Monday, January 25, 2010


I have had all day to write this post. All day. When I say all day, I mean I had this 100 year old farm house to myself for 6 uninterrupted hours (unless you count the phone call my mom made to me, from work, to tell me my husband might like me to go to the store and buy him some lunch meat. Mike has said zero words to me about this, but apparently it's a slow day around the ol' library--slow enough for a woman to think about what her son-in-law has for lunch) and I spent about 5 1/2 hours of it thinking that, wow, this would be such a great opportunity to write, being completely alone and all.

But no. I squandered my time. When you have no job and no life and no attainable goals, it's easy to let all productivity fall by the wayside. The fact that I had to actually leave the house to retrieve my kids from

school apparently gave me a sudden burst of energy. So let's go with it.

See that pair of mittens? That is my biggest accomplishment in quite some time. If I could bottle the amount of concentration and energy it took to knit these things, all of our problems would be solved. But alas....

And I'm delighted to say that it's about 50 degrees, so wearing these mittens is pointless. In other words, these mittens could not be less useful in every sense of the word. But you can't say they're not pretty....

And while we're on the subject of big huge wastes of time, let's talk about mom's vest. Or rather, my ability to correctly read the directions for mom's vest. Yarn, fabulous. Pattern, fine. My reading skills, worse than Eric's, apparently.

I was zipping right along and getting into the shoulder shaping for the back when I picked up the pattern and read in horror--I had been doing my decreases all wrong! Aacckk! So I quickly ripped back about 5 inches of knitting, tried to sort out where I was suppose to be, and realized that my only "mistake" was in momentarily looking at the directions for the left front. In other words, I ripped out 5 perfectly good inches of knitting for no good reason. So I threw that in my basket in disgust. Because one thing I do know about myself --when I reach a certain level of exasperation, it is in everyone's best interest that I put the knitting down.

Mom's socks
Lorna's Laces Mineshaft, ala Jane
Ok, so I'm doing quite a bit of whining here. I have no life and I live with my parents. Humor me. I actually do have a full week ahead of me--three, count 'em, three job interviews. Just think how much my life is going to suck when none of them pan out. But I will say, they are for three well established and reputable organizations--none of this flaky-meet-a-guy-in-a-bar-and-have-him-get-annoyed-that-you-didn't-update-his-Ebay-store-as-promised-even-though-he-never-gave-you-the-copy-and-also-forgot-to-pay-his-Ebay-bill business. These are real job interviews for real jobs. And I can really get turned down. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
On the bright side, I get to see the Harlem Globetrotters. Don't I seem like the kind of person to want to sit front row at a Harlem Globetrotters performance/game/whatever you want to call it? We were given some Christmas money and put it in the bank, not sure of what to do with it. Then a few weeks ago we saw the commercial on tv. Mike was about 7 when he first saw the Globetrotters and has always wanted to take the boys--when the commercial aired, Ryan was completely fascinated. And how excited am I that we get to sit in the front row? Think they'll notice if I knit?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oh Look--A Blog Post About Knitting!

Alright people, I'm back with the program. In between trying to heat an unheated house, driving through the woods to bring my kids to school and shopping for used books at the 27 places that sell used books around here (think I'm kidding? I've probably purchased 25 books since moving up here, and paid about $6 total) I actually have been knitting.

These socks have been sent to our friend Scott in Bozeman, where I hear it is about 10 below. They are from the ultra fabulous Knitted Gifts book and made from Alpaca Sox.

I've also been making some serious progress on my Snowbird mittens. Unfortunately it's now 50 degrees every day, so I don't see myself wearing them anytime soon. But at least I'll be able to say that I finished them...

A couple of weeks ago I dragged my mom into a yarn shop. My mom does not knit. Has never held a knitting needle in her hand and seems to have no desire to try. But it was very interesting to see her in the yarn shop--she was fascinated. Mesmerized. Was completely drawn to the fibers and the colors. She found this Berroco Blackstone Tweed and had to have it. Really--she could not stop thinking about it and had to have something made from this yummy wool/mohair/angora blend.

She started looking through my books and magazines--I even showed her how to use Ravelry. And then she saw an ad for this vest in a Vogue Knitting magazine. This was it. She had to have this vest. And you know, it is actually the perfect weight for this yarn. We ordered the booklet and the yarn and I am now about four inches into it.

I have to say, I do love this yarn. I really do. And I love the fact that my mom has projects in mind, will buy the materials, and then let me knit them for her. This is a very nice arrangement. She has also found a Debbie Bliss sweater, all kitted up from Knit Picks, for a fraction of what it would cost in a store. She is pining for this sweater and is still in disbelief that, if we purchase the book from Knit Picks and their yarns, the whole thing will be about $40.

Now, I'm conflicted about this. I support my Local Yarn Stores. I worked in an LYS. I understand how the internet is undercutting the small business owner. I support the small business owner. But I'm broke. And my parents are not exactly wealthy. Debbie Bliss yarns are $8-9 a skein. This sweater, plus the book, would cost $130 in a shop. So when you combine a love of knitting with a virtually non-existent budget, Knit Picks starts to look pretty desirable.

Besides, I'm saving my money for my next trip to Main Street Yarn in Mill Creek. Holy Toledo that is a beautiful shop with an enormous inventory of beautiful yarns. 20 minutes of looking with a husband breathing down my neck did not satisfy me on my first trip.

And how is life on the farm you ask? Rural. Tree-filled. Inundated with rabbits. 1/4 tank of gas away from anything. Brown.

Time to go. Keith Urban is about to be on Ellen and I need to give him my full attention.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

...and sometimes material presents itself.

I included the 1940 International Harvester
tractor in this picture because, well, do you
have to ask??

How many of you were waiting for the blog post about the day the well pump broke? I mean, we live on a freaking farm--at some point there has got to be a story about a well, right?

Today is your lucky day.

The pump broke. That means no water. Turn the faucet on--no water. This happened at the end of a day that included no internet service because it drizzled. Stupid farm.

I won't go into the details of how the 35 year old pump that is 150 feet under ground broke, but I tell you this--I know a lot about wells now. You would never read this blog again if I filled it with my knowledge of wells and pumps and how to fix them. But I could...

I'm sure someone looking at this
will think it's cool.

That truck is owned by the repair guy and the giant crane attached to it is what pulls pipe out of the ground, 20 feet at a time, to get to the broken pump. My dad got over the fact that the well was broken pretty quickly when he got to see these guys in action. He even instructed me to get Ryan's new camcorder to tape the riveting action of pump repair. He said it was for the boys, since they were in school and had to miss it. Mmmm hmmmm.

Late this afternoon I was reminded of another, shall we say feature of small town life when Bruce, the neighbor, stopped by. Bruce used to own my parents' property, subdivided it, and built his current house in the back 5 acres. My parents share the well with Bruce, so Bruce stopped by to talk to my dad about the repairs.

Here's the thing. People are always stopping by. All. The. Time. Just popping in for a visit. No calls, no warnings. Barely any knocking. One day I found John in the kitchen, just letting me know that he was here to pick up his moose meat. Yeah, you heard me.

On Saturday John's wife stopped by. She was on a walk, so she thought she'd drop by for a visit. Apparently this is perfectly normal around here. Which is why I see Joy about once a week on her way home from work, standing on the porch. I'm cooking dinner and suddenly there is a rap on the back door. Joy. With something random for my mom. It works the other way too. I've unwittingly inflicted the pop-in on people when traveling around town with mom. And 90 minutes later we're back on our way....I'm learning to say no when mom asks if I want to run a few quick errands. I just don't have that much time.

Tonight the well is in prime working order again and all is right with the world. For now. I need to start dinner, which means Joy should be here any second.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Found it!

The Farm
When I talk about The Farm,
this is what I mean.

Found the cable to my camera. Don't ask me where it was. I don't know. So now I have a whole smattering of pictures to share with you, which I will do as I tell you about life here on an island that has no central heating.

The town of Langley is five miles from my parents' home. It's a sweet little town--it has a little library in the cutest building (and it contains about 8 books), it has a post office, it has the Useless Bay Coffee Company (which makes the best cup of coffee I have ever had), a bunch of little boutique-y type shops, eateries, and a ton of bookstores.

Really, a lot of bookstores, given the three streets that make up downtown Langley. One shop sells new books, and at least four shops, all within a one block radius, selling used books. Of course, there is a yarn shop. And there is The Clyde movie theater.

My new office
Piles of yarn behind the couch
in my mom's family room.
Handy, convenient, and attractive.

The Clyde has about 250 seats and gets new movies that are on their way out of the mainland and are finishing up at all reputable movie theaters. It's great, actually. The tickets are $6, and $4 for a weekend matinee. Each movie is shown for about 3 days, and then the next one is brought in. Each month The Clyde puts out a schedule, which is the calendar by which my dad plans every other part of his life. A large popcorn is about $2 AND they let you bring in your own food. Like the fish and chips I walked in with, outstretched in my hands and not hidden away in my purse like I was smuggling gold.

Speed Racer
This is Eric's go-kart.
That my dad, McGuyver,
fashioned out of 3 pipe cleaners,
a lawn mower engine, and some dental floss.

And it's very apparent that my dad is not the only movie officianado on this island. Downtown Langley at 4:15 on a Saturday afternoon is the place to be.

Mike and I went to see The Blind Side (of which I cannot speak too highly, including what a cutie-pie that Tim McGraw is). We went early to park the car and walk around a bit (hitting 3 of the used bookstores as well as the yarn shop. I mean, they're right there...). We had been warned that, for the "good ones", you need to line up 45 minutes early. Mike is not one to heed my mother's warnings, but he also knows I'm a child of my dad and like to select my seats early.

Baby hats
See, I've been knitting...

Sure enough--4:15 and people were pouring into this teeny tiny little theater.

Mike and I sat in our (excuse me, MY) carefully chosen seats, eating our dinner, watching Langley night life spring into action. This theater is clearly the highlight of everyone's week.

In any other movie theater, the patrons come in two by two, everyone talks in hushed tones, and it's a very insular event. Not here. At The Clyde, people come in groups. In packs. There were clusters of people all over the theater who had been planning this event together. And wouldn't you know--they all knew the other clusters of people. So it was like a big cocktail party before this movie began. It was loud, people were standing up at their seats as well as in the aisles visiting with each other, and Mike and I were feeling both smug and isolated at the same time that we were the only people in this theater that didn't know all of the other 248 people there.

Eric's Aunt Tiffany and Uncle Marcus have
recently acquired Beatles Rock Band. Guess
who gets 98% every time he plays....

Until we heard "Hi Mike!" and, as luck would have it, we actually ran into an acquaintance with whom Mike use to work. The one person we know on this floating piece of land.

And just like that, we hiccupped our way into Island society just a little bit.

Harpo and Halo
Ryan and his friend, Ben,
as surfing angels in this
year's Christmas paegent.
I'm starting to understand how my parents can meet someone for the first time standing in line at the post office, and then 8 years later spend a night on the town with these now good friends, seeing the 5:00 matinee at The Clyde. This is going to happen to me, isn't it?

Eric, 2nd from right,
getting ready for the
Christmas paegent.

I mean, the most successful job interview I have had so far has been with this guy, Tom, who I met at Cozy's bar, and he handed me his expensive camera to download some pictures for him (don't worry, I know what you're thinking--he sells golf clubs) and start updating his Ebay account. The interview consisted of Tom having a couple of beers, asking me to take his camera home, and of me writing down my name, phone number, and email address, because at some point he was going to sober up and realize that he just handed off his $300 camera to a complete stranger.

Tom and I are still working together and to date he is taking me more seriously than the bank and the phone company. But again--this is life on the island. Not exactly corporate.

My Little Bum
Eric, the day after Christmas.
Wearing his new pj's, new sweatshirt,
playing his new Band Hero on his DS,
with no intention of moving.
That's all for now, people. Hats to knit, chickens to feed...this place doesn't run itself, you know!