Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Little Things

How's this font? I'm not so good with guaranteeing a consistent font, or even recognizing a font's name when I see it. I think I like this one, but don't be surprised if it magically changes into something else halfway through the post or in the next post. Know that my intention is to use this one. Georgia. I like it the best. But sometimes I can't control these little things. These little things that I want to care more about, but can't, since I would need to be able to control them more in order to apply that caring. And I could go on more about this, but that's not why I sat down to write.

A New Yarn was my favorite yarn store. It was a five minute drive from my house. It was a non-profit shop whose profits went to Northwest Family Life, which helps the victims of domestic violence. That wasn't a charity on the top of my list, but it made me feel good to spend money there. The first time I walked in the shop, the manager, Claudia, came over and introduced
herself and in a way sort of screened me to find out if I was just a needleworker off the street, or whether I had deeper needs. It's that kind of place. I always intended to just take my knitting there and hang out for a while, but never managed to-- always ended up buying something. Most of their inventory was donated, so the prices were crazy. It was like shopping at the Goodwill of yarn on the day when the son of a now dead lifelong knitter with a yarn obsession came and dropped off her stash that she forgot to will to a knitting buddy. I could feed my need to buy yarn by spending ten bucks and get enough to knit for a month. They had baskets of random balls or partial balls of stuff that they sold for $7 a grocery bag full. Yeah-- you know I went apeshit with that. I had to limit my visits.

The shop had to close because they lost their lease and couldn't afford a new one. They had a
new location picked out, but it needed renovating and they couldn't raise the cash, despite my $50 donation and the donations of my knitting friends. This is my last souvenir of A New Yarn:I'm not sure what this is all worth retail... let's see... 8 skeins of Nature Spun... that's about $32... 3 skeins of mohair... call it $18... a skein of Koigu worsted... $12... two skeins of Cascade sock... at least $18 or $19... two skeins of Fortissima Sock... $14. And then the needles. Three pairs of metal needles would probably be about $15 total, and then the Brittany ones are about $12 a pair. The two turned wood crochet hooks looked to be originally about $10 each. So what are we up to? About $143 before tax, I think. Well, I took my basket up to the cash register and a gal I'd never met read the data on each label for Claudia who entered it into the computer and gave me my total: with tax, $25.08. You've gotta be kidding. "Heart breaking." is what I said, actually. Criminal, is what I thought. For the first time I felt like giving them money was not being very supportive. It felt kinda yucky. I didn't feel like a savvy shopper who was supporting a cause, like I'd felt every other time I'd been there. It kinda felt like stealing from someone who is watching you but is helpless to stop you. It sucked. I'm gonna miss Claudia, and the shop.

The other little thing is this little reminder that you don't have to bust your butt to create beauty. You can knit the simplest, easiest hat and glove set ever out of the cheapest simplest black yarn ever and then just slap some cheap buttons and squares of felt on them and voila!
You've gotcherself some wearable art! And you can sell it to Coldwater Creek, who will then sell it for big bucks. Or at least try to-- the hat and gloves might end up at their outlet store in Lincoln City where I'll happen by with my phone.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chewin' On The Market

Pike Place Market is cool. So is picking one font and sticking with it, but that's another subject for another day.

Pike Place Market is cool. I've been there a bunch of times, but I was always left on my own to wander it, and people who know me well know that if I'm left on my own to discover a market, I will treat it like shopping and do it as fast as I can so I can get out of there. Turns out that you miss all the cool parts if you do that. You see the vegetables, hear the fish guys yelling, taste the
various types of honey and smell the incense. But without a tour guide, you miss the really interesting stuff. Like this:

Did you know this was there? A wall totally covered in gum wads? Did you?

Why didn't you tell me? Didn't you think I'd be interested? Well I am. So next time... yeah.

There were other new things for me, like staircases I'd never noticed before, and fun factoids about how much money Rachel the piggy bank brings in each year (between 6 and 9 grand). Heck, I'll admit that I didn't even know she was a piggy bank. Seriously-- I'm gonna stop and notice that next time.

I wanna go back. Maybe next week. I'll check the weather. In the meantime, here are a group of cute 2nd graders, doing what you do in front of a wall of gum wads when an adult asks you to pose for the phone.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I had a very hard time today trying to say anything else. I went with my friends Kat and Shelly to see the house that they recently inherited from their good friend who passed away three weeks ago. I really should have had my camera with me.

The house itself was unique. Without photos or the interest in trying to describe it in detail, I will leave it at this: Two separate additions. Two separate, unconnected basements. A jacuzzi spa with a room built around it. Anyone ever been to the Winchester Mystery House? I think this was the Lake Forest Park version. Only I got to tour it for free, at my own pace, and my friends let me open the cupboards and drawers and check out their contents. This is something you don't usually get to do in other peoples' houses. And there's a reason for that. It made me feel uncomfortable, and it made my brain hurt.

These particular homeowners had been collectors. Stamp collectors, coin collectors, tupperware collectors. Collectors of items involving giraffes. Involving elephants. I counted over eight desks in the house, each with drawers full of desky items like paper clips, cigarette lighters, mystery envelopes and photographs. There was a four-car garage that featured Christmas decorations, hula hoops and many, many tools around the perimeter, and big piles of boxes and bags of stuff already identified as Goodwill-bound in the middle. My friends offered me one of the two croquet sets. How did they come to have two? We'll never know.

I never met the women who had shared their lives in the house. They'd made the additions to the house. They had selected the objects to fill it. Decided that the sliding glass door was the perfect solution to their remodeling problem. Chosen that collection of dining room chairs. Was this giraffe-themed mug (one of so many) a gift from someone who knew she loved giraffes and had no better idea of what to get her for Christmas-- a holiday I could easily tell that she loved?

The volume of stuff to go through is daunting, and it's now my friends' full-time job. There are the various things willed to other friends and family members still lingering, but that's really relatively little. There are rooms and rooms piled high with things, stuff and junk to find new homes for or throw out. I got to take home a fifth of rum, and some foodstuffs that had been purchased within the last year--some cans of bamboo shoots, some boxes of sugar-free jello. But this bottle of Certo was the real prize. It's clear that it used to be pectin in the form of a liquid, because really-- why else would it be in a bottle? But turning the bottle on its side reveals no movement of the pectin. If its purpose is to gel, it has gelled. And judging by the expiration date on the side of the bottle, it gelled a long time ago, back when the ladies were both alive, in love, and probably not imagining that there was a sixth grader out there who would find this and take it home someday.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Why I succumbed to the urge to create a weblog

I just wanna be part of the party. Yep, there are lots of other people out there with funnier, more original things to say, I'm sure. But there are also people out there just yakking away and not saying anything. And people still read what they write. So I figure I'll write too, and then I'll at least be part of the party.

Recently I noticed that the only thing I write anymore is our annual family New Year's letter. And sometimes not even annually. All of my writing skill has been going into much-too-well-crafted emails that aren't even personal. That makes me feel responsible, but not very happy. So I'm gonna try doing things that make me happy.

At the end of a visit recently, my mom got teary-eyed telling me how important it is for her to feel included. I got teary-eyed too, because I'm the same way. And dangit, moms have a real knack for showing you how most of what you do is just derivative. That smirk? The world has seen it-- it was hers first. The way your daughter hrmphs at you when she doesn't wanna do what you asked? Well, the world knows where she got that-- you, sucker. Thinking about that today made me realize that it's not about originality-- it's about participation. You can't be a part of something until you step up and participate. It got me thinking about other stuff too, like fractals, but I don't really have the vocabulary to write about that. So I'll stick with this inclusiony participationy thought.

No promises of being insightful or funny. No promises of frequency of posts. Just me sharing. The blogs I read and watch and enjoy the most are the ones that just tell me a short story of what happened to someone I like that day. And I'll admit that I usually enjoy the posts more when there are pictures. I'm trying to learn from this-- so I'll aim to take more pictures and include them.

Here's the first.