Saturday, December 19, 2009


Still haven't found the camera cable. Well, to be fair, I haven't looked for it. But since it hasn't magically appeared, I consider it still missing.

Today's theme is Things That Are Broken In My Parent's House. This is a quirky place. There are a lot of rules. Sometimes it is hard work living here. Let me show you what I mean:

1. The washer and dryer. As you may recall, a couple of years ago I bought a brand new Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer set. They are front loaders with the ever-so-important sanitizing feature and I love them. LOVE them. Now they are in storage and I am using my mom's Kenmores. I loathe these machines. The washer is constantly off balance. As in every single load. And the dryer....oh the dryer...the door won't stay open. So, you're trying to get the cold wet clothes out of the washer, and somehow re-open the dryer door that keeps slamming shut. And then you find yourself sticking your right leg inside the dryer to keep the door open while trying to get the clothes out of the washer and that is very hard to do because this washer is very tall and you are only 5'3". And all of this is happening in the space the size of a telephone booth.

2. The dishwasher. There are rules about the dishwasher. Apparently I have to completely wash and dry the dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. And I can't pull both racks out at the same time or it will tip over. And I can only fill it 3/4 full. And my mom seems to have an unspoken rule about only running it when I am trying to watch tv.

3. The oven. This oven, like the rest of the house, is an antique. Right out of the set of I Love Lucy. It has the two mini doors instead of one normal sized oven space to fit things such as, oh, I don't know, a pizza...or more than two baked potatoes....and when turning the oven off, I can't actually turn it to the OFF position. I have to very carefully turn the dial to just before the OFF position until I hear a tiny little click. If I go too far then apparently we can never turn it on again.

4. The internet. My dad is all hooked up and his computer seems to work fine. We bought a wireless card, to feed off of his wireless router, so that we can have our own computer in our own space. All of this works fine when it is not raining. Any moisture in the air and our connection goes down. My dad's connection continues to work fine, but our wireless card is apparently extremely weather sensitive. A bit of a bummer up here on this blustery island. In Western Washington. In the dead of winter.

5. The propane stove. Randomly loses the pilot light. All the time.

6. Alice. Yep, she's still around. And still broken. We brought her with us because she's our cat and we didn't know what else to do. My parents have a 2 year old female cat named Lily, who has the run of the place, so letting Alice loose in the house didn't seem like a good idea. We tried finding a humane shelter for her, but no one is taking animals right now. We also tried finding a new home for her--surprisingly, no one has been interested in a 16 year old passive aggressive female cat who pees in random places just for the hell of it. I even went so far as to make that bad vet appointment, but then canceled it because I just couldn't go through with it. So she is living in our room and it's going ok. Not great. But ok. She is using her litter box, except for those times when she chooses not to, and that means our room smells like Alice's litter box. Great. I can tell she is getting feeble, but she also seems somewhat content being locked up in our room, so we're going with it for now.

7. The lights. The lights are actually fine, but my dad has this thing about turning off all the lights that, in his opinion, are not being used. Even if you are in the room. And then he will leave for the day with his tv on.

8. The phones. My parents are the only people left on earth who do not own a cordless phone. Or have caller-id. The especially comes in handy when my mom wants to talk on the phone during my tv show. Right next to me.

Other than that, we seem to be settling in up here in Amish country. I had a job interview yesterday that was very funny. It was a group interview in which four applicants met with the hiring people at the same time. Very strange dynamics. Two of the applicants seems nice. The third had clearly decided that he was going to stand out, ahead of the rest of us, and make his mark in the interview. At the beginning of the process, after introductions, they asked if we had any questions. I asked a question, the two nice people asked a question, and then I said that I had one more question. Mr. Pushy announced that I had already had my turn and that he was now going to ask questions. I have to say, that stunned me for a second. After he interrupted me and demonstrated his true customer service skills, they turned back to me and asked me if I would like to continue my question. I found the whole thing very amusing. And then again, after the interview, I ran all of my mom's errands for her. I think she likes having a wife.

I got a call back and have a one-on-one interview on Tuesday. I'm thinking Mr. Pushy maybe did not get a call back.

Have to run now. Mom has big plans for me that involve nothing I am actually choosing to do.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Monday

And where are the pictures you ask? In my camera. I have the cord to download the pictures onto my computer, somewhere.......could be anywhere, really. I know I saw it recently. In the house. I believe in this corner of the house....I'm sure it will turn up. In the meantime, you'll have to use your imagination when I write to you about life as a nomad.

I should be in the car, driving the boys to school right now, at this very moment. But no. Today there is a two hour delay because somewhere in the state of Washington it snowed. Not here, mind you. Not one flake can be found as I look out over the great expanse that is Waxwood Farm. However, it seems that South Whidbey is not immune to the insanity that grips Washington State when anyone, on any news station, utters the word snow. So now I'm getting to spend more quality time with these beings.

Currently Ryan is reloading the nerf gun that he somehow ended up with after our Dinner Group white elephant party (I say somehow because it actually wasn't part of the gift exchange. So now Henry is the proud owner of Michelle's green furry pimp hat and Ryan has one of Henry's nerf guns. And now I'm not sure who got the worse end of this deal--me or Henry's mom). And Eric is having a productive morning yelling at his DS and would be swearing at it right now if he actually knew any of those words. Which brings me back to my main point--they belong in school, because Eric's going to start picking up those words pretty quickly if he spends much more time with me.

I actually have been knitting. Not that I can show it to you, but I have. Mike came home from work about a week ago, begging me for a hat to keep him from freezing to death on the ferry boat. And I finished Dave's birthday socks, that were only 29 days late. And I'm in the middle of making Mike some fingerless gloves, and apparently my hats are flying off the shelves at my two shops, and I still have Heidi's chicken to finish. But all of that will have to wait until these creatures go to school and I have a chance to go to the good grocery store, which is next to the good pharmacy, which I will bet does not have snow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Baby, it's cold inside!

Ok people--it's COLD here. COLD. Now, I know Western Washington is experiencing a cold snap this week. I get it. We're all cold. When you step outside in the morning, you say "brrr" and give a little shiver before getting in your car. Here's the thing, folks--this house, this 100 year old farm house, this 100 year old farm house on this island IS NOT HEATED. I'm living in a demented version of Little House on the Prairie. We get up in the morning to no heat. So, whoever gets up first has to turn on the propane stove in the family room, and then build a fire in the living room so we all don't die. I have to say, I would make a pretty good boy scout, now that I'm a month into this.

And often we fire this all up (no pun intended), the house becomes nice and toasty, and then we can turn the propane stove off for a while. Not this week. This place is practically frigid. 24 degrees outside and about 26 inside unless you are standing directly in front of the roaring fire that I built, thank you very much. You know which rooms are not heated at all? At any time of the day? All the rest.

Today I had my job interview. So I dusted off a skirt, found a pair of nylons that would stay up past my thighs, and then sat around shivering all morning because that was just about the dumbest outfit I could have selected to wear up here on Walton's Mountain.

And how did the interview go?'s a good company and I am totally and completely qualified for the job. I think it would be a great job, actually. If they can recognize the random and bizarre questions they asked and note that I gave the best lame answers of all the lame answers they heard today from the schedule of interviews they had.

After my interview, I had about 90 minutes to kill before picking the kids up from school. So I ran all of tomorrow's errands. Which is easy to do since the little hamlet I was in had all of my errands conveniently located next door to each other. Seriously. First I went to the craft store to get my mom a glue gun (don't ask). Then I went down the street to the grocery store. Packed up the car with groceries, then walked next door to the pharmacy to get mom's prescription. Then drive across the street (literally, across the street) to my mom's antique mall to restock her booth. I write this, I'm thinking my mom is secretly starting to like having me around....and then I drove up the highway to the kid's school. Which is located in the woods. Their school is in the woods.

This place is like a time warp. It's Sense and Sensibility, with mud flaps.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Notes from a Small Island

So--I've been missing for a bit. Perhaps the 4 of you who tune in regularly have noticed that. We've had a pretty significant family crisis and blogging about knitting (and actually knitting, for that matter) seemed trivial in light of recent events. But now that things are beginning to stabilize a bit, I thought I'd let you know what's going on. I mean, we're friends, right?

So here goes. We have moved in with my parents. On Whidbey Island. An island. Land that you can only get to by boat. Living with my parents on an Island. I am 41 years old and I'm living with my parents. On an island.

It's been no secret that things have been tough for us. Our finances have been a mess for quite some time and then there was that whole unemployment fun that went on for too too long. All that, combined with a recession and some dumb things we have done add up to the fact that we can't afford our house. And the bank has been very quick to point that out to us. We can't afford our house. We can't afford to make up our back payments (it's a BIG) number and, even if that BIG number dropped from the sky to catch us up, we can't afford to stay current. We have other debts, taxes--it's just a huge mess that we are literally unable to fix. Unfixable.

The house has been a sore spot for a long time. I've always had a love/hate relationship with it. For the past 2 years I have fought tooth and nail to save it. Because it's a Cape Cod with a big front porch and dormers in the bedrooms and a stone fireplace that I designed and a pumpkin colored dining room with plate rail and a garden that I planted. This was the only house my boys have ever known and they were suppose to grow up with Emily-the-neighbor-girl and we were going to live there happily ever after.

But now I'm ok with leaving. It's a relief to no longer think about my broken garage door and the peeling paint and the 25 year old gutters and the half finished bathrooms and the deer--oh the deer! Remember the deer?!? I'm not saying I'm not sad about this. I am. I've been devastated by this. This has changed my whole world forever. This guarantees some juicy material for my boys in therapy. And we've become THOSE PEOPLE. The people you hear about on the news each night. The people who have lost their home. And that's not humiliating at all....So I spent 2 weeks straight crying. And now we're trying to start over. Not sure what that means. But that's what we're doing. Starting over.

The boys are enrolled in school here, I'm learning where the 2 grocery stores are, and Mike is using a ferry boat, train, and bus to commute to work each day. I've started knitting again. I'm looking for a job on this little dot of land and have actually secured an interview for Monday. And I've decided to write about this adventure. For a couple of weeks, the thought of sharing this was horrifying. The blog was over. Dead and buried, like the rest of my life. And then little things would happen throughout the day that were just funny. Island anecdotes. Quirky things that could only happen on this strip of land (like the fact that my mom runs into people she knows at the grocery store. Good friends that she met at the gas station or the post office. And now they're hugging and making a lunch date because 8 years later they are best pals). My first instinct was to write to you about these things but then that meant explaining why in the world I was on this godforsaken floating commune and that opened up a whole can of worms that I was unable to communicate.

But now I'm ready. I'll still write about knitting. But I'll also write about the 2 storage units we're sharing with my parents and the fact there is no central heating in this 100 year old farm house and the fact that Mike and Eric both learned the hard way that you must wear shoes or slippers at all times on Grandpa's unsanded fir floor and the lengths my dad will go to in recycling and all the roads around here are named after the people who live here and my mom who refuses to use her dishwasher because she thinks it's a waste of time to load it and unload it but has no problem washing all her dishes by hand....

Ready for the adventure? Stay tuned!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Things that happened in October

Yep, I'm really that lame. It's November and I'm just now writing my next post. People, I'm busy! For instance, I have to take care of these beasts which continue to haunt my back yard.

And I had to get Ryan ready for his Masquerade Bash at school. Since Ryan is in the Science/Tech program, the class project for Halloween was for each kid to come up which a famous scientist, get it approved, and then write clues so the rest of the class could guess who they were. Ryan was Leonardo Da Vinci, wearing Daddy's bathrobe.

And of course I still have Baby S with me 3 days a week. Every Halloween Gilman Village has Trick or Treating for the kids. Which is great for families, but frankly, a nightmare for everyone who works there. Mara and I spent 3 hours, not selling yarn, standing in the freezing cold doorway handing out candy. Both of our Mikes brought the kids by for a visit.

Of course, throw in about 74 loads of laundry and you can see I've got my hands full these days. I did manage to clean my master bathroom today. That, wow. It had been awhile.

I'm using my extra-awesome photography skills here to show you the baby earflap hat I'm making for a friend. They also want matching mittens, which I think will be cute. But I honestly don't know if I've ever actually made baby mittens before....can't be that hard, can it? The great thing about baby mittens--no thumbs!

Last, but not least, here is my crowning glory. The left hand part of the Snowbird Mittens.

I have to say, I'm pretty stunned that I was able to do it. Once I block it, I think it will look great, and it actually fits!

I'm still working on my 3 different pairs of socks, all for 3 different people, who should know me well enough to know that I have WAY over-committed myself here, what with the chickens and baby hats and scarves and everything else I'm knitting. I've been blatantly honest about the shear number of projects I have going, so if these 3 sock people are reading my blog (and I believe they do...), then they've hopefully done the math and realized that I'm a bit behind. I just continue to work on projects as the spirit moves me and somehow they all eventually get done....although I'm thinking I need to have a no new projects policy until I'm able to check a few of these outstanding items off my list.

If I intend to write this post and publish it in one sitting (and I believe I do), then the time for me to go is now. I have to fix dinner and present it to 2 boys who have no intention of eating it. They can't start whining until they see what I'm making, so I'd better get the show on the road!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's October!

...and do you know what that means? It means I haven't blogged since September! How did THAT happen? Let's see--what have I been doing with my time? I truly have very little to report, but here's the lowdown: laundry, watching Baby S, abusing my children by forcing them to do their homework, humiliating my eldest by talking to his teacher on the phone about his homework, laundry, running my "vacuum" over the carpet and pretending that it is sucking up dirt even though I can visibly see that the dirt remains on the floor, drinking Diet Coke, get the picture.

Honestly, it has taken me 3 days just to compose this post, and after reading to the end you will undoubtedly say THIS took her 3 days?

October also means BIRTHDAYS around here--Mike and I are now officially 41. In our 40's. Old. Sunday my dear friend Jane gave me more sock yarn, under the guise that it's my birthday month. So how can I say no to that logic? More Pagewood Farms...yum.....

I've been in a bit of a knitting slump lately. I finished my cousin's hat (which looks very cool in person and someone with greater camera skills than I would have actually been able to capture that), and now, what to knit....

I mean, I have things to knit. I always have hats. And I currently have 3 pairs of socks going. And I still have Heidi's chicken to start. And Mike's sweater, and my scarf... But nothing is reaching out and grabbing me these days. I need inspiration.

I have been making slight progress on my Snowbird mittens, but they require a lot of attention to detail. And my post-its keep falling off the chart. For my birthday Mike ordered a magnetic chart keeper for me from Knit Picks that is currently en route--I keep telling myself that my enthusiasm for this project will pick up after I've employed my new chart keeper. Because a gadget will improve my knitting, don't you think?

Honestly, I'm not one for gadgets and have very few knitting "tools". I mean, I have the basics--I have what I need. But I don't go for all the point protectors and row counters and special tension thimbles and all that. We sell lots and lots of gadget-y items at the shop that I do not own. However, I do think this chart keeper is a must have. I am so tired of trying to follow a chart and keep track of which line I am on with post-its that lose their stickiness factor after being moved 3 times. My only regret is that I didn't order about 4 of them....

In non-knitting news, Mike took the boys to the UW Bookstore on Sunday to meet author Jeff Kinney. Ryan is a huge Wimpy Kid fan (being kind of a Wimpy Kid himself....) and brought the entire collection to be signed.

Eric got his own copy of the first book, which he is now reading, and they both got their books signed. Ryan is so excited to have these autographs that he is re-reading the series (which is so amazing to me--he has no time to do his homework, no time to do his 40 minutes of assigned reading each night, no time for his book reports, but has managed to carve out a significant amount of time to re-read the entire Wimpy Kid series. I plan to use this against him during our next "discussion" about homework. In about 10 minutes).

Well, unless I want this post to linger into a 4th day, I believe I will wrap things up. Let's see if I can return before November!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yeah, I'm still here...

Listen folks, I'm BUSY! I don't mean to blog once every 21 days, but lately it just happens. I have things to do. My husband keeps asking me for clean underwear, and I often have to give it some serious thought before I can answer him. I have these boys that continue to need a mother. Again, the clean underwear question....and Ryan, who is currently writing a screenplay to send to George Lucas, keeps trying to tell me that he is incapable of writing a book report for school. Eric is practicing for the Wii Sonic Unleashed World Championships and it is serious work trying to bring that kid back to reality. I mean, he has too much homework and it's not fair that he has to read for 10 whole minutes every day. It's just not fair. So I spend all afternoon being the heavy to ensure I'm not raising two illiterates.

I have Baby S here three times a week, I have baby hats to knit each week, I have my job at the shop each weekend, I have boys to cart to and from Kid's Choir, and apparently we'll be playing basketball again...people, I need a personal assistant. Preferably one that can knit and will also pay me for the privilege of basking in my company each day.

In fact, the only reason I can do this right now is that Baby S went home sick today. And so while I'm very sad for 3 month old Baby S and his daddy who had to come pick him up, hooray for you because now you get my undivided attention!

I have been doing some knitting in the evenings. My two chickens are done, and I still have the original chicken, for Heidi, left to knit, but now I'm thinking of blue and white with yellow accents. Which means I need to buy some blue. Because I truly don't think my attention span can handle a 3rd black, white, and red chicken.

This Shedir hat is for my cousin, Lora. I picked this pattern because I wanted to make something pretty, and I'm using Debbie Bliss Prima (80% bamboo! and 20% wool) in black, which I thought would be a great color for Lora, but is clearly going to be the death of me. Ever tried to knit multiple cables in black? At night? It has now become a personal challenge and I Will Knit That Hat.

Again, just to mix things up and challenge myself, I am knitting these little court jester hats out of my leftover sock yarns. Because I need more challenges in my life. I have a whole bag of sock yarn remnants and it seemed like a fun idea to no only use up my stash, but try to sell them at one of my shops in the process. And to knit something other than a cupcake. You know I love my cupcakes, but I need a little variety now and then.

...and why oh why has it taken me so long to get on this project?!? I think I bought this pattern two years ago. The arms are beaded, there is a pattern book for all the little accessories...what have I been waiting for? I actually think they are going to be somewhat labor intensive, but holy smokes people, these snowmen must be knit!

And of course you all know me well enough to know that I have some socks on the needles. Always and forever, knitting socks. The pink socks are for Penny, my dear friend who moved away and now lives in North Carolina. And I promised her a pair of socks an embarrassingly long time ago. She chose pink and I love knitting with pink! Pink Pagewood Farms wool and bamboo sock yarn! The gray Alpaca Sox socks are, again, for Scott. I really need to get back to those...
That's it folks. That I'll I have to tell you right now. I have three hours that I can call my own until I have to get those little hooligans from school and remind them once again that I did not assign the homework so yelling at ME about it will get you nowhere but I would be happy to discuss your refusal to do the homework at your parent/teacher/student conference oh you don't want me to do that? And please tell your father to hunt for his own clean underwear because I'm busy fixing you all a dinner that is designed to ruin the rest of your evening because I'm secretly trying to poison you.

The magic never ends.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Weekly update...sort of...

Scott's socks

This babysitting business is getting in the way of my blogging time! Don't get my wrong, Baby S is a cute little bugger, but between babysitting, knitting hats, and cruelly forcing my own children to do their homework, I haven't had much time to blog this week.

So we'll do this in one fell swoop. First off. Scott's socks. Made with Alpaca Sox. Yummy! I'm doing a broken rib pattern from the Knitted Gifts book, which I think is very masculine. Should keep him nice and toasty during those Montana winters!

KAL Chicken
This is my sample chicken for the shop!
Second, I'm on to my next chicken! I delivered Chicken #1 to my cousin the other day and it was well received. Her life really sucks right now. Really sucks. And so it made me happy to see her giggle when I gave it to her.

This next chicken is for our Knit-A-Long at the shop. I hope people do it. It's a fun project and the goal is to "borrow" the finished chickens and display them all. I need to get this thing done to rouse some excitement about my brainstorm.

Third: School. School is good. Both boys love school. However. Ryan has lots of homework. Which he knew about when we agreed to sign him up for the Science/Tech program this year. And in theory he still understands that it's his responsibility to do this homework. Except for all the excuses he comes up with each and every day. So now I've taken the tactic that all homework must be done before any other activity because he has proven that he can't be trusted to get it done in the evening. Because then, you know, he's tired. And it's not really fair that he has to read for 40 minutes each night. And it's also not fair that I'm forcing him to be alone when he reads because Ryan is fully capable of reading chapter books while the tv is on and his brother is playing the Wii and mom and dad are talking....I'm really mean.

At the Tacoma Dome
Wow. We look like we're almost 41.

Fourth: My husband was a nice guy and took me to Tacoma to see Keith Urban, as a surprise. Now, I'm not usually one for surprises, but this kind of surprise, well, he can show up with those tickets anytime he wants!

This nice couple asked us to take their picture, and then they offered to take our picture. And it turned out like this. Two people who look like they are about to turn 41.

And then we went to the concert, which was one of the loudest events I have ever attended. Including the last Keith Urban concert we went to. But it was very very fun. And again, Mike had to secretly admit that he had a great time.

Of course, part of Mike's enjoyment this time was the crowd of people in our immediate area. Sure there were plenty of people our age, and plenty of young blond girls who shriek a lot, but, and we still can't figure this out, there were several senior citizens in our section. Not just one or two. Several. And by senior citizens, I mean people you would never expect to see at this concert. Honestly, several people in their 80's. They had canes.
The couple right next to Mike, well, they had to be well over 80. And they sat still, not moving a muscle, the entire opening act (Little Big Town) as well as the concert itself. The wife put the binoculars to her face when the lights went down, and sat in that position for 3 hours.

The couple with the cane, same thing. The woman in front of us was the best. She was old. Old. I'm not trying to be offensive here. Truly--this woman was 85 years old. And she was having the time of her life. She boogied the night away for 3 solid hours. She was having way more fun than the 55 year old next to me who complained about everything the entire night. Everytime she wanted to get out, she let me know how inconvenient it was to have me there, she got mad at the people behind her for touching her chair, she got mad at the people in front of her who stood up when Keith came out on stage, and she ended up leaving early with her daughter, who I think actually wanted to stay.

A real treat, that one was.
Well, apparently I need to wrap this up. Ryan has been waiting all afternoon to play RuneScape on my computer (yes, the boys have a computer, but we have computer issues right now. Ryan has my old computer which has sound, but no wireless card. Eric has the world's oldest working computer, and it is connected to the internet, but for some reason it's not today, and you can't actually do anything on it anyway, and my new computer works great but has no sound at the moment and apparently Vista or whatever I have won't let me open certain email programs for no reason and I can't print....) and I seem to be ruining his afternoon, on purpose, by using my very own computer for my own personal use. So, any issues you have with this disjointed post--blame Ryan.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

Before I dive into why I do a little dance each morning as my children get on the school bus, I have to show you all this picture. A few weeks ago we spent the day at Blake's house, babysitting, and the boys watched Shrek in 3-D.

I wanted to show you this picture that very day, because this is a picture that must be shown, but it was being held hostage inside my cell phone.

This picture has nothing to do with anything I want to share with you today, but just look at those 3 boys for a minute.

Completed Socks!
Kristin's purple Narragansett socks and
Tiffany's New Year's Lights socks
Anyhoo--as I was saying, school is back in session. And having my boys spend 6 hours a day, apart from each other, in different classrooms, is the best thing that could have happened to our family right now. For the last couple of weeks, they have done nothing but fight. They are sick of each other, sick of me, sick of their best friends the neighbor kids who they saw every single day this summer, sick of this house....they are both loving school. And then they come home completely exhausted and by dinner time are fighting again. Perhaps boarding school is the answer?

Eric is becoming much more confident in his old age, being a big 1st grader and all. He has been standing up to his bossy older brother a lot lately and laying claim to what he feels is rightfully his. And Ryan doesn't like that at all. No siree. Things were much easier around here when Ryan ran the show.

And recently they both ramped up the dinnertime arguments, complaining incessantly about each and every single solitary thing they are served. Treating us as if we poisoning them. Cries of despair. Every. Single. Night. And we're talking about pizza. Tacos. Spaghetti. Not the liver and onions I had to endure at their age. So Mike and I lowered the boom and no one is allowed to say ANYTHING about what they are served. Not a word. Eat it or don't eat it. But say NOTHING. Unless you want to say "thank you mom for the delicious meal. May I have more?" you are not allowed to utter a word about the completely appropriate kid-friendly meal I have served you.

So yes, having both children in school full time--things can only look up from here.

As you can see, I did manage to finish 2 pairs of socks!

And holy toledo look at this chicken! It just needs eyes and a tail and then Lora, it's all yours! This chicken pattern was a lot of fun. So much fun, in fact, that we're going to use it as a Knit-A-Long for the shop. Which means I have to get going on my shop sample pronto. I envision a whole display window of chickens and it makes me giggle. I hope customers think it's as compelling as I do.
And in other happy news, my husband was a sneaky guy and bought tickets to the Keith Urban concert for this Saturday night. He bought them months ago, when we were jobless and destitute, so I have no idea how he pulled that off. But he did. And it was suppose to be a surprise, but he spilled the beans when I started reminding him about the dinner party we're to be hosting at the exact same time. So now dinner is at a different house, sans us, and I'll be hosting next month instead. I am actually very disappointed to miss this time with my dear friends, because I had to miss last month's dinner group as well, but with a ticket and license to drool, you won't hear me complaining.
I started babysitting 2 month old baby S yesterday, and he's lying here on the floor next to me right now, having a little conversation with me about how much he likes to kick his skinny little legs. So I better wrap this up before we have to walk to the bus stop and get those cranky boys. It's evil half-day Wednesday you know.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day 1 of Freedom

Ryan, Eric, and Philip
Philip is Eric's buddy from kindergarten. You will notice that Philip is 2 heads taller than both boys. I'm not sure if this showcases how tall Philip is, or how short my boys are!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cluck Cluck

My first chicken in hatching. That's right, my first chicken. Ok, first of all, how I can knit just one of these things? B. My cousin weighed in and expressed extreme interest in a chicken of her own. And 3. I'm starting to think my mom may need one as well.

Again, this girl who developed the chart is pretty darn clever. I am enjoying knitting it (although, truth be told, it's best done without too much wine). My only real disappointment is that she created the chart for the smallest of the three sizes. I was hoping it was for one of the larger chickens. And a smarter, braver, math-ier person might be able to convert that, but I know my limits. It's going to be small chickens all around.

Leah's socks have been finished and delivered.

Mom's socks, finished and delivered.

Emily's coffee sleeves, finished and delivered.

Kristin and Tiffany's socks--inching my way along on sock number 2 for each of them.

Snowbird mittens--a whole 3/4 of an inch!

With free sock needles, I'm getting the itch to start more! It's all I can do not to allow myself to begin Scott's Alpaca Sox pair, especially now that my circular needles are again free. And I have piles of Jane's Lorna's Laces calling my name....Actually the only reason I haven't started the socks for Scott (husband to Kristin) is time.

With my husband working a 2nd job at night four nights a week, and then with me working on the weekends, I spend a lot of time dealing with things around the house all by myself (except for the giant dead rat in my driveway. That I waited for Mike to deal with. There are some things I JUST WON'T DO). But between the laundry, school shopping, refereeing Lego ownership, the laundry, convincing Ryan to eat his lunch, cleaning up popsicle drips off the kitchen floor which is interesting because I have a strict popsicles-only-outside-policy, the laundry...well, you get the picture. I'm not complaining, mind you. We're very grateful for the work. There are still a lot of people out of work, or waiting for the ax to fall. And finally finally finally, we are no longer those people. But as a result, my bathrooms don't always get the attention they deserve and my garden....oh dear. Well, fortunately, most of my beloveds will continue to grow even if I don't have time to tend them.

In less than a week I will officially have a 4th grader and a 1st grader, I will be able to rid myself of the giant pile of school supplies sitting on my dining room table, and peace will be restored to my kingdom once again. Between the hours of 8:00 and 3:15. All I need is some cold rainy weather and my joy will be complete!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Making Progress...

Hello people--I'm back. I have several things to share with you today, so prepare to be impressed!

1. Deer update: it seems the deer have taken my threats to murder them in their sleep seriously, as they appear to have moved on to greener pastures. Which means my tomato plants are laden with tomatoes and my rose bushes are short, but in full bloom. Any deer reading this, be for- warned--I shoot to kill.

2. I suck as a photographer. Jared Flood says that knitted items look best when photographed in natural lighting. So that is what I did today. I took all of the items I wanted to share with you outside and photographed them on the deck. Which apparently I did wrong because the sun was too bright and everything looks washed out. Whatever. If you squint real hard you can see Leah's finished Lilypad socks (see Leah, FINISHED).

3. I'm getting close on my mom's Mixed Berries Monkey Socks,

4. I'm starting on sock #2 for Tiffany...

5. ...and I'm making good progress on Kristin's socks. Whew! That's a lot of socks! I'm a little embarrassed to tell you how much sock yarn I have left, thanks to Jane, but I will tell you that it's somewhere in the neighborhood of a baker's dozen....

6. I'm especially proud of this picture, being the worst of all the photographs I took today. Wow. This one is truly bad. But you still get the gist. My sister Emily has been hinting about coffee sleeves. Emily is a hairdresser. And more importantly, she is my hairdresser. And the irony is, she is one of those weirdos who never wears socks. Ever. Dead of winter--no socks. Here I am, oodles of sock yarn coming out my ears, and no point in gifting her with the only way I can afford to pay her (did I mention I never have to pay her?). So when she mentioned coffee sleeves, I remembered that my new Knitted Gifts book has a pattern for a great coffee sleeve. This first one I did in a charcoal gray Cascade 220 tweed (which is well hidden by the beauty of this natural lighting).

...and this second one I am doing in a brand new yarn called Brae Tweed, which is a merino, llama, and bamboo blend. I'm putting cables in this one, just to mix things up. This is a fair trade for a cut and color every 5 weeks, don't you think? No, I don't think so either, but it's a start!

7. And finally, the piece d'resistance--I bought the pattern for the chicken this week. I think I shared this with you a few months ago, and it has been on my short list ever since I laid eyes on it.
Now, the original pattern, by Blue Sky Alpacas (and let's be fair, Susan B. Anderson) is fine. Cute, but not compelling to me. But when I saw that someone actually created this design and knit it up in these striking colors, well, there is no WAY I'm not going to make this thing! This has my friend, Heidi, written all over it. Between Christmas and her birthday, this will be gifted to her. And I can say all of this loud and clear on my blog because she will never ever read it.

Heidi is a dear friend. One of my best friends. And I don't believe she has ever read my blog. To be fair, I don't think she has ever read anyone's blog. Heidi cares less about technology than anyone I know (although she may be neck in neck with my mother, who can't find her own daughter's blog). So I can talk about Heidi and the gift I'm going to make her all day long on this site and she will never ever ever know of it. When I give it to her, she will be totally and completely surprised. Heidi Heidi Heidi Heidi! See--she can't hear me.

This particular chicken is made out of Cascade 220, which is so completely affordable. The pattern cost me all of $5.50, and the chart was generously made free by ElleM, who, let's face it, is a genius.

And now, I have 2 hours left of freedom before picking up my boys from their playdate. Then the fun will really begin when I take Eric to the doctor during rush hour to confirm his case of Fifth Disease (don't freak out people who have been around Eric--it's NOT contagious. I repeat, mother of Blake, NOT contagious). But since his rash currently makes him look like he's gone 6 rounds as a prize fighter, I'm thinking someone with an actual medical degree should confirm the diagnosis that I came up with via Shirley-the-neighbor and Cori-the-nurse. Rumor has it, the rash from Fifth Disease can last for weeks. Good thing they moved school pictures up to September 1st!

I'd love to stay and chat all day, but I don't want to. I'm going to bask in my last 2 hours of solitude.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Knitting Queen's Excellent Adventure

It actually wasn't that excellent. It was fine. But indeed I have been on a 24 hour escape from the tedium that is my summer.

Yesterday at noon I dropped the boys off at Mike's sister's house for a sleepover. I need to emphasize this: this was completely 100% Tiffany's idea. I of course needed no convincing, but I do have to set the record straight that in no way did I foist these beings upon her.

The boys adore that baby, Blake, and Blake is mighty fond of them as well. There was much squealing involved when they greeted each other. And then there was some squealing of my own as I drove away at record speed.

My plan was this: 2 yarn shops, the bead store, the paint store, dinner with my husband before he went off to his 2nd job, and then hours upon hours of time to knit. I'm not sure where all those extra hours were going to come from, but that was the plan.

The first yarn shop, Village Yarn and Tea in Lake Forest Park, is a favorite. I oo-ed and ah-ed for a bit and really did intend to buy something fun, but of course since I actually had the time and some money, nothing jumped out at me. I then went to Acorn Street Yarn in the U District. I have not been to Acorn Street in quite some time and I always forget just how crazy that shop is. Crazy good. Crazy-floor-to-ceiling-shelves-of-yarn-and-a-library-ladder kind of crazy. Crazy as in they apparently carry every single solitary brand of yarn, do-dad, gadget and book one would ever need for knitting. Ever. All packed into this tiny crooked hexigonical shaped corner building.

And that is where I found Louet Gems Fingering Weight. The exact yarn needed for the Snowbird mittens. Because I'm disturbed and want to knit them. And I almost almost bought the pink and brown Lorna's Laces for the Sonata mittens. It was in my hands (because, again, this shop is amazing and they had SHELVES of Lorna's Laces sock yarn) and I walked around with it for a bit. See, a few days ago I (gasp) ripped out the Sonata mitten I had been making with the Cascade Heritage. I love Heritage and really wanted to make it work. But it wasn't working. On size 2's my stitches were uneven and on size 1's the mitten was too small. And I knew I would never make that 2nd pink and brown mitten. So I almost bought the correct yarn to give it another go. But I didn't. Couldn't pull the trigger. I think I may be over those mittens for the time being. But I did escape with my Louet Gems and I am itching to get started on those Snowbird mittens. Itching, I tell you.

I then went to the bead store, which was rather uneventful, and then went next door to Bellevue Paint to get a big pile of paint samples. See, I have 2 unpainted bathrooms and a 6 year old's bedroom that apparently needs to be any color other than the yellow we picked out for that room 10 years ago before he was even a sparkle in my eye. And I haven't been painting these rooms because destitute unemployed people don't throw good money around on paint. However, marginally destitute employed people with steady paychecks can throw good money around on a can of paint. So I'm beginning that process. Then, after traveling all over kingdom come, I went home to knit before meeting my husband.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Aunt Tiffany was unable to put Blake down for a nap because he didn't want to miss one iota of the party going on in his house, and my boys, who discovered her supply of Goldfish, kept telling her they were hungry, and naive new mom that she is, Tiffany kept feeding them said Goldfish to the point that, come dinner, they weren't hungry (to be fair, they also ate cupcakes).

I then met Mike at Jimmy Mac's Roadhouse where I had a great big ol' margarita and threw my peanut shells all over the floor, sent him off on his merry little way, and went back home for an evening of solitude.

Blake, ornery little stinker that he is, apparently didn't sleep most of the night because, again, the party (even though my boys were zonked out by 9). The boys then had donuts for breakfast, played some more Wii, and then I came to rain on their parade by taking them back home where they belong.

But of course, why go straight home when you can stop by Fred Meyer to look at their shoe sale and deals on school supplies? Which is great if you are Ryan and they have the exact pair of Sketchers that you have always wanted your whole life. And it sucks if you are Eric and they have several suitable pairs of Sketchers Z Straps and Super Z Straps and whatever the hell they are called but no Luminators which is apparently the shoe of his dreams. So it's a good thing I chose to go shoe shopping on the way home from a sleepover, because that left Eric with no coping skills with which to process the concept of going to a different Fred Meyer on a different day to look for these magical shoes.

We then drove through McDonalds and Eric was accidentally given 2 straws (2 STRAWS!), which is apparently worse than being given no straws, or even leaving the shoe store with no shoes. He complained about my choice of music the entire way home, and is currently in the living room, watching Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas and plotting my demise.

And people, this is why my shopping cart at Fred Meyer contained not only a pair of shoes, some bargain school supplies, but also a nice big juicy bottle of wine.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

And now it's August....

Since the temperature has literally dropped 30+ degrees in the last week, I am now able to return to my computer without melting. Today I'm wearing jeans, socks and a sweatshirt. And I'm still slightly chilly. And that is just the way I like it!

So, my little experiment with Tiffany's sock kind of got away from me and I'm nearly ready to start on the toe. For whatever reason, this sock practically knit itself. I almost feel like Mrs. Weasley with this sock, it has been so effortless.

Unlike, say, these socks over here for Leah. These are the socks that I can knit and knit and knit, yet they never grow. And when they do grow, I get ladders, weird misshapen stitches...Somehow the yarn I'm using for Tiffany's socks got all the mojo and these Lilypad socks, with the darling picot cuffs, are completely void of any mojo. I have had to reknit each sock for different reasons and, seriously, the will not grow. Both yarns are Lorna's Laces, I am using the exact same needles for each...I have no explanation.

I was at Leah's the other day and warned her that there seems to be a curse upon these particular socks for her. So, when she gets a hole in one and then slips and falls and breaks her leg the first day she wears them, she can do so knowing she had full disclosure. But they're pretty darn cute at least....

Yes, I still have 1 1/8 of my mom's Monkey socks and 1 1/6 of Kristin's Narragansett socks. I seem to have gotten a little carried away with the sock knitting, if I do say so myself.

And just because I truly think there is something wrong with me, I finally found a use for my beloved Tilli Tomas yarn. And I started that project too. I've been thinking of trying out the Juliet Scarf from Lousia Harding's Knitting Little Luxeries. And I'm really liking it. It's a lace pattern, but it's not your typical repeating lace picture. There are several different "stripes" going down the scarf, which I think is fun. And it really shows off the yarn. Ok, this picture doesn't show off the yarn, but the glass beads are great in this pattern.

Knitting aside, we're sort of in survival mode here. With Mike working two jobs, I just don't have enough time to get everything done that needs to get done. I mean, I'm working too, just in opposite hours at the shop, and then when I'm at home, I'm trying to knit baby hats, keep up with the house, laundry, run all the errands, and oh yeah...spend time with my kids. So, while we are so very grateful for jobs and for the ability to actually pay some bills on time, I can't say this summer has actually been fun (ok--the part where all four of us got to see Harry Potter--that was pretty fun. I'll give you that).

When school starts I will begin babysitting a newborn. It's a situation that sort of fell into my lap and it actually works out nicely. I'll keep the same number of hours at the shop, and then pick up more income here at home. The hours will be from about 9:15 to about 4, which is really manageable. But again, no free time. Don't get me wrong--this job couldn't be more convenient. For someone looking to earn more money and still be available for her kids, this definitely fits the bill. And spending time with a newborn actually is appealing to me, since my babies are no longer babies anymore. But I keep thinking that, now that I can actually afford to paint my two unpainted bathrooms, I have no time to do it!

Mike keeps telling me that all of this will eventually work out. I'm not sure why he is so confident of that (he is sleep deprived, so some of it could be delirium), and I keep thinking that we can't keep this up, working 45 different jobs....but that's the situation we're in right now, so I guess we'll go with it.

Wow--I sort of ended this with a downer. You can blame the heat.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Royal Update

OH HEAVENS TO MURGATROYD IT IS HOT THIS WEEK. Ok, fine. I know I complain about the heat all the time and I'm always telling you about THE HOTTEST WEEK OF THE YEAR. But this time I mean it. No, really. Seattle is in for record heat. Tomorrow it is suppose to reach 101 at SeaTac. And that always means a good 5 degrees hotter where I am.

People, we're not equipped for this here in Seattle. We have no air conditioning. We have no swimming pools. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we live by the water and can go to the beach.....THERE IS NO SHADE AT THE BEACH AND IT'S GOING TO BE 105 DEGREES. I can't cope with this weather. It makes me yell. The inside of my house reached 91 yesterday. That is with all the doors and windows open and the fan blowing. Currently it is 10:00 am and it's already 81 inside my house. Last night I actually sent my boys to bed with ziplock bags filled with ice.

I could complain about this all the live long day, but I do have other news to report. Namely, the deer seem to have disappeared. Perhaps they died of heatstroke. We can only hope. Actually, I have noticed their absence for the last few weeks, but didn't say anything in case they read my blog and were waiting for me to report that I have actual roses on my rose bushes and tomatoes on my tomato plants. Truly, now that I have shared this news with all of you, I will not be the least bit surprised if I wake up tomorrow morning to find that they all came back to the Keene breakfast buffet. I really do hate those deer with the same intensity as the hatred I have for the heat. Which proves my theory that they are creatures straight out of hell.

I'm telling you--nothing makes me crankier than a thermostat that reads anything over 72.

I do have some happy news to report: my beloved new book arrived! It came early and it came to me free of charge--how much happier could that make me, I ask you?

I just have to show you some of the projects I plan to make the next time money drops from the sky into my lap and the space/time continuum opens up and gives me 5 extra kid free hours each day.

Can you believe this Hobby Horse? Does this not have that baby, Blake, written all over it. Ok fine, you don't actually know him, but if you had a baby boy in your life, don't tell me you wouldn't be thinking of making this for him.

I know it's hard to see the texture of this scarf from your vantage point, but trust me when I say, this scarf is stunning. They knit it out of a fine gauge cashmere/silk blend. We have some Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in a sport weight at the shop that I think would be equally beautiful. I do have a couple of men in mind that I think would actually wear this.

How funny are these?

I don't see myself making these anytime soon, but I just had to show them to you to give you an idea of how beautiful this book is.

Truly, I would have taken a picture of each project in this book, but my fingers are starting to fuse to the keyboard. There is a baby blanket that is flat out beautiful. There are great socks. Even the hat and mittens on the cover--a must knit for my niece Ellie who loves light blue hats.
I mean, honestly, when will I ever knit these things? But at least validate me in that this book is a MUST HAVE. And a girl can dream, can't she?

Today I'm taking the boys to see Ice Age, purely for the 2 hours of air conditioning. It will be a nice break from listening to the bickering over the slip 'n slide and the placement of the sprinkler.
For the moment, I'm going to try to get some knitting done before the yarn self combusts in my hands.