Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Miss me?

So, it has been awhile! Seems like I start every post out like that these days. Things are such a whirlwind, it's easy for weeks to pass even while I still have the notion in my head that I "just blogged the other day". I know, excuses, excuses...

My last (very long) post was all about our trip out east, and ironically I wrote it while at the hotel on our next little mini-vacation. This post will be written while prepping for our August trip. It is a busy summer, to be sure!

After sitting at home for a few days (actually we were frantically doing laundry and trying to get a little work done), we headed back east, this time in the car. We didn't go nearly as far as the last time and ended up in Kalispell, Montana where Bill had a convention to attend.

On the drive in, I found my new vacation home (yeah, as soon as we win the lottery):

This is Flathead Lake, just south of Kalispell. It is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi (I'll be visiting the largest east of the Mississippi, Lake Superior, very soon). With the mountains in the background, it is absolutely stunning. I wanna live there (other than the fact that I was a bit frightened by the anti-climate change editorials in the local paper - I get spoiled living in Portland with lots of other crazy liberals)!

I got to live vicariously through my designer friend, Janet Szabo, who is lucky enough to call the Flathead Valley home. She had us over for a wonderful grilled-steak dinner the first night we were in town, and the kids were immediately in love with her two charming daughters. Owen just this morning asked about his "friends with the fire truck and the bear scratches on their house". Did I mention they live out in the middle of nowhere? I am so jealous.

On Friday morning, Janet introduced me to the owner of the very lovely yarn shop Camas Creek Yarn in downtown Kalispell. Isn't it pretty?

Here are Janet, Sydney and I in front of the big wall o' Rowan:

And here is Melanie, the shop owner, flanked by two members of her lovely staff, in front of the fabulous wall of beads. Yup, they have beads and yarn!

They also had a great kid area with stickers, crayons, cards to color in and yarn:

Sydney was kept totally entertained, but Owen just about gave us all a heart attack when he disappeared while I was talking to Melanie about patterns back in her office. Bill was in the car on a business call (the car was parked around the corner from the shop, which is on a busy street), and Owen suddenly popped his head through the passenger-side window and said "Hi, Daddy!" Bill assumed that I'd walked Owen out there until he got a panicked voice mail from me telling him that we couldn't find the boy anywhere. Mr. Independent had gotten tired of sitting in the store and decided to take matters into his own hands. My palms still get sweaty thinking about it!

After lunch at IHOP with Janet (Bill went off to play golf with his convention folk), the kids and I headed to Woodland Park to check out the waterslides. We should've just headed back to the hotel and hung out by the pool!

Disaster #1 - the waterslides are run by the parks & rec department, and they only took cash. I never carry cash. In fact, I don't even know the pin for my cash card so I couldn't even go to the ATM and get cash. I had to drag the kids, kicking and screaming, out of the water park entrance and over to the playground where they very grudgingly played while I called Bill to see if I could somehow meet up with him and pick up $20. I managed to catch him while he was playing the holes along the highway, so I threw the kids in the car (literally - by this time they'd decided that the playground wasn't so bad and were reluctant to leave, even with the promise of waterslides in their future) and met Bill by the side of the road to get some cash. We went back to the park, paid our entrance fee and were good to go.

Disaster #2 - The water park consists of a kids' water play area, a pool with some diving boards, two big waterslides and a lazy river. The kids splashed in the kids' area for about two minutes and then decided we needed to go on the lazy river. Sydney got on her own tube and I sat on another with Owen on my lap. All was well until we got to the part where there's a waterfall coming down across the entire width of the river. My kids do not like water on their heads for ANY reason, so there was much screaming and carrying on (plus something was wrong with the heating element for the water and so it was COLD pouring over our heads!). We decided we'd ride around once more and exit at the steps right before the waterfall. No problem, right? Sydney got to the steps just fine, but I waited too long and wasn't having any luck steering the innertube with Owen on my lap or hopping off in order to push the tube over to the steps. The current of the river was also a lot stronger than I expected and it was deeper. Long story short, I flipped our tube trying to get off and dunked poor Owen. He was not pleased. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to run interference between a boy who didn't want to go anywhere near any of the water and a daughter who was desperate to go back on the "Crazy River". Good times!

We all managed to survive somehow (for a little while I was concerned that I was going to end the day in jail for double homicide), and the next day we awoke fresh and ready for adventure. After Bill's morning meetings, we hopped in the car and headed for Glacier National Park.

Obligatory picture-with-park-sign (that only the adults are into):

We got to throw rocks into the lake:

Bill pretended to throw Owen into the stream (which did NOT go over well due to his mother's cruel attempt to drown him the day before):

And the kids had the best time of all running through the big sprinkler on the lawn in front of the lodge:

We didn't have too much time to spend in the park because Bill had to be back at 6:30 for cocktail hour, schmoozing and dinner, but the kids and I headed back to Janet's so we could check out her hubby's fire engine (he's captain of the local volunteer fire dept and NOBODY loves fire engines like Owen). Of course, when we got there, the truck was out at a fire, so the kids got to play with Janet's girls for awhile and Janet and I got to talk knitting. Yay! Nobody was disappointed by that.

The highlight of our trip, from the kids' perspective, was this:

Here's Janet, testing the patience of the neighbors by running the lights and siren for the kids (hey, at least it wasn't 5 am):

And here's Owen, dreaming of his future career:

It was pretty neat to see how excited Janet's daughters got (the 11 year-old a bit more than the 16-year-old, unsurprisingly) when the truck pulled up, and it made me realize how cool it must be to have a firefighter for a dad. Maybe Owen's kids will find that out someday!

Over the course of the weekend, I totally fell in love with the area and was ready to pack up and move. Bill wasn't so keen on that idea (although he likes it there, too), and so we headed back to Portland where we're doing yet more laundry in preparation for our August travels. I can't wait to see my mom!

In the meantime, I continue to take on too much and keep myself completely and totally booked up and busy. I'm also easily distracted - today for some reason I decided I needed to switch my domain name registrar, register a couple new domains and switch web hosts! Not for any particular reason (other than the fact that my current domain registrar is way too expensive), but now that I've decided to do it I end up wasting hours figuring out how...

While working on my last couple designs, I decided that I'm going to get off my duff and actually write a book instead of just talking about it. I'm going to do a toe-up sock book since I already have designs and written material that I use for my sock class, and it just doesn't seem as daunting as my other book ideas. I know there are a gazillion sock books, but there aren't very many dedicated to toe-up socks (and the ones that are don't have very wide distribution). Of course, as soon as I started writing, I discovered this book coming out in April '09, but I'm hoping there's room for both of us. Regardless, the designs will be different!

I'm planning to self-publish since it just seems like a good way to go. After all, why did I go to Cat Bordhi's self-publishing retreat two years in a row if I didn't see some benefit in self-publishing? Besides, this way I will be able to do the book I want to do as opposed to the book an editor thinks will most benefit the bottom line. I'll also get to print my book in the US (or possibly Canada) while all the books from major publishers are printed in China. I'm hoping I can get everything done and release the book next June or sooner, and to that end, I'm looking for people who want to help test knit the socks and add tidbits to the book. If you love toe-up socks, e-mail me your preferred e-mail addy for Yahoo groups along with a little bit about yourself and your knitting and I'll get you set up. It should be a really fun project (I hope)!

I also have a couple of lace projects and two new top-down sock designs that will be coming out in the next month or two. I really want to have them ready for the TKGA fall show since I'll be having a booth there, but we shall see. All work and no play makes Chrissy a dull boy! And now to get back to that mountain of laundry...


Blogger Janet Szabo said...

Yeah! Great post! I thought of you when we went to the water park today (I took cash) and the lazy river was ICE COLD. I chose to sit on a chaise lounge and read a book. If it had been hotter I might have been enticed to go in.

Come back any time, and bring the kids! And Bill!

3:07 PM  
Anonymous MicheleLB said...

That sounds like the perfect knitterly vacation, with good fun for the kids as a bonus!

I'm not completely convinced on the toe-up sock concept yet, but I'm only on my first one, ever. I'm such a sock neanderthal: cuff-down and dpns. That could all change as I finish the current sock on the needles...

Welcome home and bon voyage!

11:11 PM  
OpenID guiltypleasures said...

What a beautiful vacation. Minus the few glitches of course.

I LUV toe up socks, so I'm thrilled you're putting the book together. Good for you!

12:24 PM  

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