Saturday, September 27, 2008

Time to take the casserole out of the freezer

Can someone please call my mom and talk to her about Paul Newman? I really don't think I can have another conversation with her about this.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mrs. Job

Mortifying event of the day: listening to the car radio too long while waiting to pick Ryan up at the front of the line in the school parking lot drop off/pick up area and having my battery die. Right there in front of all the students, all the parents screeching their cars around me, and Ryan's music teacher. And then calling my neighbor Shirley to come bail me out and the two of us trying to read my owner's manual and place the jumper cables in the right places so we didn't blow up both of our cars. All in the pouring down rain with 4 kids.

I did get some knitting done during my wait. Always looking for that silver lining. That's me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm back

Hello friends, I'm back. Actually I've been here all along, but due to lack of internet connection this week, I have appeared invisible. With Walter's permission we are "borrowing" his wi-fi until we get things figured out.

Believe it or not, we've had a good week. A tremendous week. In fact, we might say it's the best week we've ever had. Which is pretty remarkable for a couple of destitute deadbeats. All that praying I've been doing? It works. Don't believe me? I'm living proof that it works. Really and truly works. People have been caring for us in remarkable ways. Some anonymously and some directly to our faces. Cash, gift cards, paying our bills, offering us ways to make money that we never thought of before to hold us over until these corporate jobs that Mike is applying for finally weave him through their 6 month long system....Mike and I feel like we're on this big adventure and we're actually starting to have a little fun with it.

Except for our dealings with Dish Network. Not so much feeling the love from Dish. With the generosity from some dear friends and family we have been actually paying some horrifyingly late bills. The other night I called Dish to pay our bill and see about changing our tv package to something more affordable. Something we have a snowball's chance in hell of paying, if you will.

After getting the lecture on my deadbeatness, I paid the bill and then asked to switch packages.

"But why? The package you have is so reasonable".

"Yeah, but I can't pay it. As you may remember from the lecture you just gave me"

"I just don't think we can go much cheaper than the $59.99 a month you're currently paying".

"you must have SOMETHING cheaper".

"Well, we have one for $42, but it's not as good".

"What is the cheapest package you have?"

"oh, you don't want that one. We have a nice one for $35".


"But you'll lose half your channels..."

"Yep, and pay half the price. I just want channel 5 so I can watch The Office. What is the CHEAPEST package you have?"

"Well, we have one for $29..."


"We do have one for $19.99. It's our family package. You'll lose most of your channels so I'm sure you don't want it".

"Does it have my local channels?"

"well, yes.... but....."


Making friends and influencing people, Dish and I. I'd like to have that conversation with our electric and gas company, but I don't think I'm willing to see what a cheaper package in that department looks like.

So I continue to knit, work, do laundry, and pray. Want to know the sad truth? I'm still recording Little House.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The times, they are a changin'

Interesting times here at Knitting Queen headquarters. Yes indeed. Not a dull moment these days, unless you want to watch some tv. More on that in a sec.

My dear husband Mike lost his job. And not in the traditional sense that one loses a job. Mike was a financial planner. Has been for the last 7 years. And the last 7 years have been crazy. Lots of ups. And even more downs. Commission based jobs are like that. But it was a job he loved. He worked hard to build his business and really truly believed in what he was doing.

Anyone want to buy a mutual fund these days? How about a variable annuity? Anyone have a bunch of extra money you want to sock away for a rainy day? I didn't think so. And neither did any of Mike's clients. Unless you are living under a rock, you must know that anything to do with the economy, stock market and all that jazz is NOT DOING WELL. Know what happens when that is YOUR WHOLE LIVELIHOOD? It dries up. Goes kaput.

And so we've been praying a bit. Actually, a lot. A whole lot. I could be a Benedictine Monk for all the praying I've been doing. Because we're broke. I mean broke. I mean, as broke as you think you are, we're broker. Broke, as in, we don't have satellite service right now because we can't pay our bill and when faced with the choice between groceries and tv, we chose the groceries.

Our dvr still works and apparently Dish gives you two free channels each month. So we have been watching the Hallmark channel. Which is killing Mike. Kill-ing him. Walker, Texas Ranger. Murder She Wrote. Little House on the Prairie. And a myriad of made-for-tv movies, all starring Melissa Gilbert. And I've actually been taping episodes of Little House on the Prairie. Yes, this is what my life has been reduced to. We told the boys the satellite is broken, which they seem to accept, and Ryan has been watching Little House with me. I told him that when I was his age it was my FAVORITE show. Every Monday night at 8:00 my sister and I had to have our pajamas on and then we were allowed to sit on the yellow shag carpet in my parents' bedroom and watch Little House. Ryan then turned to me and said "hmmm...and now it's on every day!". Yep, at Knitting Queen headquarters, it's all Little House all the time. I think it's the Shannon Doherty episodes that may do Mike in. And we never know what that zany Jessica Fletcher is going to do next!

So I spend my evenings knitting baby hats while completely amazed that there are as many episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger as there are. I mean, this show was on for a few years. And if you stop to watch it, you'll be as amazed as I am. Hallmark channel. 10:00 pm. Check it out.

Mike does have something lined up with my brother-in-law. Not a lot of money, but something steady for a bit. So we're really thankful for that. And he's looking looking looking for anything and everything. Our families have been helpful. Amazingly helpful.

So, in case you're wondering why I'm not knitting more for myself these days, well, that would be why. That and the fact that I'm too caught up in why everyone around Jessica Fletcher seems to drop dead. Has no one thought to blame her for any of this? I mean seriously--why is anyone chosing to live in that little town of hers? Everyone around her kicks the bucket within 5 minutes of meeting her. Am I the only one to see that there is something really disturbing going on in Cabot Cove?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Getting ready for winter

I'm a winter knitter. I've never really enjoyed the spring and summer patterns. I mean, I didn't get into knitting in order to make a tank top. I've always been drawn to the sweaters, socks, and mittens. Oh, the mittens! Have you seen the Fall 2008 edition of Vogue Knitting?!? I'm not always a big Vogue Knitting fan, but holy smokes people! It's the mitten edition!

How adorable are these?

Or these?

And great mother of all knitting, who could not fall in love with these?!

Not that I have time to knit any of these mittens, or even have the yarn for any of them. But a girl can dream, can't she?

I did finish Mike's Aunt Rose's hat. Uncle Jim is superintendent of Pendleton schools in Pendleton, Oregon. She wanted a hat to wear to all the games they attend. Give me a P!

I've also started on Caroline's socks because this yarn is too precious to not knit. How much fun are these?! Apparently this yarn has now been discontinued, which stuns me. People LOVE these socks! We can't keep this yarn in stock at the shop. Why would you discontinue something so completely fun and adorable?
I've also done a bit on my Monkey sock. You can't see the pattern in this picture very well, but trust me--it's cool.

And I took my first Socks on 2 Circs class on Tuesday. Piece of cake. However, I understand the turning the heel can be a little tricky.

Yep, you counted correctly. I'm knitting 3 pairs of socks right now. I'd do 4, but I'm out of needles.

That's the update from around here. Leah's bag has been felted 3 times and now it and the flowers are drying, ready to be delivered. While Eric is at school today I think I may pick up Ryan's Harry Potter sweater and begin the next step. Yep, things are moving right along here at Knitting Queen headquarters.

And you will be happy to know that Eric made it to the next level of Super Mario Galaxy. As well he should, having played it most of yesterday. Hate those Wednesday half days.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Weekend Update

I'm not sure I have much of an update. I worked all weekend, and it never ceases to amaze me the amount of money people have to spend on yarn. We had several students from the Nihon Vogue class (being taught somewhere in Issaquah) come and visit us for supplies. Over the course of that class, the students learn to design their own sweaters 8 or 9 different ways. Which means they need to knit 8 or 9 different sweaters. Which means they are purchasing yarn and needles for each of these sweaters. So one customer dropped over $200 for materials for her current sweater. A sweater she's not even excited to knit. These students of the Nihon Vogue class are going to spend $1200 or more on materials before this class is done. Which is great for our shop, but it just floors me. I can't afford to buy yarn for sweaters I am dying to knit, even with my discount.

I'm beginning my new adventure of working during the school day this Friday. I will drop Eric off at school, zip over to work, and pray that my husband, who is perpetually 10 minutes late for everything, will meet the bus on time to get the boys.

In knitting news, I've finished the front and back of Ryan's sweater, I'm nearly done with Aunt Rose's hat, I've completed another of Leah's flowers (just 2 more to go!), and I'm trying to see how many hats I can make for Willow and Bloom by Wednesday. I'm inching along on my Monkey socks, I've begun Caroline's socks (because they are just too fabulous not to knit. I'll have pictures next time. I promise!) and my Socks on 2 Circs class starts tomorrow night. So, that's enough to keep me out of trouble for awhile, don't you think?

And if I get bored, I can always wash every single article of clothing in my house, because it appears it's all dirty. And if I REALLY run out of things to do, I can pick up the markers that are strewn all over my house. There are felt tipped markers everywhere. On the floor in the office, under the coffee table, on top of the coffee table, under the couch, on the kitchen counter, in Eric's room, in Ryan's room--you name it. There are markers in every single room in our house. Yes, even in the bathrooms. Everywhere except for the big box clearly labeled MARKERS. And my favorite part of this Marker Situation is the fact that when I say "it's time to clean up all of the markers" my family looks around and says "what markers?" like I'm crazy. Like they were following the memo that said let's decorate the house with markers and then crazy mom up and changed the rules on them. And then the shrieking has to start--the shrieking that sounds something like "that red one on the piano and the green one next to the tv and the 4 black ones that you just stepped on and the purple one on the stove" and again they all look at me like, if I would just get a grip and EMBRACE THE MARKERS my life would be so much easier....

Oh dear. Did I go off on another tangent again? That's bound to happen when the only other female in the house is a 15 year old vomiting cat.

Friday, September 5, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten!

Yesterday was Eric's first day of Kindergarten. As apprehensive as he had been about preschool, getting dressed on a daily basis, joining society....Eric was really excited about Kindergarten. And very excited about riding the bus. Ryan had refused to ride the bus in Kindergarten, so I wasn't quite sure how serious Eric was until we changed things on him at the last second.

On Tuesday we had the Meet the Teacher bar-b-que at school. Just before leaving for the bar-b-que I had a talk with my boss about her desire for me to work on Friday afternoons. Which was not going to be possible with Eric getting out of school at 11:00 each day. I suddenly had a brainstorm and during the Meet the Teacher event asked for Eric to be switched to the afternoon session. Which they actually did for me. Our principal has a reputation for NOT switching classes and the fact that he was so willing to do this for us was a true blessing. For everyone but Eric. In switching sessions, I had to agree to drive Eric to school each day since there would be no transportation for him. He was welcome to take the bus home, just not on the way to school. I heartily agreed to this arrangement, much to Eric's chagrin. He was furious with me, to say the least. The fact that he was still able to ride the bus once a day was little consolation.

All of that melted away when I actually took Eric to school. This kid was ready. He wore his brand new fall school outfit, that was much too warm for the weather, and was ready to begin his career at Briarwood Elementary.

Eric's table
Eric immediately found
his nametag and got down
to work.

He walked into the room, found his table, and began his very first school project--coloring a teddy bead picture. No tears. No clinging. None of the whining I get each Sunday when I drop him off at Sunday School in a room full of his good friends.

I milled around for a couple of minutes and then asked him if he wanted me to stay or if he was ready for me to go. "You can go". And I was one of the first moms to leave.

And when I picked him up at the bus stop later that afternoon, you have never seen such a wide beaming smile. Apparently Eric had the most euphoric bus ride ever. He made two friends, but he doesn't know their names, and Mrs. Martinell read stories. This morning Eric was up and dressed by 7:15, for his 11:42 start time. Eric has never been dressed this early for anything in his life. And what did I do during Eric's first day of school? Went next door to Shirley's and had a Mike's Hard Lemonade while we toasted the first day of school.

Ryan's lunch gang
Scott, Pedro, Zach, Dylan,
and Ryan in the orange shirt.

The funny part of bringing Eric to school in the middle of the day is running into Ryan. We discovered that we're showing up during his lunchtime. He was sitting at the table with his best buddies, who all started to make faces at me when they saw me with the camera. As only 3rd grade boys can do.

This morning when I was making Ryan's lunch I noticed that he failed to eat his sandwich yesterday. Didn't even try to hide the evidence. When I asked him about it he told me he couldn't find his sandwich. ??? Ever the hapless victim, Ryan certainly cannot be held responsible for unreasonable tasks, such as keep track of and eating his lunch.

I did enjoy the look of horror on his face when I reminded him that I'm now at school each day at lunchtime and I can always check up on him to make sure he is eating his healthy food. And that I'll have to stop giving him dessert if he can't remember to eat that healthy food first. He didn't like that one bit. No sir. This is really going to suck having mom around each day. Didn't count on that one at all.

I'm now trying to think of how to organize my day. If I clean in the morning, the time between 12 and 3 can be mine. All mine. I can run errands. Alone. By myself. Browse. Linger. Go to that one extra store. Or I can knit. Uninterrupted knitting. Guilt free knitting. I could even read. And concentrate on my book. The possibilities are endless, really.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Raise the flag, the Queen has returned!

Yes indeed, The Knitting Queen has struck again. I have been knitting like crazy, finishing up (yes, I said finishing) projects. In fact, I am so proud of myself that I began a new project that I have absolutely no time for at all. But my luscious Pagewood Farms Dark Denim merino/bamboo sock yarn, that I purchased months ago, has been practically hopping out of the basket, just itching to be knit.

So last night I began the Monkey socks that are featured on Ravelry and Knitty. I've done two whole inches and I'm in love. I'm in love with the pattern (I guess there is a reason it is THE most popular pattern in all of Ravelry) and I'm in love with the yarn. I've begun a torrid affair with this yarn and there is no turning back.

And now it is time for show and tell. A few months ago I made Leah some convertible mittens out of Regia 6 ply sock yarn. She loved the mittens so much that I did a hat. In fact, the Emma Hat from Knitting Little Luxuries. Next come matching socks.

I'm a double points sock knitter. That is how I learned 10 years ago and it suits me just fine. However, the shop teaches socks on two circular needles. I have no need for this. No Need. People have been knitting socks on dps for hundreds of years. I have knit many a fine sock on dpns. However, that wacky Cat Borhdi introduced the two circular needle thing and there are a lot of people hitching themselves to that wagon. So I'm sucking it up and taking our sock class, if for no other reason, than to be able to answer customer questions. And so I will be using Leah's sock yarn to learn this technique, since I already have two sets of size 3 needles. I just can't bring myself to purchase two sets of size 1 circular needles. Can't do it.

I also finished Leah's yoga socks...

...and I have two of the flowers made up for her felted bag. I seem to do a lot of knitting for Leah. Perhaps my business cards should list my title as "Personal Knitter to Leah Smith". And then when she becomes rich and famous some day she can carry me along with her and I can start to knit her cashmere sweaters... Ok, that was really random.

I have the back of Ryan's Harry Potter sweater finished and I've just started on the big R on the front...

...and I'm just about finished with my niece's socks. She chose Cascade Fixation, which I had been wanting to try. And now I can say I have. The socks are actually quite comfortable, but I'm not loving the yarn. It's too stretchy for me and it's really obvious where I switch needles. But she's 10. What does she know.
Yep, feeling good about the knitting. Almost as good as I feel about the fact that school starts in 2 days. 2 DAYS PEOPLE! I honestly don't know what I'm so excited about--Eric's day ends at 11:00. 11:00! What am I going to do with this kid after 11:00? I can't even make him go play with his brother. Maybe he'll get so tired he'll go back to napping. Maybe I'll follow that pipe dream for a while.