Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oh Yeah...I have a camera!

I went a little crazy with the camera this morning, but it's a good way to show you what I have been up to this week. And a good way to show you what Eric has not been up to this week.

Here is my little angel. My sweet little lazy shiftless goal-less 5 year old bum. Eric's shirt got wet this morning. His solution? To wrap himself in his blanket. He sees no point in going all the way upstairs to get clean clothing when he is so perfectly comfortable right where he is. Truly, when Eric grows up, he would like to be retired. He would like nothing more than to sit around in yesterday's pj's and thumb through the paper.

Eric's job
And the only productive thing he has done all day.
Eric continues to be a little schizophrenic about his passions. It is often a fluid transition from The Chipmunks to Indiana Jones to Spiderman to unemployed-moocher-living-on-my-couch-until-Dr. Phil-gives-me-the-power-to-kick-his-butt-into-gear-and-force-him-to-get-a-job. And often it's a combination of them all. His passion du jour has been making comic books and he can spend hours, in his Spiderman costume, or half naked, drawing on a stack of paper that has 46 staples in it. All the while quietly humming "Christmas Christmas time is here...."

Sock Wars
I guess weapons
don't work very well
if you don't use them
I do believe I have been a bit more productive this week than that little bum. Although my progress with Sock Wars III is not good. I have no time to do this. I never should have signed up for it. And the person who is to assassinate me clearly should not have signed up for it either because I am still alive. I have been waiting to die for 2 weeks now, and nothing. Nearly 50% of the participants are dead and I am not one of them. I feel bad. It was never my intention to be such a flake and I fully intend to send my unfinished socks to my assassin to keep the game going, but where is she?!? I feel like I need to lob a ball of yarn her way just to give her a hint of what an easy mark I am.

Because this is how I have been spending my time. Knitting hats. Tons and tons of hats. Orders, orders everywhere. My hands are actually sore from knitting hats. I knit every chance I get to try to catch up on these hats. I'm making decent progress, but there is no time for me to fight a war. I was suppose to go to my final sweater class last night but someone came home late from work, so I ended up not going. Not that I've had any time to work on the sweater, but I would still like to know how Shiori wants us to finish up. So I stayed home, watched 27 Dresses (the worst movie I have seen in a long time) and knit more hats.

The Front Garden
Is that Potato Vine crazy?!
In wildlife news, my garden is growing, I actually have wielded some control over the weeds, and the bats have migrated back to the eaves under our back door. Again. We have frogs in the lawn and I discovered a dead mouse on my garden path.

The Back Garden
Truly, I am shocked
each spring when
things actually grow.
It never ceases to amaze
me that I haven't killed
everything growing here.
I have a new nephew about to be born in the next few weeks and I have nothing knit for him. I've been looking at patterns and yarn, and dreaming in my head, but I was suppose to have 9 whole months to come up with something great. OK, well, technically I have had 9 months. But it sure has gone by fast. And now I have nothing with which to greet him. I have several pink cupcake hats. Do you think he'd like one of those? I also have a half finished woman's size medium sweater. How about that? A beaded scarf that I've ripped out? Oh, the guilt..... I could sit here the rest of the day working on this poorly written disjointed post, but it doesn't change the fact that I have laundry to do, hats to knit, and legos to build. The fun never ends.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The voices in my head

The good news is I no longer have 3 chipmunks serenading me 24/7. The bad news is that they have been replaced by the Indiana Jones theme song. Could it be from the boys watching the short movie on the Lego website over and over again? Could it be from Eric quietly humming it to himself all morning long? Could it be from seeing the new movie, then from watching Raiders of the Lost Ark last night? Or could it be from all 5 boys, crammed into our van on the way to see Indiana Jones and the something something something Crystal Skull for Ryan's birthday, singing it at the top of their lungs.

Eric: Hey guys hey guys hey guys! Let's all sing the Indiana Jones song!

All 5 boys: da da dat DA, da da daaaa, da da dat DAAAA, dat dat dat dat dat...

All the way to the movie theater.

They all had a great time. They sat in one long row (cousins Jack and Ellie joined them) while Mike, Caroline, Jeremy, Eric, and I sat behind them. The kids all ate contraband candy from my purse, loved the flesh eating ants, then came back to our house and played Indiana Jones in the back yard while the adults sat on the deck, paralyzed by exhaustion. Ryan was so wound up last night that we finally put him in our bed so he could watch a movie on Disney and hopefully fall asleep. We realized what a bad idea that was when Mike crawled into bed with him at 10:30 and promptly fell asleep while a bright eyed and bushy tailed Ryan continued to enjoy his movie. I had to wake Mike up to take Ryan to bed.

This morning Eric was up at 5 and Ryan is pretty perky for a kid still running on adrenalin. Mike and I, on the other hand, feel like the guy Marian beat in the drinking contest in Raiders. We can barely function. Honestly, I think I'm too tired to knit. I'm too tired to make my lunch to bring to work, and I know I'm too tired to work 6 hours today. Sundays are usually slow. Do you think anyone would notice if I fell asleep at the counter? We do have a bell on the door, so that might jar me into consciousness. Truly, the last time I felt this bad was when I had one of Leah's cocktails. All I had last night was a Mike's Hard Limeade. Just one. It's like a juicebox. I have one nearly every night. And yet I could lay my head down on the keyboard right nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I still live here

It was never my intention to go more than a week with out posting--that is just where my life is right now. Each day I think hmmmm I should blog an update... and then it does not happen because I've become trapped under a tower of laundry and had to wait to be rescued. Or my fingers had become paralyzed from knitting 33494 hats from the orders I can't fill in time. Or I'm too busy trying to think up new and unusual punishments for my belligerent smart mouthed just-turned-8-on-Sunday son who seems physically unable to control his nasty tone, shrieking, and flat-out mean behavior toward his brother since reaching this illustrious milestone. He got his brand new Nintendo DS taken away for a day. Then 2 days. And that seemed to do the trick for about 10 minutes. He has spent so much time alone in his room that I'm worried he will turn into the little brother from Better Off Dead who entertains cheap women and builds explosives.

On Saturday Ryan and his 3 best buddies from school are going with our family to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as his official birthday celebration. I explained to Ryan that I am done with the big parties. Done. The only thing worse than ten 5 year olds running through the house is ten 8 year olds running through the house. So Ryan, Zach, Hunter, Pedro, and Eric will have a chicken nugget lunch at our house, make themselves sick on popcorn at the movie, and then come back for cake. No games, no goodie bags, no streamers and balloons. Just a very fun outing with his best pals. I read a recent review of the movie in which they complain about how corny it is and how it's like a video game because there is so much action and no one ever gets hurt. PERFECT! That is exactly what we want for these boys! We are all beside ourselves with glee at the prospect of seeing this movie, which does not seem to dampen Ryan's spirits in his quest to destroy us all.

In between trying to keep my family in clean underwear and thinking up new ways to ruin Ryan's life, I have been knitting. I cannot keep up with the orders. I CANNOT KEEP UP WITH THE ORDERS. After cleaning out my display from Happy Delusions and sending it all to Willow and Bloom, Miya and I decided that she probably had enough to last her a few weeks. Wrong! They are gone. All gone. So Mike is bringing 5 more hats to her today, which is about 1/3 of what she needs. But I've barely begun my Zizia order and Diane from Venue called me last night with some requests. Wasn't this suppose to slow down in the spring?

And besides this mess I'm in, I'm trying to get back on track with my sweater. I met with Shiori about a week ago and went over my entire sloper with a fine toothed comb. I believe I am back in business and have begun knitting it again. Because I have a lot of time to knit an adult sized sweater right now. Mara completely gave up on it, ripped the whole thing out, and is knitting a completely different sweater. I'm determined to see mine through, but I'll miss Mara's salty pirate impersonation.

And if all that were not enough to make me crazy, Eric has watched Alvin and the Chipmunks more times than I can count. When each of my boys were about 3 they went through this major Toy Story phase where it was watched ad nasium and they could recite entire sections of the movie. Alvin and the Chipmunks is getting to that point with Eric. Eric loves stuffed animals and sleeps with an armload each night until they all become a big furry sweaty mess stuck to his little sweaty body. He is an enigma, that boy. The same child who loves flesh ripping terrorizing T-Rexs and Venom, melts into a puddle of goo whenever he sees any kind of cute cuddly animal. Or Pokemon. So you can imagine how he feels about the Chipmunks. He has special dance moves and often responds to us with quotes from the movie. I know it's a phase, but I CANNOT GET THEODORE'S VOICE OUT OF MY HEAD. I go to sleep hearing "Only You" in three part Chipmunk harmony.

So here I am. This has been my life for the past week. Hopefully reading this will help you to feel a little better about yourself. And since I'm feeling just a little bit spiteful, I leave you with this: try NOT hearing "Funky Town", as sung by Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, in your head for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mid Week Update

I have now seen Alvin and the Chipmunks about 14 times. Eric hums along as he goes about his day, he responds to me with lines from the movie, and he has taken to wearing a red sweatshirt with a big yellow paper A taped to the front.

This song goes through my head all day. All day, every day. This has become the new soundtrack to my life. The fact that I had to hear it about 26 times in a row while trying to figure out how to get it from You Tube to my blog has not helped. But let's all pause and and consider the fact that I posted a video from You Tube onto my blog. All by myself. Without one call to Mike or Leah. You have my permission to be impressed.

So, let's see. Where am I this week, other than Chipmunk Hell. Sock Wars. I've personally called a truce and am waiving my white flag, but no one seems to notice. I have about 3/4 of the first sock done and am waiting to die so I can send it on to my assassin, who apparently is no more motivated than I am. I have no time for this. I know you all thought that, and yes, I knew all along that I had no time for this, but what I was not prepared for was the harsh reality of being forced to work on one bland blue boring project while ignoring all other knitting projects. I never work on just one project. I always have several active projects on the needles at the same time, so when I'm ready for a change, I can just put down project A and pick up project D for awhile. I can't just sit and knit a pair of boring blue socks from start to finish. I physically can't. I actually start to fall asleep because it's so dull.

Now let's combine that with the fact that this has become New Hat Order Week. I received 3 different emails yesterday. Caitlin from Venue emailed me to remind me that there is a Norwegian parade going through Ballard on Saturday, so they need more viking hats. There is a Norwegian parade this Saturday? I must have missed that one. Anna from Zizia also sent me a list of hats she needs, and I just heard from a shop owner in Ravenna who is very interested in my cupcake hats. I have an email in to her asking for more details, but needless to say, I have some work to do. Not to mention that I'm still working through my Willow and Bloom order...and I'm going to spend some time with Shiori this afternoon before Sweater Class and that probably means I should continue knitting the sweater that I've promised to Shannon.

So let's recap: one sweater, 612 viking hats, 34 cupcakes, one dismembered Cinderella, 2 hats for Leah (and Leah, don't get all guilt ridden, I'm just using you to exaggerate my point), a Tilli Tomas scarf, an unknown sweater for baby Blake, 3 pairs of sock for me that I like....I perhaps should have taken more careful inventory of my backlog before I began Sock Wars, because the more I think about it, the less enthusiastic I become about finishing this ridiculous game.

I've tossed my weapon to the ground, my hands are in the air, frantically waiving my white handkerchief. Why can't I die?!

Now Eric and I have to go on a fieldtrip to the Children's Theater to see a stage production of Cinderella. Oh goody--maybe I'll hear a new song with which to fill every cell in my brain for the next week.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Proof that, just because women CAN go to war, does not mean they SHOULD go to war...

So here it is. Sunday. Two days after the beginning of Sock Wars III. I am so not cut out for this. Truly, I am not a competitive person. I've never claimed to be, but here is the perfect opportunity for me to allow just a tad bit of competitiveness shine through and have fun in the process and where am I? Still fussing with the first heel flap.

I have knit about 50 pairs of sock in my life. Seriously. I admit I'm exaggerating a little bit, but I really have knit a lot of socks. I am no sock-knitting novice. And so here I am, in my element, and I have made about 35 mistakes and I keep dropping stitches off the end of my needle while making the heel flap. This is not something that normally happens to me, I'm using my same old sock needles, I'm making my same old heel flap....there is no explanation for this. But this sock carries no mojo for me. I love the competition and I am committed to seeing this through, but I cannot get myself to sit for more than 10 minutes at a time and knit this pair of socks.

I had to work on Friday night and it was so slow....perfect opportunity to get a few rows of the sock done. Instead I wandered aimlessly, straightening yarn, tidying up... I did knit for a bit when I got home that evening, but when I went to bed I think I had about 2 whole inches done.

I worked all day yesterday and again, not a busy day. I know I could have gotten some more done had I really focused. Instead I began to knit this weird flower shaped washcloth thing to try and show off some yarn we have that will. not. sell.

Got home from work to a house full of my best friends for dinner group. We had a last minute change of venue because Leah was unable to host (mother in the hospital is always a valid excuse for getting out of a dinner party). So Mike cleaned and ordered pizza (ordering out is also a valid option when your cook is at work all day and you spent the entire day taking care of 2 boys and cleaning your scary house). After dinner I pulled out the sock and knit for a bit with the gang, explaining Sock Wars to them, and again, not really getting a whole lot done (more on that in a moment).

Today we had brunch with my family for Mother's Day and got home about 1:00. I had the rare Sunday off work. The perfect opportunity to finally do some serious work on the sock. So, of course, I watched part of the Mariner's game with Ryan, worked in the garden, and am now writing my blog. I have had the last 4 1/2 hours to, basically finish this first sock, and I am unable to discipline myself to do it.

As I said, last night we ordered pizza. Now, we all take Dinner Group pretty seriously. We've been meeting for about 10 years and we have had some scrumptious meals. This is the host's chance to go all-out. The most elaborate meals I have ever cooked, ever, have been for Dinner Group. In the last few years, as more and more kids have been born, we have changed the format to more of a potluck, but each dish is still chosen with much thought and care. We do not order pizza. But last night our circumstances dictated takeout, and we ordered some seriously great pizza from Flying Pie. Although Leah was not up to the task of making a dinner for 8 last night, she did fulfill the most important part of her original obligation--the hootch.

This is how the cure
for smallpox was discovered--I'm sure of it!

Perhaps it would have
worked better if I had
been wearing a lab coat.

Leah brought homemade Margaritas, and two big jugs of this microbrew beer that you can only get from the brewery. It was really good. Really really good.

Giggly good. I'm-unable-to concentrate-on-this-sock-and-carry-on-a-conversation-good.

As the evening wore on and we continued to partake, somehow the conversation meandered into yarn. We had been talking about Sock Wars for awhile, but then at some point, Gordon asked a question about yarn and I found myself telling everyone about a customer I had earlier in the day who wanted to know how to tell if some yarn she bought at a garage sale is really wool. Based on information I received from what I thought were reliable sources, I recommended that she take a match to a piece of the yarn to see if it burns. Wool is suppose to have a natural fire retardant. From what I've been told.

Serious Lab Work
Heidi, Gordon, Andy, and Michelle.
I know how I felt this morning, and I
was as giggly as they were last night.....

Suddenly I had this brilliant idea. Let's try it out for ourselves!

So we all raced into the kitchen to set a bunch of yarn on fire. Yes, we did this. 8 college educated professional adults/responsible parents/church elders experimenting with yarn pyrotechnics.

The first thing we discovered is that wool actually does burn. Everone found this to be hysterically funny when Leah pointed out that my poor customer was probably in the middle of calling 911 because when she followed my advice and tossed a match onto her pile of garage sale yarn the entire house probably went up in blazes. Please keep in mind that this is a lot funnier at the end of an evening of Margaritas. We were doubled over. We were gasping for air. Tears were being wiped from our flushed cheeks.

The gang also concluded that my Cascade 220 must have been specially treated to burn, as it clearly being demonstrated on my cutting board and now Leah is thinking I should post an OOPS warning to anyone making helmet liners for the troops. We also discovered that, the more yarn you burn in the kitchen, the worse the house smells for the rest of the night. And when you don't clean up the experiment before going to bed, it's kind of hard to explain to the kids in the morning.

All of this, my friends, is why women like me should stick to the home front.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Scarred for life?

Today is May 9th. The official beginning of Sock Wars III. I bought my sock yarn yesterday (blue Cascade Heritage sock yarn--hey I'm on a budget and this is a game for pete's sake! Lighten up!). I checked my email, read several frantic Forum questions from others who also had not received their dossiers yet, downloaded the pattern, and began knitting in the church library this morning while waiting for the Mother's Day tea to begin in Eric's class.

I really had not posted much about Sock Wars III because, frankly, I kept forgetting about it due to the daily stress of all the knitting. Miya from Willow and Bloom is crazy with the baby hat orders, I'm still wrestling with that @#!!#%&* sloper for the sweater class, among various other knitting responsibilities, still working about 20 hours a week at the shop, and, oh yeah, there are these people here who think I should care for them. The housework is not happening. As in, I'm scared of my own bathrooms, my husband can't find clean underwear, we have 4 carrots in the fridge....I really need to rethink my priorities. So don't you think joining Sock Wars III and knitting a pair of socks as fast as I can during an incredibly busy weekend in which I'm working about 10 hours is a smart thing to do? When I bought my sock yarn yesterday and explained to Shannon what I was doing her only response was "you're WHAT?".

I can't explain it. It's a challenge. Reading the comments on the Forum is a hoot. People are so into it. Several participants are trash talking each other...I just think the whole thing is so funny, I just have to do it. And so I am. I have about 5 rows knit. There are people out there who have an entire sock knit already. Me? About 5 rows. I have no intention of winning this thing. I just think it's fun to be in the thick of it.

About 10 minutes before the Mother's Day tea was to begin I went out into the hall to wait outside Eric's classroom. Several other moms were there and they were watching me knit the sock. Most of them have seen me knitting before, so this was not new to them, but the whole idea of Sock Wars was something they have never heard of. "You're knitting both socks?" "Really?" "Do you even know how to knit socks?" "Can't you just send them one sock?" These were just the questions they were willing to express to me out loud. Any thoughts they were having regarding how crazy I am and what a waste of time this is they kept to themselves.

We then went into the classroom and found our places, marked by gifts from the kids. And beside each gift was a little program. On the front of the program is written "My Mommy Is...." and then there is a quote from each child. All of the quotes are lovely words like "Wonderful", "Nice", "Helpful", "Special"--you get the gist. Want to know what Eric said? He said "My Mommy Is A Knitter". I'm not pretty, sweet, the best, terrific--I'm a knitter. We were also given a card that each child made. Mine is pink with a red butterfly on the cover that Eric colored. Inside it says "Dear Mommy, You are special because......" and then each child was to put the most special thing about their mom. And what did Eric say? Yep, you guessed it. I'm special because I knit. I kid you not--every single mom in that room looked at me and laughed. Meghan told me that she asked Eric 5 different times and knitting was the one and only attribute Eric would come up with for me. The other moms were trying to make me feel better because I was so horrified. This is all Eric knows. He is so neglected that he could not come up with one regular "mommy" word to describe me. I have scarred him for life.

I then decided to look on the bright side and told the moms "at least he didn't say My Mommy Is Special Because She Drinks!"

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Went to my sweater class last night. I started out with a marginally good attitude. Shiori was planning to talk about the arms eye shaping and the short rows for the shoulder shaping--two areas I am very nervous about because it's really the only serious shaping in my cardigan. On my sloper I had the decreases and rows all counted out, but I have been too nervous to start the shaping until I sat in on that class just to hear the same information one more time.

While the class was sitting around the table, Mara (my manager) and I were sitting in the back of the room, listening in and trying not to take up space and/or valuable class discussion time. We were listening intently, comparing notes with each other. This was about the time Mara noticed that my sloper was considerably bigger than hers and she asked why she could fit both her front and back on one piece of paper when I have a separate piece of paper for each section of the sweater. Mara is the one of the sweetest people I have ever met. Truly. She is an incredibly nice person. So it always makes me laugh that she can swear like a pirate. Which is exactly what started happening when I pointed out that she forgot to add ease into her sloper. In other words, she did not allow for any breathing room--her sweater was going to be knit like a form fitting body suit. So the expletives started flying as she realized that she needs to rip out everything she has already knit and redraw her sloper.

Mara and I then pulled ourselves back into Shiori's lesson just in time to see her draw a sloper with shoulder drop of 3-4 centimeters. Now, you don't need to have any knowledge of anything I am talking about to appreciate the fact that Mara and I completely freaked out when Shiori said this, because our shoulder drops were drawn in at 3 inches. Completely forgetting ourselves, we both started yelling

"Did you say centimeters?!?"
"But you told our class inches!!"
"[a bunch of pirate-y expletives]"
"Do I have to redo everything?"

And Shiori kind of chuckled and said "Oops, I think I may have told you inches when I meant to say centimeters. It will be fine...."

Fine?!? Fine? Oops?!?

During the 2nd half of class everyone started to draw their slopers while Mara and I sat on the floor, frantically erasing and throwing the calculator at each other, muttering under our breaths, cursing Leslie who has already finished her completely perfectly knit sweater and thinking seriously about hiring Leslie just to knit our sweaters for us.

After class I begged Shiori to stay late and look at my revisions. After she pointed out several other areas that have been affected by her little "oops", we decided I should just redraw my entire pattern. Because I have time for that. By this point Mara had a full blown case of Tourette's and was practically erasing a hole into the middle of her pattern.

What will I be doing today? Not redrawing my sloper. Honestly, I don't know when that will happen, but it won't be today. I have this little project you see below that is sweetly calling my name. I think this pile of laundry is actually as tall as Eric. I still have hats to finish for tomorrow, and if I don't sweep the kitchen floor I'll just sit Eric under the table and feed him a fairly nutritious lunch from what he finds under there. I know I saw at least 2 food groups. Fortunately I'm not one of those good parents who does not believe in tv.

New home decor?
I have 4 of these baskets around the house.
I can't do any more laundry until I empty them
out and put everything away. The fact that my
entire family steps around this like it's a floor
lamp is so motivating....