Thursday, October 29, 2009

Naked Escapees and Random Axles

Tuesday was a strange day.

To leave our new place, you pull out of the driveway, straighten the car, go about 10 yards to a stop sign, turn left, another 20 yards to another stop sign and then right onto a major street.

I pulled out of the driveway, straightened the car and saw a strange flash of pink across the street from the first stop sign. "What the hell was that??", I thought. Pulled up to that stop sign and saw it for what it was. A little naked boy popped out from behind the tree! About 2 years old and buckass naked! It was a beautiful, mild day and he was enjoying it to the fullest!

No adults in sight so I put the van in park (put on the hazard lights) and walked across to the boy. As I'm getting out of my van, I see a car that is driving down the street I'm about to cross and I see the man driving the car spot the boy and start to slowwww down. He sees me and speeds away. (Probably assumed I was the kids parent but, even so, it was a bit creepy) I walk up to the boy and say, "Hi! I'm Ruth! What's your name?" He smiles and waves but doesn't speak. I say, "Hey, can you show me which house is yours? Let's go find mommy!" His smile disappears and he looks worried (probably knows he'll be in trouble for getting out alone). He stands there for a bit and I repeat myself and then he walks up to the first door and picks up a set of those huge plastic baby keys, pretends to use it on the lock (the door was already ajar) and goes in. I ring the doorbell, knock and with no answer, come inside (stepping over the puddle of pee just outside the doorway). "Hello! Hello? Anyone home? Hello?"

It's one of those foyers that opens immediately to a set of stairs and the kid is already at the top of them and playing with his toys. I start up them and then his mom appears...
Her: Oh! Um. Hello?
Me: Hi! Yea, um, he was just outside. I'm Ruth, I just live down the way there and I was driving out of the complex when I saw him.

She understandably starts to freak out a little bit..."Oh my god! Ohmygod! He was??? Ohmygod! I had no idea! I was putting my 2 month old daughter down for her nap and I thought he was watching TV!"

She starts thanking me profusely and her hands start shaking and I see that the door has one of those hotel locks way at the top (the kind where you flip the long U-shaped bar over the little metal knob on the door) and I get the feeling this kid's slipped out of the house before! I try to calm her down, "No worries! They do that sometimes. There's a bit of pee outside the door so I think he just needed to go the bathroom. It's OK. He's safe! Flip the lock, give him some TV time, if the little one's down for a nap, you can take a nap, too!"

I really had to go and it took a few minutes for her to calm down and let me leave. So scary for her! I would've freaked out, too! So close to the main road, creepy guys in cars and you don't even know the kid's outside! Yea, I would've lost my mind. Kids do stuff like that, though - the little brats, dears. Trev used to do that to me when we first moved to Parker and I finally had to sit him down and give him a good scare as to the possibilities of what can happen to little kids that leave the house without telling anyone.

I was going to Parker that day to meet up with Donna and we had picked a coupla yarn stores to go to so we could pimp our wares. (One ordered from both of us, the other didn't order anything from either of us.) On the way home, there was a small backup on our side of the road and a much bigger backup on the other side where a nasty accident had taken place. In the middle of the road, I saw an axle with two tires attached and nothing else! A big axle. Then I saw a medium sized sedan with an obliterated front end and a guy strapped to a gurney.

I looked at Donna and said, "Did you see that axle? Where the hell did that come from??"
She said, "You didn't see the cherry picker in the ditch?" I hadn't. What a strange day!

More random things:
On Monday, I had a bit of a baking spree. I had about 8 pears that were ripe and needed to be eaten right now and I decided to make stuff with them. I had a package of Tastefully Simple apple cake mix (if you've never had it - it's amazing!) and I substituted pears for the apples. An 8X8 pan and it was gone in 24 hours. Mostly into me.... sigh. I also had a recipe for pumpkin gingerbread and I substituted the rest of the pears for the pumpkin in the recipe and added a bag of chocolate chips because everything's better with chocolate. Also, because the bag of chips said it was to expire on 11/09 which means I had that bag for, what... 5 years??

That bread came out excellent! Even the boys like it! (Probably because of the chocolate, though.) And the recipe made 2 big loaves and one small one. I gave a big one to Donna and a small one to my inlaws. We are working through the other big one here.

It's been snowing like mad these past two days here. My garbage can out back looks like a guard at Buckingham Palace. Dave's new landscaping biz has snow removal service in the winter and yesterday he left at 5am and came home at 8:30p. Poor guy!

The boys and I have been enjoying it, though! They had snow day from school yesterday and today. I had some video games on hold at the library so I picked those up Tues. night before it started. They've been playing those, playing with a giant box I unpacked and playing in the snow when I kick them outside for an hour. Cracks me up that they don't want to go outside but when they are out there, they don't want to come back in!

On Nov. 6, we will have been in Colorado for three years. I'm still stunned and twitterpated with the magic of snow. Every time! I love it so much! But, then, I'm not out in it unless I want to be.

Yesterday, I went to scrape the driveway so Dave could get into it when he came home. It was about 4:30p and there was almost 2 feet out there. Our driveway is in between the other two attached to us so I scraped the one closest to the grass (or where the grass was) so I could clear ours. I didn't mind. I actually like scraping snow! Not like I want to do it for a living or anything, mind you, but there's something about it that I find strangely appealing. I finished hers and was about 1/3 of the way finished with mine (contemplating doing the driveway on the other side as well, they are an older couple) when a troupe of 4 guys (1 in a small scraping tractor thingy) came around the corner and started clearing the snow! Yea. There job is to scrape all the sidewalks and driveways. hah! I'm a dork. I forgot that that's part of the HOA fees our landlord pays. I gave them all cookies!

Yesterday, my computer decided to take a snow day along with the children. It worked but it was crazy slow. Taking 5 minutes to load a page, if it loaded at all! So I got quite a bit of unpacking done along with some laundry. Not much knitting! Seems like on such an awesome, snowy day, it should've been spent just knitting and watching movies.

Maybe today....

Living a Winter Wonderland in Autumn, Ruth!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Short Romance

On Monday, T came home from school and said, "Hey Mom! I have a girlfriend. And for real this time!" (Whenever he mentions a girl's name we say, "Is she your girrrrrlfrrrrriend?". Because we are 12.)

Me: Really? Who is she?
T: Rose!
Me: Oh? I like Rose! {She's a full head taller then anyone else in the class, pretty, very smart, very polite and kind.} How did she become your girlfriend?
T: I asked her!
Me: What did you say?
T: "Will you be my girlfriend?"
Me: What did she say?
T: Can I answer that later?
Me: Um, I guess. Why don't you just tell me now?
T: No, that's what she said, "Can I answer that later?".
Me: {laughing} Oh! OK. So did she? What did she answer?
T: Yes!
Me: Well, what does her being your girlfriend mean? What does she do that makes her your girlfriend?
T: I don't know. She just hangs out with me and stuff.
Me: Yea, that's about right. {phew!}

When Dave came home I had T relay the whole story to him and Dave said, "Well, that's cool!". Then T said, "Yea, we're going to get married." Dave said, "Slow your roll there, little man. Don't get ahead of yourself!" Then we told T that he was going to meet a bunch of people throughout his life before he meets "the one". We told him how Daddy and Mommy went out with lots of different people before we met each other and that the odds of him marrying someone he meets and dates before he's 25 are pretty slim.

Yesterday I picked the boys up after school and asked T, "How's Rose?".
T: I think she broke up with me.
Me: Really? What'd she say?
T: She said we should probably just be friends.
Me: Yea, that sounds like a break-up. That's OK, though, you guys are a bit young yet to be boyfriend and girlfriend and she'll make a great friend!
T: Yea, it's OK.

And just like that, he's over it. Not that there was really anything to be over! That romance was shorter then a Brittany Spears wedding! (And, fortunately for all, with much less drunken public nudity.)

And so it begins, Ruth!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sock Summit Wrap-up

5000 Stitch Savers made. 313 Stitch Savers sold.

I have a friend/vendor who is going to the Alabama Wool Jamboree (or whatever it's called) and she pm'd me on Ravelry to see if I wanted to send along some Stitch Savers for her to sell for me! Could I send 5 or 10?

Yea. I can send a few.

I just sent 700 to another friend/vendor who will be at Rhinebeck this weekend!

I'm not sad at not having sold out. I'm a little disappointed, yeah, but I really can't complain. The amount I sold paid for my trip. I met about 90% of the Knitting Royalty that made up the Teacher's list. I also met a metric ton of people including a bunch of my "imaginary friends" (which Dave calls the bloggers).

I even got a much needed, mini treatment from Sharon. We traded - I gave her a Stitch Saver and she saved my back! Standing on those concrete floors for 10-12 hours at a time was brutal. Brut. Tal. I had a strap of muscle tissue across my back that felt like it was in a constant state of cramp. She felt along my back, "hmm. mmm-hmm. mmm-hmm.", pinched along the edges of my ears for about 30 seconds, felt my back again, "oh, much better!" And that was all it took to make my back let go! I adore acupuncture! (Well, acupressure in this case) It's always amazing to me how the whole body is connected and it all works together.

A lot of the vendors.... no, that's not accurate. A few of the vendors were very.... I'll say negative.... yes, they were very negative about the whole Sock Summit experience. But, hell, some were crappy before Marketplace even started!

When Donna and I were walking around the Market before opening on the first day, I spotted some Shibui I've been looking for. I said, "Ooh! You have the Shibui I've been looking for! Can I buy it?" There were 2 young people standing at the register and 2 older women standing in the aisle fighting with a strand of felted ovals trying to get it untangled. The young people looked at the older women and asked, "Can she buy it?" The Cranky One said, "What does she want?" I said, "That Shibui. A wine skein and a brown skein. I've been looking for those two colors forever!" Apparently I pronounce it wrong. I say Shih-bee. I like the way it sounds and sometimes when I think of it, I walk around just saying it - Shih-bee, Shih-bee, Shi-bee. (I'll probably be saying it all day today.) Anyway, she felt the need to correct me, "Shibui."

Me: That's what I said, Shih-bee.
Cranky One: No. It's Shibui. You're saying it wrong. It's Shibui.
Me: Um. Ok. Can I buy it? [Although in my head I'm saying, I'll say it however I damn well please. Watch - SHIH. BEE.]
Cranky One: The Marketplace isn't open yet.
Me: I know, I'm a vendor too. See? {shows her my badge}. I have cash if your machine isn't on yet.
Cranky One: The Marketplace. Isn't. Open. Yet. {said like I'm an illiterate child}
Me: {starting to get mad at the rudeness now} O. K. Never. Mind.

This is where the other older lady steps in and says, "It's OK. You have cash? You can buy it now - no problem {gives Cranky One a pointed look}." She leaves the tangled mess for the Cranky One, steps into her booth and lets me buy what I wanted. She even insists on giving me my 42 cents change when I told her she didn't have to open her register and she could just keep it. She is a person who understands good customer relations.

Now I get how the Cranky One was probably nervous about the opening (we all were) was frustrated as all get-out about the tangled mess she was trying to untangle before the doors opened in, like, 5 minutes but I still don't think that excuses her bitchiness! I was trying to give her money! And her obvious need to try to get me to say Shibui correctly (which actually had a few more rounds of her correcting my errant speech then I wrote here) made me think she is a controlling person who was starting to feel things get out of her control and it was making her... well... Cranky.

My point being, I don't think she was going to have a good time no matter what. And the other negative vendors I encountered seemed to have that same attitude.

I talked to people who do a lot of shows and they said that shows are not about making money - if you can cover your costs, it's a good show. They said shows are about making connections. You have to look at your sales over the course of the next 6 months to see if the show was worth it.

And they are right! I walked away with cards from 12 brand-new-to-me LYS's that want to carry Stitch Savers now! And just yesterday I got an email from someone who bought a Stitch Saver at the Summit and showed it to her LYS and they want to order some as well.

Then we kept hearing that this Sock Summit was no Stitches. And, again, another veteran of the industry said to me that that was a ridiculous comparison. Stitches has been going for 10 years. This was the first ever Sock Summit. He also told me that the first Stitches Marketplace wasn't even 1/3 as big as the Marketplace at Sock Summit.

I'd like to show you two new Stitch Savers I premiered at the Sock Summit.

The first is a Basic Stitch Saver with a Pink Ribbon Bead....

It's $10 and $3 of each sale goes to the Susan G. Komen fund. These were quite popular at Sock Summit and raised nearly $300 for SGK!

The next is a solid silver Stitch Saver....

Not a great picture - Sorry. They are about 3" in length from top to tip and the 2.75mm size. I've got them listed for $60.

Both are available in my Etsy store.

All in all Sock Summit was an amazing experience and I'd do it again anyday!

Shih-bee, Ruth!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sock Summit - Again

Wow, it's been 2 months since I came home from Sock Summit and I still haven't finished telling y'all about it!

The final day - Sunday - was the slowest of all as far as sales went. But - Barbara Walker came to our booth! She came for her present and wouldn't you know it.... it was missing! I was so embarrassed! And the only thing I could think of was that someone had stolen it - so I was upset, too. She was really nice about it, saying, "Don't worry - it's fine." Then she leaned in and, in a conspiratorial whisper, added, "I live in Florida and, truthfully, I really don't even knit anymore!" We chatted a bit more, she signed my autograph book and went on her way.

I was stewing about the stolen Stitch Saver and I sat there and quickly made her another one so I could give it to her at the Luminary Panel. Later, I found out it wasn't actually stolen. When Donna and I had the overlapping classes and we got help from one of the women in the booth behind us - she sold the Barbara one. We forgot to tell her they were for the teachers!

At the end of the day, another teacher came back - Betsy McCarthy. She had already picked up her present the first day of the Market and now she came back right before Market closed and ordered 2 Customized ones! I made them up for her quickly and told her, "If there's any problem with these - just email and I'll send a new one. I've never made a Customized one that fast!" She was great to talk with and we kept looking at each other in that way you look at someone that you know but can't place.

Also, as we were gathering things up to dash off to the Luminary Panel, I got another visit from the lovely Heide and she brought me two small jars of jam that she had made! I LOVE jam and was so happy I didn't even know what to say! I've since finished the raspberry jam (soooo delicious!) she gave me and am cracking open the plum jam today. Can't wait!

When Market closed, we grabbed some knitting, left our booth as it was (we had until 9p that night to clean/pack it up) and dashed to the Luminary Panel. We got decent seats and I went to the front row where the teachers were sitting and found some of the ones I'd missed, gave them their present and got their autographs. Lorilee Beltman took the wee mini-skein of Donna's out of her little baggie and said, "OH! I've been looking for a skein this small all weekend so I could do this...." Then she took the skein and put it insider her hands and did the "Here's the church, here's the steeple" thing only changed it for the Sock Summit. The Oregon Convention Center has two spires on top and when I first saw it I remember remarking on what a waste of space and construction those were! But later realized it made the damn building a lot easier to find! So Lorilee said, "Here's the building, here's the spires [putting index and pinkies up], open the doors and see all the dyers! (turning her hands over to show the little skein)" Very clever!

Betsy and I were eyeing each other again and she was the first to say it, "Do we know each other?" I laughed and said, "I know right? You look so familiar to me, too!" Then I gave a run down of places we might know each other, Fresno, Clovis, Army, Tucson, Colorado - but no dice. We didn't know each other! Then she told me a funny story about being on a train in Chicago and some guy giving her the "don't we know each other" line. She was blowing him off when he said, "I know!" and said Betsy's cousin's name! He thought she was that cousin. One of those small world things since neither Betsy nor her cousin live in Chicago and he knew her cousin some ten years earlier!

The panel started and I took my seat next to Donna. Donna said she might not stay for the whole thing as the knitting royalty isn't that big a deal to her. She said I should stay because she knew I liked it. Cool! She lasted about the first hour, hour and a half then went to break down her shelves. I felt guilty staying but she insisted it was fine, so I did.

The panel was.... interesting.

Tina and Stephanie took about 20 minutes to introduce everyone. It was kind of sweet and funny as they kept getting all twitterpated and almost didn't' make it through introductions!

So, right to left, we had Nancy Bush, Judy Becker (of Judy's Magic Cast-On fame), Barbara Walker, Meg Swansen, the podium with Tina and Stephanie, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Anna Zilboorg, Deb Robson, Cat Bhordi, and Lucy Neatby.

After intro's, Stephanie asked the first question of the panel and was met with silence. She said, "And this is my nightmare." Everyone laughed and she saw that she was going to have to single people out so she called on the first person (I think Nancy).

The Panel talked about the industry and was it hard to be taken seriously as a knitter when trying to get things done and all sorts of things. At one point, Stephanie asked for each panelist to say how they got into the industry and Meg Swansen quietly said, "I was brainwashed." That got a good laugh! Later Stephanie asked her if she thought it was more difficult in the industry to be taken seriously as a woman, to which Meg replied, "I don't' know, I've never been a man." She's funny!

Anna Zilboorg gave a gem of a thought with this...
"So much of ordinary life is so...ordinary, tedious, and demanding," she said. "When you have knitting, it really carries you through." Then, after a brief pause, "If you're a knitter, that is."

(Seriously want to take that woman to lunch one day!)

The, um... interesting part was that one panelist in particular kept commandeering the discussion and would ramble endlessly, telling her life story, never really getting to the point (or question at hand) and would talk.

In such a way.

That you never knew if she was finished.

Because she usually.


It was so strange! At one point, this woman talked (in that odd, halting manner) for nearly 15 minutes straight! And, as I said, she never answered the question posed to her and never came to any point at all except to tell us her apparently very unhappy life story. Also, the last day of Sock Summit happened to coincide with the 99th anniversary of Elizabeth Zimmerman's birth. So, Tina and Stephanie had sort of an EZ bent to some of the questions and this panelist didn't seem to care too much for (or maybe just didn't care about?) EZ and actually was a bit insulting about it! Especially odd (rude) considering EZ's daughter was up there with this panelist. It got a bit uncomfortable for Tina and Stephanie but they handled it with diplomacy and aplomb.

Other then her, the Luminary Panel was a lot of fun! Very bright, engaging women up on that stage. Very cool stuff! (For more on what the panel talked about, Clara Parkes has a great review of it (along with the rest of Sock Summit) here.)

After the Panel was over, they brought out this enormous cake and we all sang Happy Birthday to EZ. Then everyone kind of mingled. I went up on stage and gave Barbara Walker her fresh present. I also gave some of the other teachers who hadn't made it to our booth their presents and got their autographs. I found Stephanie and told her I found all the teachers and ST team members I could but some had left early or weren't to be found and could she pass on the presents to them? She said yes, then gave me a hip bump and said, "I'm pretty sure we have all their addresses as we still have to pay them!" and we had a laugh. She cracks me up! Tina came over and Stephanie told her that I had the extra presents. I had them in this little square, deep plastic lid and I pulled them out one by one and handed them to Tina as I explained who they were for, "This teacher, that ST member, this teacher, blah, blah." By the time I was done, Tina's hands were full and she looked at me and asked, "Can I just put them in the plastic thing?" All three of us cracked up! Of course, how silly of me! Here's Tina standing with her hands overflowing with about 9 of these things and I'm standing there with an empty container! I'm a dork. Again.

I walked around a bit, saw two of the teachers I'd missed and went back to get their presents. (I told Stephanie I was taking them so they didn't think they were missing later.) I took Sivia Harding's and Cookie A's. It was so cool to get to meet all these people!

Then I raced back to our booth and.... sure enough.... Donna had the whole thing broke down and mostly packed up! I told her to just relax and chill out and I'd take care of it when I got back but she couldn't sit still.

Anyway, we got everything packed up and did our shipping forms. We goofed around with Jennifer from Holiday Yarns and her co-hort Tsarina from Tsarina Tsocks.
Then we took our remaining things and went to the car.

We got to John and Melissa's in time for dinner. We took them to their favorite Indian restaurant and had an absolutely delicious meal!

On Monday, Melissa drove and we went to Pine State Biscuits. It was on Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives and was everything the show promised. Holy Cat-Head Biscuits, Batman! I ordered a biscuit and the Grits Cake Sampler (as seen on the show), Donna got the Biscuits and Gravy, and Melissa ordered a biscuit and some Biscuits and Gravy to go (for John who had to work that morning). They told me the Grits Cakes would take awhile as they are made to order. So I ate my biscuit with the delicious jams (strawberry and... loganberry?). When the biscuit was gone, I was still waiting for the food so I ordered another biscuit because damn they were good! (And I still had jam left. Y'all know how I feel about jam!)
The Grits Cakes came out and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I don't like grits. I've had them in the Army and I've had other people (that really know how) make them for me and I'm not a fan. These were not a bowl of grits. These were 3 small round cakes (only about the size of a silver dollar each) and they were topped with 3 different kinds of wonder. The first I ate had a fried green tomato and some pimento spread. Yum! The second had a fair sized piece of their special fried chicken atop it along with some hot sauce and honey drizzled over it. Oh. My. When I speared the chicken with my fork to cut it, all these lovely clear juices ran out. mmmmmslobbermmmm. The last, and my personal favorite, was topped with prosciutto and a sharp white cheese. sigh. So. damned. GOOD! I'm just happy they don't have one around here because I would be enormous and broke from eating there every day!

Donna said she's on a quest to find the perfect biscuits and gravy and Pine State ranks up there, tied for first place with a joint she went to in Miami. Melissa's biscuit disappeared pretty quickly, too!

Then we went downtown and Melissa took us to Powell's Bookstore (another thing I'm happy isn't too near me!). Wow! Is that place big and wonderful! Then she took us to a street full of fun and funky shops. Then the Rose Garden (smells so pretty!). Then back to her place. We said our goodbyes (John was back) and went to the airport.

What a nasty surprise we got when we turned the rental car in! Donna found a rockin' deal online. $189 for the 5 days we were there! Plus about $10 a day so I could be a driver, too. So, by my math that takes us up to about $239 - still not bad considering we didn't have any hotel bill. Well. The final bill with all the "taxes" was $313. W. T. F! That totally pisses me off! It's not a deal if they screw you in the end. Donna said it's not the car company's fault as they can't keep track of all the different city, county and state taxes. I say Bollocks! They don't have computers??? There's absolutely no reason they, as a company, shouldn't' know what's being charged where.

Uneventful flight and in Denver about 11p. Donna's husband was kind enough to pick us up so late and take us home. We had a bit of trouble finding each other because DIA is set up stupid. The baggage pickup is downstairs and you can go outside to a curb but it's only a curb for buses and cabs or something. Not really marked that way but there it is. So you have to go back upstairs with your bags to get to a curb where personal cars can do pick-ups.

When I got home, I went to see the boys in their rooms. Trev didn't wake but Davis woke a little. He said, "Mommy!!!" and hugged me and went back to sleep. When I went to see him in the morning (Trev was already downstairs) - he did the sweetest thing!

Before I left, Davis was getting a little worked up that I was going to be gone so long. I sat him down and said, "Davis. I'll always be with you. No matter what and no matter where we are, we'll always be together. I hold you in my heart [I put his hand over my heart]. And I'll always be with you, too. Right here [I put my hand over his heart]." I told Trevor the same thing.

When I woke Davis the morning I was back, he smiled and put his hand over my heart and said, "I was right here all the time." I had to lay next to him and hug him tight so he couldn't see my eyes welling up. My boys are so dear!
So there's the Sock Summit. Only took me two months to write about it! I think I'm still recovering. hah! I'll probably talk about it for the rest of my life. I had such a great time!
Back to the real world, Ruth!