Saturday, May 30, 2009

Buying On-Line

This last week has been kind of crazy. There is the whole schedule issue with Bobby, but aside from that there have been other exciting and slightly ridiculous things happening as well.

To start, a bit of almost old news in the knitting world: Sock Summit registration happened on Tuesday. It was amazing. I was there and ready and hoping desperately that I would get the classes I wanted with the amazing friends I have. Only since February of 2009 have I really been introduced and inducted into the (kind of ridiculous) world of on-line competitive buying. This is only my second event, but I can already tell, it may not be for me. My first experience was with the Phat Fiber Sampler Box.

My friend contributes and I knit (did you guys know that?) and I am learning (slowly) to spin. So I thought, "Hey, why not get one and see what it's all about?"

Well I'll tell you why not, because the first time you get up at 4:30 in the morning to snag one when they're listed at 7:30 in a different time zone you kind of stress out a little bit, but it works out and you think, "Wow these things are really cool. Look at all this neat stuff! I can't wait to get the next one and see even more!" You start to make a list of favorite people. You start to think about whose yarn you'll be buying, and it went so smoothly and seamlessly, despite your wacky and unreliable internet connection, that it's hard to imagine a world where you don't get a box, and you start to build money into your monthly budget thinking it'll be no problem.

Then the next month rolls around and the internet cuts right as you're paying (again at o'dark thirty in the morning) and when you get reconnected all of the boxes are gone and you're sitting there very, very upset. This leads to conversations with your husband about keeping things in perspective and those conversations aren't always the most pleasant. Then to top it all off you don't even just save yourself the money, but spend it on things you got samples of in the first box. This reminds you all over again of how easy it was the first time. And, even the knowledge that these things are selling out in under a minute, under 30 seconds even, isn't much consolation.

And there's the key right there; it's kind of sheer luck. Someone may click faster, someone's connection may be better, someone's processor, or server, or their hamsters in a wheel just got a caffeine shot, or a butterfly flapped its wings somewhere, and so you're out. And, it's all a bit crazy and random. Fun when it works out, and I have a friend who has pretty amazing luck with these and has managed to buy me one during a couple of months (very impressive actually), but disappointing when it doesn't. And when it doesn't there's not really anyone to blame, no one to vent your wrath on.

It is fun to blame the computers though. Sort of like when you're playing a video or computer game that involves a computer "player" and it cheats. You know what I mean, right? But, really, I'm pretty sure my computers all want me have more yarn... ... unless my husband's gotten to them. But the point is, Phat Fiber was my introduction to competitive buying on the internet and wow, what an initiation.

That was my only experience leading up to Sock Summit Registration. Now that was a whole new kind of crazy that apparently no one really, truly, fully anticipated. According to the Yarn Harlot blog 30,000 people simultaneously tried to register for Sock Summit, and I was right there in the midst of it. Five minutes before registration opened the site got really sluggish, then died. I haven't ever seen a site slow down, and known exactly what was happening (in a purely metaphorical, theoretical, non-technical sort of way of course). It was like watching a person wade down to a river and then get stuck in the mud about knee deep and start to slowly try to slog their way across, and you're cheering the whole time for them, but know that they're just not going to make it. Bad simile, actually, but I can't come up with a better one right yet.

To make a long story short (too late), it was crazy again with failing servers (on their end) and much sweat, fear, and hope all tightly wound up inside me. And, once again I got very, extremely lucky. I was able to register for the two classes I wanted. It was crazy, and though I don't remember biting them, several of my nails were shorter afterwards. So, that was definitely a high point this week. I am going to Sock Summit and the friends and events will make it worthwhile even without the classes; the classes are the deliciously rich icing on the cake!

Also, I've decided that there is going to soon (if there isn't already) be a market out there for people who can click like mad and get through when the hamsters in the servers don't seem to want to let you. If you can do that, there are a bunch of knitters that certainly want to be your friend!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Need of a Schedule?

As a teacher I have literally been in school since I was 5 years old. Little did that small girl in the blue dress, pig-tails, holding a Holly Hobby lunch box know that that first day of morning session Kindergarten would lead her to a lifetime (so far) of school scheduling. It always feels odd to participate in activities from the school year during the summer and for several years when I had a non-school job (it was part-time while I was in college) I still had a boss that would let me take off about a month at a time. So, this whole summer break thing is not new to me in any way.

That said, I always need about a week before I can come down from my what-do-I-need-to-do-now-go-go-go mentality. So, we're one week out from the end of school, roughly. I finished up one week ago tomorrow and my husband was able to check out on Tuesday of this week. But even last night I was asking what our plans were, and what we needed to get done. Even when I'm on vacation I usually need it to be at least 2 weeks so that I can actually relax and enjoy the second week. It helps if the vacation involves travel, then it only takes about 3 days. So in that limbo I'm thinking about Bobby and this coming summer. What are we going to do?

I'm not entirely certain about last summer. It was swallowed up in new baby things. The cycle of nursing, sleeping, changing, crying, rocking, walking, resting, and frantic calls to the hospital because we weren't entirely certain of what this little person was doing in our house and if we were qualified to take care of him, is all I remember. And that's pretty vague as it is. I remember that and a trip to Homer that I never blogged about (but may this summer), and that it wasn't much of a summer weather-wise.

So, I've got no pointers from last summer to really go on. And this summer has seemed odd so far; probably because I'm still in the mental mode to plan. And, I'm suddenly very aware of a need for a schedule of some kind for Bobby. He's been getting kind of cranky the last few days. I'm hoping he's just teething, but his obsession with his dad today makes me think that perhaps he's having trouble with the transition to having us both home all the time. He's not quite used to the perpetual weekend, maybe? Tomorrow he'll get a break from both of us (we're taking a continuing education class), but what are we going to do with this summer? How am I going to make the most of it but still stay relaxed?

It's quite a little conundrum.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Now!

Bob is back, so the whole family is together again! Bobby and I are both very happy. We went out to dinner to celebrate his return and Bobby couldn't get enough of him. He showed off his new chewing abilities. It's amazing, impressive, and a mite scary how quickly he cottoned on to the whole eating thing once he decided he liked it. It's funny though, he apparently thinks ice is food. He was crunching away on it, and would have stuffed his cheeks with it had Bob let him. And if it wasn't ice that just melted into water, as ice has a tendency to do. I'm hoping this just means he's getting a new tooth (who thought I'd ever hope for that!?).
Besides bringing back his awesome daddy self, Bob displayed once again how exceptionally lucky I am to be married to him. He brought me back this:
Now I know at first glance it appears to be a paper bag made out of an Indian newspaper. And in fact it is. And it's a cool recycled, fair-trade, support the children type bag. But the really exciting part was what was in the bag.

Yes, my friends, this man truly understands me. He found a yarn shop with real wool and asked for local stuff, the good stuff, and bought me 5 beautiful skeins. They are all different fiber contents from 50/50 angora and wool to 10/90 silk and wool to 100% Shetland wool. And while I have some ideas of what to knit up with a few of them, I imagine many an hour will be spent wiled away on Ravelry picking out the perfect project for such a perfect gift.

Do you ever just sit there in wonder and amazement that someone can understand you so well?

No wonder I missed him so much.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

All Sorts of Fun

Bob has been out of town for the past week and while I have missed him greatly, I think I managed to "drown" my sorrows a bit today. This may be a sign of addiction, but since it's not interfering with life (too much), yet I'm not overly worried. Today I went out to several quilts and yarn stores in an attempt to purchase several of the blocks for the 2009 Great Alaska Shop Hop quilt. The quilt this year is quite nice and we picked up the first of our blocks at Seams Like Home. Then we gathered up Bobby and headed out to the valley.

There are three shops out there that are participating and they're the shortest driving distance away. Works out pretty well! We went to Sylvia's Quilt Depot first and both picked up this fabric. Sally had seen it there before and wanted to come back out for it. After seeing just how cool it is, I decided Bobby just might need it too. This is how it works: You quilt this piece and then use the remaining panels to create 4 train cars (that velcro together) and 4 buildings (that velcro to the quilt) and you have a portable and very cool train set! And, what little boy doesn't need a train set? Okay, maybe need is too strong of a word, but it's such a neat idea (not to mention soft and washable) that I couldn't pass it up! The shop hop blocks, however, weren't quite finished yet. We put our names and numbers on a list to be called when they were.

Undeterred we wended out way to another small shop, Quilts of Many Colors. Again, blocks not finished; again, names on a call list. Then we drove over to the Ewe First yarn store where I was hoping to find some Cascade Ecological Wool. I plan to use it to make a sweater for Bobby to use this fall. I was in luck and picked up two skeins! Bobby was pretty excited about it too.

Then we had lunch and headed over to Palmer and the last shop Just Sew. There I picked up this way cool pack of fat quarters and drooled over a quilt kit that I now have to convince Bob I need to go back for. But, that aside, no shop hop blocks yet, again a list of names.

We drove back into town and decided that the beautiful weather warranted a walk down to The Quilted Raven in the hopes that their blocks were there. It was a lovely walk and apparently the blocks and quilt in general are also so lovely that they had already sold out of their first batch. We decided that their list was too long and they were too close to warrant adding our contact information yet again and instead enjoyed the walk back. On another note, that shop might be a bit too financially dangerous to go back into unless I have a mission: they now carry Rabbit Ridge yarn as well!

After arriving back at my house we went over to Kelsey's where I was able to pick up this yarn that she dyed up specially for me! I plan to use it to knit this sweater and yes, it is as pretty and shiny and beautiful as it looks in the photo and then some.

And, now that I'm home and Bobby is asleep I think I am going to start working on my second Whisper Cardigan. This one is going to be knit from this wonderful alpaca/wool blend my parents bought me for my birthday and I'm excited to see how it will be different from my first. Which, I noticed I never posted pictures of, so here they are.

Bobby has also been up to all sorts of shenanigans, but that will have to wait until I can upload video from my new camera. Trust me, it's worth the wait.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Hair Cut

Bobby had his first hair cut on Wednesday. He did an amazing job! He sat on his daddy's lap and didn't cry or scream. He whimpered a little bit and squirmed like crazy, but that just meant the cut was a little uneven in a few spots. He left with his ears and eyes unharmed and even had his first taste of a sucker. It was mango flavored and he loved it. He drooled all over Bob and himself trying to get more of that goodness. He looks even more like Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes to me now, but I think he likes it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

An Extreme Day

Today was a day of extremes: extreme crafting, extreme crying, extreme walking, extreme laughing and giggling, extremely beautiful weather, extreme hours, and extreme fatigue brought on by being so very extreme all day.

We started with a baby shower for a lovely new little girl and her lovely parents. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to see the new arrival, and Bobby was able to meet a few young kids and run around and not be considered a bother. The other kids were older than he, but they were impressively good at being patient with a new and younger kid, and Bobby is getting better at understanding other children. He has also learned the social cue to laugh, but has not learned to make his laugh sound natural or to stop laughing when everyone else does. Instead he takes up with a clearly artificial, "oh, yeah that was so funny" kind of laugh right about the time everyone else stops laughing. Today it created a wonderful echo effect that I was grateful no one seemed to mind.

While we were there though he experienced some extreme crying when he tripped out of a hug from one of the other children (he's still not quite the best at the whole balancing thing) and his lower lip cushioned the fall of his teeth to the floor. The resulted bloody bruised lower lip was quite pitiful as he set to wailing and screaming as loudly as he could manage. He did, though, make a valiant recovery and was soon happily playing again. Until he squished his finger with no help from anyone else. Then he just hung out on my hip.

The shower was great fun and I've been looking forward to it for the 3-4 weeks I've known about it. When I look forward to things, especially those that involve gifts and babies, I start to plan what I want to make. So, given my timeframe I should have been able to crank out several handmade gifts of gifting quality. However, given my highly developed ability to procrastinate I waited until about 7:00 last night to start. Luckily I have a very supportive husband, who conveniently also doesn't want to deal with how cranky I can get when I don't get everything finished, and he took over care of Bobby for the night. Including his many small wake-ups and fussings. (Given the stink coming off his rear most of today I can confidently say, I think he had gas.)

My husband also is a great listener, and after I had finished some burp rags (though can we call such cute cotton flannel prints "rags"?), had started then abandoned plans for appliqued onesies, and was cutting pieces for a bag, I confided in him that I was a bit crazy. He asked why and I explained that when the bag was done I still wanted to knit a hat. After standing quietly for a minute he said, "I think you should just do the hat. She may not need a bag, but the hat she'll use." I conceded the point and gladly sat in bed next to him knitting away. I finished the knitting part of the hat and saved the tassels and ends for the morning. So the extreme crafting involves deadlines: I finished the hat and the bag this morning. My only disappointment is that our camera battery is dead so I have only memories of the bag that I think turned out so nicely!

After the shower and all of its bits were over we drove home for a bit of a nap. Bob and I were hoping for more, but Bobby was contented with just a bit. We then decided to enjoy the sun, walked to the mall, around a park, and there Bobby toddled around pointing at the clear blue sky, trying his level best to leave his sunglasses in a place we wouldn't find them, and stalking a female chihuahua whose owner said, "has a bad attitude." I think Bobby was of the opinion that it was the first dog he had ever seen that seemed closer to the right proportion to him. I don't think he understands attitudes yet. At least, not anyone's but his own.

We then walked home and commenced the extreme giggling part of our day. I love hearing Bobby laugh his real, belly laughs, but he finds the oddest things hilarious and rarely laughs at the same thing twice. Today he couldn't get enough of seeing Bob try to flip things with his feet. I don't think it was the various stuffed animals and balls flying about as it was seeing his dad jump around in such a goofy way. Even if nothing went into the air Bobby giggled madly, yet when his Easter chick flew up from Bob's hand he sat nonplussed waiting for something impressive to happen. It was far to near his bedtime to be getting him so excited, but his laugh is so amazing it's hard to stop.

Getting him to bed brought on another bought of extreme crying because he was both so exhausted but still so sure that he didn't actually want to go to sleep. He did though, and is still sleeping peacefully while Bob is chaperoning Prom for his school and I type this blog post. Those are the extremely late hours we're keeping today. And seeing as how Bobby wakes us up about 6:00 each day, we will both be extremely tired tomorrow.