Monday, July 27, 2009

Projects Galore... and Some Other Things

I came to a decision the other day. Rather than work for hours at a time on Sock Summit, I'm going to work on it for a while, then knit, then work, then knit, etc. That way, I won't burn out on anything. Smart idea, huh?


It's been so long since I've actually had more than one project on the needles (and one of them a shawl, no less), that I'm having way too much fun for it to be legal. And that translates into wanting to do nothing but knit - no work on Sock Summit, no reading, no sleeping, no eating, nothing... other than knitting.

So what the hell am I doing that I'm finding so much fun?

Well, you all know that I have a dear knitting sister (the darling lady who started out as a customer) for whom I knit socks. She started the whole thing off because I was late with her order and put some additional skeins of yarn in her package. Well, she was so blown away that she wanted to knit me some socks. Then I wanted to knit her some socks (the pair that I posted a picture of earlier). Now I have two pairs on the needles for her - the ones you saw a picture of (I had spilled a cup of coffee on them, but luckily found another skein in my stash). The other pair is a surprise, but I will say that they're killer good-looking - a pair of a simple Fair Isle-type made with a solid and a variegated. They're just too cool. Then I have another friend I'm making a very special pair of socks for. She had helped me through a bad time a while ago, so I wanted to thank her. This pair is intricate and will take me a while. They're beaded diagonally on the cuff with about 700 size 8/0 glass seed beads. I've done a pattern with the colors of the beads (there are five colors to match the colors in the yarn) and have to be careful that both socks are identical. That means a lot of Post-It Notes on my pattern. But it's fun stringing them, and I think they'll be gorgeous. Since I know she doesn't read my blog, I can tell you that the yarn is Anne by Schaefer; the color is an ivory with splotches of gold, green, purple, and wine. The beads are the same color except that I also have clear thrown in there. When I'm done with them, I'll post a picture.

As for the shawl, it's for my grandmother. It's a deep wine color with gold running through the yarn. The pattern isn't difficult - it's leaves done in lace - and I think even I can memorize it The yarn is Dream in Color Classy (I think that's what it's called - it's basically Smooshy with the gold metallic). She'll like to have it to throw over her shoulders since she gets cold in the evenings. I'm brining all these projects with me to Sock Summit to work on during my spare time. Ha! I have a feeling that I won't have any spare time, even after the day is over. Let's hope I don't, anyway. Spare time during the day means no sales; spare time at night means that I'm not tired because I wasn't busy during the day. I think it's going to go well, though. Even Hubster is looking forward to it. I know Emma is, too. She has to have a good grooming this week - maybe on Friday - so she's pretty for when she meets all of you who are going. :) Speaking of the M, here's a picture of the human dog.


Hubster is sick as a dog (not Emma... just in general). I think the stress from the loss of his job finally hit. He went to bed at 9:30 p.m., and I doubt I'll see him any time soon. We have nothing to do tomorrow other than work on the inventory for the Summit, so he'll get a good night's sleep. We're also going to go look at houses for sale around here. I'm a firm believer in some people being able to manifest things (and I know I'm one of them), so I'm going to behave as if we have all the money in the world. I picked out about 10 houses to go see. Hell, I don't even know where we'll end up, but it won't hut a thing to go take a look. I think once he gets some leads, he'll feel much better. He has people working on his behalf at Cisco to bring him back, but we'll see. I think he should start his own company, but it's his career, and I don't want to push him into doing anything.

I had a bit of excitement this morning. It was about 5:00 a.m., and I was sitting in my chair merrily knitting away. It was then that I noticed a rather large bug crawl up the side of the fire pit (we have a big carpeted hole in the TV room in front of a gas wall fireplace where you can sit and knit, read, etc.). Anyway, this thing stopped when it reached the top, raised it's head, and arched it's tail over it's back. Then it hit me like a brick what it was.


I damn near shit my jammies. It was a baby, but they can sting just as badly as an adult. I couldn't believe it. We're way above the desert floor, so how on earth did it get up here?

I went running up the stairs as fast as I could and woke Hubster up. I don't think he believed me at first, but down he came armed with ant spray. He rolled the TV out of the way (I had thrown a book at the thing and missed, so it ran under the TV), and there it was. He sprayed the living shit out of it, then slammed a book down on it repeatedly until he was sure it was dead. Then he wrapped it up in paper towels and shoved it down to the bottom of the garbage can. Since Emma is now eating creatures and has always eaten bugs, he didn't want her to get it. I'm now creeping around the house because I'm terrified of them. In all the years he lived in Phoenix/Mesa/Tempe/Scottsdale, he's never seen one in a house or in the wild. I think he was ready to shit, too. They're evil-looking fuckers. Now I'm curled up in my chair keeping vigilant watch over the room lest another one comes creeping in.

In other yarn news, Laura of Drooling Over Yarn is knitting a pair of sockies for me. She's so sweet!! She's also a fast and excellent knitter, so I know they'll come soon. I plan on showing them off and letting everyone know who made them and what the yarn is. I have the privilege of showing off many of the contest entries for Ravelry in my booth, and hers is one of them. I've already made it clear that I'm purchasing it for myself. She dyes the most exquisite yarn. If you haven't seen her work, don't hesitate to go to my store or over to Etsy. I've felt like such a failure with the shop this past year - bad sales, no interest, spending every spare cent I have on advertising, etc., and not having anybody come look - that Sock Summit is my last chance to do right by all the artists who put their trust in me. I've still got boxes of work which some artists want back, and I want to get them mailed out, but there's money problems, the usual health problems, blah blah blah. Most of the artists have been very kind and understanding, although a few of them have been downright nasty. I guess I can't blame them, but when I'm accused of being a thief, that's crossing the line. I'm really hiding. Blow me.

One last thing - we may have a nibble on the bike! A man called last week and is very interested in coming to see it. He was coming Friday, but after he was about five hours late, I'm afraid I left a rather nasty voice mail message. Come to find out, someone in his family died. I felt about five inches tall. I'm writing him a letter apologizing for being such an ass. Since we're leaving a week from today (!?!!?!?!?!), I'm going to try and get him to come by later this week. That would be so wonderful to sell it before we leave. Then I can go shopping at the Summit!! Uh... I mean... we can save the money. Yeah... that's the ticket.

Off to go wind some yarn so I can cast on for another project. All I have to do is find the yarn I want. Unfortunately, it's right where the scorpion crawled out from.

It may have to wait until Hubster gets up

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm Ready to Explode

You know, there are days when things are so fantastic that you can't believe your good luck. Then there are days when things are so shitty, you can't figure out what you did for the karma gods to take a big dump on your face.

A few days ago, things were fantastic.

I got a call from the doctor - the long-awaited call with the results of my spinal tap. There is no indication of cancer (bone or otherwise), the things floating in the fluid are little pieces of the damaged discs (expected), and it appears that the auto-immune crap has stopped for the time being. What does all that mean? It means that I don't have cancer and am in remission. We were both so happy that it seemed as if we had finally made it over some hump. Then it all came to a screeching halt today.

Hubster told me last night that Cisco was giving a lot of people the axe today because they're trying to save money by getting rid of groups and highly-paid employees. He thought he was safe because he didn't get an email telling him to report to HR for a meeting. I guess whenever you see someone from HR in a meeting, it's not a good thing. He did, however, have his weekly one-on-one with his bitch boss. So at 11:30 a.m., he went into his meeting. At 11:35 a.m., he came back downstairs, looked at me, and said, "Well." Huh? Then he finished the statement:

"I lost my job."

WHAT? WHAT?????????? After giving 15 years to that fucking company, all the vacations we couldn't take because he had to finish a project, all the times he stayed up working all night, all the trips we had to take the computer on because he had to work... well, you get the picture. He developed a tool way back when which was meant just for him. It turned out to be something which the entire company used. Hubster tried to copyright it (that would have meant Easy Street for us), but we were told that since a year had passed and the company was using it, it was no longer available for copyright. That little tool is still being used today and has saved the company BILLIONS (yes, that is millions with a "b") of dollars. Did we see a cent of it? Nope. In fact, I think that year he got a less than stellar review. This year, he didn't even get a bonus because they were trying to save money so they wouldn't have to lay anybody off. I'm telling him to tell them that since he's been canned, they obviously didn't save any money, so he wants his bonus. Shit. We did NOT need this right now.

The only decent thing about it is that he gets six months of severance: two months of work and four months of job searching. As far as he's concerned, his job ended at 11:35 this morning. For the first time in years, he's not working. In fact, he's not doing shit tonight. Neither am I. We're both in shock. I think it will sink in tomorrow.

So I called my mother to tell her, and the first thing she said was, "What are we going to do?". We? I pointed that out, and she said that she didn't mean to sound cold, but we owed her money. I came unglued and told her not to mention certain things to Hubster, to leave him alone, and that he wasn't going to be talking to her for at least a few days. After that fiasco of a phone call, I told Hubster that now we know why we moved down here. Silicon Valley is going to be a sea of empty houses because there will be thousands of people with the same skill sets looking for work, and there are no jobs available. Most of the companies are outsourcing to India or bringing in unskilled young people. They're getting rid of women over 40 and highly-paid engineers like Hubster - the people who built the company. They raped us and are now disposing of us like a used tampon. The people coming in won't know what the fuck they're doing, and they'll get paid dick (but to them, it will seem like a fortune). Down here, there are a lot of job opportunities, and Hubster is also toying with the idea of starting his own company. We also have the option of moving out of state, which I would hate to do, but I go where he goes. This is just so fucked up that I'm immobilized.

Enough of that shit. Let's talk about something a little more enjoyable.

I just got approved for a credit card machine for Sock Summit today. I didn't go through a bank, which means I didn't get one of those portable hand-held machines. I've seen those things fail miserably, especially inside concrete buildings. No, I went with my iPhone. They have a contract with a company who handles the transactions. I just type in the numbers of the card, and it gives me instant approval/declined. In fact, it works just like every other credit card machine except that it does more. I can sync it up with my computer, and it automatically records the sales, removes the items from inventory, transfers money directly into my checking account, etc. I applied for it last night and was approved today, so I bought the applications this afternoon and downloaded them onto my phone. At least that went right.

I also got my bike listed. Sigh. At least I rode it onto the driveway, gunned the engine (wow!), and almost dumped the damn thing because our driveway slopes down, and I was sideways. But we got the pictures taken, I filled out all the forms, and now I just keep my fingers crossed that someone will want her. She's such a gorgeous piece of machinery. But especially now, with Hubster having lost his job, we need to simplify. So much for saving money and looking at other houses.


There's my hot bitch.


Another picture of the sexy beast.

I had to start that sock over - the picture in the post before the questionnaire - because I dumped an entire cup of coffee on it, and it was totally destroyed. It was okay , though. I'm using this killer yarn from an artist I found who is coming onboard in the shop - the colors are incredible, and the way everything blends and flows makes it look as if it's moving and breathing. With the design of the sock, it's going to be incredible. This is for a customer who has become a sister, and we seem to be making each other socks all the time LOL. I just got the final element for a really special pair for her. I might cast on for those tonight, as well as another pair (I can't say too much because she reads the blog). I'm in the mood to cast on a bunch of projects. I'm sure there are many of you who feel the same way.

Things are beginning to pour in for Sock Summit. I got about 10 packages yesterday (well, so three of them were for me), and I'm expecting about 30 more. I don't think I'm going to add anything new to the shop before we leave; it's a waste of time and effort, since I have to put everything in a spreadsheet for SS. If I weren't taking the shop, then I would; however, since the shop is going with me, it's double the effort. Besides, this will give me a lot more stock and will also sell my artists' work a lot more efficiently.

So that's what's going on. I've been sitting at this damn computer all day, so now I'm going to go knit for the rest of the evening. We have a new ant invasion upstairs and I can't find the spray, so Hubster will have to deal with it when he gets home. Poor guy. If he's not cleaning up a mess at work, he's cleaning up one here.

Oh wait. He doesn't work anymore.

That one is going to take some time getting used to. Shit.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

SP 14 Questionnaire

Okay, fun lovers... here is the information you've been waiting for so you can send me lots of lovely hand-crafted gifts and spoil me rotten.

(I didn't type that. Hubster did.)

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Indie yarns, usually off Etsy. My favorite is merino or merino blended with Tencel, bamboo, alpaca, or some other luxury fiber which still keeps it at fingering weight. No acrylic, please (not even in a blend). I don't care if it's superwash or not - I wash everything by hand anyway.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have cases for my DPN's and circulars which I stick in whatever knitting bag I'm using.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been knitting for 49 years. I learned from my grandmother, my next-door neighbor, and other relatives. If I'm not advanced in both years and experience by now, I never will be.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? No.

5. What's your favorite scent? Lavender or patchouli.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Never touch the stuff.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I do, but I don't have time to do it. Besides, I have more than enough fiber. The only thing I do anymore is knit.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Classic rock, although I knit to TV, not to music, so no CD's, please.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I love all colors, especially those gorgeous indie blends. I like the glitz yarns, too - the ones with silver in them.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? An English bulldog named Emma. She likes to eat my DPN's, especially the black walnut ones which I can't get anymore.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? No.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Socks.

13. What are you knitting right now? Socks.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes! They're the best!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I use black walnut DPN's (or the ones by Grafton Fibers - Pretty Petals or some such thing); I also use circs (Addi Lace Turbo or the 11" Hiya Hiya)... I've got tons of each, though, so I really don't need any.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? I have them both.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? About six months old.

18. What is your favorite holiday? What winter holiday do you observe? My birthday. We observe Christmas for the family, but both Hubster and I are Pagan. I follow Native American spirituality.

19. Is there anything that you collect? Yarn, of course! Fingering weight only, please. Oh... and any cool notion (although I think I have them all), hand-thrown pottery, and Green Mountain Knitting Bags.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I think I subscribe to every magazine on the horizon (just check out my renewal bills). As for patterns, the last time I checked, I had about 300. I don't think I need any more. :)

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? No.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Yes. My foot is 10.5" long and 10.25" in circumference (at the ball of my foot); however, I usually make socks smaller in circumference (down to 9" or 9.25", especially if it's a lace pattern) so they're not baggy. I wear a size 10 shoe.

23. When is your birthday? June 23. Yes, I just had a birthday, so let the good times roll.

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID? Yes. pjyarngoddess

I also own Yarny Goodness, so I tend to buy a lot of things for myself from the shop. Maybe if I stopped buying myself so many things, I'd sell more.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask me. I'm a smart-ass, but I did try to answer everything as accurately as possible.

Thank you!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Just Can't Catch a Break

So Tuesday was the third and last series of shots. We headed down to Rancho Mirage in 112 degree heat (god, I HATE the desert), got all signed in, and then waited a short time until it was time for the nurse to do my write-up. I answered all her questions, and then she asked me if anything was different or had changed in the past two weeks. I told her that I had lost 20 pounds in a week and was barfing every night - all night. She looked at me funny and went to talk to the doctor. Then she came back, told me to go have a ciggie while I waited for the procedure, and that was that.

I had barely finished my ciggie when the PA came out and told me they were ready for me. I was led into one of the operating suites and went to lay down on the table. That's when things changed.

I can't remember the PA's name, but I've had him before and he's really nice. He told me that they were doing another procedure and that I'd have to sit up with my forearms on my thighs. I asked him what was going on, and he said that the doc was going to do a spinal tap. I had to sit like that so my spine was curved, thereby allowing access to my spine.

A what? A SPINAL TAP???? Oh no. Oh no no no. I've heard those things hurt. I asked him if it was absolutely necessary and why the doctor was doing one. He didn't know, but he told me that the doctor was good at them and not to worry. Sigh. Why couldn't it be the band that was coming to play or something?

The doc came in the room all cheery and happy, and I asked him why he was about to torture me. You have to realize that this man is always happy and usually banters with you while he's sticking you full of needles. He got serious and told me that he needed to check something. Shit. Then he told me to breathe slowly and deeply, and to just relax and not move. Then I felt it.

I am here to tell you that spinal taps make those steroid shots feel like a massage. I thought I was going to pass out, but it was over in about five minutes. Then he held up the vial for me to see. The fluid was clear and viscous with little things floating in it. He went, "Hmmm" as he looked at it. I asked him what the floating things were, and he said that's what the lab was going to find out. Then he said that something was a definite possibility, and even if it turned out to not be so, he wanted me to be prepared. I looked at him and said, "Prepared for what? What do you think is wrong?". Then he told me.

Bone cancer.

On top of the other shit.


I sort of went blank after that. I didn't even feel the steroid shots. He wants me to see another doctor pronto and gave me a list to see if my insurance covers any of them. We'll find out in a couple of weeks if I do have bone cancer. If I do, then I have some hard decisions to make. In the meantime, I'm trying to ignore it. I'm actually the calmest one in the family. My poor mother is falling apart, and Hubster is having a difficult time, too. But I've sort of come to the realization that I'm terminal anyway, so what's one more thing? Besides, I may not even have it.

So that was the fun and games I got to experience at the doctor's office.

On Monday, we went to Sea World in the evening for my belated birthday outing. They have a new thing this year where they're open until 11 p.m. Because we got there late, we only got to see one show - the Shamu Rocks! show - but it was way cool. We went on some rides, got soaked, took the sky tram over Mission Bay (stunning - I'd sell my soul to live in San Diego), and looked at a bunch of stuff. The neat thing is that our tickets are good for the rest of the year. All I have to do is order an ECV and a parking pass online at least three days before we go (to ensure that I get a scooter), and we can go every day if we want and not pay admission. A lot of the parks down here are doing similar things. The economy has hit them all hard (with what they charge to get in, I'm surprised that they get any business at all), so they're trying all kinds of gimmicks. Southern California residents also get special consideration and special deals. I want the Disneyland pass - that's my happy place - but I won't go until the fall. It's too hot and there are too many kids right now for my comfort zone.

Emma is glued to me like flies on shit. I can't go to the bathroom without her suddenly bolting up from a dead sleep and walking ahead of me. What's so endearing is that if I fall on the stairs, she's right there licking my face as if I were a puppy, trying her best to save me. Then she walks ahead of me on the stairs in case I fall again. I guess she figures she can break my fall and protect me, and she probably can. Speaking of the M, here's a new picture of her:


I was sitting in my knitting chair right next to her. I had made a sound or something, and she went on full alert. She looks a little different than she did as a puppy, doesn't she?

My current knitting project is a pair of socks for a lady who was a customer (and still is), but has now become more like a sister. She knitted me two pairs of socks (I have to get pictures of them on here) and included two gifts with them. This is the third time I've started these damned things because I fucked up on frogging them (lace is such a bitch to rip back), and then got mad and cut the sock free from the ball - twice. This is why I always buy two skeins, unless the yardage is WAY above 400 yards. Here's a picture of the first one. Enjoy!


The yarn is by Neighborhood Fiber Co. I can't remember the name of the color, but it's her colors. I normally don't knit with a tight twist yarn, but it knits like a dream. Once you stretch it out, it looks totally different. I sent her this picture to see if she liked the colors and pattern, but I purposely didn't stretch it out so she has something to look forward to. I think she likes it. :)

One of the new artists who is coming onboard is called "lightbrownhare". Wait until you see her yarn. You're all going to shit a major brick. I've already bought something like eight skeins, I think. All but one of them is tight twist. Hmm... maybe I've turned some corner and am becoming something other than what I thought. Anyway, check her out on Etsy. She does two skeins in the dyepot of the type of yarn I've been buying - one with 400 yards and the other with 600 yards (you all know which one I bought), and each is different not only in design, but in saturation. I have to stop talking about her - I'm getting the urge to go shopping.

I'm also doing something new in the shop. I'm instituting an "Artist of the Month". My first artist is Laura Neal of "Drooling Over Yarn". There will be an interview (and hopefully a picture) of her on the shop site by the end of the weekend. Oh... and I extended the sale through Sunday night in honor of the holiday.

I can't believe that in a month, we'll be on the road to Portland. I've been getting stock for the show, and I think we're going to have more than enough. I'm also working on the shop this weekend. I should be out of pain from those damned shots by then. Tonight, I have to pull three orders and then knit on the sock.

I think I've blathered on long enough. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend. This will be my first one without those damned fireworks blasting for four days and all night long, with the fear that a bottle rocket is going to land on my roof. Things tend to burn up here. In fact, there's a fire somewhere around here right now.

And no, it's not me getting pissed off and yelling at someone.