Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It fits!

Wonder of wonders. Two "whitest white" cycles in the old front loader and things were nicely felted. I did have to do some tailoring, though - had to cut off almost 5 inches on each side (overlapped) and stitch the edges together again so that it would fit well. That's what I get for subbing yarn and not doing the slightest bit of math. Oops. Arden loves this hat. Ryan...not so much. He really wants one of the off the rack pirate hats, so that's what we'll do.

Of course, that means I have three extra skeins of Patons Classic Wool in black lying around. Guess I'll have to make one of these for Dan (the horror!)

Speaking of things knit for Dan, I managed to finish his socks last night over at Carrie's house. These were made with the yarn I dyed way back when for the Dye O Rama swap (remember?), but sadly they've been lying in my yarn basket for a while. The weather is finally starting to show signs of getting cooler, so I figured it was time to finish these puppies. They fit Dan perfectly, and he loves the colors. Success! Now, what to do with the rest of the skein.....decisions, decisions.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Want to see my garden?

Here's my wee Square Foot Garden in all it's glory. This spot was covered in red lava rock when we moved in, with two twisted and not at all happy looking roses poking out mournfully in the middle. We took all the rocks out and set up raised beds around the a/c - one is 3 by 7 feet, the other small one is 2 by 4 feet. The small boxes that sit up above contain things that need more growing space: two kinds of carrots and some daikon radishes.

Here's a close up of some of the greens coming up. In the back, there's red leaf lettuce and a lone broccoli plant spreading leaves open. In back of the broccoli you can just make out bok choi as well. In front on the left are wildflowers from a mix, with a lettuce mix on the right. Ryan already loves grabbing some lettuce in the garden whenever he wants a salad or some on a sandwich, and I'm loving the mix which has such a nice blend of flavors.

Here's the thing I'm most proud of. What are those shoots over to the left? Garlic! I threw caution to the wind and ignored everything I read on growing garlic. "Don't plant cloves from garlic from the supermarket, as they are treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting." HA! I had some really pungent, delicious red hardnecked organic garlic. Really loved the flavor, had no idea what kind it is. Planted those cloves and what do you know, they all sprouted. This is especially appealing since I paid less than 50 cents for that bulb, as opposed to paying $15 a pound plus shipping to buy the kind you're supposed to plant.

This is what makes me really beam. A whole salad plucked right from the garden, from lettuces to herbs to radishes. All right outside my door, all planted by me and growing and feeding my family well. This gardening stuff is pretty cool, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Did something today I haven't done in almost 10 years

I went on a job interview.

Let's back up a little bit. I've been at home with the boys since a little while before Ryan was born. Being at home was not part of our plan. I worked in Marketing at the same company where Dan worked, and the plan was for me to work from home four days a week, then come in to the office one day and Dan would swap at home duty. We lived about 15 minutes away from work, so Dan could drive to work with the baby so I could nurse easily.

And then I was laid off. Staring down at my very large, obviously pregnant belly, I asked the HR guy who exactly he thought would hire me. He hemmed and hawed and mumbled something about it not being legal to discriminate, all with this slightly embarrassed smile on his face.

I looked for work and found not a thing. Did some freelance graphics work when Ryan was still tiny but soon found he needed constant attention. I even tried going in to do graphics work and leaving him with a friend of mine, but he was inconsolable. So home I stayed. I had a home business for a few years making baby slings, but as it got larger it got overwhelming to handle. I've sold soaps and bartered knitted and sewn goods. But that's been about it for the past few years. I needed to be at home, so that's where I was.

Now the boys are both in school, and I'd been thinking a bit about what to do next. My mother in law was job searching and came across an ad for "Autism Family Consultant" over at OHSU. Perfect! I've worked for years researching Autism because of Ryan and I already try to help other families who have children on the spectrum any chance I get. I pulled out a dusty copy of my resume and updated it, wincing at just how long it had been since I'd done anything that was easy to describe. Then Dan had the brilliant idea of adding in "Advocate" as my most recent job title, since and trying to find my way around services has been exactly what I've been doing for years for Ryan. Well, all right then. Wasn't paid, but it certainly has been a job.

Bought myself a blazer and some nice pants and proceeded to freak out. It dawned on me that I haven't been on an interview in almost ten years. And this one was in front of a committee. As in, a bunch of people all focusing on me. Ack! What if I said something stupid? What traffic was bad and I got there late? What if they didn't like me?

The interview was at 9:00 this morning and so was I. At the end of the interview, one of the committee members mentioned something about my "poise" and how "well spoken" I was (!!). I'll find out by the end of next week if I got the job.

But for now, I got through the interview well. That's enough for one day, I think.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Saturday Sky

Today was just beautiful. Ignore those clouds - it was 70 degrees, bright and sunny. Just the tiniest bit of a breeze to keep the air moving around, though not enough to keep kites aloft (the boys found this out to their great disappointment). I watered the garden, picked off some cabbage caterpillers lurking on my broccoli and cauliflower plants, and picked some radishes and lettuce mix. I'm amazed every time I look at the garden and see how much everything is growing. Must take pictures soon.

Tonight Dan's mom is taking the boys to her new apartment for "Grandma Camp"- they pack up clothes and PJs, pile in the car, then spend the night camped out on a big mattress, playing games and watching movies. Usually they go to the park and to run around a bit first. The boys just love it. Dan and I are going out to dinner at a Chinese place nearby that I've heard is really good, and later we'll watch a movie together on the couch. Good times will be had by everyone :-)

Friday, September 08, 2006

How many knitters can you fit into a book store?

Well, if it's Powells (the Home and Garden offshoot) in Portland that you're talking about, the answer is: a lot. Wednesday night Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (of Yarn Harlot fame) came to my neck of Portland, and it seems like every knitter within reach squeezed into that tiny book store. I got there a little after 6:00 (she was due to arrive an hour and half later) and there were at least 30 knitters already working on socks and sweaters and lace. It was standing room only by the time she was due to speak, and the bookstore was completely packed.

Managed to grab a seat with the nicest bunch of ladies up front. Here are my seatmates l to r: Carrie, me, Carol who has just identified herself (hi!), and Lori on the end. I snagged this picture from Chrissy, who I saw walking down the center aisle wearing her MomMA (which stands for Mom's Milk Anywhere - isn't that cool?) t-shirt. Yelled out "Knittin Mom!" and I might have surprised her a wee bit, especially since I'm not sure she knew exactly who I was even though I explained the day before that I look just like my avatar...without the crawfish.

The whole group was talking loudly, laughing, and generally scaring away any poor soul who wandered in to quietly browse. When Stephanie got there (snuck in at the back of the store, but knitters have keen eyesight and we spotted her with great ease) everyone cheered. It sounded like a rock concert at that very moment, which is ironic since Stephanie started off by explaining that she is not, in fact, cool. I beg to differ and point to the fact that she had a crowd cheering simply because she walked through the door. And add that if I had been her I would have been completely freaked out and would have snuck right back *out* the door, headed for someplace quieter. But she got up and gave a hilarious talk that had all of us laughing and feeling good all around.

I had samosas left from the housewarming that I'd stuck in the freezer, so I warmed some in the oven before I left. Added a bit of tamarind chutney as well. I got up to the front of the line and Stephanie said, "you look familiar", at which point I held up the bag o' samosas. She grinned and gave me a big hug, then looked a little confused and asked why I wasn't in Los Angeles (where I gave her the last batch of samosas). My answer? "Because Portland is better." And it really is.

Friday, September 01, 2006


We went on an adventure today. My mother in law is moving a few blocks away today and has been in and out with boxes and the moving truck, so I figured the boys could use a day out and about. We rode a trolley (yeah, they call it a streetcar - whatever) to one of the coolest parks I've ever seen. Jamison Square is right smack dab in the middle of the metro area, surrounded by businesses and people rushing from here to there. Then there's this open spot filled with children playing in and on a "tidepool" of water that fills and empties then fills again, a bit like the tide. Ryan and Arden kicked off their shoes and ran out to play faster than I could find a chair. Much splashing and running and chasing later and they finally ate lunch (said lunch looking so good, evidently, that a 4 year old who had been playing nearby came over and snagged some cheese and a mini carrot after asking very politely).

Then we rode the trolley over to Powells. How do I describe a bookstore so large you actually need a map to find your way around? It's the size of a city block, with four stories. Oh, and that's not big enough for all the books they sell - there are branches for Home & Garden and Technical books as well. It's a bookworms dream come true. I shouldn't be allowed in there with money or a credit card.

Naturally, Powells has a Cafe. We found it and got some treats : carrot cake for Ryan, an eclair for Arden, and a wee almond tart for me, and we plopped down by the window to watch the cars go by. Fortified by sweets, we ventured onward into the Rose room and therein the much fabled Children's Section. The boys saw a display on pirates and it was all over. We came home with a book for each and enough pirate gear to make Johhny Depp happy (well, minus the eyeliner, anyway). Here they are, in all their pirate-y glory:

Want to guess what I'm making for Halloween costumes this year?