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November 2006

This Is What Happens When I Listen to the Voices in My Head


Alert Demonic Progress readers will remember that one year ago today I was on the brink of starting NaNoWriMo, in which the voices in my head convinced me that yes, it was entirely plausible that I could write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. So, easily led as I am, I threw myself into the task and did indeed construct a 50,000+ grouping of words in 26 days. It could loosely be called a "novel". Mostly I just use it to impress people at cocktail parties... 'Why yes, I wrote my last novel in 26 days, last year as a matter of fact...' Heh heh. That would be if I *went* to any cocktail parties...

So this year I had very wisely decided, after toying dangerously with the idea for a day and a half, that this year I would NOT do NaNoWriMo, NOT try to write 1700 words a day (about 45 minutes to an hour of writing) every day for the whole month of November. Uh uh. Not me. I am too smart to do that again! It's the "every day" bit that gets you, you know... 45 minutes of writing I can toss off pretty handily, after all, having been an English Major (and the crowd goes "ooooh"). But. "Every Day". "EVERY". Not as easy as you might think.

And I almost made it, too. Ah ... no, I am NOT going to do NaNoWriMo (what do you think I am, crazy???).... but just when I thought it was safe, a valued employee (*cough* Tracy *cough) sent me a link to a crazy little scheme called....

(warning --> page linked to has some bad words that begin with "F". Just so you know.)

Hmmmm, National Blog Posting Month.... hmmmmm ..... surely I can post to my blog every day for a month.... hmmmmmmm

Here's the come-on:

What is it?

It's National Blog Posting Month!
Why the hell would I want to do that?

You started a blog to make yourself write more often?

NaBloPoMo is an alternative to November's NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, the program wherein you crank out a novel in thirty days.

Some of us lack the imagination, stamina, and self-destructive impulses required to write a novel that quickly, but, by Grabthar's Hammer, we can update our blogs every day for a month!

Post every day for the month of November. That's it. The deadline for getting your url on the participants list below is, oh, let's say November 1 at 11:59 p.m. Not that I'll be up that late, waiting, but that will be your last chance to get your first day's post in. No cheating and backdating posts, either. You're on your honor.

So here's fair warning. Starting tomorrow, November 1, I shall endeavor not to masticate artificially flavored chicle sap in class... ermmm, sorry, that's what my 8th grade reading teacher made us write 500 times if we got caught chewing gum. No... I shall endeavor to make one blog post each and every day for 30 straight days during the month of November! Yes! And when I am done I shall rule the world!!!

Bloggers of the world! I challenge you! I CHALLENGE YOU, D'YOU HEAR ME? Join me in this quest for thirty-day-dom magnificence and insanity!!! Become one with NaBloPoMo!!!


Happy Halloween everyone!


"It was great!" said Grace, happily, about the Unique One dinner.

So, my hectic day ended up fine and at 6 p.m. my bills were paid and all was well. The Unique One Ladies gathered at Chez Michel for a lovely dinner..... I had a nice crisp Marquis de Chasse Sauvignon Blanc and we shared a few toasts: toasts to the girls, with whom I would be NOWHERE -- they really are the heart and soul of Unique One; we also had a toast to Brenda, the patron saint of Unique One. We will always miss her very, very much.... Chez Michel was the last place she took us all out to dinner the fall before she died. I must say, I get a little weepy every time we have these dinners and I remember how good she was to all of us. I hope I can be as good a boss as she was. I am working on it!!!

I ordered appetizers for the whole table (they let me do that because I'm the Boss Lady). We shared lobster cocktail, crabmeat-stuffed mushrooms, a delightful Ducktrap smoked salmon plate, and teriyaki chicken wings. Very nice. Because all who work at Unique One pretty much share one brain, nearly all of us ordered basically the same thing: scallops. Half of us, including me, had Coquilles St. Jacques, which is sea scallops in a buttery wine sauce topped with obscene amounts of Swiss cheese.... oh my goodness, it was very yummy. The other half had Scallops Provencal, which is scallops and vegetables over a choice of rice or some kind of pasta, I think. I don't really remember, as I was neck deep in Swiss cheese at the time. :)

Then there was Grace, she's artistic you know. She had to be different. Grace ordered Duck au Poivre. She says it was very good!

Several people chose to have winter squash with their meal and it apparently was notably good, as well

And yes, we had dessert: Becky, Susan and I had Jim Beam bread pudding with a whiskey sauce (very very good!!); Grace had Tuxedo Mousse, a white chocolate & dark chocolate mousse combo; Victoria had Tuxedo Creme Brulee, a creme brulee with a chocolate layer on the bottom; Tracy had a hot fudge brownie sundae; and the two Wendy's didn't have dessert. Silly girls.

The service was excellent, our server was right on top of things every minute and filled our orders accurately! We had a great time!

A Day in the Life....

Okay.... so I'm at the shop. It's pretty quiet, so I figured I would write something on the ol' blog. I have a TON of stuff to do in the office, but at the moment Victoria is meeting with a yarn sales rep and someone has to man the front of the store. The last time I poked my head in, they were talking about some new wool/bamboo Trekking sock yarn.....

Now they're looking at laceweight merino yarn from Skacel.... I think she ordered 2 color packs, brights and neutrals. We ordered this once before, in the spring I think, but apparently the order got lost because we never received it. :( This Skacel laceweight has 1375 yards and will retail for $13.95. Victoria is ordering it right now, even as I type..... :D

Meanwhile, customers are coming in and getting help in the yarn dept. and buying lovely Unique One sweaters. (Thank God.) I love that people love our sweaters... I love wearing them and I love knitting them.

I'm typing in between customers... two people needed help finding the right color yarn; one person needed advice on what needles to use & what pattern stitch to try for an afghan she wants to make; somebody got a cash refund for a return; a lady brought a pink cotton sweater...

Things are really hoppin' now. Just sold yarn to several customers, who are making a felted hat, socks, a kids' sweater, a baby hat, a crocheted hat & mittens....tons of people shopping... a couple ladies up front buying sweaters like mad :D......blues music cranking out of the stereo, in the background. Yay!

Okay, Victoria's sales rep has gone... Victoria ordered the laceweight merino yarn; some color paks of the Trekking wool/bamboo sock yarn (that means we'll get a bigger variety of colors, but only a couple balls in each color); some new colors of Step sock yarn; and some new colors of regular Trekking sock yarn. And now she thinks she deserves to have a few minutes to eat lunch, heh heh. I'll let her :)

Somewhere in there I ran downstairs for something and noticed a light out.... changed the light bulb; came upstairs and realized there are like 4 bulbs burned out back in the yarn area... those require more time to change... maybe this afternoon.. but geez I have to pay BILLS today or they'll be coming to take me away, ha-ha..... GAHHHH!

*Sigh*. By 6:00 p.m. the day will be done, one way or another. Tonight I am taking my whole staff out to dinner at Chez Michel in Lincolnville Beach. They SO deserve it... I would be nowhere without them. Love you gals!!!

So, that's my day, so far. I really hope I get my bills paid!!!

Migratory Utensils

Let's talk about scissors. Everyone knows, you shouldn't run with them. Not everyone knows, however, of their strange migratory habits (although, many of you may suspect them).

In my store there are five places where there should always be a pair of scissors handy: 1) by the phone near the front counter; 2) over the pressing table; 3) on my desk; 4) by the knitting machine and 5) in the yarn department. Five places. Five pairs of scissors, one in each place. Easy, right?

But they are never there. Millenia ago, scissors were herd utensils, moving in packs over the great plains of fabric in the wild wooly west. Then they were domesticated, tamed, some even becoming blunt-pointed, safe in the hands of children (who run) and on airplanes. Some scissor owners even began to brand their scissors, marking them with Sharpies or masking tape, claiming ownership. We thought the herd instinct was bred out of them, that scissors could live a happy, solitary existence in a drawer or a mug or on a hook.

How wrong we were. Given the chance, scissors will group together and huddle in abject, utilitarian sharpness in a dark corner, far from their appointed spot, surrounded by every other pair of scissors within a 100-meter radius. They may even attract a few tape measures or staple-pullers, looking for companionship. They'll hang out in a secluded corner or on a shelf, all of them, waiting contentedly, watching with pointed humor as we foolishly run about, exclaiming, "God, five damn pair of scissors in this place... where the @&*(^$ are they?!?!" Eventually we discover them and put them all back in their respective places, but we all know that the herd mentality will overtake them again in a few weeks, and soon we'll be on a store-wide scissor round-up.

Silly scissors.


Unique One Fall 2006 Newsletter

Finally! I got the newsletter done. It's in the mail, for those of you who get a hard copy; for the rest, you can read it online here. It has a couple of .jpegs that are still huge and maybe I will fix that, but don't hold your breath. :) The last thing to do is to get a photo of the crocheted Trellis Stitch Scarf to add the the pattern, which I *was* going to do today, but it is raining, of course, and my house is all dark and everything. Maybe I can take a picture of it at the store later; the light is better there.

Alert Unique One Newsletter readers will note that the Summer newsletter never materialized at all. Man, we were busy and I also had pretty much no motivation to write it. Then I worked on the Fall newsletter and thought about cutting the paper newsletters back to two a year instead of four, and here's why: when we first started the newsletters in the fall of 2003, it only cost about $80. That pretty much covered the printing, and we really had no mailing list built up. Now, between printing costs and the fact that the mailing list has gotten large, it costs me about $400 to print and mail it. That's fine, and is still pretty cheap advertising, but multiply that by four and you get $1600 per year, for the newsletter. Sorry folks, but I am afraid I don't make that much money from the little bugger. I'll try to keep pushing out a couple hard copy newsletters per year, because I really do like doing it! And I'll do two newsletters per year that are only posted on the internet. Two of the newsletters (fall and winter) promote yarn sales that we're having, so those two will likely remain as hard copies, mailed out..... the spring and summer newsletters are pretty much just me yakking, so I'll probably make those internet-only items. Hopefully my savvy and dedicated newsletter readers will be able to handle this change. :)

Oh and one last thing: recently someone was asking me about spinning cat hair (that's spinning hair from your cat, not the hair of a cat that is spinning in circles, although Grace sometimes does that here....). I have always wanted to find more information on it, and this morning I did find some. Click here for a link to a page about one person's insights about spinning the hair of the cat. :)

My Life Is Complete

Behold the power of the blog!!!

A few days ago I asked for help, as a desperate need to own the theme song from Hockey Night in Canada had consumed my soul.... I had looked and looked in vain for it, all over the internet. And lo, faithful reader Petula Darling came through for me with 4 (count 'em, F-O-U-R) different versions, which she kindly shared with me! She is a goddess. And I do feel bad that after listening to one of the versions, she had to pour bleach in her ears because of the horror of it. (It did sound pretty bad; I swear you could hear the polyester leisure suit the singer was wearing, LOL.)

So in case any of you have not been fortunate enough to have grown up watching Hockey Night in Canada, here is what you have been missing:

Hockey Night in Canada Theme Song

I Need Help!

I need to find an angel out there who can help me..... there's something I desperately want, but I can't find it anywhere for love or money :)

I was stricken recently for a great desire to obtain an .mp3 file of the theme song from Hockey Night in Canada, perhaps the longest-running TV show anywhere in the world. I was devastated to find my satellite TV provider doesn't offer access to the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), so I can't just watch HNIC on TV. We can get the BBC, and even Al-Jazeera, if we want to pay extra for it. We can get a whole bunch of Japanese or Brazilian or Saudi Arabian stations. But no CBC. Apparently Mr. Dressup and re-runs of The Beachcombers are not enough in demand by satellite TV viewers.... or perhaps they are just a tad too subversive. :D

So anyway, if anyone out there knows where I can download or buy the theme song from Hockey Night in Canada, my life will be complete. I'm happy to pay for it.... actually my dream is to find, someday, a CD of CBC TV show theme songs. But I know I will never see that. *sigh*

Another dream I have (now, after a rather carried-away conversation at knitting group last night) is to find or *make* earrings that are working miniature tape measures. We were talking last night about how, if you were Really Dedicated to Knitting, you could pierce your flesh, possibly in several places, and attach rings to yourself. Then you could hang your knitting tools right off the rings. Need scissors? Tape measure? Just grab them off the carabiner attached to the ring on your... whatever part you pierced. Who wouldn't need that???? I'm thinking piercing is the way to never losing my stuff again. Plus you would always be popular at knitting group... everyone would want to sit next to you because you would always have those all-important tools at hand, or ear, or forearm.. or whatever.

Yes. You would think we had wine at knitting group, wouldn't you? But no. It must be the yarn fumes.

Thanks so much, by the way, to all of you who commented on the decision I had to make about whether to visit the San Diego Zoo!!! I really appreciate it. It helps a lot to hear what everyone thinks!! I believe we'll take 2 classes each, on Saturday and Sunday, and spend Friday at the San Diego Zoo! Yay!! and not to worry, we will still make time to go through Seaport Village and the Gaslamp District, too. Thanks for all the input! You guys rock!!!! And MJ, yes, I do hope to find a bottle of Maredsous somewhere along the way... :D

Decisions, decisions...

It's a hard decision to make.

Victoria and I are going to the TNNA show in San Diego in January to drool over all the newest products in the yarn industry. I booked a room at the Bristol Hotel yesterday and now the trip seems a little more well-defined.

We recently got the listing of classes being offered at the TNNA show; you may remember that when we went to Indianapolis in June, we took 2 classes on Friday and one each on Sunday. Yet as we pored over the class selections in the booklet today, we recalled that in Indianapolis we had looked at each other and said, why did we sign up for so many dang classes? heh heh. Taking classes was wonderful, but it kinda wore us out. Still, it was a lot of fun to learn new things....

Also... everyone I have EVER talked to about San Diego has said I would be insane to go to San Diego and not see the San Diego Zoo. Now, I am really not much of a zoo person, I kind of hate to see animals caged and confined. But, it is hard to ignore a 100% consensus on something, namely the complete agreement that I must see the zoo if ever in San Diego.

So. We have to decide..... sign up for two extra knitting classes, or go to the San Diego Zoo. I might never get to San Diego again, ever, in my whole life, if they move the show back to Long Beach. However to totally blow off a whole day of TNNA classes seems to fly in the face of the fact that this is, in reality, a business trip. What to do, what to do.

Should Victoria & I spend Friday of the TNNA trip at the San Diego Zoo? Or spend Friday taking knitting classes? I would be very interested to hear what all of you have to say ... so leave a comment if you want to take a stand on this vital issue :)

The Fiber Studio, Henniker, New Hampshire

Yesterday I had such a great time... my mother-in-law and I traveled over to Henniker, NH where I visited Pam Grob at The Fiber Studio. What a wonderful place!!! If you have never been there, you MUST go... go right NOW especially, because the Fiber Studio is part of the Wool Arts Tour which is going on this very weekend!!!

The Fiber Studio has it all... yarns, lots of yarns for hand knitting, machine knitting and weaving; spinning supplies, including wheels and fiber; weaving supplies; buttons; books and patterns; beads; gifts..... so much.... I loved it!! I had to buy some wonderful hand-dyed sock yarn (ironically from Maine) and some extra beautiful hand-dyed tencel yarn. Pam also has a wonderful space for classes, which I am very envious of. As a matter of fact, I picked up a copy of her newsletter and I am thinking about going back in November to take a class. What a great trip that would be... a NH bed & breakfast and a couple days of fun fiber learning at the Fiber Studio. Yum!!

The reason I went over there was to buy a Toyota knitting machine for sweater production. I did buy it and it is wonderful! But let me tell you, while I was in the barn picking up the knitting machine, I saw a wondrous thing... Pam has, for sale, possibly the most magnificent loom I have ever seen. For one thing it is huge, a 60 inch loom with 12 harnesses and about a billion treadles. For another thing, it is gorgeous, solid walnut, and with graceful, clean lines that reminded me of Scandinavian furniture design. And for a third thing, it is a really good deal: I believe Pam said the loom was $3000, and let me tell you, after seeing it, I think it is well worth the price. Just as a piece of beautiful furniture, this hand-crafted wonder is worth at least that much. I barely even weave, and I want it, just to look at! I mean, jeez, as a comparison....the cheapest Golding spinning wheel costs $4,250.... and this loom is HUGE. The loom is every bit as lovingly hand-crafted as any spinning wheel, too. If I had any place to put it, I would buy it myself. That's it... I need a barn.

Our trip through New Hampshire was beautiful... the leaves were gorgeous colors and the sun was shining. If you get a chance to go out today or tomorrow on the Wool Tour, make sure you visit the Fiber Studio in Henniker, NH! It's a wonderful place. :)

Fun With Penguins :))

Okay. First you have to go here and play with this little drawing game called Line Rider. You draw a line and try to make the penguin toboggan along it without stopping or crashing or whatever. It's harder than it looks! (A broadband connection will make this a whole lot more fun, by the way).

NOW you have to go here and look at a video of a very cool James-Bond style toboggan escape that some multi-talented dudes made with this game.

I can't decide which I love more... Flash games, or James Bond. Or penguins. Did you see the adorable scarf that little guy is wearing???? Somebody who loves him very much knitted that for him, I am sure. :)

Sound effect

Remember this from "It's A Wonderful Life"? Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings..... :)

You know how it is when you're knitting quietly away at a meeting or something, and you drop one of those nice clangy metal double-pointed needles, and it makes a lovely, raucous sound, causing everyone to stop and look pointedly at you? Last night at knitting we decided that every time you drop a noisy metal double-point, someone learns to knit. :)

So y'all, please keep dropping those needles!

Yes. It is expensive....'s cashmere, get over it :)

heh heh

There's a reason why they call it "cashmere", you know. After all, it is pretty up front about the cost. It starts with "cash", after all. Heh heh, ca$hmere, that's how you really should spell it, ha!

Why is it that the things we want the most cost so much? And why is it that cashmere feels soooo good? Everybody wants it, everybody asks for it, but when it comes down to the actual fact of buying it.... man. It is really expensive! All I can say is... it's worth it. And *you're* worth it. One of the things that continues to amaze me (or maybe it's because I am so selfish, I'll give myself anything if I want it) is that nearly every knitter, every woman that I know has a phobic horror of doing anything nice for herself. And nowhere is this more obvious than when a woman is confronted with a luxury fiber.

It is the rare woman who honestly feels that she is worth $100 dollars of cashmere. Isn't that sad? We are all worth so much more than that. Think about what you, as a woman (probably; no men have owned up to reading my blog, LOL) do every day, think about what you give to other people every day. Think about what you get back in return. Granted, I don't expect women to go about scarfing up luxury fibers (heh pun not intended, but quite appreciated) on a daily basis, but geez, a couple times a year, it's the least you deserve. Dang. Buy yourself some cashmere if you want it. Or whatever you love... a new purse, some sexy underwear, a 10 lb. box of chocolates, a trip to the Caribbean. You only go around once in life.

Heh heh. Cashmere. It could change the world.

Aren't you glad I'm blogging again? heh heh heh

Be Careful What You Wish For.... might get it, heh heh.

Okay I am back. Ha! It's all due to Deb who has made many many many attempts to jog me back into the blog thing. Love ya Deb!!

First let me just thank all of you who have missed my silly blog postings :) You are all very dear to me and I really had no idea how much people liked reading my rambling. A friend of the Laukka family (Brenda Laukka, the original owner & founder of Unique One) who currently lives on the other side of the world was visiting here, and stopped by the store today, and she mentioned how much she enjoyed reading it because it was a way to connect to the area. So all of you, this blog's for you!!!! I promise I'll try never to let it lag for so long again. :)

Business at the store seems to be going well, thanks. We didn't have the great summer I was hoping, but maybe our autumn will continue to be strong.... I hope so!!! Y'all please tell all your friends to buy lots of Unique One sweaters & stuff so Beth & Victoria can afford to go to the big yarn show in San Diego in January, 'kay? heh heh. Yup, we're fixin' to go yarn shopping big time in January so we'll have tons 'o fun for you to dig through in February (at the Spa!) and March & April (at the Unique One knitting weekends!) ;)

What am I knitting on.... hmmmm..... socks. I really really really love the new Regia Silk, a blend of wool, silk and nylon that feels so good to knit with and hopefully, to wear. I finished a pair of black socks, am working on navy blue ones now, and have a multicolored one stashed away somewhere nearby for when the navy ones are completed. And before the Regia Silk hit me, I finished a pair of Durasport wool socks and of course my luscious Step socks that I started at last March's knitting weekend. I still love that Step sock yarn, with the aloe & jojoba in the yarn... love it. I do have a skein of that nearby, too....

Oh there are so many, many unfinished projects lying about. Maybe this will be the winter I just play catch-up. Or ketchup. :D

What am I drooling over, wanting to knit? Well, that Vermont Fiber Company's O-Wool organic merino yarn, for one thing. It is all I can do not to throw everything aside and just jump into it. And, Classic Elite's Wool Bamboo yarn.... 50% wool, 50% bamboo, 100% heaven. And the colors, oh my lovelies.... the colors..... *sigh*. I would also love to knit something, anything, out of the K1C2 cashmere we got in over the summer, 100% cashmere in a DK weight, and oh my goodness I wants it my precious... well, yes, it is sort of all mine anyway until *you* buy it, but I want it .... heh heh. We also got a gorgeous bulky weight cashmere from Classic Elite, called "Sinful" and let me tell you, it is appropriately named, in so many ways. I have already knit something wonderful from it, but that will have to wait for another post :))

Okay, so there's a post for ya, Deb! (and everyone else, too -- big kisses to all of you!) I'll try to get back tomorrow night with another post. After all this time with no blog posts, you'd hope I'd have tons of stuff to say, wouldn't you??? and who knows, maybe I have :)