereeing Gameboy/Wii/seriously find something else to do that does not involve a screen you have a playroom full of toys you never play with and you need to do your homework don't give me that look. Final warning I said it's time to do your homewor....ok that's it you need to spend some time in your room DON'T YOU TALK TO ME THAT WAY...more cursing of the husband as he is at work until bedtime for the 2nd day in a row.

13. Put the rest of the laundry into baskets for the husband to take upstairs when he gets home.

14. Sit on the couch and knit while giving the husband the privilege of spending quality time with his boys at bedtime and feel no guilt about going upstairs to rescue him when the screaming begins.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Pretty Things!

Pretty Things!
From left to right--
my sweater sleeve
from the sweater
design class, Tilli
Tomas scarf, lace
socks for ME, and
Leah's convertible
I'm tired of knitting baby hats. My big Artist Of The Month extravaganza is this Saturday and I am so half-heartedly knitting baby hats. I'm plugging along, not caring about them. I should be in a knitting frenzy, but I'm not. Venue already has a ton of hats from me and I hope to have 4 or 5 more for them when Eric and I arrive on Thursday morning to set up my fabulous display. And by fabulous, I mean whatever Diane and Caitlin can come up with because I've got nothin'. Mike bought me a big foam board display thingy and I've printed a bunch of pictures of my work and even used a fancy-schmancy white border to make the pictures look not quite completely unprofessional. I am excited about Saturday (mostly), but I'm just really sick of the baby hats. Because what I want to be working on is on display to your left.

I am really enjoying this sweater, but I quit for a few days because I'm deathly afraid of my math skills (and anyone who knows me, knows I exaggerate not at all. About this). After talking with Shiori the other day about how I came up with my sleeve pattern and discovering that her formula is not nearly as random as mine, I decided to put the sweater on hold until our next class. You know...just in case...

But what I really want to do right now is knit pretty things for grown-ups. Just for a little while. I had earned $25 in store credit from one of our competitors (for yarn purchase before I became employed at Cultured Purls) and I've had my eye on this book for a while. I really wanted it. So I "bought" it with my credit. I paid nothing for it and it's in my hot little hands, taunting me. Whispering to me.

And this is why. ADORABLE little things to knit. And the beauty of the darling mittens and fingerless gloves in this book? They are all knit flat, not in the round! It's a good thing I am so flat broke and cannot purchase even one skein of yarn for anything in this new book because that is the only thing holding me back from attempting even one of these new projects.

I'm thinking Christmas gifts perhaps? Are these fingerless gloves not precious?

I must knit this sweater. I understand that it is sweater #3 for me and I'm only on the beginning of the sleeve of sweater #1. Where there's a will, there's a way, right? Maybe if I rob a bank and hire a full time nanny/housekeeper/chef/gardener I could get some important work done around here. And let's face it--I could use a couple of new sweaters. Just ask anyone who sees me on even a semi-regular basis.

The Reptile Guy
Here comes
the giant frog!
Now, this part of my post is much less pretty, but I have to include it because it's the most exciting thing I've done all day (besides washing sheets, of course). The Reptile Guy came back to Eric's preschool. We love The Reptile Guy. He's very funny and, well, he has a bunch of reptiles! That's Eric (in the orange shirt), looking at an enormous frog.

Eric and the King Snake
Eric gave Shadow,
the King snake,
a little snuggle

And that is my sweet little angel, petting a king snake. I believe the highlight of The Reptile Guy's visit was when Ravioli, the corn snake, peed all over the floor. A peeing snake and a room full of preschoolers--doesn't get better than that.

I really should end this post now. I have to get back to washing Ryan's pants and then I have to knit more baby hats, after planning my get-away from the bank. Anyone have a ski-mask I can borrow?