Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Time Draweth Near

Well, the time may draweth near, but right now, I'm on break. So what am I doing? Posting. Not only am I posting, I'm doing it before midnight. Will wonders never cease.

First of all, I put up three new yarns on the Yarn Review page. I thought I had more (I took a shitload of photographs), but it turns out that I've reviewed most of them already. That's okay - I have a bunch more to take pictures of, and there are more in that group to be reviewed.

For the time being, however, I'm putting up part of the first batch of photos. I don't want to spoil you all at once, now do I? I have to have something to keep you coming back.


These are both from Rio de la Plata in "SP10" and "SP30".


The top yarn is a mystery - the label fell off, and I can't find where I bought it (these things just sort of come to me in the mail); the other is by Curious Creek Fibers Wasonga in "Early Sunset". The picture is larger because the smaller one came out blurry.


These are by Perchance to Knit in "Midnight Rainbow/Harlot's Peacock" in merino/cashmere (this yarn looks black, but isn't; there are a myriad of colors running through it - hence, the "rainbow" and "peacock" designations"); the other is by Rio de la Plata in "SL06".

Want more? Okay... just a few.


This is by Bizyhands in "It's That 70's Yarn!" and is another of those gorgeous handspuns with - get this - 548 yards. Drool.


Last but not least, the top yarn is by Stash Up Yarns in "Glim Glam"; the bottom yarn is by Thank Ewe in "Purple Paradise".

I think that's enough for today.

If everything goes well tonight and tomorrow, I'll be making my announcement tomorrow night. What time tomorrow night is up for grabs; since I stay up all night, as long as I'm up and the sun hasn't risen, it's night.

I'm happy to say that I've added a few more vendors to the shop. We're up to 38 vendors right now. Are you drooling yet? I've fondled each and every skein of yarn, every notion, and I can tell you that it's all drool-worthy. Heh.

Tomorrow is going to be tough for me. It's the anniversary of the day we first took possession of the keys to our old house. I remember it like it was yesterday. We got the call late in the day and shot over to the sales office to get the keys. Then we drove to the house, I opened the door, and we stepped inside for the first time as the official owners. Our big-screen TV came the next day; we sat on the floor eating popcorn and watching DVD's since we didn't have our furniture or the dish yet. I can see it. I can smell that new house smell. I can remember thinking how incredible it all seemed, that I owned this gorgeous house, and I had such plans for turning it into a home. And I did. But I found out that the whole thing was a lie from the start, that we really couldn't afford it without going on a budget, and that I was incapable of budgeting. Hubster juggled the bills almost from the very start and didn't tell me; it was also my fault for not being more active in the finances. How I wish I could go back in time. But I can't. The only good thing to come out of it was that I grew up in a hurry. You'd think I would have learned the day I had to sell my Corvette, the dream car in the garage of the dream home. So I hope my announcement comes tomorrow. It will be a good thing to offset something that is already cutting my heart in two, and things are being made worse because all that runs on TV right now are advertisements for auctions of homes in foreclosure. It's sickening, and what makes me even more ill are the huge numbers of vultures just waiting to snatch up a home for cheap at the expense of someone else's shattered dreams and abject grief. Fuck.

That's all I have to say on that subject - I'll start crying again if I continue. I've cried enough and am desperately trying to move forward. The shop is a huge step in that direction. So is standing in the rain that's pouring down right now. It cleanses my soul instead of being depressing.

Enough of this shit. I'm not helping myself or anybody else by blathering on and on about something that bores the shit out of everybody.

So I've been test knitting this pattern that is cable-intensive. The nice thing is that the cables are one stitch each - meaning that you slip one stitch and knit one stitch, then do your cable thing. I've been trying the no-cable needle method. At first, it drove me apeshit. You have to slide the left needle through the slipped stitch, pinch off the stitches at their bases, slip the right needle out of both the knitted and slipped stitches, then slide the right needle through the stitch that's hanging at the back (the one you knitted). Easy, right? Now it is. When I began doing it, the yarn kept splitting. You also have to be careful about stitch orientation, or you're going to end up with a twisted stitch. Once you get the hang of it, though, it goes much faster than using a cable needle. Grumperina gets the credit for this method. It works well with yarn that stays together or a limited number of stitches, but I'm not abandoning my cable needle for larger cables. It would be difficult to keep three or four live stitches oriented in the correct direction and get the needle through them without the stitches splitting. I'm also doing this with DPN's. I tried doing it on a circular, but it was far easier to do it this way (for me, anyway). I've crossed over to the dark side. Yes, I still knit socks two at a time on two circs, but for those patterns which are written for DPN's, I'm too lazy to convert it. It's also reminded me why I don't like knitting cables. I've just never been a cable sort of broad. Now lace and textural stitches (other than cables) - that's the ticket.

Hubster is still coding like crazy, asking me all sorts of questions about what I want and don't want; I'm still working with the ledger and tagging things, as well as doing other odds and ends. I actually bought a typewriter (not my beloved IBM Selectric - that will come later), because it's far faster and easier for me to type the odd label or envelope on that instead of trying to figure out how to do it on the computer. I hate computers for that reason. When I was a secretary, we didn't have computers. I had a dedicated word processor with the ultra-modern dual daisy wheel printer (one was Greek for equations, the other regular type), a brand-new dumb box just for finding out flight information, and my IBM. I carried my typewriter from one department to the other - I loved that thing. And it was BLUE. Too cool for words. Now I've got this lightweight Brother which may be convenient and portable, but those of you who remember those behemoths understand my longing for the solid sound the element made when you hit a key.

I guess I've bored you all enough for one day. I'll be posting again tomorrow and showing you more pictures, as well as (hopefully) making my announcement. It's time to go fight the cable war.

Maybe later, I'll pretend the Brother is an IBM and relive my misspent youth.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm Pretty Lively for Almost Being Dead

I can't believe so much time has elapsed since my last post. I figured I'd better say something before you all thought I up and died on you.

For all of you who have been waiting so patiently (and for those of you who are bombarding me with questions), I'm going to say this: Get ready for an announcement. When? Perhaps this week. That's all I'm going to say, and nobody can beat it out of me. I'm too tired and would lie anyway just so you'd let me sleep.

I told Hubster we should celebrate when we fling the doors of the business open. I think, though, that our celebration is going to consist of a sandwich and 24 hours of sleep. I'm such a blast these days. In fact, tonight was the first time in a week I've been out of the house. And for what, you might ask? To buy a typewriter, some more office supplies, and have Chinese food. Now I can barely keep my eyes open, so when I finish with this, I'm hitting the Monster with my bib on so I don't drool on my clean jammies and doze for a while. Then its back to knitting my test socks and my swap socks and and and... shit.

The good news is that I'm almost done. Tomorrow is photography day. We bought this light cube (thank you, Laura) that will allow me to take pictures no matter what time of day it is. I'm sure a lot of you either have them or seen them. It's got a two-sided fabric that you put stuff on (one side is dark the other light) inside the cube, and two quartz lights that go on either side of it. I've got well over 150 skeins to take pictures of, not to mention the notions. Beginning to drool? (hehe) That means I'll be posting again tomorrow night with pictures of the yarny goodness I can show you, not to mention updating the yarn review page. Whew.

You may have noticed a new button on the sidebar. I was awarded the "You Make My Day" award from Corwink of Kelly Girl Knits. Thank you, Corwink! I was blown away by it. I guess there really are people who enjoy reading my drivel. Now I have to nominate some blogs, but I want to think about it before I choose my nominees.

I read something funny in another blog, but it really struck home. The lady who writes this particular blog (I'd tell you who it was if I could remember) was lamenting the fact that she gets endless emails about winning trips to Tahoe, learning foreign languages overnight, needing to take diet pills with Hoodia (that sounds like an STD), ordering the entire set of "Girls Gone Wild", having been selected to disperse $150 million to needy families, and enlarging her penis. I get those all the time in my Google mailbox. If Thor got any larger, I'd have to run away screaming. As for Hoodia, I have enough diseases to last me the rest of my pitiful life, thank you very much. Then there are the endless "letters" from eBay and PayPal telling me that my account has been suspended, and then providing me with a link to update all my information. How considerate!

I realize I'm rambling, and I just noticed that it's getting really difficult to type, let alone see what I've typed. That's my cue to step out. I just wanted to let you all know that I'm fine, that before you know it, you'll be shopping, and that I'll be posting tomorrow. With pictures.

Unless I get Hoodia or Thor chases me out of the house.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Victories, No Sleep, and Things Ain't What They Used To Be

Quite the title, huh? Well, it was quite the day. And night.

I had the best of intentions. I was going to bed at a decent time last night so I could get up this morning refreshed, tend to things on the computer, shower, cram my bulk into my sweats, and head for Oakland. I did get a few of those things accomplished, but not one of the really important ones.

I didn't sleep.

Oh yes, I did lay my poor body down for an hour this afternoon. I did doze for 45 minutes on the Monster. But that's not sleep. I so badly need a solid eight (and not Hubster's tool) that I'm sitting here yawning as wide as the Grand Canyon. What's that saying? The best intentions...

I knitted all night. I knitted all morning. And I do mean knit, only taking breaks to attend to the computer. I'm going to knit when I'm done with this. But I have a feeling that I'll be spending a little more time tonight sleeping wherever I happen to plant myself. The good news is that I can't do anything more with the business tonight. I have to work on taking pictures, but my camera needs a new card or something. We'll take care of that tomorrow. That's why there are no pictures of yarny goodness for this post or updates on the review page. Sigh. I'm a bad blogger. But with everything that's been going on, it's hardly any surprise. In fact, I'm pretty proud of myself for blogging as much as I've done. I'm getting to the point, though, where I'll post something like "Tired. Working. Nothing to say.".

I do have something to say tonight, though.

I received a letter from Alameda County today. It contained my permit to sell within the county lines. Yay! I thought it would take six to eight weeks, but they must not have much to do right now or something. If I lived in a city within the county, I wouldn't need that particular piece of paper. Since I live in an unincorporated village, however, it was required.

The next thing to get was my DBA. I could have mailed in the paperwork; however, it would have taken some number of weeks, and I needed that piece of paper in order to open a business checking account, put my notice in the paper, etc. So this afternoon, off to Oakland we went.

What you have to understand about Oakland is that there is virtually NO street parking. It's like most other medium to large cities; there are skyscrapers, federal buildings, state buildings, museums, blah blah blah... and all without ample street parking. There were a few parking garages in the area, but the weather was turning nasty, and I didn't want to walk five city blocks to get to the building I needed to visit. We also could have taken the Bay Area Monorail (also known as BART, or (B)ay (A)rea (R)apid (T)ransit), but that would have left us stranded in one place, and I wanted to visit somewhere else while we were there. So we turned down the street the building was on and - be still my beating heart! - there were TWO parking places. Hubster swung the Beast into one of them, dug around for quarters (some of the meters work on credit cards - there's a little kiosk where you pay for your parking), but this was an older meter that only took quarters. He walked into the building with me, got me situated where I was supposed to go, and then hiked to the nearest store to get some change.

The room I had to sit in was fascinating. First, I had to stop at the Information Desk to tell them what I wanted; they printed me out this little piece of paper that had a letter and number, along with what I wanted. They had these boards that looked like keno boards around this huge room that showed the number being served and the desk they were being served at. They also announced it over the PA system (just like in keno) for those who either couldn't read the boards or see them. I didn't have to wait very long, and then my number was called. Off to the appointed desk I went, clutching my paperwork which I had already filled out.

The lady was very nice and took care of things quickly. I now have three originals with their official stamp and seal saying that as far as Alameda County is concerned, I am the sole possessor of the name "Yarny Goodness". Now all I have to do is send one of those papers to the newspaper to publish for some period of time, after which the paper sends me an affidavit which I then send to the County Recorder's office. Piece of cake. So I'm now legal and ready to open as soon as we finish up.

You'd think I'd be done by now, wouldn't you? So did I. I was warned that this might happen. I also thought I might be a week late. I'm still clinging to the hope that I'll be ready at the end of the month, and it may well happen. At the latest, it will be a week after that. Then I can sleep for... oh... a week or so. I'm also still waiting for some shipments. I've written letters to the people who still need to ship them to see what the status is. I think that they will be shipped shortly, with the exception of the people who have indicated to me that they won't be ready for whatever length of time they need. No problem. I'm cool with that.

Anyway, after we were done at the Recorder's office, we headed over to Article Pract. I've heard wonderful things about it, and since I needed a cable needle, I wanted to check it out. Everything I had heard is true. It's a glorious place, crammed full of yarn, notions, bags, books, patterns, creams, washes... if it has to do with fiber, they have it. I managed to restrain myself and only buy three skeins of yarn, the cable needle, a book, and a very long Addi to try a new technique. The book is about knitting two socks at one time on one circular needle. It's not Magic Loop - it's different than that. I think I'll work on it in my spare time.

Then it was off to Fenton's, an ice cream parlor that has been there since 1849, I think it is. My grandpa ate there as a child. I've eaten there my whole life. Their banana splits are so big, it takes two or three people to eat them. They also had incredibly good crab sandwiches. Imagine our shock when we saw the completely remodeled dining room. Imagine our shock when we found out the crab sandwiches are now made from Alaskan Snow Crab instead of local Dungeness. Imagine our shock...

The food was lousy. At least my vanilla shake still had cream plastered on the inside of the glass. I told the waitress that I wanted almonds and bananas with my shake. She asked me if I wanted them on the side. I told her no, to blend them in. She took me literally. Instead of putting the almonds on top of the whipped cream, they blended them in with the shake. While it wasn't bad, it wasn't great, either. Another institution bites the dust. It was bittersweet being there and seeing what they had done to the place. It's obvious that they're running it on the cheap. Grandpa must be rolling over in his grave right about now.

I'm almost done with one of the swap socks. Good thing, too. I have another pair and a test pair to work on as well. My poor fingers are ripped to shreds. Heh. Just wait until I go live.

So that's it for today, my loves. I'm going to sit on the Monster and take a nap. Or maybe I'll actually lay down in bed. Maybe I'll get some knitting done. Who knows?

As long as my body isn't moving, I'm happy.

A postscript: I began this blog at 6:30 p.m. or so. It is now 11:55 p.m. I fell asleep in the dining room chair where I sit and type. In fact, the blog wasn't even finished. Holy shit. Hubster was snoring away on the couch. Think we both needed some rest?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm Too Old - For Anything

I made it.

I finally got the energy to sit and type for a while. Where have I been, you ask? Yesterday, I was at the prison. The weekend, I was working. Today.... well, let's just say that I've done enough for today and am sitting in the Monster knitting. All day and all night. It's heaven. I nap when I want, have coffee, and am just plain relaxing. I've been working 24-hour days. Literally. I know that Rabbitch will understand what that does to you. She spoke in her blog about having jowly tits growing out the side of her face. I don't have that, but what I do have are black circles under my eyes, skin with pores the size of craters on my nose, and the dreaded feeling of looking my age. I know it's temporary, but still... it's not pretty, and if anybody thinks I'm sitting still for a picture of myself right now, they're nuts.

Prison day was most enlightening. We had a short class because of the holiday - there were some other activities going on in the chapel. The adventure really started, however, when I arrived at the guard shack. I found out that Bill had shown up and told the guard to tell me that the golf cart wasn't charged, so I had to hoof it. Sacramento is windy; it's on the flats and bangs up against the foothills. Not only that, they were getting low snow yesterday, so it was COLD. I threw the flute quiver over my shoulder, put on my hat, and started off.

By the time I got to the sally port for A/B blocks, I was exhausted. It was beginning to rain, and the wind was howling. Then I set off the damn metal detector. I had on sweats with no bra, so that wasn't it. We never did figure it out, but I finally walked through and it didn't beep. The guard there knows me by now, so he didn't bother to call the lieutenant and let me through. I got through those gates and made the hike over to C Block. I had almost made it when I felt something warm on my upper lip. I figured that snot was running down my face, so I took out my tissue and dabbed at it. The tissue came back bright red. I had started bleeding like a stuck pig from my nose for no reason. Shit. I had to stop and cram the tissue up both nostrils to staunch the flow; thank goodness it stopped before I got there.

Then I walked out onto the yard. My boys weren't there. In fact, the yard was pretty empty. It's actually kind of amusing now; when I walk down the gravel path, the men part like Moses parting the Red Sea. One man said good morning to me, but nobody else even looks now. One of my boys came down the path to greet me as I was walking up - it turned out that they had let the men go later than normal. So I unlocked the chapel, went inside, turned all the lights on, and waited for the guys to be searched so they could come in. When they did come in, I had to open doors, unlock closets, let them in the bathroom, blah blah blah. I should get paid for this; I'm doing the chaplain's job.

The class was terrific, but since it ended early, I tried to call Hubster at the motel to come get me. Of course, he had chosen that moment to step in the shower, so I couldn't get ahold of him. I left a message and was left alone in the chapel with three of my boys. We sat there and began gabbing. It's a funny thing - I always wondered how women could be so stupid as to fall in love with incarcerated men and marry them, knowing that their new husbands would never see the light of day again. But you tend to lose your senses, if you will, and get extremely comfortable. You forget that they weren't selling ice cream to wind up there. You only see that they're humans and don't think about their crimes. They're charming. I've learned to distinguish when they're shining me on (which doesn't happen anymore; they were testing me when I first arrived), but I've let my guard down. That's a stupid thing to do in a prison, especially when you're dealing with Level 4 inmates (which is the highest designation inmates in California get). I trust my boys; I know that they look out for me. But that isn't true of all the inmates there. Anyway, we were gabbing and I learned some truly horrific things. They've dropped their guard with me, too, because they trust me. And it's because of that trust that I won't elaborate on what they told me or who they are. I'm a lot of things, but I'm not a snitch. And that's one thing I learned; snitches are everywhere inside, looking for any information they can get to tell the guards so they might get time taken off their sentences.

I finally decided that Hubster would be in the parking lot, so I had them walk me back out. Then I started the hike back to the outside. It's over a mile from the first shack to where I wind up. I never did see Bill yesterday; he seems to be there less and less, leaving me with his responsibilities on the days I'm there.

Hubster and I had to kill a couple of hours because I had a doctor's appointment at 2:00 p.m., so we went to this dive for lunch. I discovered it when we lived there; it had been written up in a local rag. The food is incredibly delicious, and they give you a shitload for the money. I had fish and chips; Hubster had chicken enchiladas. We were both ready to explode when we left. Because we still had an hour to waste, we went to Rumplestiltskin, which is a weaving/spinning/knitting shop. It's not very large, but if you want a wheel or loom, it's the place in town to go. I looked at some wheels (I still like mine better), some looms, and wound up buying some Noro Kureyon sock yarn (gasp!! another non-indie purchase!). I hate how it feels when it's being knitted (sort of like badly spun linen), but the color gradations are beautiful. It also fulls and softens when washed.

The doctor was a non-event. I was in there five minutes and got my scripts. Then we headed out to go home. I fell asleep as soon as we hit the freeway and had a helluva time waking up when we got home. I managed to stay awake for most of the evening, and then I fell asleep again. I woke up early this morning, took a nap, and decided to relax today. I really need it. My body is beginning to give out, and once it passes a certain point, it's hospital time. I can't and don't want to do that. The blood flowing of late (remember the episode last week or so?) is a sign that I need to pay attention to. So I'm on a self-imposed one-day vacation. Tomorrow, Hubster goes in to work at the office, so I'll be working on taking pictures. It's supposed to rain all week, so I'm hoping they turn out okay.

I saw a new product on Lime & Violet's Daily Chum called Flat Feet. It's a knitted sheet that's been hand-dyed; no two are alike. You start unraveling it at the corner and begin knitting it while it unravels. I've seen the finished socks and they're gorgeous. So I wrote to the lady who makes it, exchanged a few emails, and called her today. After talking for a short while, I placed an order. She's an indie with a wonderful idea, and even though a lot of people are going to be carrying her product, I think it will sell in my shop, too. I ordered 24 of them in a random variety (I get a free one for myself - YAY!), but it will be close to three months before they're here. It's unique, and that's what the shop is all about - helping indies and carrying unique items.

I don't have all my orders yet, but I have enough already to open the shop. I'm still shooting for the end of the month, but we'll see. It's a lot of work for me and Hubster (wait until you see this website), and the poor man is as exhausted as I am. I'm sending him to bed for a while in a few minutes. Me? I'll be knitting and trying to meet a swap deadline.

Pictures of some of my new, personal yarny goodness will be taken tomorrow and posted both here and on the yarn review site. I just don't have the energy to take pictures today. Some of you have also asked me where Gaby the Mascot is. She's taking a vacation (meaning that Hubster cleaned the table for Christmas; when he moved my computer, he put her in a box somewhere, so I have to find her). She's safe and well - just misplaced right now.

Time to go knit. Or maybe I'll open some of those boxes full of yarny goodness for the store and just roll around in them for a while.

The trouble is, I don't think I can fit in the boxes.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Business is More Than Selling Stuff

It's so easy to become overwhelmed.

As I look in my studio at all the boxes of yarn and notions for the business, I'm blown away. Why? A lot of reasons. Setting up this shop has renewed my faith in womankind and knitters in particular.

Of course, there's the being overwhelmed of having so much to do now that I've entered the home stretch of opening the business. Filing, tagging with inventory numbers, logging everything in the computer and my ledger, pricing, photography - for obvious reasons, those are all things that had to wait until the last couple of weeks to do. I'm not complaining - it's given me a focus, something to take my mind away from the past and all that's gone and never to return. It's also given me the opportunity to give some indies more exposure to the world at large, and by looking at the countries who have people reading my blogs, I'm blessed to be able to do that.

There's the feeling of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of other things that need to be done - swap socks, test knitting, the TKGA Masters Program - but those things are being worked on as I can. The swap socks and test knitting, because other people are relying on me for them, are at the top of that list. Other things can wait. I'm truly blessed to have a husband who not only supports me emotionally, financially, as the guy who lifts heavy packages and moves stuff around - but who also takes time out of his 80-hour work week to write a custom website for me and straighten up the house. He wants me to concentrate on what I'm doing with the business and my other activities. He doesn't even ask me to cook dinner. After all these years of being together, we've truly become one. We do for each other, back and forth. The last time, it was my turn to stand by him. Now he's standing by me. I can't imagine life without him. In fact, I wouldn't want life without him. I love him more now than I ever have.

But I think the thing that overwhelms me the most is the trust so many people have placed in me and the shop. They're trusting me with their work. They're trusting me with the responsibility of selling their work at a fair price. They're trusting me with paying them promptly and keeping them up to date with what's going on with their inventory. Most of all, they're trusting me with their dreams, their hopes for more exposure, their needs and wants to have their work in a shop where people can look and buy. They're trusting me with helping them build up their own shops and perhaps becoming major names in the knitting world. They're trusting me with their future, and I can't - and won't - let any of them down.

It's a heavy thing, this opening a shop. A lot of people have written to me saying that if they had the money, they'd open a shop in a heartbeat. I don't think they realize just what is at stake. It's not just the money - I'm doing this for about $2,000 or so, thanks to the many generous people who are selling on a consignment basis. I can afford to lose the cash I've paid out, but I'm at the end of my budget. There is so much more than that. It's the human equation that's the mind-boggling part.

I'm flabbergasted that people who have never met me - who only know me through my blogs or not at all - are willing to send me thousands of dollars of inventory because I felt drawn to do this. I have a lady from Australia who is sending me a boatload of yarn of all types, and she even asked me if I would like exclusive colorways dyed. It's proven to me that people are inherently good, that they still trust, that they're willing to help a chubby bald woman realize her dream. In turn, maybe I can help them realize theirs. No matter what happens, it's an awesome thing. It's powerful. It's a blessing.

This also marks a turning point in my life. As I said, the shop is providing me focus and helping me with my grief. It's working, too. It's showing me that I'm strong, that I've been through the loss of a home already (due to divorce) and though it might take some time, I'll get another one. I've survived deaths, both natural and by suicide. I've gained so much weight that it's actually doubled since I met Mark all those years ago, and he still loves me no matter what I look like. I've been faced with my own mortality and the knowledge that it most likely will be painful and drawn-out. If I can survive all that and still pass for 15 years younger than I am, I can do anything. Well, I'll never be an astronaut, but I now have my confidence back and am getting better day by day.

I got my business cards yesterday, so I guess everything is real. There's nothing like seeing a business card with your own logo and name to make things concrete. I also have magnets and pens. The pens were a bit pricey, so I only got 10 of those. I'll give those to some special people. The magnets will go in the orders until I run out. It's amazing to me that I've pulled this off in less than three months. I'm pretty damned proud of myself and will be bursting at the seams when I open the doors. Soon. Very soon. I wish we could have a party to celebrate. You all have no idea how difficult it is for me to not say anything about my vendors, what I'm carrying, what my logo looks like, what my website addy is. But for once in my life, I'm keeping everything under wraps. I think it's more fun that way.

I had intended to take some pictures of new yarn that came in, but I'm just too tired to do it. I'll try and get the yarn review site updated again before I leave for Folsom, but I have to write that newsletter article and have it submitted by Sunday. Time is running short, and I have to prioritize. The review site will be here when I get home on Monday.

And to all those vendors, those ladies, who have helped me make my vision a reality: Thank you. Thank you for giving me my life back, for making me well, for trusting me, for being a part of something which I think is right and good and real and what I'm meant to do, for standing beside me as we all embark on this new journey together. You are family. You are special. I love each and every one of you.

Thank you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Yarn Reviews

I bet you thought it would never happen. There are three new yarns on the Yarn Review page with more to come in the next few days.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Battle of the Bins - or - Rubbermaid is my Friend

First of all, let me start by saying that I should never blog when I think I'm getting sleepy.

I have learned not to knit when I'm beginning to feel sleepy. That's when I make all the really stupid mistakes - mistakes that can't be fixed by any method other than frogging the entire project - in other words, starting all over. I have learned not to sit on the pot doing a crossword puzzle - that's when I find myself falling off the pot face-first and landing on my hands and knees. But blogging? I have now added that activity to the list of things I can't do when I'm feeling sleepy.

Hubster and I got up around 6:00 p.m last night - we had gone to bed late, so we decided to take a little nap around 1:00 p.m. today. That turned out to shoot the whole afternoon right in the ass, which will be explained in a minute. I've been waiting up for the mailman because I'm getting a lot of shipments for the shop, and if something needs to be signed for, I want to make sure I'm right there to do it. Yes, I could just go to bed and retrieve the package from the post office the next day, but I have this thing where I think that my yarn will get cold and lonely in the post office overnight. So today, we did the same thing. A package arrived filled with about 20 skeins of yarn (go ahead, you may drool - I'll wait) (waiting) (waiting) (waiting) (enough), but I didn't have to sign for it. Hubster announced that he was going to bed, but I wasn't sleepy yet. So I knitted a little more and then tackled all the correspondence which has been piling up. After that, I decided to blog - I didn't want to play a game, I had already looked at everything on Etsy, and I didn't feel like knitting again. So I wrote this really good blog and had about a sentence or two left when I suddenly realized the text box was filled with x's and u's and all manner of strange characters. So I deleted them and began to write again. Repeat the aforementioned scene. Repeat it one more time, except this time, extend the amount of stuff I deleted. That's right - I deleted the whole damn post and didn't discover it until 6:30 p.m., when I finally woke up with a horrible welt in my side from the arm of the chair (it hurts like a mofo), stumbled down the hall to wake up Hubster, and sat back at the computer to finish blogging. I looked at the empty dialogue box, stared at it some more, hit a few keys, and discovered that it was indeed empty. Shit. So here I sit, still sleepy because I only got about two hours of sleep, writing another blog that's quite different from the original (but more entertaining, I hope).

On to the title.

As you all know, I have a bunch of bins which hold my stash. For the most part, they're made by Rubbermaid. I like Rubbermaid because the lids snap down nice and tight and they're well-made. So when I went to buy bins for the shop, I tried to find Rubbermaid. Unfortunately, what I wound up wasn't Rubbermaid because the type of bin I wanted wasn't available in anything other than the store brand. So I bought them, thinking that they would do just fine.


Fast-forward two weeks. Now that I'm actually using the bins, most of the locks on the tops (there are these little snap-down things next to the handles which snap the top down securely) have broken or just plain fallen off. Now the lids are neither tightly fitting nor secure. So Hubster and I decided to go find something much better because, after all, these skeins (and notions) are to be sold to you, my dear readers, and I wanted everything protected. We thought about where we could find bins, and Hubster thought Ace Hardware would be just the ticket. They had bins. I had seen them. That was the problem - I had seen them. I knew they didn't have what I wanted, so he got all snippy and told me to pick an effin' place to get the effin' bins (he was hungry; hence, he was in a bad mood). So I decided to go to that other great knitters' store, Home Depot. Surely they would have bins, especially Rubbermaid. Down the freeway we went, since my little village doesn't have shit in the way of shopping.

I love Home Depot and Lowe's. I love the smell of lumber, all the power tools I have no idea of how to use, the toilets and sinks and kitchens and washing machines and barbecues and... and... well, you get my drift. We headed to the container aisle and found an entire aisle filled with bins. Big bins, little bins, multi-compartment bins, laundry bins, green waste bins, garbage bins, bins, bins, bins, and more bins. My heart soared. This was container heaven. They would have what I wanted. I knew it. I KNEW IT. So we began looking for that most elusive of labels.

They didn't have one stinking bin made by Rubbermaid.

My heart fell into my sandals. Shit. Now what? Hubster suggested that I just buy bins that suited my purpose. I told him, rather testily (I was sleepy; hence, I was in a bad mood) that we had already done that and look what happened and I would never buy a bin from anybody but Rubbermaid again and...

He wisely suggested that we leave and go elsewhere.

But where? I couldn't think of a single place to buy bins. Then I thought of Target. So off to Target we went. $250 later, we emerged, squabbling about something or other. We bought movies, office supplies, and a bunch of other stuff I can't even remember. But not a single bin was to be found.

Now what?

We had to go to Staples to get some file inserts, so down the freeway in the opposite direction we went. We got to Staples. We walked into Staples. I looked at their little signs that tell you what's in that particular aisle. I found the file folder aisle. I walked into it. I looked. I looked again and rubbed my tired eyes. It was true. There they were, in all their plastic glory.


And they had bins I didn't even knew they made.

This had to be a cruel joke. This had to be the cosmos taking a big old dump right on my head. Here we had been driving all over the East Bay, arguing through most of the trip, and where do we find the damn things? In an office supply store.

I wasn't going to squabble. I snatched up these really cool bins that are a solid color around the sides and back (black) with a clear drawer occupying the center. They came in small, medium, and large. The large was too big even for me, the Queen of Bigger is Better (which helps to explain why I've been married to Hubster all these years, but that's another story with another title - I will say, however, that if he were a foot shorter, he'd need a hose reel attached to his thigh - 'nuff said). The medium was perfect - it fits 24 skeins comfortably without having to squish them together to make them fit. These bins (or drawers, whatever you want to call them) also stack on top of each other and have a small footprint, so they occupy very little space. I also found these ultra-cool boxes with three clear drawers - these aren't as deep, but they're perfect for the notions I'm carrying. So I snatched up every medium bin they had (about 20 - I'll buy more as I need- and can find - them), and two of the three-drawer boxes. I also got some neon labels to label each drawer with the vendor's name so I know what's in them (those labels peel off plastic with no residue or problem should I need to replace a vendor) and a bunch of other sundry office supplies (some I needed, some I wanted). When we got the bins home, I filled one of the drawers with my largest shipment to date, tossed in a lavender sachet (I bought every single one Jen of Woolgirl had), and closed the drawer. No problem - it slid shut and latched itself with no effort whatsoever. So now I have a tower of bin drawers with the smaller ones (which also stack) sitting on top of them. It's my store shelving, and everything is at my fingertips.

I'm happy to report that I've added three new vendors to the list and am in negotiations with another. At present, I have 30 different vendors selling mostly yarn, but also a bunch of notions. I can't tell you who or what, but all will become clear very soon. Frankly, I'm shocked that I've had so many people willing to put their faith in me and the shop. I'm very grateful and will work my ass off to make sure that I don't disappoint any of them.

As far as the business is going, I'm just about done with everything I can do until I get the rest of my stock in. I'm waiting for a nice sunny day to do my photography because I don't want shadows falling across the items (which is what happens when I use artificial lighting). I have to make labels for the drawers, finish up the files and my books, and that's it. As soon as Hubster finishes up the website, I'm ready to stock it. I'll have my preview of the empty site for all of you, stock it up, have my preview for the vendors, and fling open the doors. Since it's the middle of the month, I still have hope of opening on time. It all depends on the vendors and how fast they get their shipments out. I think most of them are going to be on time - if I have enough stock on hand, I'm opening without them. I'll add the new additions as they arrive.

And now, I think I'm going to take a nap in the Monster. Two hours of sleep isn't enough, and I have a lot of work to do tonight.

Besides, I'm feeling sleepy.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Where Have The Days Gone?

Holy shit. I looked at the last time I posted here, and then I looked at the last time I did a yarn review. Not good, my friends, not good. I have to learn to prioritize. Yeah, right. That's as likely to happen as my becoming a virgin again (not that I would want to - as I remember, it hurt). Here's a list of what I'm doing that's keeping me so damn busy:

1. Working on the business.
2. Working on the blogs.
3. Writing my new monthly article in the new knitting newsletter whose name I can't remember.
4. Knitting two pairs of socks for swaps which are due in mid-February.
5. Working on the business.
6. Doing my Sockamania duties.
7. Working on the business.
8. Bugging vendors to send me their yarn and/or notions.
9. Sleeping.

Did I mention that I'm working on the business? Oh... I eat once in a while, too. My ass is taking on the exact size and shape of the dining room chair I sit in when working on the computer. That's not a good thing. The chair is even wider than my ass normally is. It's also oddly shaped. I'm having to work at the dining room table because my studio is still a fucking mess, which is another thing I have to do tomorrow - try to make some sense out of all the crap that's in there. I think I'm going to be throwing away a whole lot of shit. If I find anything that someone might want, I'll let you know in my next post.

I really do have to begin posting more often. I used to post every day. That was when I actually got out of the house and did things that I could talk about. Now I'm chained to the computer, at least for the time being. When the business opens, I'll be chained to my old dining room table which now runs down the length of my studio. It's ideal for filling orders. Thank god the post office gives away the mailing boxes; otherwise, I'd be in to them for a whole lot of scratch. What I find hilarious is that the boxes are already bent up, even before they've gone through the post office's processing. That explains a lot. I shouldn't complain, though - I got every size of box they make (except for the video boxes), stickers, Click 'n Ship labels that go through the printer, and all kinds of other stuff, very little of which I actually paid for. And the Yarn Fairy delivers them right to my door. How convenient is that?

Enough ranting (for a few minutes, at least). For all of you who have been so concerned about my health, I want to thank you from the bottom of my little black heart. I'm doing much better, thank you so much - I just needed more sleep, which I've been getting. In fact, I've been getting too much sleep. My entire sleep cycle is now turned upside-down - I sleep all day and am awake all night. I just have to wait for the whole thing to cycle through again, and I'll be back on a "normal" schedule. I'll never hit the sheets at 11:00 p.m., but maybe I can go to bed by 3:00 a.m., which used to be late for me.

I started this post at 11:15 p.m. or so. It's now 4:30 a.m. Didn't know I was gone, did you? I went and ate dinner while watching a most entertaining movie called "Captive". Was this a period piece that ran four hours? Nope. Did I stop on my way back to the computer to knit? Nope. So why did it take so long, you ask? Think about it. What happens when I sit down on the couch or the Monster with a full tummy and having just taken my pills? Yep. You got it.

I fell asleep.

At least I didn't drool on my nice clean pink and white polka-dot fleece jammies.

I realize that this post is full of nothing - no pictures, no interesting anecdotes - but I'm just plum out of them tonight. Now that I've slept away all of my valuable working time, that means I'll have a cup of coffee or four and work on putting stickers on file inserts, and then sit down to knit. It's way too late to do my Yarn Review. It's too late to take pictures of the few bits of yarny goodness which came in the mail to show you. It's just plain too late.

I hate when this happens. I had my evening (well, night) pretty much laid out. I had all the things I needed to do listed in the order in which I wanted to do them. By sleeping for four hours, I pretty much dorked that up. This is exactly what I was talking about in an earlier post. I fall asleep without warning at the oddest times. Of course, it was that time of the morning when most sane(r) people are sound asleep. I just shouldn't have taken my stupid pills, is all. Or sat here working for so long. I had tried to answer all my e-mail tonight before I began writing this post. It didn't quite happen. I got two of them completely answered; the rest of them got only partial replies with promises of finishing them them tomorrow (today). I'll finish them - they're on my list of things to do tomorrow (today) - IF I don't fall asleep again.

I'll get the business opened on time without killing myself (and if the vendors cooperate - I'm at your mercy, people!). I've decided to limit the time I spend doing any particular task so a) I don't overdo by working nonstop, and b) so I get more things done by not focusing on just one single thing and doing it to the exclusion of everything else. It should work like a charm. I've got real confidence in my ability to do this.

If I don't fall asleep on the Butt Chair while I'm working on the computer.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

It's a Good Thing I'm Sitting Down, or I'd Fall on My Big Flat Ass

I'm tired. I'm that bone-weary, deep in your soul, if I have to do another damn thing I'll die kind of tired. And yet, if you asked me, I couldn't tell you what I've done today and tonight. I just know that I've been busy nonstop and am ready to collapse. The title of this entry is accurate. If I weren't already sitting in a chair, I'd fall flat on my big ass.

I did manage, however, to take the promised pictures. Here they are!


The gorgeous blue yarn in the background is by High Mountain Llama in "Midnight". Something strange is up with the seller. First, her feedback (which wasn't all that great to begin with) was yanked. Then everything in her shop was yanked. Now she's been yanked. It also took over two weeks for the yarn to get here. I don't know what's going on, but I'm glad I got this skein before she was banished to Etsy prison. The other skein is by Enchanted Knoll in "Gypsy".


These two skeins are by Drooling Over Yarn in "Dark Raspberry Truffle" (this is from her Special Edition Chocolate Series), and "Earthquake".


The incredible skein in the back is by Bizyhands in "Easter Grass" (this one is handspun and contains a whopping 568 yards of fingering weight); the yarn in front is another one by Drooling Over Yarn in "Mint Chocolate Chip" (another of the Chocolate Series). I think of all the yarn of hers which I own, this is my favorite.


These two are by Kangaroo Dyer in "Black Raspberry" and Sunshine Yarns in "Into The Mystic".


Last, but certainly not least, is this gorgeous skein by Fat Cat Knits in "Black Orchid". This one is also a whopper with 500 yards of fingering weight.

Did I not promise you yarny goodness? These have been sitting on my chair for the past several days waiting to be photographed. I just haven't had the time to get around to it. So here I sit at 3:00 a.m., blogging my little weary heart out and thinking that I'll do the Yarn Review tomorrow. I've got to get some knitting done tonight, and I'm beginning to enter panic knitting mode.

As if I didn't have enough things to do, I'm test knitting (and crocheting) for two different people. One is a doily-type object in the round; the other, I have no idea what its' going to be. I should be getting the yarn and pattern in the next two weeks. Maybe by then, things will have calmed down. Ha! Things will never be calm around here again, what with the business ramping up and the recording date of my first CD looming. Shit. I can't even type, I'm so tired. I keep having to backspace over my mistakes and retyping the words. I type 150 wpm on an IBM Selectric with no mistakes, and now I can't even type the word "and" without having to go back and correct it. Somebody shoot me now before I turn into a quivering heap of goop. Oh wait... that vision is just too horrible to think about. Wiggling fat, undulating folds... oh no, I have to switch topics.

This is going to be a very strange post. I can just feel it. Forgive me in advance.

Yesterday was prison day (or maybe I should say Monday... I'm still on Tuesday because I haven't gone to bed yet). Sure enough, my guys were waiting for me at the yard door when I emerged and walked me to the chapel. Dumbshit me, I had left the book I wanted to use with the class in the metal-detector shed, so I had to improvise. We worked on their songs (they each chose a song about four weeks ago and have to learn them, in addition to learning all the notes for each flute key), played duets with each other (not really duets - they played, and I interjected with my flute as I saw fit), and then I had them each play a song to me. It wasn't any old song, but a song they were making up on the fly, speaking to me through their music (I told them to think about what they would like to convey to me, what was in their hearts). After each man played his song, I asked them if they would like to tell me the meaning or keep it private. To a man, they chose to keep it private. However, I guessed what one of the songs meant down to the last detail. It was beautiful - it was all about setting me free. These guys are really concerned with my illness. They always fuss over me, make sure I have a chair to sit in, help me up if I need it - you name it, they do it. I got to see all the inmates on the yard have to sit down because the gun tower officer was going to shoot them in the ass if they didn't. I don't know what the disturbance was, but it was major.

After the lesson, I was just waiting for Bill to come get me so I could get a ride back to the guard shack. Two of my "bodyguards" sat with me and shot the breeze. One of them handed me a Christmas card he had been hanging onto since the holidays, since he didn't go to the party. In it, he had written a message in Apache. I asked him to translate, and even though I don't remember all the words, I remember the gist. It said I was his sister, that he loved and respected me, that he accepted me as a medicine woman, that I was family - things to that effect. It was extremely moving These guys are no longer just sitting there and saying things that aren't personal; now they're really opening up and telling me all kinds of things, from their crimes, to their suicide attempts, to how they feel about being locked up, to any and everything. Then one of them told me that when he was in the sweat lodge the last time, he asked that my pain be transferred to him for a while so I could rest. He said he got really sick for three days right after that and couldn't believe what I live with. It gave him an entire new form of respect for me. It coincided exactly with the time I was sleeping so much. I got rest for the first time in a long time. I couldn't believe that he would do that for me, so I hugged him, kissed him on the cheek, and then cried. It touched me like nothing has touched me in a very long time.

On the business front, everything is coming along beautifully. I lost a few vendors, but I've replaced them with others who I think will do a terrific job. One of them is from Australia. The shipments should start coming in fast and furiously now. I've already received a few yarn packages and some notions. I really have to be careful with the yarn - I want it all for myself. And wait until you see the needle cases! Then there are the... aw geez, it's SO hard for me to keep a secret.. I can't give it away because I want you all to be really surprised. As you read, I now have my business license and am waiting for Alameda County to issue theirs. Since I live in an unincorporated area, there's a special permit I have to have. It was easy, though - I just applied for it online and paid for it via credit card. In the meantime, Hubster is putting the finishing touches on the website, I've got everything I need to finish up my files, the spreadsheet is ready to go, my shipping boxes were delivered by the Yarn Fairy today - in short, once I get the photography done, mark everything with a tag for inventory purposes, and record them - I'll be ready to open the doors. I'll be previewing the website to all of you (I'll list the URL) before I load it with stock. My logo came out incredibly beautiful, and it will go on my website, business cards, stationary, invoices, etc. In a few months, you'll also see it in IK and VK; in addition, I'm advertising on Ravelry and some other online venues. I'm also considering what kind of swag I want to put in every order (you didn't think I would ship out naked orders, did you?). I'm glad I took the time to pay attention to the tiny details. I think they're going to make the business sparkle. I can't wait!

On a personal front, something inside me has broken - I'm bleeding where I shouldn't be. Hubster wanted to take me to the hospital tonight, but I have too much to do. If it continues, then I'll go see my doctor about it. This means that the disease has eaten something it shouldn't have. Sigh. I haven't felt well for the past several days, and tonight, I feel like dog shit. I don't know if it's the blood loss or the activity (probably a combination) that's making me so tired. I'm not sleepy tired; I'm just TIRED. I'm going to knit for a while, and then I'm going to bed. I know that's a novel concept, but I'm going to do it. I'm also going to sleep in as late as I can. Time to piggyback the pills.

So, my dear friends, that's about it for now. I've got other things to tell you, but I'll save those for the next post. I have to have something to talk about! The Yarn Review page will definitely be done tomorrow; it's now 4:00 a.m., and I really want to sit in the Monster and knit for a few hours.

Besides, "People's Court" is TiVo'ed and ready for my enjoyment.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Just a Quickie

No, it's not the kind of quickie you're all thinking about.

I just have a bit of news for you.


(excuse me for yelling)

I just thought I'd share that with all of you. I'm also getting stock in from my vendors. The shop, I do believe, will be opening on time. :)

The name of the shop is: YARNY GOODNESS

What else could it be?

I also have a kick-ass logo designed by a lovely lady from Ravelry. I'll show that to you when I unveil the shop for your perusal. It won't have any stock, but you'll get to see it in all its' glory. When you see the logo, I'll tell you all about the lady who designed it for me. She would like more business; when you see it and if you have need of work like that done, contact her. You won't be disappointed.

More tomorrow, including lots of pictures...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Time is Not on My Side or "Why Do I Have to Sleep?"

This whole sleeping thing is really getting in my way.

I thought I had plenty of time to go to the courthouse, get a lot of pictures taken, work on my business files (after going to Staples to get some supplies I need), knit, file, blog, blah blah blah. What have I gotten accomplished?


Well, that's not entirely true. I'm working on the blog and knit a couple of rounds. I also opened up two shipments I just received for the shop.

Whoopie do.

I stayed up until 2:00 p.m. today (you read that right - I didn't go to bed at all) thinking that I would get a ton of stuff done. It didn't quite work out that way. The computer was turned off for a considerable amount of time because we were having, of all things, thunderstorms with a lot of lightning - highly unusual for my area. Once the computer came back up, what did I do? I played a game for a while to relax. Then I went and sat in the Monster to knit. Unfortunately, I fell asleep while knitting (what else is new?) and didn't get shit done on the sock. The deadline is looming, too. I have to really crank on them (these are the infamous socks that are now on their sixth incarnation).

So I came up with this brilliant idea in my little pea brain. I was going to go to bed at noon, get a few hours sleep, and then get up and go to Staples so I could get the supplies I need to work on my files. No problem, right?

Big problem.

I didn't hit the sack until 2:00 p.m., like I said. I was busy catching up on e-mail, and I wanted to get it done before I retired. I asked Hubster to get me up at 4:00 p.m., which would give me plenty of time to shower and get dressed, since Staples closed at 7:00 p.m. It didn't work. He couldn't wake me up (oh, the power of piggybacking three doses of drugs) until 5:00 p.m. It took me an hour to shake off the sleep. By that time, it was far too late to get ready and go to the store. Since we're leaving for Folsom tomorrow, we have to stop there on the way (that is, if we get out of here on time). Otherwise, we'll stop on the way home Monday, along with stopping at the mail center so I can get a gift packed and mailed. All my paperwork is neatly stacked and ready to file; I need inserts for the Pendaflex folders, labels for the inserts, and new pens. That means I'll be working on them come Monday night and doing my photography on Tuesday when there's some light outside. That also means I won't have yarny goodness for you or yarn reviews until Tuesday, either.

As for the courthouse, we were hit with one of the worst storms the Bay Area has had in years, and the talking heads were asking people to stay off the bridges and freeways unless absolutely necessary. Since I have time to get this paperwork through the mill, we stayed inside. I can't even remember what I worked on. I know it was computer work - most likely, it was e-mails. Hubster came up with the brilliant idea of him going to the courthouse on Monday while I'm in the prison and walking the papers through instead of just sitting in the truck or room waiting for me. I had him call to make sure that he can go to a courthouse in another county, and they said he could. But you know how these things work. He'll get there and be told that he has to go to Alameda County, or else they'll tell him that he doesn't look like me (even with a wig on) and deny the application. I'm gearing up for a trip to the courthouse on the way home Monday, too. ARGH.

But even with everything that's happening (and it's beginning to happen very quickly now), I love working on the business. It's given me a focus, something which I was lacking for a very long time. I don't like working, but I love doing this. Even though it's working, it isn't, if that makes any sense. It's my baby, something that I thought up and have nurtured through all its various stages. Now that I'm entering the home stretch, it's like the final preparations for a huge dinner party - everything has to be done at the last minute and they have to time out perfectly. It's the way this is going. I have to get all my pictures taken in the best possible light, get them on the website, label everything (that's something else I need to buy at the store), get my records for everything put into place, blah blah blah. It's exhilarating. It's exciting. It's... time consuming.

So that's why this sleep thing is getting in the way. Think of how many hours I'd have if I didn't have to sleep!

Unfortunately, I witnessed what sleep deprivation does firsthand with my ex-husband. He had some mental problems - anxiety, depression - and was also an alcoholic. The Christmas before we were to get married, he wanted to spend Christmas with me, but family obligations were tugging him in the opposite direction. So he drank a lot and didn't sleep. By the time I put him on the plane bound for Denver, he hadn't slept for four days (which I didn't know - we didn't live together). When he got back to his parents' home, he was beginning to exhibit signs of sheer exhaustion and craziness. When you don't sleep for that long, you begin to not need it. Or so your brain thinks. By Day 7, he thought the fish in the fish tank were giving him messages from the Maharishi (he did TM and was at an advanced level). He thought the furniture was talking to him. He was afraid of the phone and ranted and raved and did all the things crazy people do. So his parents put him in a nuthouse in the nearest large town, where they shot him up with Haldol. He slept for three days straight. Before he was stuck in the hospital, his mother called me and demanded to know what drugs he was on. Then John got on the phone. He was in his own world, but a tiny bit of him remained, enough to know who I was. It was so sad, and I couldn't do anything to help him. When I talked to him in the hospital after he woke up, he sounded so tired and sad and like such a little boy that my heart broke. It was truly horrible. So I know I need to sleep, and I need to sleep a whole lot more than I am. Getting a couple of hours here and there won't cut it. I need a solid eight hours straight through with no interruptions. I don't see that happening for a while, though.

And so I plod along, doing the best I can, getting done what I can, trying to remain calm and happy and not worry. I really want to open on time, but I'm at the mercy of my vendors right now. Some of them haven't written back to me yet; some haven't confirmed that their orders are being shipped; a few haven't even bothered to tell me whether or not they're going to work with me. It's frustrating and a little frightening. I carefully selected these people, and if they don't write back, there's not a lot I can do other than try to find other people who want to sell through me and whose work I admire. There have been disappointments with vendors who can't work with me, even though they said they would. There were others whom I wanted, but who can't do it for whatever reason. It's life, and I need to roll with the punches.

So if I start getting messages from the microwave, you'll understand.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Christmas Saga Continued

I'm finally fully awake and sort of functioning. I've been working on the business, getting yarn put together to send to a friend, and I'm about to eat dinner. But I wanted to continue the saga that was Christmas Day, finish that up, and move on to other things.

First, though, did you see the new button at the top left of this page? Now you can click on it and be taken directly to the Yarn Review page. Hubster drew it. He's so clever. I can't even draw a stick figure. I hope it makes life a little simpler for those of you who like to go over there and see what yarny goodness I've reviewed.

Speaking of yarny goodness, here are tonight's offerings.


This is by Spindle Cat Studio in "Hosta".


This is handspun (it's exquisite) by All Spun Up in "Woodland".


This is by Drooling Over Yarn in "Vintage Fall".


From the top, we have Tempted Yarns in "Fascination", Woolly Boully in "Won't Ewe Come Out Tonight (Sheri Baby), and Noro in Color No. S182 (yes, I bought a non-indie - shame on me).


Again from the top, we have Dashing Dachs in "Cornelius" and Yarn Pirate BFL in "Fog" and "Spruce".

As for yarn reviews, I'll have some for you this weekend. I've decided that the weekends are going to be my computer days - I help Anni with her Sockamania duties and do that on the weekend as well, so I might as well do the reviews then, too.

Christmas. Holy shit.

We had my mother, grandmother, daughter, and the grands over for dinner. We had ordered a leg of pork - it was actually the smallest one I've done, weighing in at 20 lbs, (I usually do ones that are closer to 25 or 30 lbs.). I got the fat scored in a diamond pattern, rubbed in olive oil heavily seasoned with Italian seasoning, garlic, onion, and other goodies, and stuck it in a slow oven in plenty of time for dinner. Just how slow that oven was would become apparent later in the day. I also got everything else prepped for cooking later that afternoon (the kitchen is finally a kitchen) and went into the front room for package opening.

That was pretty uneventful. I got a matching robe, jammies, and slippers, $100 for yarn, and a custom-made purse by an Etsy seller, cha cha (it's just too cool). Hubster got a robe which he's been living in, a couple of shirts, and a new wedding band (he got that a few weeks ago when it came in). Everyone else opened their gifts from us, and then we had time to kill before dinner. LOTS of time to kill, as it would turn out.

Since the kids were just getting over colds, my mother (who has a mortal fear of drafts, the outdoors, and air conditioning) didn't want them outside. Me, being the rebel, took Lily outside so she could see the pool. The kids were running all over the house like little wild things, my daughter sat there and didn't say shit to anybody, and my mother was yelling at everyone. Pretty typical. Then Daisy began screaming at the top of her lungs because she didn't want to put on her jammies. Mom told her that she would lock her in the closet. Grandma told Mom to shut the hell up. Mark started laughing. I went into the kitchen and eyed the airplane bottles of vodka in the freezer. Then I basted the pork and checked its' temperature. Hm.

The dial barely moved, and it had been in the oven for three hours.

Now, a leg of pork that size should take four to five hours of slow roasting. It had to get to 185 degrees. It was at 110. There was something very wrong, and it didn't take a genius to see that my oven was VERRRRRRRRY SLOOOOOOOWWWWWW. Oh no. Dinner was, once again, going to be late. Very late. Shit. That also completely threw off my timing with everything else, and since I have one oven instead of three, I didn't have the luxury of putting things in different ovens and adjusting their cooking time on the fly. Nope. I had to do it the old-fashioned way, just like I used to. That's when I began crying. I missed my old kitchen. I missed my long, wide hallways, my huge rooms, my enormous backyard. I missed my air conditioning and central heat. I just plain missed everything and it was becoming too much, what with the volume of sound in the next room, the damned pork taking forever and a day to cook, and no counter space. SIGH.

Once I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I got to work. I figured out how high I could turn up the temperature on the oven so we didn't eat at midnight (that happened one year - the oven broke and it literally took until midnight to roast the turkey), readjusted my timing, and got everything in its place. I'm a professionally trained chef, for god's sake, so I can put together a holiday dinner in a cardboard box with a can of Sterno if I have to. And so I did.

Dinner came off without any more surprises, everything was wonderful, nobody fought at the dinner table (Daisy had to be bribed to eat, but I made her sit at the table and act like a human instead of a wild jackal), we all sat around and talked after dinner, and then they left. Poor Hubster always cleans up after I cook, and he went into the kitchen to begin the task. I didn't use the china this year (mainly because I don't know which box it's in); instead, we used paper plates. Much easier to deal with - we just threw them and the plastic utensils away (I don't know which box my utensils are in, either). Now that the mess and clutter are gone, we're trying to keep the house in one piece. I hate that I have to use the dining room table as my computer table instead of having a desk, but if I put it in my studio, I'd roast to death in the summer and freeze in the winter. Even now, I'm freezing, and the heater is on. Oh well - that's what my gloves are for, I guess.

And so went Christmas. I'm so glad it's over and that we both survived. There's one more milestone to pass, and that's the anniversary of moving away. But I think we can deal with that, too. I'm tired of whining and missing things that will never come back. Time to move on to bigger and better things. The house will always have a place in my heart, but I have to let go of it or I'll drive myself crazy.

Hubster is almost done with the website for the business; as soon as it's ready, I'll put the link up so you can all preview it. Then I'll get the stock entered into it and fling open the virtual doors. Those of you who are vendors and are reading this, please e-mail me and let me know what you're sending and when so I can be ready for it. We're getting close to the wire.

Life marches on. I have nothing new to report; in fact, I'm actually tired early tonight, so I may hit the sack before the sun comes up. I have to go to the courthouse tomorrow to walk through a form, so I'll report on that the next time I blog. We're also expecting the worst storm the Bay Area has seen in two years and the highest winds in 10 years, so we've prepared for that. I had wanted to go to the courthouse today to avoid the storm, but we woke up at 3:00 p.m. That kind of put the brakes on a trip to Oakland today. No matter. We've driven in the rain before and will again. I won't melt. There is a chance, however, that we'll lose power, so if you don't see me for a few days, you know why.

Now what box are my damn tennis shoes in so I don't have to wear sandals in the rain?