Showing posts from December, 2007

Astounding Myself With My Own Cleverness

Well, Christmas has come and gone and Andy did receive half of his pajamas:
(Amazingly, he considers posing in them for a picture for the blog to be WELL outside of our marital vows--he mentioned something about "human Ken doll" before fleeing the room....)

The missing material is for the sleeves for the shirt, and now I am not only unable to find the material in any stores, it turns out I am unable to locate where I hid the shirt in progress.

Because I made them in November, I wanted to hide them somewhere Andy would never find them. Well, it worked. Even after a rather exhaustive search of the house, we can't find the shirt. Luckily, for some reason known only to myself at the time, I did not hide the pants in the same location, so we have those. We're hoping to find the shirt sometime before NEXT winter at least.

Some days I amaze even myself, but not often in a good way.

A Call For Help!!!!!


All I need to complete Andy's Christmas gift is one yard of this fabric. I found it at a Joann's store in Ontario, Oregon. It is a 45" wide flannel. Between my friends and I, we have been to 9 stores (Idaho, Oregon, New Jersey, and California) looking for one more yard and have not found it! Uranium is easier to find.

If anyone can find it, I need one yard and I will send you the money and a knitted hat or scarf as a Thank You. I just need sleeves!!!!


Attention Mice, Birds, and Voles of the World, and more specifically, Boise:

Many of your brethren have disappeared in the last year. They have not relocated, nor will they be returning. Thanks to our two cats, they have ended up in our bedroom, and I can assure you that they experienced decent--if not a little odd--burials courtesy of our local trash contractor.

In order to prevent more of your kind experiencing a similar fate, we have put bells on both cats. Since they have continued to remove members of your community fairly regularly, it has occurred to me that perhaps you have not yet realized the significance of said bells. So, henceforth, if you hear a jingling bell, it is not the arrival of Santa. It means probable death. Please pass the word along, and take appropriate evasive action, especially amongst the bird community. The feathers never go away, no matter how often I vacuum.



Question for the Universe:

WHEN DID PHONE SYSTEMS AND CABLING BECOME CHRISTMAS PURCHASES???? And what exactly was wrong with any of the other 11 months??????

The Aftermath

And what have we been doing with ourselves since the spending ban lifted? Have we been left laying on the floor, panting and exhausted, after a frenzy of retail activity?

OK, there has been a bit more spending. We needed a few items to finish Christmas gifts--most notably google-eyes and fabric paints for the puppet kits. Then the mad wrapping binge, which I am proud to say was done without tempting purchases like gift boxes, gift tags, and gift bags. Four hours later and:
At least we are doing our part for the economy via the United States Postal Service.

I thought there would be a huge temptation to buy lots of "impulse items," and though it has been fun to look knowing we could buy things, when you look at something and have to ask yourself, "Is this worth waiting a month for?" the answer is invariably "no." So our spending has still been quite moderate--with one exception:

New tires for Andy's truck.

We are wild, I tell you--just wild.

We Rejoin Capitalism!

The spending ban is over!!!! We are capitalists again!!!

I started the day with these two gentlemen:

First thing on our agenda:
They're even knitting stamps--it just doesn't get better.

Then I went hunting for the missing material for Andy's Christmas present:

Nada. Nothing. Zip.

Not just one store--I checked all the local stores. At the last one, a clerk asked if he could help, so I described what I was looking for, that I'd been to several stores looking for this particular material, and that this was the very store the material originally came from, hoping for something.

"Yeah, that happens."

OK, I should have been more specific--I was hoping for something HELPFUL!

My next call was to "America's Best" Eyeglasses--heavy stress on the quotation marks--asking if they could order another set of frames for my glasses, as the lenses are still fine. Not only did they not still carry them, they do not fix, take special orders, or in any way do anything h…

Day 31 - HALLELUJAH!!!!! It's the last day!!

Today is the last day of the self-imposed spending ban! Tomorrow morning we will each receive our $40 allowance and can go as wild as anyone can with only $40.


Day 30 - In Which I Am A Child

After the mad rush to finish projects this weekend, and with an upcoming trip to Disneyland involving a plane trip & standing in some long lines, I decided to cast on the Elizabeth Zimmermann Pi shawl as a good portable project. It's a circular shawl based on the geometric principle of pi, and can be as simple or as complicated as one wishes to make it--the shawl I mean. Pi can get pretty complicated when you get right down to it..

I have been thinking about this for several days, and decided it would be a great chance to use a variegated lace yarn. Variegated yarns are sort of like summer hats--they look great at the time, but one never knows exactly what to do with them later. If you use them for shawls and scarves, the changes in color can detract from the lace pattern you may be using. But, like hats, they look fabulous in the store and I am convinced to buy them, only to have them take up permanent residence in the back of my closet.

Probably a year ago, I bought a colorful…

Day 29 - The Christmas Letter!

Happy HolidaysGreetings! As December approaches, it’s a time for reflection—what did we do, what did we learn, and what are we willing to admit to in the Christmas letter? Christmas letters are traditionally the time to brag about one’s 3-year-old son who just won the Nobel Prize for physics, how wonderful a 2-week stay at a private CaribbeanIsland was, and how one was made CEO after only 4 months at work. Here in the real world, Andy has been informed that Micron is outsourcing his job, though he can work until July if he helps work himself out of a job, David is doing well in second grade, though the Nobel Prize committee has not contacted us as of yet, and work has kept me so busy that I have barely managed any time off all year.But we’re all healthy and happy, and as we didn’t move, sell any houses, or plan any weddings, it was a relatively calm year.The Yearly Update:Toni’s employment:selling business telephone systems for DataTel Andy’s employment:let's just say “pending”…

Day 28 - We're "Pending"

Just a few days left, and 14 gifts are done except for the few key things we need to purchase to finish them. The Christmas letter is written, but now has to wait until we can buy more stamps. I have tracked down the name & model number of the frames of my glasses and will be stopping at the optical shop first thing on the 13th.

Maybe I'll start addressing our Christmas cards as having been sent from "Limbo Land."

Day 27 - The Temptation

With only a few days left, the temptation has certainly increased. Wednesday we can buy things. That is SOOOO close. Counting the HOURS close. Do you have any idea how tempting it is to take the day off on Wednesday? Luckily, we have set a $40 limit for each of us. Otherwise, Visa would probably flag our account for unusual activity on the 13th & suspend our account. Maybe we should warn them anyway?

The first thing I'm buying is the yard of material for Andy's Christmas gift. I almost stopped by the store today to see if I could put it on some sort of layaway, since fabric stores tend to change their inventory, and if I can't find the same material I have not yet conceived a back-up plan. I'm going to be stressing over this until I whip out the Visa on December 13. I'd like to say that I will have learned my lesson about double-checking after this little episode, but while hope springs eternal, it doesn't winter very long.

Day 26 - How Sad Are We?

I thought David might enjoy making some paper chains to help decorate the house for Christmas, but before mentioning it, we had to inventory his art supplies to make sure we had enough construction paper ON HAND. As he's only here one night a week, we're not sure if David is actually a participant in the "buy nothing new" program, but since he's not quite 8 he has no real money of his own, so it's sort of a moot point.

It gets worse--I was going to suggest making Christmas cookies--which in my world means decorated sugar cookies--but that will be postponed until we can purchase the metal decorating tips I had promised last year.

An adventure--an obsession. It's such a fine line........

Day 25 - New Ways to Not Buy Anything

1. Start working really long hours.

2. Stay away from

3. Fall behind on writing the annual Christmas letter. Start stressing about it.

4. Take a really time-involved quilting class that makes you want some serious time apart from your sewing machine & all things fabric-related.

5. Start overbooking social engagements.

6. Remember what retail areas are like during the holiday shopping season.

7. Regularly visit the respective yarn & wood "stashes" and mentally inventory the number of "potential projects" you already own.

8. Commit to daily blog updates.

9. Tell other people about your experiment. Fear the thought of the public shame of giving up 5 days early.

10. Run out the door forgetting your wallet anyway.

Day 24 - Signs This Might Have Been a Really Bad Idea

1. I'm wandering around the house in the mornings with one-armed glasses hanging partially off my face like some bizarre form of pince-nez.

2. Andy is having dreams about shopping, which may get his testosterone revoked.

3. Our mail carrier is developing hernias from delivering 4 pounds of catalogs every day for absolutely no reason.

4. I wouldn't go to the Indian spice store to pick up ingredients for a new recipe because it "felt like cheating."

5. Joann Fabric's is sending me twice as many sale fliers as normal--their sales are obviously down.

6. Grocery shopping has become exciting.

7. We can't send Christmas cards until AFTER December 12.

9. Andy is looking forward to being allowed to buy a $3 tube of epoxy.

10. I'm starting to look longingly at stores--even Walmart.

Day 23 - I Was Smug Again

The universe really seems to hate smugness. Last night, I was feeling a bit too sure of myself. We only have a few days left in our no-spending experiment, and while I didn't actually say it, the term "piece of cake" did run through my mind.

And that's when the universe gets you.

This morning I discovered that my glasses had fallen off the nightstand & sometime in the middle of the night, I must have stepped on them, or something that was on top of them, because they are broken today. Most of the day I wear contacts, but I am now reduced to being blind as a bat first thing in the morning and at night--or at least until the stupid little experiment I dreamed up is over. Repairs might have been allowed, but we're at the "new frames" stage, and that qualifies as a "thing" and can't happen until December 13. Rats.

"Piece of cake." What was I thinking?????

Day 22 - We've Reached "Perspective"

After 22 days of the no-spending rule, we have adjusted. The 4 catalogs in today's mail were deposited in the recycling bin immediately. I generally don't even open the sales-oriented emails anymore, in spite of the offers of free shipping & huge discounts if I will once again participate in the capitalistic process. We have books we haven't read, movies we haven't watched, cooking utensils we haven't used...we aren't even going to discuss the respective wood & fabric stashes...there are just very few things we actually "need" that we don't have. And we realize that.

Today's winner in the useless-items-we-will-never-buy category: sock yarn that has to be washed by hand. For the nonknitting public: socks are, for some insane reason, fun to knit. Yes, I realize you can buy 6 pairs for $6 at any store in the country, but there is something about turning a heel that makes a knitter feel brilliant. (This is inherently satisfying sin…

Day 21 - Things you can do without spending money

1. Drive your mate crazy by tracking down every version of "A Christmas Carol" you can find at the local library and playing one every night until Christmas.

2. Decorate your house with mismatched decorations.

3. Finish projects that you've long since lost interest in, just because you can't buy new ones.

4. Try a new bread machine recipe--provided you already have the ingredients & the bread machine.

5. Fantasize about what you will buy when the spending ban is over.

6. Do laundry.

7. Play board games, even if "Payday" and "Monopoly" feel like cheating on the "No Spending" rule.

8. Put up outdoor lights that look like you hired a color-blind decorator.

9. Ridicule the 37 catalogs you receive in the mail each day.

10. Discuss what other strange "experiments" one can do for a month.

Day 20 - Problem Solved!

Secret Santa gift number two is due next week and...

Mr. Flurry was finished this afternoon. Total cost: hard to say, though well under $5 as I already had the yarn & he doesn't take much.

Being done ahead of schedule......Priceless, and frankly shocking.