Wednesday, May 28, 2008

CNN.com Update

Just a quick update - got an email today from CNN and they are planning to 'launch' our video on Friday!! I'll be in Austin over the weekend (my youngest brother is graduating from high school), but will try to remember to login and update the blog with the link. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Thank You, James! (and the mystery of the missing money)

I AM SO EXCITED! I just heard back from my high school friend (and brilliant singer/songwriter) James Dunn... and he's given us permission to use a bit of his music for a project that we're working on. Sorry - can't tell you the details quite yet (ugh - what's up with all of these secrets, eh??!!), but i should be able to spill the beans in about 2 weeks. It's going to be HUGE!!! Thanks, James - I can't tell you how much we appreciate it.

Ok, in other news, i guess it's about time that i tell you the story of the Missing Money. First, i want you to take a look at this photo and tell me what that Wells Fargo envelope looks like. MAIL! Right? Doesn't it look like a piece of mail to you? (Please just say 'yes'.)

Well, a few days ago, i was fishing around in my purse for something. I was on my way to a tennis lesson (i'm really sticking to it this summer!!) when it suddenly hit me - I remembered putting a JBW deposit envelope into my purse the day before, but couldn't remember ever going to the bank. Hmm. That's strange. Well, maybe i put it in this nifty purse pocket of mine - or maybe it fell under the car seat - or maybe i'm just imagining that i ever really put it in my purse??

And then it hit me.

Reaching back into my memory of the day before (not always an easy thing to do), i remembered running into the store, chatting with Ashley and Jeanne, and absently grabbing some bills to be mailed from my purse. As usual, i threw them into one of the outgoing mail bins and then just kept gabbing... What i realized 24 hours later was that i had also thrown $1300 dollars (nestled safely in a Wells Fargo envelope) into the mail bin. Oh crap. I am dead. Doug is going to kill me. Should i even tell him? I mean, realistically there's nothing i can do about this - i can't change the past... and this is something i definitely can't undo. Maybe I'll just wait for the right moment to tell him.

Still in the car, I immediately called Ashley and explained what had happened. Since i was in truckee - and an hour from the post office - she offered to ask the bulk mail manager about it that evening. (We drop all of our bins off at the Reno Bulk Mail facility each night).

I arrived at my tennis lesson and immediately told my partner what i had done. She agreed that it sucked (excuse the language), but that there was nothing i could do about it ... you see, for the last 4 months, i've been working daily on living in the moment more - and worrying less. This was definitely a test of my progress on that front. Ugh - why did it have to be a $1300 test? That would have paid for a good chunk of our rent. I was absolutely and positively sick to my stomach.

The next day, while enjoying cheese and crackers with Ann Norling, the phone rang. It was Ashley. Since the girls never call me at home unless there is an emergency (yes, there are Yarn Emergencies!), i was a bit worried. Almost as soon as i put the phone to my ear, my stomach returned to its normal state. The Reno Post Office had called Ashley to let her know that they had 'found' our deposit and that it could be picked up at any time.

I'm sorry... what??!!! Who does that in this day and age? It was $1300!! (of course, $900 were checks, but that still left $400 of cash). I just couldn't believe it. Doug was like "What was it? What did Ashley have to say?"

I guess this was the 'right moment' to tell him. :)

Moral of the story? The Reno Post Office rocks.


P.s. - that's the baby blanket that i started for my friend a few weeks ago in the photo... i'm halfway done!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Jeanne's Winning Sock - and the Best Team in the World

Congrats to our very own Jeanne for winning 2nd place in the lorna's laces sock pattern contest. Jeanne is one half of the 2 Askew Design team and has been knitting her b&*^# off for months now... she just submitted a design to Interweave for the coolest gloves - and we're keeping our fingers crossed that they decide to publish the pattern. She is one talented lady and we are lucky to have her as our store manager! (I only selfishly hope she doesn't get too wildly successful - and then leave the store in pursuit of knitting fame and fortune - we'd all be soooo sad!!!)

In store other news, I want to publicly thank the entire JBW team for their INCREDIBLE work over the last week. You see, last Friday (the 16th), i received a phone call from a major cable news network station (name to be revealed later). For some crazy reason, they wanted to come to Reno and film a short (3-4min) segment on our store and business. And they were wondering if we were available on Tuesday (yes, 4 days ago). Um, ok, sure... come on over (like we'd say 'no' - LOL).

Seems fine, right? That gives us 4 days to clean up and get prepared. Except that we just received 62 boxes of Rowan Sale yarns - and another 10 boxes of Crystal Palace Sale stuff... and the store was a wreck!! There was yarn EVERYWHERE!! (Sidenote - when am i going to learn to keep my camera in my purse? I should have taken photos, so you could see how crazy it was!).

Plus, Doug and i had to go to Sacramento on Friday for a luncheon and a meeting with the co-author of our upcoming book... (it was 106 degrees, btw - a sharp contrast to the 2" of snow that is on my front deck this morning - see photo) .

Yep, we're writing a book... i can't tell you the details yet, but hope to be able to share them in about a month, once we've finalized the publishing deal. We've been working on this for about 5 months now and are SUPER EXCITED!

Ah, i digress... so, the news company called and asked us if Tuesday would work. The shoot would likely take most of the day.... (they kept warning us, as if it were a problem!). With doug and me gone, we were completely reliant on the A-Team and their yarn shop cleaning abilities. Let me just tell you, when i walked into the shop on saturday, my jaw dropped. It looked like a different place. And it was looking better every single second - Diana, Sally and Katie (the sat crew) were hustling around, making sure the yarn labels were all facing the right direction - and that the counters were clear, the models were in the right places, etc. It was amazing!! These girls (plus Darcy, Rachel on Sunday, Jeanne on Monday) really pulled through for the team. They are superstars. Because they did such a terrific job, doug and i were able to stay home and work on a script - on what interview questions we expected - and what our answers might be.

Tuesday arrived - and we met Max (from the unnamed network) around 8am at the shop. Within a few minutes, were were miked up and ready for the interview. A few hours later, we transitioned to showing him around the shop. In the pic above, i'm talking about the Breast Cancer Scarf Kit that we put together (and is going to be in the October issue of Vogue Knitting - i forgot to tell you that!).
After being shown around, he filmed 30 minutes of a knitting class that we had going on that day. There's ashley on the left - and jeanne sitting next to her!! Around 12:30, we called it a day - Max had gotten about 90 minutes of footage and was charged with editing it down to 3 minutes by May 27th. The piece should run sometime between the 27th and 30th (um, ok, the reason for the secrecy? I'm super nervous that i looked and sounded terribly goofy... is that bad? we'll let you know where to find the video once we've seen it - plus, we're always a little paranoid that if we get too terribly excited about something, it will never happen. but i promise that we'll share soon .)

Anyway, things turned out super well (or so we hope!) ... the next day, we all (well, sans Doug) went for pedicures and had Carolina BBQ and pecan pie (i love NC BBQ) - and celebrated. Thanks TEAM!!! (p.s. remind me to tell you about the election hats that allison - the other half of 2 Askew & the teacher of the class above - designed. they're adorable!)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Snow in May, Wild Bears, and Missing Money

Part 1 :: Snow

It is May 22nd. And it is snowing. And i live in California. Is it just me, or is there something wrong with this picture?? I gotta tell you, this wasn't really what i had in mind when i (we) moved here... Yes, I knew that we were going to live in the mountains - and yes, i knew that it would snow in the winter, but no one ever told me about 30-degree weather and snow in MAY!! Don't you think they should be required to add that to the "Welcome to California" sign that i pass on my way home from Reno? Maybe just change it to "Welcome to California - where it snows in May... (and possibly June, July, and August)." Ok, ok, i realize it's not really that big of deal (except for the poor flowers outside that finally showed their petals last week - and are now begging for their lives. For the amount we pay in taxes each year, you'd think California could figure out some way to save those flowers' lives!!)

Part 2 :: Bears

Ok - see that cute little head peering out the window in the photo above? That's Wiley. While i was at the store yesterday (finally putting up pics of the sale regia sock yarn) , Doug took him and Buddy for a walk behind our house. Our house backs up to acres and acres of National Forest. While it's not uncommon for us to see bears back there it is uncommon for the dogs to interact with those bears... Anyway, i'm sitting at the store when ashley hands me the phone. "It's Doug," she says. No quicker do i say "hello" than i hear "Wiley Treed a Bear!!!" yelled from the other end.

Oh boy. Apparently, while on their way back to the house, Wiley took off in a dead sprint, stopped at the base of a big tree, and started barking like crazy. According to doug, "there was a tremendous ruckus!" Now that's not entirely unusual in and of itself - typically, the dogs will chase a chipmunk into a tree - and then sit there and beg the chipmunk to come back down and play (weird that the munks never do!). This time, however, when doug walked over to the tree, he saw that the trunk was swaying a bit more than normal. One look up and he saw a teenage bear clinging to the branches. HOLY CR&*(&*(!!!

The bear was looking right at doug - from 30 ft up - just begging doug to come up there after him. Ha ha. Worried that the mom might still be around (the guy wasn't quite an adult yet), doug high-tailed it out of there - and was able to coax the dogs to go with him. Surprisingly, they followed him with little hesitation - they actually wrestled the entire way home ... they were pumped up! (they probably both dreamt of taming bears later that night - crazy dogs!!)

Part 3 :: Missing Money
Ugh... my hands are tired from typing - i'll have to tell you this one tomorrow. It's a doozy (ashley, don't laugh...:) ).

p.s. i added one more panel to the scarves to throws - buddy seems to like it ok.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cheese and Crackers with Ann Norling

I had a celebrity at my house yesterday! Ann Norling - you know, the super famous pattern designer (remember the adorable fruit cap that Tyne Daly knit?) - came by around noon... We chatted and looked at yarn (she is also the sales rep for a ton of my favorite companies: Rowan, Nashua, Colinette, Crystal Palace, OWool, Tahki, etc...) - and i spent wayyyy too much money.
These reps know that i'm a sucker for new yarns (i guess that's why i work in a yarn store, eh?) - and will buy almost anything they put in front of me. Oh well - it could be worse - i could be in the concrete business... but that wouldn't be nearly as fun.

Ann (she actually goes by Marge - i think Ann is her middle name) is a terrific lady - and i always enjoy spending time with her... picking her brain, and sharing yarn stories. After 5 hours of yarn touching, feeling, petting, and then buying, we closed the yarn suitcases and brought out the cheese and crackers. Now, i think most reps meet their customers (yarn shop owners) at the actual store, but since i live an hour from the store - and my house is significantly quieter than the store (sans Buddy's constant attempt to get everyone to throw the ball) - i enjoy having the reps just come to my house. I know it's cruel and selfish ... to hoard all of the new yarn viewing to myself... but what can i say? :) Plus, it wouldn't be as fun if we couldn't share a glass of wine and listen to music afterwards!!

Anyway, after cheese and crackers, Marge took off (in her adorable Prius - did you know you start the car with the push of a button? If only they made those in 4wd!!) and i finished sewing some of my "scarves to throws" together. Here's a prelim pic - i'll take a better one later. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

3,000 Miles and 14 Hours of Sleep Later...

I'm back in the saddle - and can finally see straight again. Every trip back east (and south) is a whirlwind - and one in which i get very little sleep. The combination of the time change, the gallons of straight black coffee, and visiting with people that routinely start the day at 5am leaves me tired, dehydrated, and just all together out of it. When i returned home on Tuesday, i spent about 3 hours on the coach, and then spent the next 14 hours asleep. But I always have a lot of fun.


This trip started with me, doug, and 90 yr old gramps visiting the Hershey Factory in Pennsylvania. Just a few minutes from his house, we started there around 10am (that's 7am pacific time - ugh!!).

Now, i don't know what Doug and I were thinking, but for some reason we were expecting to see the innerds of a chocolate factory. We both LOVE watching how stuff is made and were truly excited to finally see those little Hersheys Kisses getting wrapped in silver paper. Little did we know that the 'tour' was really a kiddie roller coaster ride - complete with singing cows (see above) and chocolate perfumed air! We giggled for most of the ride, but found ourselves starving for chocolate by the end of it. If you have kids (or are a kid yourself), i'd highly recommend going on this free tour. They even handed out little squares of chocolate at the end.

The most exciting part, though, was being asked later to participate in a chocolate chip taste test. How could life get any better? They were going to GIVE US free chocolate as payment for EATING chocolate. I love Hershey. :)

Ok - gotta run - we're going to take the dogs for a walk - more details later... (doesn't gramps look handsome? Did i already mention that he's 90??!! - um, yes, his friends threw him a surprise birthday party for his 90th. 73 people attended - i'm just glad he had the pacemaker installed before the surprise. )