Friday, September 26, 2008

For Cheyenne

I got the dreaded phone call at 10:45 a.m. while Hubster was at work in a meeting.

Our beloved puppy - well, our beloved 20-year old puppy - hasn't eaten in three days and has ceased drinking water. She's falling a lot more. My mother, who was on the other end of the phone and sobbing, told me that she thought it was time. According to what our vet said, we think it's time, too.

So right now, Hubster is driving over to Mom's house to pick up Cheyenne for one last car ride. He'll take her to our vet for a 2:30 p.m. appointment, sit on the couch with her head in his lap, and stroke it gently while the vet administers the shots which will end any suffering she's undergoing and allow her to pass gently to the next world. She'll leave us knowing that she's loved and not alone. He wouldn't let me come because a) he didn't want me to see her looking like she does; he'd rather I remember her the way she was when she was well, and b) because I simply can't handle it. So here I sit, pouring out my grief and smoking like a chimney. Needless to say, all work has stopped for the next several hours.

I remember the first time I saw her. We were at the pound looking for a dog. I walked by her several times because she blended in with the wall she was leaning against. I walked up to the chain link fence and stuck my fingers through it; she walked over, sat down, laid her head against my fingers, and closed her eyes. We adopted her on the spot. Hubster had to pick her up and put her in the car because she was terrified. Her previous owners had stated they couldn't afford to keep her. What they didn't say is that they abused her horribly.

When we got her home, she walked into our bedroom and promptly peed on the carpet. We told her "no" and she hit the floor on her belly, trembling. She spent the next two weeks on the couch with her head in my lap. When she finally realized that she had a yard to play in, people who loved her, and that she would never be beaten again, she got off the couch and began to act like the sweet creature she was. She never again peed in the house; she always went to the door, no matter where we were.

She loved to ride in the car. She'd jump in, sit up for about five minutes, and then lay down and go to sleep.

She loved to run - for about five minutes. Then she would sit and look at you like you were an idiot.

I heard her bark perhaps three times in all the years we had her. If she heard something that wasn't right, she got up and went to the door with her head cocked. The only time she barked was when there were cats on the fence. It was her duty to chase them away. She protected us with the fierceness of a lion and with no thought to her own safety.

When the grands came along, she took them under her wing and protected them the same way she did us. If she heard something in their nursery - like them stirring - she would immediately get up and go into their room to check on them. If they required our attention, she came and stood in front of us until one of us got the hint and followed her into their room.

She had a huge bed in the family room. There were two niches, one on each side of the fireplace. One held our 64" projection TV; the other held her bed. I only mentioned the size of the TV so you would know the size of her bed. My mom gave it to her for Christmas one year, and it filled up that entire niche from side to side. She loved to sleep in there and watch everything that was going on. My kitchen shared the great room where the family room was, and if I was making something like hamburgers, I always made her a little one. If I made hot dogs, she got one. If it was something she could eat, she got her own made just for her and just the way I thought she liked it.

As her sight began to grow a little dim, she fell into the pool one day. I went outside to go swimming and walked right past her. She was standing on her hind legs with her front paws on the deck and her head resting on her paws. Hubster had to come out and pick up her.

She never varied from her 43-pound weight all her life - until now. She was a pound puppy through and through; I suspect she had some sort of hound, perhaps Rhodesian Ridgeback, in her. She was lean, a beautiful golden color which bleached to a shimmering gold in the summer, and the worst breath I've ever smelled. I adored her.

She was adopted in Arizona and went through four moves with us. When we lost our home in Sacramento, she had to stay with my mother because we lived in a residence hotel for three months. In those three months, she suddenly grew ill, grew old, and all in the blink of an eye. Then she couldn't hold her potty anymore, so my mother spread newspapers all over the floor for her. She couldn't make it outside. By the time we rented this house, we couldn't bring her home. She was in retirement with Mom, and Mom and Grandma took excellent care of her.

Mom said that this past week, Cheyenne had been toddling to the front door and cocking her head to the side, just like she used to do when we came home. Mom thinks she was looking for us. Maybe she was. Maybe she was trying to tell us that she wanted to ride in the car again, to lay on the back seat, to be with us for one last time.

Hubster will grieve in his own way. I'm more vocal; I've been sobbing since this morning. At 2:30 p.m., I'll fall apart. Her ashes will be put into a lovely box with her name engraved on the front, and her paw print will be cast in plaster for us. She'll rest next to her friend Monkey, the little kitty we rescued.

May you rest in peace, my sweet baby. May your passage be swift and painless; may you have all the chewy bones you can gnaw on and all the cats you can chase.

I loved you then, I love you now, and I'll love you always.


The Last SP12 Questions

I forgot to put these in my last post, so here goes:

If you were told you could never again buy yarn, would would your last yarn purchase be? An indie with cashmere, silk, and merino in it.

If you were told you could never knit again, what would be the last thing you’d knit?? Socks for me.

In a given year, how many times do you buy yarn? And what is your favorite place to buy yarn from? A festival? A shop? Online I buy yarn at least once a week. Etsy is my favorite place to buy it, although I also shop at Woolgirl, TLE, yarn4socks, The Sweet Sheep, and... uh... my shop. :)

Lastly, with Fall in full swing in many areas, what is the one thing you look forward to most? Winter.

There. That should do it. I have a fabulous pal who knows me very well by now, but I hope these answers provide her with any knowledge she doesn't already have. As for the lady I'm buying for... well, she doesn't get to see this, does she?

Off to work. I've got SO much to do before we leave on Sunday, and I'm running out of time. So what will I end up doing? Probably working on my new sock until Hubster gets home from the office. Emma is in her carrier; she's taken to sleeping with me on the Monster, so that means I have to wait until she's settled in before I can do anything. Last night, she tried to sleep in my lap, but she was just too fucking hot (I was already sweating bullets - I'm out of remission once again). I hear her snoring, so she's okay. Let me see if I have a cute Emma picture for you:


That's her about a month ago sleeping next to Daddy on the couch.

Okay... I'm gone. Got the Blackberry all set up (it's wicked cool), so I'll be in touch via email for anybody who needs to talk to me.

Love you guys!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Trip, Another Vacation, More Work

Sigh. And just when you think that you're done with everything.

If you'll recall, I mentioned that I have to go back to Idyllwild to lay down some more tracks for the CD. Well, it's time. We're leaving on Sunday and coming back on Friday. The cabin we stayed in last time is occupied, so we got a different one. This one is more modern with views that stretch on forever. It was a choice between this one and another one with even better views, but the lady at the rental office said that she preferred this one - "Bruin Pines" - so I took her recommendation. After all, she was right about the other one. I also like the name. In my culture, fall is the season where Bear goes into her cave, so it's the season for putting away the year's bad shit and allowing it to transform into good shit for the spring when Bear comes out of her cave. It's also a season for preparation for winter and the beginning of reflection. I'm looking forward to it - the shopping is to die for - but I hope the weather cools down. It was over 100 degrees there the day before yesterday and is supposed to be 100 today, although the reports say it will be in the 70's while we're there. Most of those cabins don't have A/C - only two of those I looked at do - so we have to rely on fans. Emma seems to be doing better with the heat, so I think we'll take our portable fans with us to put in the bedroom and family rooms. There are only two ceiling fans in this one, but it's also a lot flatter than the first. I'm rambling. That's what happens when I try to post when I just get up.

I am SO glad that fall is here. It's no surprise to any of you that I HATE summer. Fall is much nicer. It also means that winter is right around the corner, which is my favorite season. I love the cold. I love putting on sweats and bumming around. I'm such a glamorous broad. No wonder Hubster married me almost 20 years ago.

Speaking of the man himself, he surprised me with a really nice gift... well, we each get one and they're coming today. Because he has to work while we're there and there isn't an Internet hookup in this one, he got us each a Blackberry. His acts as a modem, while mine is the "standard" one. That means I can get my email and respond to it while I'm gone. The shop will remain open, but I obviously can't fill orders. Anybody who places an order from Saturday through Friday of this coming week won't have it shipped until the following Monday (October 6). I need a few days to rest up; besides, there's that small matter of no mail on Sundays.

CHECK OUT THE SHOP. THERE ARE NEW VENDORS SELLING EVERYTHING FROM NOTHING BUT ALPACA TO CUSTOM-MADE CROCHET HOOKS TO SOAP TO... well, you get the message. For those of you who don't realize that you can click on the sidebar button, the addy is:

I'm trying to add all the new vendors I have right now, but I don't know if I'll get the job done before we leave. There's so much to do, including getting the ad ready for Interweave Knits. We'll be in the Winter issue which hits the stands on November 15th. Check us out in the Resource Section - I think that's what it's called - in the back of the magazine. KaratStix will be on the same ad as us.

So what else is going on? Not much - just work and knitting. I've begun a new pair of socks - they have a Victorian swag pattern on the leg - out of White Willow's "Neverland". Her yarn is just spectacular, and I wish I could carry it in the shop. She can't do it, though, and I completely understand. So I just buy it for myself. :) I've got to begin packing up for the trip, but my knitting bag is the last to go. My flutes are almost ready to go, and we have all the shit we took the last time, so we're packing the truck and getting as much done as possible by Saturday night. That way, we can get out of here before afternoon. I'm not going to try and leave at 5:00 a.m. - that just won't work - but I'd like to get out of here by 7:00 a.m. or so. Then we can see what the mountain looks like on the way up during the day. We can also see the cabin instead of me crammed on the dashboard with my big flashlight aimed at street signs.

My dear friend Sheryl sent me a care package from England which included the cutest little sheep (she's hanging on my knitting bag), a gorgeous skein of yarn, and some other goodies from a show she went to, including a bookmark made of sheep poo. I loved it, but then again, I'm just twisted enough to like something like that. I'll have Hubster take pictures of the loot before we leave.

I'm really sorry to be so boring, but there isn't anything fun to relate. As usual, thank you to everyone who left comments on my last post. I love comments, so keep them coming. Nothing like a little gratuitous begging.

And so I leave you all for a while. I'm not going to post while we're gone - I've never done the texting thing and won't be able to connect to the Internet unless I want to use Hubster's high-tech tool (and I'm not talking about his dick, either). Rather than screw something up, I'm just going to relax, knit, play my flute, hope that I don't have to do this again, relax, shop, knit, knit, knit... and eat. Sounds like a winner to me.

Be well, my dear friends, and I'll talk to you all next weekend. Be prepared for more cabin pictures. And Emma pictures.

And all manner of boring shit.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

An Ode to the Knitting Needle

Oh, sweet DPN
Your sharp points dig out
The most recalcitrant stitches.
You bend without breaking
Under the most stressful cables.
Your black walnut body
Shines in the moonlight.
You are my companion, my friend,
My secret love.

Yeah, I suck at writing poetry (odes, at least), but it's a tribute, so never you mind.

And no... I didn't sit on it this time.

Emma has discovered that she can now jump onto the Monster and has taken a liking to shoving her big body (she weighs 35 pounds now) right next to mine, laying on her right side, bracing her stubby legs against my body, and shoving me as far against the side of the side of the chair as possible. Then she begins snoring. At least I can knit during these times, because if she were awake, she would be burying her little snout into the yarn. She has a yarn fetish just like her mama. In fact, she's on the chair right now, sound asleep and sprawled in a snowstorm of what used to be a paper towel which she captured and killed.

This is setting the scene for what happened last night.

So last night, I'm sitting at the computer with my back to the Monster merrily typing away when Hubster suddenly yells, "NO!!!". I look at him running to the Monster, see him pluck something from between her paws and out of her floppy jowls, and then I see my sock emerge. The sock which I've been laboring over for weeks. The sock which is on my precious Golding DPN's. The Golding DPN's which are no longer being made. He begins to moan, I start to ask, "What?", and he carries over the sock which has four DPN's sticking out of it. He then gently and lovingly lays it on the table next to me.

So what's the problem?

I'm knitting on three DPN's, not four.

Emma, with those jaws that can peel vinyl flooring right off the foundation, had snapped one of the DPN's in half like a toothpick and had begun to chew on it. Several stitches had dropped and were in the beginning stages of making a ladder down the sock.

I stared at it and began to mourn. My complete set of DPN's was no more. My stitches were running. At least she didn't damage the yarn itself. That would have REALLY sucked. So I went into my knitting bag and found my little sack of spare DPN's, the orphans from sets which I had sat on or otherwise broken one or two of. I replaced the broken needle, picked up the stitches, and inspected the sock. It was just fine. The needle went into the garbage, and I was back in business. Whew.

Later on that night, I tucked my knitting in the arm of the chair so I could go do something. When I came back, I found Emma on the Monster, sprawled on her belly with her legs sticking straight out and something fuzzy between her paws. Again. She had done it again. This time, I rescued it before she did any damage. Now I've learned that I have to put anything I don't want her to eat up out of her reach. That means just about everything.

We took the pot roast to the vet last week to check and see if those mites had been killed by that horrible medicine I had to give her. They took a scrape of the area, looked at it under the microscope, and came back with good news. All the mites are dead. That medicine was $300 a bottle, so that was indeed good news. The other terrific news is that Cheyenne has a bit of a reprieve. The vet said that as long as she's eating and walking a little, there's no reason to put her down yet. She's doing both, so we're not going to put her down until we absolutely have to. To all of you who left such lovely comments, thank you so much. They really meant a LOT to me (and Hubster).

I just now got a phone call from Mac, the man I recorded the CD with. I'll be going back to Idyllwild at the end of the month for five days to rerecord my tracks. They determined it would be easier to record it again with percussion and other effects already laid down and do it in multi-track instead of mastering what we had already done. I don't mind - it'll be nice to go back down and get away for a while.

So now Hubster is going to take pictures of some of the new stock so I can put them on the site tonight and tomorrow. Monday is prison day, the week is busy with other things, and I've got knitting to do.

As long as the pot roast doesn't need any more toothpicks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bad News

I never post twice in one day, but I felt this warranted it.

As many of you know, our "original" dog, Cheyenne, has been living with my mom for the past year. We couldn't bring her here because she has no control over her potty functions; since this is a rented house, we couldn't risk having her potty all over the floor. There's also no grass in the backyard - just cement and the pool - so we couldn't let her outside (we take Emma out in front, but Cheyenne couldn't handle walking all the way out there).

We just got a phone call from my mom telling us that it's time. Our puppy (who is about 20 years old now) can't see, keeps falling (her back legs aren't supporting her), is going to the bathroom uncontrollably, and appears to be stone deaf. Mom says that she isn't in any pain, but she can't make that call. Hubster and I both agreed that it's time to set her free. We see the vet on Wednesday for Emma, so we'll talk to him about when to do it while we're there.

Cheyenne has been the best dog anybody could ask for all these years. We adopted her from the Arizona Animal Shelter shortly after we got married; nobody was looking at her as she sat in her enclosure, and even I walked right past her. I finally noticed her and went to the fence; she walked up, laid her face against the chain link, and closed her eyes. It was love at first sight. She's been a loving and loyal companion, and I've only heard her bark a few times in all these years. I can't believe that it's time to put her down, even though we knew this day was coming. I'm sort of numb.

I have to go. I can't see the screen anymore.

I Just Keep Getting Kicked in the Ass

No matter how hard I try, no matter how many hours I work, no matter how good my intentions... life just kicks me in the ass.

Take the shop, for example. I have several new vendors to add, and that was my plan for the week - add them and get ready for the next round to come. But it didn't quite work out that way. For some reason, my body is demanding sleep - LOTS of it. I can sit down at the computer with all my paperwork and begin filling out forms; the next thing I know, it's several hours later, and I haven't done a single thing other than type a lot of strange characters which might make sense in some Arabic language. You see, for every item I list, I have to fill out three forms - two for the spreadsheets and one for the actual listing. That's why it takes me so long to get listings done. I'm sure other shops have more streamlined ways of doing it, but this works really well for me. When I can actually get it done, that is. Just to show you how things roll around here lately, here I am with the ever-accommodating snoring pot roast, aka Emma, in my usual position.


Aren't I just the picture of loveliness? And I post it for the world to see. I have no shame. Isn't Emma getting big? I think when we see the vet on Wednesday, she might have to stay. It's time for her to get spayed. Then she'll be just like her Mommy.

So today, my plan is to get some more sleep as soon as I finish writing this, have a couple of cuppas when I wake up, and then sit down to work. I'm going to work straight through the afternoon and evening, have dinner, and work some more. I'll knit later when I've done as much work as I can. Will this actually happen?

In theory, it sounds perfect. In real life, I have my doubts. But I'm going to try, because those poor vendors sent their work to me and entrusted me with it. I MUST get it listed, and I will. It just wasn't done last week like I had hoped. I'm beginning to see that I grossly underestimate the amount of time it takes me to do anything.

On the photography side of things, Hubster bought some new lights which light up the entire neighborhood. Our pictures should now be clear as a bell and sharp. They'd better be; I'm damn near blind from the things.

We won't even talk about how backed up my email is.

On the happier side of things, I'm putting together a Sock of the Month club. I have a designer who will design exclusive patterns and am in the process of getting some dyers to do the yarn. All the details will be revealed as soon as I get them finished (assuming, that is, I stay awake). I think it will be a great deal of fun.

The Crochet and Knit Giveaway ends tonight at 8:59 p.m. PDT. If you haven't entered, it's your last chance to do so. Hop on over there and put in your two cents' worth.

The other fun thing I did was to buy a Kindle from Amazon. I read all about how Rachel (Yarn-A-Go-Go) loves hers, and I've been wanting one for some time, so I decided to take the plunge. It's really easy to spend a tremendous amount of money on books just because it's so much fun to watch them instantly download. You can tell what a cultured bitch I am by looking at my reading list. The books are either written by Sonny Barger of the Hell's Angels or about prisons. This thing is amazing. It uses some kind of ink that translates to the screen somehow (no, it's not inky - I can't explain it; read about it on the Amazon site), and it's really easy to see and read. It also does a ton of stuff, is very light and portable, and charges up very quickly. I've ordered a leather cover for it, although the cover that came with it works great (I have a leather fetish). Hubster is thinking of getting one for himself because I won't let him touch the screen, hover over him when he's using it, etc. He thinks I have too many rules. I think I'm just taking care of my new toy. It will be terrific for our upcoming trip to San Diego; you can actually download books while you're in the car. You can also download the first chapter (or a part of it - I'm not sure which) for free before you buy the book. It's just too cool.

The CD seems to be coming along really well. We're just keeping our fingers crossed about the time factor. If we can get it done by the time of the concert, we can sell it there. There's already a shop in Idyllwild that's going to sell it, and I don't know where else it will pop up. I've promised some copies for my boys and friends (the friends being the ones outside the prison). I guess I should have a copy, too. It's all terribly exciting; if you had told me that I'd be a recording artist when I turned 50, I would have told you that you were full of shit and should stop eating those funny mushrooms. Life has a strange way of working things out.

And kicking me in the ass.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What a Day

Since I haven't answered the last three questions for SP12, let me begin by answering one of them. This isn't the current one - I really don't have an answer for it - so I took the question before it. I'm sorry to my pal for making her wait.

What is the best thing you've ever received in the mail/post? I get so many things in the mail that this was a tough one. After thinking about it, I have to say that my swap pal gifts are the best things I receive. To think that someone took the time to put together a package just for me, sometimes with hand-knitted items (like socks), handmade cards, goodies that they knew I would love - those kinds of things bring me to my knees and make me cry. I have a dear friend in England who sometimes sends me little presents, and I also adore those. My 50th birthday was stellar - I got all kinds of unexpected gifts from friends all over the world. It was really something.

Now that I've answered my question and been a good do-bee, I'm about to collapse. Yesterday was one of the most heart-wrenching, exhausting, emotionally draining days I've had in a long time. Yes, it was prison day.

It didn't start out well. I got to the guard shack five minutes early and waited to see if Bill would pick me up. After realizing that he might not show up, I left him a message on his voicemail telling him that I was taking the taxi to the sally port and would be walking from there to C Block. I figured that he would pick me up at the port or somewhere along the way. So I got on the taxi and headed out. At least I got a driver who kept hitting on me. There's nothing to jack up my ego like a young man telling me that I'm hot.

After getting to the port, I went through all the usual machinations and got through. Still no Bill. So I began the hike down to the block. No Bill. He still wasn't in sight when I got to the block, so I thought maybe he had taken the day off. My boys were waiting for me when I got there, but something felt strange. We walked down to the chapel, I went inside and turned on the lights (Bill's office was dark), and entered the main office. Then it hit me; the entire office was completely redone, and the computers, printer, and many other things were missing. Hm.

After my boys got inside (I had to call the towers to get them released, and even those CO's hit on me), I hugged everybody and asked what was going on. It turns out that on one of the days I was supposed to be there, there was a raid. One of the religious groups had stashed quite a bit of contraband inside the TV. In the inmates' cells, the TV housings are clear so the CO's can see inside them. The TV's in the chapel, however, aren't clear. They're fairly large so the entire group can see what's being shown. Anyway, there was a box inside the TV which contained cell phones (including Blackberries), smut, and about 100 box cutters. Once the captain saw that, she went apeshit and had the CO's tear the place apart. One of my boys, who worked in the chapel and used the computer all the time, had been putting things on his computer for years which weren't allowed (we're talking beaver shots and all kinds of other things); the computer in use was also a higher grade than what the captain used. The upshot was that this particular religious group was kicked out of the chapel, and the man in my group was immediately fired from his job, banned from the chapel, and the computer confiscated. So now, not only was he hot, but every body else in the chapel was suspect, including me. It was an eerie feeling knowing that the CO's might come bursting in the door at any time with guns drawn.

The class went really well. I played one of the songs off my CD for the guys; they were absolutely silent while it played and looked at me like I was a rock goddess or something. Then they got feisty because they hadn't seen me for so long (that part was fun - they're hilarious). I had two new boys who didn't know how to play, so I spent some time with them getting them started and giving them homework. We all played duets for the remainder of the class, and then I had to wait to leave because Bill hadn't called the towers to come escort the men out. In the meantime, Hubster had called to say he was waiting for me (we brought Emma this time so she could enjoy being with us), and I figured that it was just him letting me know that he was ready. I was dead wrong and will get to that in a minute.

One of my boys, my young one who's down for four life sentences, seemed out of sorts. I talked to him while we were waiting and finally got him to tell me what was wrong. He's having a hard time doing his time (he's not eligible for parole until 2021 and has only been there for six months), and was absolutely devastated when one of my other boys told him that the first five years are the hardest. He just about collapsed. I talked to him and told him to talk to the old-timers about how to do good time, how to escape the bars inside his head, and to not let his time do him. He finally agreed to work on it, but still seemed really bummed. Then I found out the real reason. He has nobody to come see him. His mother died when he was little, and her side of the family is in Texas. His father doesn't come at all, nor do any of that side of the family. So here's this young man who's all alone in a prison where they eat you alive for breakfast. Then he said it: "I want my mama." I opened my arms and he rushed into them, sobbing on my shoulder. I told him that he can talk to me any time he wishes, to pull me aside if he needs some comfort, that I'm not really his mama but can substitute for her as best as I can. That calmed him down, and he now is calling me "Mama". It was heartbreaking.

After all this, we finally got out of the chapel. I said good-bye to everybody and got in the golf cart. We headed out of the prison and down into the parking lot where we intercepted Hubster driving towards us. I got into the truck and encountered the next major problem of the day.

Hubster was ill. I mean ILL.

We stopped at a gas station for a drink, and he told me that he had barfed two times since he dropped me off. I got behind the wheel to see if I could drive us home, but realized that I wasn't going to be able to do it. I was so sleepy that I could barely keep my eyes open. We got on the freeway and hadn't gone more than 10 miles when he yelled for me to pull over. I cut across two lanes of traffic, shot off one of the exit ramps, and pulled off into the dirt. He barely got the door open before he was on his knees barfing up everything in his stomach. I drove for a little longer and finally told him that I couldn't do it, so he traded places. I instantly fell asleep and learned when we got home that he had to pull over three more times. He did it four more times in two hours after we were home, so I called the doctor to try and get him some help. Then I got really pissed off because our doctor, whom I've gone to since I was 18 and Hubster has seen since we got married, refused to call in a script because he hadn't seen Hubster in a while. Fine. I made an appointment for him this morning and went to clean up the bathroom. Hubster slept for most of the afternoon and evening, woke up at around 8 a.m., and said he felt great. He had some coffee, I made him an omelet, and he was able to eat it and keep it all down. Then he called the doctor to tell him he was fine. This is like the third time this has happened in the past couple of months, so I don't know what's going on. If it happens again, though, I'm taking him straight to the emergency room. I think he's not getting enough sleep and gets run down, but it shouldn't keep happening. I stayed up all night keeping an eye on him, so now I'm absolutely spent. We have to take Emma to the vet this afternoon, too, so I have to be somewhat coherent. I might change the appointment for later this week - I think we're both dead.

I've been working on the shop and have been trying to implement many of the suggestions which were left on the Crochet and Knit Giveaway (you still have time to enter). One of the things people asked for were crochet hooks. I'm delighted to say that I've successfully signed on an artist who makes OOAK hooks, some with jewels, some with stones, some with exotic woods. They're gorgeous and reasonably priced. As soon as they arrive, I'll list them. I'm also getting in some yarn caddies - they're egg-shaped plastic containers which sit in a wooden stand; you put your yarn inside, place the stand close to where you're working, and it protects your yarn from pets, kids, and dust. They're also very reasonably priced. I've got roving, larger-gauge yarns, more goodies from KaratStix, new stitch markers, lip balm, hopefully soap, and all kinds of new items just in time for the holiday season. Check often, and if you're not signed up for the newsletter, please do so. You sign up on the shop site. We also have that cool new search/browse feature which people seem to like.

One of the things I can't do is knit up a little of each skein so people can see how it looks. A lot of people wanted a little swatch knitted; I just can't take yarn from a skein and make a one. Most of those skeins are OOAK and have set yardage. Besides, knitting up a swatch won't show you how the yarn will behave; it acts differently when knit into something larger, and you really have to knit quite a bit so you can see how the colors will interact. I also don't have the time to knit up a swatch for each skein - look at the number of skeins I carry! There were also suggestions that I list information about the fiber content, size, etc. I already do that on each item page. In fact, several of the suggestions are things which are already in place. I think that people may be missing them because there's so much to see.

Maybe I did my job a little too well. :)

Friday, September 5, 2008


My blog is worth $5,080.86.
How much is your blog worth?

I guess I'm special.

Boring, Boring, Boring

So yesterday, my mother went under the knife for a three-hour operation. She had to have two procedures done; a hysterectomy and having her bladder lifted and put into a sling so it didn't fall (I have visions of it falling on her feet when she laughs). Hubster and I went to the hospital last night to see her, and even though I didn't let on, it was upsetting. She looked so small lying there with her leg stockings on, her IV in her left hand, doped out of her mind and drifting in and out of consciousness. She's only had one other hospital stay in her life (excluding my triumphant entrance into the world), and that was when she fell off the bed and broke her ankle. This was a bit more serious; however, she's 71, so I guess only having had two operations in all that time is pretty good. Not like me - I've been sliced open five times so far and had every invasive test known to man done to me. I actually had to lay on the table and have this giant Q-tip (it was about a foot long) stuck up my nose into my sinus. That uh... hurt. So anyway, we told her to call us when she was ready to come home, as we were going to pick her up and install her in her own bed. Hubster set the alarm and I had the phone next to my head. We woke up at the right time and promptly went back to sleep. Then I woke at noon, got Hubster up, and realized that no call had come. He called the hospital only to find out that she had been sitting there for an hour waiting for us. Sigh. I know what's going to happen. She's going to tell me that I'll be late to my own funeral and chew my ass out for not being there at 11:00. That was the time she was to be released, but we know how long it takes them to do paperwork and release someone; hence, the call. Since I can barely keep my eyes open and it would take me an hour to get ready, Hubster took off by himself to get her. I'm sort of dozing, typing, and knitting (wow, did I ever drop a stitch this morning - shit), and keeping Emma company (she's sprawled on the couch in front of the fan and gnawing on her leopard stuffie).

While Mom was in surgery, I was having lunch with Karen of KaratStix. She designed a special OOAK item for the first place gift basket in the Crochet and Knit Giveaway (sign up, peeps!). I won't tell you what all is in there, but it's a $65 prize and contains several items, all coordinated with each other and with a special design representing the shop. I was blown away by it. She also gave me some of the sets which have the little sock needle gauge, the Kitchener Stitch instructions, and a mini-ruler. I love the set she made me for my birthday and take it with me in my knitting bag or have it sitting next to me when I'm in the Monster. We're taking pictures this weekend, logging in all the new vendors, and trying to get some of the work posted before we leave for Folsom. I'll also be working on it next week. I have a lot of new, exciting vendors who have come onboard and am in negotiations with several others. One of them... well, let's just say that his work is for both spinners and knitters. Out of wood. 'Nuff said.

I've been on a yarn buying binge for some reason. I think it's because I didn't buy anything for quite a while and finally, the dam burst. You all know what this means. I have to go to the hardware store for another bin. I've run out of room. Again. The yarn is breathtaking, though. I got some from Maui Yarns, Fernwood Woolworks, White Willow, Fat Cat Knits, Knit, and Lotus Yarns, to name some of them.

The other huge thing I bought was a flute I had been coveting since I first saw it online about five years ago. Mac (my duet partner) is also a flutemaker and had a gallery at the time (he still sells flutes from other artists and goes to shows all over the country). Anyway, when he had his gallery, he had pictures of some outrageous flutes listed on his online pages It . One of them was a flute carved and painted to look like a totem pole, complete with a marble stand and a fetish carved to look like a whale. I've wanted that flute since then, so imagine my surprise when we walked into his house and saw it sitting on his mantel. The man who made it had it for sale, and Mac had been unable to sell it. That was like waving a carrot in front of a donkey. I called him a few days after we got home and bought it. It arrived yesterday and is a joy to play. It's also gorgeous to look at. I'll take a picture of it later so you can see it. It felt really good to buy a flute, since it's been quite a while that I've added a new flute (other than a trade) to my collection.

Our vacation plans look like they're finalized. We'll be heading down to Poway for the concert in October, spending a few days in San Diego, and coming home. No Disneyland. No Vegas. No nothing. Why? Because Hubster wants to take Emma with us. While I want to see her interact with the ocean, I really wanted to go somewhere else like we normally do. He really wanted to take her, though, so I agreed. I hate this money-saving phase we're in. I'll be so happy to have my own house so I can start spending money again (I do have to decorate it, after all). I know he doesn't understand my logic, but that's okay.

Other than that, I've just been working on the shop and knitting. It's so nice to sit there in the evenings watching TV and knitting away. I'm making good progress on the sock I'm working on right now (it's a new patten for me - in fact, I think I mentioned it in an earlier post). I'm also working on the CD via phone with Mac. It's in the mastering phase right now, so we need to have money set aside for that. We have to pay for the mastering as well as the actual run. I still can't believe that I have a CD which I recorded. It's almost surreal. Let's hope that it sells well.

So anyway, check out the shop next week to see the new vendors, try out Hubster's new search/browse feature, and wish cooler weather on me. This stinking hot weather has to go. I read on someone's blog that September is the start of summer in San Francisco, and I'm wondering which San Francisco she was referring to. This is the month where we begin to cool off, the grapevines start to turn those glorious colors, and the air gets a snap in it. Since we're technically still in summer, I guess I can understand the temps, but I wish they would disappear. I can't take much more of this.

I think I'll go take a nappy-poo until Hubster gets home. Then it's in the pool for the rest of the day. Let's hope the pool guy doesn't show up while I'm out there.

He doesn't look like the pool guys on TV, so there goes that fantasy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Reply to Comments on Crochet and Knit Giveaway

I wasn't sure where else I could post this, so I decided to add it here. I felt that I needed to say something.

As you all know, there is a giveaway contest going on right now (it ends on September 15th, so be sure to click on the button in the left sidebar and enter). All you have to do is look at the shop and enter a comment per the instructions. One of the most commented-on things is that the shop didn't have a search function, and that it was difficult to wade through all the vendors to find something.

Hubster has now corrected that problem with a kick-ass search and browse function. This thing finds stuff by weight, price, color, fiber type, blah blah blah. The only thing it doesn't do is turn on the coffee pot. I figured he would just add a search box, but I should have known better. It's nice having someone to do all your programming for you. :) Anyway, go check it out. It's fun just to play with.

The other thing which was mentioned quite a bit is that I don't have a lot of heavier-weight yarns. I've just ordered 10 skeins of DK weight. The artist (Drooling Over Yarn) is in the process of coming up with some fall colorways. Come winter, I'll order winter colors. I'm not like department stores who sell bikinis in January.

I'll be adding some things to the descriptions, as well as trying to get my artists to expand on their bios. I only have so much room, so that will be a little tricky to accomplish. Some of the comments referred to things which I already have in place, but which the commenter apparently missed seeing. I understand how this could happen; the site is full of stuff to look at and can be overwhelming to someone who is looking for something in particular.

In other news, Emma has now learned how to jump up on the Monster. Gone is my private retreat. Trying to cram two big asses - even in a chair that wide - is a challenge. Add to that the fact that she can't stand for me to be doing anything other than petting her when she's laying next to me (before she falls asleep), thinks that yarn tastes divine, and looks at my DPN's as toothpicks, and you have a recipe for disaster.

We won't talk about the farting.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Contest For You

Remember that "Crochet & Knit Giveaway" button that I told you about a week or so ago? Well, in case you haven't figured it out yet, your favorite haunt, Yarny Goodness, is the sponsor for the current giveaway. Either click on the button, or go to Add a comment for your chance to win one of three glorious prizes! That's all you have to do. What could be simpler than that? I just ask that you be kind and say only nice things about me and/or the shop. I have a very fragile ego.

Good luck to all of you!