Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dual Grandpas: I'm headed to the East Coast

I'm finishing up a few last minute items (placing orders, paying bills, packing, etc.) before heading to the East Coast tomorrow.

Doug and i are flying into Harrisburg PA to visit my grandfather (pic to the left - he visited last year and we picked apples at Apple Hill - he's 90!) on Wednesday... we'll spend Thursday doing a tour of the Hershey factory, then head over to his retirement kingdom in Mechanicsburg... then dinner with him and Derr (his friend).

That night we'll start driving down towards NC for the wedding of my elem. school best friend (i grew up in Raleigh, Cary and Apex). Allison and i are having lunch on Friday (we'll see how far we get thursday night, then drive the rest on Friday morning), then getting our toes done, and then all heading to the rehearsal dinner that night. Saturday is the wedding - my dress is all pressed and ready to go (whew - i barely fit in it - tough winter). Doug flies out of Raleigh on Sunday - back home to see the dogs - and i'll drive up to Fairfax, VA to visit my other grandpa (pic on right) for a few days.

This grandpa (Bob - and he's 81) has been my best friend for all of my life. I honestly can't even tell you how much he means to me
- he taught me to use a computer, how to email, how to play golf and how to be a good person (at least how to try!). He and I used to email almost daily before he was struck with a form of alzheimers and dementia. Just 4 years ago, he went from running 3 miles a day and playing tennis to having a tough time with balance and cognition. Even though we can't email anymore, i still get to see him twice a year! As the only ones left in the family, our visits now mean more than ever. I'm a lucky girl!! I'll stay with him until Tuesday night, when i drive back up to PA and stay with grandpa above (whom i also love very much!) before flying home next wednesday. A whirlwind tour in 7 days - i'd have it no other way!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The A-Team: Too Fast for their own Good

Yay! Our shipping team at the store (the A-Team: Amber, Amanda, Ashley) has been running more efficiently than ever... in fact, they are so good that they are finding themselves near the end of the day with almost nothing to do...

Well, bored no more, i'm telling you! Last night the latest Sale List from Rowan showed up in my inbox and i almost couldn't sleep, i was so excited. I quickly jotted down my choices (then checked it against my budget) and emailed an order off.

This time next week, UPS (poor Jerome!) is going to be delivering about 30 LARGE boxes of yarn. Of course, the A-Team is so efficient these days, i guarantee that they'll have it unpacked, counted, sorted, and stored away in about 3 hours. Then what will they do? (Last time we got a shipment like this, i heard that they had the yarn version of a pillow fight... oh boy. good thing we have worker's comp.)

That said, I'll working over the next week to put the order into the system, but here are some examples of what we're getting (all will be 50% or more off):

Kidsilk Spray and Night: all colors
Alpaca Soft: all colors
Country: all colors
Cashsoft 4ply and Dk again!!
Calmer: select disc colors
Wool cotton: select disc colors
Kid Classic: select disc colors

Oh yeah - did i mention that we're in the middle of a whiteout right now? Yep, snow in April! (and the photo above is of the A-Team - and others - at the cooking class we all recently took together)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Natural Selection?

so... i almost gutted myself this morning...

i had cut up an apple and was trying to cut out the seeds. Naturally, i was using a HUGE knife and thought it best to cut the apple towards me (while chatting about something that was very important, i'm sure!) . The knife slid & and the blade stopped about 1cm short of my stomach. Doug almost passed out.

I'm shopping on cooking.com right now for an apple corer.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The downside of working in a yarn store....

A few days ago, I started working on the Ivory Ab Fab Kit as a wedding gift for a friend (my best friend from grade school). I love working on it – and I have high hopes that she’ll love receiving it. But what is it about ‘having’ to work on something - that makes you want to work on 1,000 other projects? When I came in the store today, I basically had to walk thru the aisles with my eyes shut – and heaven forbid I open a pattern book. I made that mistake once this morning (A Seasons Tale, one of my favs) and I almost picked out the yarn for 3 different projects (i am going to knit that raglan turtleneck eventually)!!

Walking around the store – and watching everyone pick out projects – takes some serious discipline. It’s not like working in an ice cream shop where, no matter how many new flavors they introduce, you eventually get sick at the mere thought of ice cream. Nope, it’s not like that at all. If anything, it’s the opposite. Being around it just makes you want – and crave - more!
Ok, ok, ok - back to my ivory afghan… only 150 rows left before I can start something else (and before Wiley decides that the yarn should really be his). Someone should do their psych dissertation on us knitters, don’t you think?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Um, Self Cleaning Oven?

Ok - i'm an idiot (but most of you already knew that!).

I was making coffee (yes, every once in awhile i actually make one for doug - it just doesn't look as cool) and noticed the "Clean" button on my oven. Hmm... why, yes! i'd like for things to be clean in here - i'm getting kindof sick of doing dishes and folding laundry (don't laugh doug - i HAVE done dishes before.... just not lately, ok? haha). So i pushed the button - the oven even made me push it twice, as if making sure that i really wanted to do this. Yep - i do!

The oven started going - making noise and heating up. Now, my desk is on the opposite side of the room, maybe 20 feet away. All of the sudden my eyes were burning and my throat hurt. Uh oh - maybe i should have pushed the button when i knew we would be gone? I opened up a few windows and that seemed to make things better. whew.

Not 10 minutes later, doug comes up stairs and asks why it's so cold... and why the heater is running full blast. (Keep in mind - it snowed all day here yesterday - and is a balmy 33 degrees outside right now. see above photo for example.) I told him that i was 'cleaning'!! He just started laughing - and then laughed even harder when he asked, "um, maybe that's a good thing to do .... in the summer??"

anyway - the timer said the cleaning cycle still had 2 hours left, so i went over and cancelled it... it was either that or wear goggles at my desk for the rest of the day. :)

p.s. here's one of my favorite photos of wiley - from a camping trip we took 3 years ago... ah, summer!

p.p.s. yes, jeanne, i know i am supposed to be taking the day off - i'm just doing a few hours of stuff and then i'll goof off - i promise!

Monday, April 7, 2008

New Baby Blanket ....

I haven't yet torn out the knitting below (the one with Buddy in the picture), but saw this book in the store on Friday and decided to try Modular knitting instead (i just wanted to do something different)! The finished blanket will be about 32"x32." You can see more details here:

Best Part of Waking Up

Just want to share with the world how lucky i am to have Doug as a husband and a barista (barister?).... He gets up about an hour earlier than i do (i spend that hour engrossed in my dreams - with Buddy lying on my chest - or right next to me). In that hour, he feeds the guys (then lets them back in the room with me), starts up the computer and gets the coffee going...
How can my mornings not be happy when my coffee looks like this??!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dinner with Knitting Pure and Simple

Last night Doug and i had dinner at Diane's house - the knitting genius behind my favorite Knitting Pure and Simple patterns. If you've ever ready our newsletter - or visited the shop - you're probably sick of hearing how great i think she is. Well, get ready to be sick again - cause i'm going to rant and rave about what a good time we had :)

To put it bluntly, Diane Soucy & Lorna Miser (the original "Lorna" from Lorna's Laces) are almost solely responsible for the opening of Jimmy Beans Wool. If i hadn't met Lorna - and she hadn't introduced me to Diane, I don't know if i would have ever had the guts (or the expertise) to open a store - especially since i had only been knitting for about 9 months! So, not only am i forever indebted to Diane for her contribution to my happiness, but i think of her every morning as i sip coffee out of one of the mugs she bought me many years ago... and i think of her every afternoon as i work on the computer and wear the slippers she made me! She's a wonderful person - and has a permanent place in my heart. ok - enough with the sappiness... (please don't tell anyone i got all mushy - i do have a reputation to protect - ha!)

Anyway, dinner was fantastic - Diane, Renie (a mutual friend) and I spent 30 minutes looking at blogs and checking out photos of Diane's grandkids - while doug and fred (diane's husband) sat and talked about... i don't know, cars??
Even though it had been years since we had all gotten together, it felt like we were just together yesterday. Friendships like that mean everything to me!

Like old times, Diane helped me with a knitting question (as usual). This time, however, my question wasn't as much technical as it was about color selection. I just started a blanket for a pregnant friend - in pink and brown - and i'm struggling with how to stripe the colors... (you can see the photo below). Armed with lots of options - and good advice - i think i'll go for 2 rows of brown to 12 rows of pink (it's a 14 row pattern). I hope it looks ok!
p.s. her 3 boston terriers are almost as cute as our dogs... Almost.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Come Back Soon, Sandy!

Our thoughts are with Sandy and her pregnant daughter, Melissa. Melissa is almost ready to have her 2nd child (a girl!) and was recently put on bedrest (she lives in houston)... Since Melissa's last pregnancy was difficult, we knew that this one might also not be much fun. Well, Sandy got the call yesterday and told us that she was going down to Houston on Friday and that she would be gone for a number of weeks. We're going to miss her - but wish the best for Melissa!!
Funny - as soon as Jeanne found out, she immediately started writing down a bunch of technical knitting and crochet questions for Sandy to answer before she leaves... you see, Sandy is the smartest knitter of us all. If i knew 1/2 of what Sandy knows, i'd be twice as good of a knitter!

Making Summer Plans - Tennis, Anyone?

The sun is shining today - a welcome break from the past few days of light snow (and cold weather - it was 19 degrees on Monday morning!). Since our house is 7300 ft above sea level we'll sometimes get snow while our neighbors down the street have clear skies. The nice part about the snow, though, is that we can go skiing (in fact, the neighborhood ski resort is just across the street - i can see the top lift from my window here). Usually Doug and I take Monday afternoons off, so this Monday we went skiing with a friend of ours from San Francisco. (He was up for the weekend.)

The snow was hard for sure (we call it 'bulletproof'), but ended up softening as the day progressed (as did my mood - i hate skiing on super hard snow - it scares me!). After a few hours of skiing, we grabbed a few beers and sat on the deck of the Blue Coyote.... people watching...

Oh - i'm digressing... as winter fades into summer (there's not much of a spring), i start planning how i'm going to spend my free time. Last year i set my sights (sites?) on running the Tahoe Rim Trail race. 50k (about 33 miles), the race is run above Lake Tahoe - and involves about 7,000 vertical feet of climbing. It's 6-9 hours of constant movement (and weary hips). In retrospect, i don't know what made me want to enter it, but i started training 12 months in advance - and by this time last year i was already up to 13 miles. Anyway, i ran all spring and summer (with the dogs, of course - and only ran into bears behind the house a few times) and finished the race in 7 hours, 45 minutes. I was exhausted and thought that my hips were going to break right off. It was fun and i'm glad i did it, but i'll never do it again.

So.... what should i commit myself to this summer? I'm soooo lucky with work right now - we have the best team ever and they make it so i can work from home almost every day. In fact, i often go down to Reno and just end up standing around. It's almost like they don't need me! As hard as it is for me, i'm determined to enjoy it while i can (and not worry about how it might change tomorrow).

So... i think i'll commit to tennis!! I've never played organized tennis before - just hitting the ball around as a kid in North Carolina... and, every single year, i promise myself that i'm going to start playing - but i never do. This summer is going to be different. I'm going to take lessons and join the local league. I can buy a new racket (i'm only 1 racket past the wooden one that i used as a kid) and some cute tennis skirts - with matching tops, of course. I can just feel it... maybe i can even play in the league championships - if there weren't 6 feet of snow on the courts, i'd go out there right now - i'm so excited!! (ok, check back in 3 months - we'll see if i really follow through). As a sidelight, why is it so hard for me to follow through with these things? Every summer, i look forward to the winter and tell myself that i will learn how to cross country ski. And, every winter, i find excuses not to go - it takes too much time, it's too expensive, i don't want to go by myself... And every winter, i promise myself (and friends) that i'll start playing golf with them - or tennis... and then i just never seem to find the time. Is this normal? I guess it doesn't matter if it is - or if it isn't... it's just the way i am :)
This summer is going to be different, though, since i've proclaimed my intentions to the world - i'm going to stick with them... well...probably :)