Thursday, April 30, 2009

Show and Tell

Well, apparently I blog on Thursdays now.

First, the Tell: Mike has a job interview next Thursday at 3:00 pst. We are very excited about this job. It is an organization he likes, it is a job for which he is well qualified, and it is very close to home. For most of his working life, Mike has had terrible commutes. Awful commutes. Anytime you have to go from the Eastside into Seattle, and then anywhere in any part of Seattle, you're in for a bad commute. This job would be 10 minutes from our house. That, in itself, would be reason enough to work at this place. But this is a job he truly wants, so that would be just the icing on the cake.

I am very nervous about this interview. It's just too perfect. I refuse to allow myself to get too excited about it. But you have my permission to jump up and down behind my back.

And now the Show: I finished my mom's Druid Mittens for Mother's Day and I finished Pat's socks.

Pat's Slippery Socks
I twisted the left sock
to try to show you the
stitch pattern.
I don't think my
camera can handle
fine details. But trust
me, these socks are
very cool.

Both of these projects were very labor intensive and required a lot of cabling. I am quite ready to be done with cables for a bit, which is really too bad for Mike's sweater. But I have to say, it was quite a sense of accomplishment.

Woolly Chick
These have Leah
written all over them.

I've moved on to the Sonata convertible mittens, also found in the Vogue Fall 2008 issue. Of course, I forgot to take a photo, so that sucks for you, but picture this: they are pink with vertical brown stripes on the cuffs and the flap, and each finger of the gloves is edged in brown. I had Mike's leftover Dream in Color Smooshy yarn, which I am using for the brown, and I got some very inexpensive, yet utterly perfect Cascade Heritage sock yarn from work (the pattern calls for Lorna's Laces. And in case you are wondering, yes, Jane actually does have the pink, but she is saving it for herself. I suppose that's fair).

Yesterday I was up in Edmonds helping Blake's mom (Mike's sister) with her broken arm. Yep, she fell down the stairs and broke her arm. So I spent the day taking care of Blake and doing things for her that require the use of more than one hand.

And since I was in the neighborhood, I had to stop by Village Yarn and Tea on my way home. Now, given the fact that Tiffany lives, literally, across the street from Spin A Yarn in downtown Edmonds you would think I would pop in there instead. But that shop is weird. Seriously. Weird. They organize everything by color. And the shop is in an old house, so there are multiple rooms. You can't find anything in that shop. Say you are perusing the pink yarn in the pink section and you find a great yarn for your project. And then you wonder what other colors that yarn comes in--most shops will have all the colors of the yarn in that particular line all right together. Not Spin A Yarn. You would seriously have to go on a scavenger hunt all over this old house looking to see if they carry the exact same yarn in any other color. And I suppose I could ask an employee, but since they are always hiding upstairs and I could back a truck up to that place and load it up before they ever figured out I was there, that doesn't seem to be a viable option. And being a yarn shop employee myself, I honestly don't know how they can keep track of the 46 different locations of their Cascade 220, since turning their shop into a rainbow seems to be more important than selling yarn. So I don't shop there. It makes me dizzy. And angry.

But I digress. I went to Village Yarn and Tea. I do love that shop. The employees are very nice and they carry beautiful yarn, all displayed in a logical and organized fashion. Really beautiful yarn. I had a hard time not buying any of the really beautiful yarn (my shop also carries very beautiful yarn, but Village has a different inventory, so some of it I was seeing as if for the first time). Being destitute does make things easier though. No money=no yarn. However, I did spy this on the counter. Woolly Chick by Marie Mayhew. It's a felted chick with glass bead feet. Honestly, did you really think I could leave the store without that pattern?

And then I found this. Village had a model of this baby hat on display and that was the clincher for me. The model was in deep greens, yellows, and reds, which showed me how stunning it can be in a variety of ways. I actually sat in one of their chairs and read through it, and then started to shop for the yarn before I came to my senses and realized that I would have to hold my own telethon to raise the money for this yarn. But I bought the magazine because, mark my words, I will make this hat. Blake may be wearing it to college, but I will make it.

Well folks, that's all for now. I have a 6 year old in the other room who has been begging me for lunch since 9:30 this morning. Perhaps I should go back to being a parent now.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Still Here....

Still here. No job news to report. Just thought I'd get that out of the way up front. Still searching for jobs--check. Still applying--check. Waiting ever so patiently for SOMEONE TO CALL US WITH AN INTERVIEW--check. Oh, sorry--was I yelling just then?

Other than that, life around here is, well, we're all still alive. The boys see Emily, Daniel, and Connor every single day. In fact, Connor is here right now as we speak. He did give us the courtesy of ringing the doorbell before entering and completely making himself at home this time. So that's something.

And it's all Pokemon all the time. The other day Ryan used his allowance to buy himself a Pokemon magazine with a master checklist in it. And being the son of a baseball card collector from way way (way) back, Ryan very systematically and methodically went through his entire collection of Pokemon cards and checked off each and every one with that skinny little left hand of his.

Sock Hat
Made with leftover
Mini Raggi sock yarn

I'm knitting baby hats for the shops by day (well, when I'm not folding everyone's laundry. And vacuuming up the dirt from my carpet from the entire neighborhood running in and out of my house 500 times a day. And picking up Pokemon cards from every surface of my home) and knitting for fun at night.

This is a baby hat I made for a pregnant friend out of leftover sock yarn. Pretty darn cute, if you ask me!

And this sock is for me, made from some of the Lorna's Laces my dear friend Jane gave me. Much of the yarn she gives me is going to others in the form of socks, but this colorway was for me and me alone. I'm hoping to make the mate someday.

I am so close to finishing mom's mittens,

and Pat's socks are coming along nicely.

More from Jane
Black Purl, Baltic Sea,
and Lily Pad

On Sunday my dear friend Jane showed up at the shop with more sock yarn for me. This is the 3rd time she has gifted me from her crazy stash of Lorna's Laces. I protested. She insisted. I reminded her that the Black Purl is her favorite. Apparently she had 4 skeins of it. It seemed to genuinely make her happy to give it to me.

Lately Mike and I have been the recipients of many such gifts. Random and unexpected gifts from people who feel led to help us out. Cash, clothing money (and I'm delighted to tell you that I have new spring pants to wear to work. In the spring. New spring pants. And it was no small feat finding those pants, being the size of a normal human being who is 40 and bore two children. Who ARE these people shaped like sticks who are buying these clothes?), plants for my pots, Safeway gift cards, picking up the tab for dinner...this seems to be a season when we are suppose to be receiving blessings from others.

I don't know about you, but I'm a pray-er. And these days I've been praying A LOT. And even though God isn't quite ready to give us a job yet, He does seem to enjoy blessing us through other people. So I accepted Jane's gift of yarn, because I have no money for yarn and it made her so happy to give it to me. And even though she doesn't know the half of what's happening in my life (apparently she doesn't do computers, so reading my blog is out), she is a blessing to me. She blesses me with her company every Sunday afternoon, and even though she knows how delighted I am by the sock yarn, she has no idea of how much it means to me right now.

I want Mike to get a job for many reasons. Many many reasons. I have a list a mile long of reasons why my husband needs a full time job. But high on that list is the ability to bless others the way they have blessed us. And honestly, before this big mess of unemployment and destitution, I'll admit that giving to others wasn't high on my list of priorities. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a horribly selfish person. I don't think I was stingy. I just was sort of looking out for #1. But seeing how people have been so incredibly generous to us--now I can't wait for it to be my turn.

Now I have to send Connor back from where he came and then figure out what to make for dinner for two people who have no intention of eating it. Maybe one of these days someone will bless me with a housekeeper and a cook. Now THAT would be a miracle!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I survived Spring Break

Spring Break: Yes, I lived to tell about it. I was actually able to pick up a few extra hours at work, with the husband at home full time and all, and in the end we all did survive.

On Thursday of last week I took the boys and Emily-the-neighbor girl to Seattle Center for Whirlygig. They turn the Center House into a giant bounce house for about 3 weeks each spring and it's very expensive. Except on Thursdays when it is free. All three kids ran around the Center House in their socks for hours (blech) and stood in lines that were often longer than the end result. I took that golden opportunity to explain that the boredom they were experiencing is the exact same boredom found in the long long lines at Disneyland. The looks on their crestfallen faces has definitely bought me some time on the whole Disneyland issue.

We then walked over to the Fountain, which Emily and Eric had never seen. And they were fascinated. Completely enraptured by it. In fact, Eric declared that his next birthday party is going to be at the Fountain. Which it is so not going to be since his birthday is in February. But we have 10 whole months to forget about that dream.

The Job Search: Next topic. No, really, there is nothing to tell you about. Really. I have nothing to report. Zip. Mike continues to apply for jobs in numbers higher than I can count. He is continuing to network and schmooze and all that and it is getting us NOWHERE. We have a friend who really wanted to help us with our resumes and, clearly, mine needed much help. In fact, I want a do-over for all the jobs for which I have already applied since I clearly sent them the wrong resume. Aaaccckkk! Our friend has been incredibly helpful and has made me completely paranoid about each and every potential employer who has our incorrect, uninformative, loser resumes.

The Knitting: I finished the Raha Scarf from Nancy Bush's Knitted Lace of Estonia for someone very special. I used some Jaeger Matchmaker 4 ply merino from my stash, and I have to say it turned out very well. And I'm cracker jack at counting to 27 since I have now done that about 8567954 times.

I have one sock from about 4 different pairs and I'm trying to finish up my mom's Druid Mittens by Mother's Day (don't worry--she never reads this. No. Really. She never reads my blog. She keeps forgetting I have it). My knitting is rather unexciting these days, but it keeps me out of trouble

The Neighbors: With the spring weather finally finally finally here, the boys have spent a ton of time with the neighbor kids. They simply adore Emily and Daniel and see them almost every day. And on the other side we have 5 year old Connor. Eric and Connor are good buds and their conversations are filled with all things Pokemon and Bakugan. Connor loves being with the boys, and is the kid we always see peeking in our windows to see if we are home. Connor is the kid I found eating breakfast with the boys one day last summer when I wasn't paying attention. And Connor is the kid who apparently came over yesterday afternoon to play. When he opened our back door he discovered we weren't home. So apparently, just to make sure of that, he checked all of our bedrooms. And then went down to the kitchen, made himself a snack, and then went back home. I found this out today when his dad, Keith, came over to apologize for something I knew nothing about until he told me. And maybe my attitude about this is all wrong, but it just makes me laugh everytime I think about it.

That's all for now from job hunting headquarters. Pretty dull. Assuming we still have electricity, I'll write again soon.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Q & A with the Queen

Mike and the boys have left for a trip to Target, where the boys are planning to spend the money they earned picking up pinecones in Walter's yard, and feeding the other neighbor's dog, Ginger, over the weekend. Which means I have time to answer your burning questions!

Any news on the job front?
That would be a No. To date, Mike has applied for approximately 5498751987845784 jobs. Roughly. He's making good contacts, blah blah blah and I'm sure God has a darn good reason why interviews are not filling up Mike's dance card, despite my repeated requests. I would be delighted to know what that reason is. In the meantime, we're pressing onward in the job hunt. What did we all do before the internet? That is what I would like to know.

Does Eric really use The Snuggie?
Each and every day.


So Mike is done working his temporary job?
Yes indeedy. And, lucky me, this has started during Spring Break. I have ALL 3 BOYS here with me this week. It's like a family vacation gone bad. No one in this house is doing what they are suppose to be doing. Mike is not rushing off late to work, I'm not trying to convince Eric to get dressed for school, I don't have my designated Baby Hat Knitting Time while the 3 mess-makers are where they are suppose to I spent hours in the yard while the boys ran themselves ragged all over the neighborhood (after picking up Walter's pinecones. In which he is sorry he agreed to 2 cents a pinecone since he apparently shelled out much more than originally budgeted. But since most of it went to his own daughter, I find it kind of funny). In fact, I was surprised to see the phone guy show up to fix our phone line that was apparently gnawed by small animals outside the kitchen window (perhaps the same animal that broke my birdbath. I'm developing a deep hatred of small animals. And big animals. But I digress) because it felt so much like a Saturday. But no, it's Monday and no one is where they are suppose to be. NO ONE IS WHERE THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO BE. I know that is grammatically incorrect, but it is SO TRUE.

You worked in the yard today? Does that mean is has finally stopped snowing?
Yes, 4 days ago it snowed, and today it's in the 70's. Both boys got sunburns and begged to play in the sprinkler. And by the end of the week it is supposed to be cold and rainy again. Seattle has apparently moved to the midwest.

As The Knitting Queen, are you actually knitting anything these days?
Let's see...Mike's Town & Country sweater is currently in a big heap. I have completed 1 Duet sock, 1 sock for Pat, 1/2 of a sock for Caroline, 1 mitten for my mom, and 1/2 of another Lorna's Laces sock, courtesy of my dear friend Jane. I think I'm too preoccupied with Mike's job hunt and our impending doom because I seem to be unable to finish anything I start these days. I have so many half finished projects that I really think I need to restrict myself from starting anything else. But as any knitter will tell you, the lure of the new project is always there. Especially when you actually have the yarn and the pattern. I could probably start 7 or 8 more projects. There are times when my stash calls to me. Loudly. But my knitting is so schizophrenic these days that adding one more project might make it spontaneously combust.

Did you know Keith Urban has a new album?
Oh yes. And guess who actually had enough money in her itunes account to get it....

Is Eric truly into Junie B. Jones?
Oh yes, that Junie B--she makes us laugh. Currently we're reading Junie B. is a Cheater Pants. Eric, that kid, is an enigma.

How is that baby, Blake?
We babysat Blake the other night. He has teeth, crawls, eats food--all that real baby stuff now. He is 10 months old (I that right? Maybe 9 1/2. I don't know. I'm preoccupied, people!) and pretty darn cute. The boys and I read books to him before bed and that baby sat on Ryan's lap and listened to all of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and Donald Duck and the Case Of the Missing Peanuts with more patience than Eric has.

I think those people will be returning at any moment. Sigh.....if I can magically make them all disappear again sometime this week, you may see me again. If not, then you'll know that I've smothered by the mess that can only come from 2 boys and their father during a week at home.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Update on Mike's "interview": turned out to be a scam. Seriously. 40 minutes into it he realized that they were trying to sell him something. There was no job. They were hoping he would drop $15,000 for training from them. Rat bastards. Surprisingly, the rest of my day seemed to go downhill from there.

I'll be sure to let you all know if any actual employers call.

No News Is, Well, No News

If you've come here looking for the job update, I'm sorry to disappoint. I have very little news for you. We are still waiting anxiously for a couple of organizations to contact Mike with interview possibilities. I even saw one of my special contacts last week, the day after the application processed closed. We were not in an appropriate place to discuss it, so I erred on the side of caution and did not bring it up. A decision that is killing me right now.

I too am waiting to hear about a couple of things, but I'm not holding my breath.

Yesterday Mike did receive a call from a company we have never heard of before in our lives. They do software training for corporations and private individuals, and they somehow got his name and resume. He has an interview with them this morning. Since this is one of the few jobs he did not actually apply for in the Seattle area, he's not sure what to expect from them or even what the job is. So, this could be fantastic. Or just a chance to make sure his suit still fits. Either way, it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Yesterday was Mike's last day of work, which means today is his first day of being in the house, looking over my shoulder while I type, and showing me a little glimpse of what retirement is going to be like. Mike not working could be hazardous to his health.

In knitting news, I finished Mike's socks! I really do love the Dream in Color Smooshy yarn. It's soft and the colorway is so pretty in person. I also finished the red scarf and I will show it to you if and when I ever get around to blocking it. Both items can be attractive and warm when worn by the recipients. Or can be very useful in strangling an out of work husband who moonlights as a pack rat. Other than that, my knitting news is pretty ho-hum right now.

In fact, it's downright boring compared to what has been going on in the neighborhood lately. On Sunday afternoon the boys were playing outside with Emily-the-neighbor-girl when suddenly a couple of police cars showed up on our street. And the cops started walking up and down the street with giant rifles, ordering everyone inside.

Turns out there were a couple of vicious dogs on the loose and someone called it in. Everyone was to stay inside while these cops searched all the yards for these dogs. The kids were completely fascinated by this and sat in front of the window the entire time, until the cops got a tip that the dogs had moved on to a different street.

I never did hear a gun shot. And we never received any kind of confirmation on whether or not they actually found the dogs. So between the deer that eat my roses, the creature that knocked over my birdbath and broke it in half, and these dogs, it sounds like I should start packing heat.

And now it is time in our program for something completely unrelated: the other day at work I noticed Shannon working with some new sock yarn that I had never seen before. Turns out she used a Louet Hand Dying Kit to dye her own yarn. Now, I have never had a desire to dye my own yarn. I don't understand how it is done and, frankly, it just looks like a daunting task. Until Shannon explained it to me. She dyed her sock yarn to be self striping, and it actually worked. She explained to me what a warping board is, which I believe now I must own, and suddenly it all became crystal clear. It was amazing! And so easy! I have to do this. HAVE TO. I have to dye my own sock yarn.

Granted, I have no money to do this. No money and no time. So really, this is a cruel trick because now I have something else to add to my list of things to fix, replace, and buy when my husband get a full time job. But I am so completely entranced by this idea and the fact that it is truly easy to do. I'm already making a mental list of people who will be getting hand dyed socks from me. Of course, they'll be receiving them when I'm 60, but a girl can dream, can't she?

That's all from here. Keep the prayers coming for Mike--not only for a job, but for his safety, should this take a while. Remember, I'm packing heat.