Who am I?

I am just some lady from Pittsburgh, PA who likes to write.

I am married to the boy I chased around when I was 4 with threats of marriage (yep- I caught him!).  We have four kids: two girls, The Big One (14) and The Blonde One (9) and two boys, The Boy (6) and Big B, our 24 year old foster son who is moved out on his own but is still a part of our lives and will always be a part of this nutty family. We also have four wonderful furry family members you'll hear about- our three cats: darling Siamese mix Coca Cola, little gray sickly Clark (he has a liver shunt), and baby Moses the kitten we found in the weeds by the river, and a totally neurotic, excitable, allergic to the world boxer mix- Sparkle.

I am the pastor at a wonderful little church in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and I wouldn't trade my calling for the world!

I ran my first marathon on May 2, 2010 and I'm totally hooked!  I like shorter races, but there's just something about being able to say, "I can run a marathon!"

I knit.  Alot.  Like, you wouldn't believe the amounts of yarn in this house.  There's alot of fabric for sewing too, but it has nothing on the yarn. See, here's the thing.  I started this as exclusively a knitting blog.  And while knitting blogs ALWAYS bleed over to the rest of the knitter's life, I felt like that label was becoming restricting.  I have so much more to offer than knitting.  Now, before you get your Malabrigo in a twist, let me explain.  When I first started this blog, I was at the beginning of a major growing/learning/changing stage in my life.  Knitting is where I began to find myself.  I had crocheted for years, but it wasn't until I started knitting as well and fell in with the "knitting crowd" that needlecraft really began to become a key part of my life.  I got to know a safe group of friends who knit and I discovered I was really, really good at it. For someone with the major self-esteem issues I had/have/will always struggle with, this was a huge breakthrough. I started teaching crochet on the side, and soon after, knitting as well.  As I grew and changed and got better at knitting, I grew and changed and got better at life too. 

Then I realized I could probably do some other things pretty well too if I set my mind to it.  So I set my mind to it.  

This brings us to today.  Those of you who follow my blog and/or know me in real life have probably seen many of these changes happening in me over the past 10 years or so.  And I feel like there's so much more I want to share with you all- all these other things I'm discovering and getting good at.  It just feels weird to talk about them on a "knitting" blog. Even though I don't have the time and energy to keep up two blogs, I want to be able to write about whatever, whenever.  Hence, the decision to change the title and look a bit and start branching out into some other areas of life too.

I struggled for a while with coming up with a new title.  Then I was giggling about how the GPS on my phone says "Squirrel Hill,"  "Squee-rell Hill."  Aha!  The squirrel factor!  Yes.  I owe you an explanation.  So here goes:

One summer day, when Globug was a baby, I bundled her into the jogging stroller and went for a walk in the woods. In the course of the walk, a squirrel fell out of a tree above us and nearly landed on my head.  It wasn't dead, hurt or sick. It hadn't jumped out.  It was just clumsy.  It hit the ground, looked at us with a startled expression on its face, and scampered off.  We continued on our walk and I didn't think about it any farther until dinner that night, when I casually mentioned it to my husband. He responded with something along the lines of, "If I weren't married to you, I wouldn't believe most of the things you tell me like that.  It's not normal for squirrels to just fall on people, but things like that happen all the time when you're around."  We began to call this phenomenon "the Squirrel Factor."  Here are the sorts of things that happen to me as a normal part of life:
  • I once started going to a random knitting group on the other side of the city and met a former circus clown with the most off the charts stories of his travels with the Royal Canadian Circus and with the Salvation Army.  I was telling Hubby about everyone in the group and he said that while he didn't know any circus clowns, the guy sure sounded familiar to him.  Turns out he was a friend of my husband's from high school. Another person I met in that knitting group is now the pastor of a church down the highway just a short bit from mine and is one of my dearest friends. 
  • I routinely find myself calling 9-1-1 for things like car fires and trees falling on moving vehicles.  By routinely, I mean I probably find myself calling 9-1-1 four to ten times a year for things like that.  The really weird thing about one of the car fire ones (yep, I've actually been one of the first to call in about more than one car fire) is that when I called, they said, "Yeah.  We know."  As if it was no big deal.  And then they said good bye. My husband doesn't remember ever having to call 9-1-1 in his entire life and only sees things like this when he's with me. 
  • I've known my husband since I was four.
  • One time, when I was assistant manager at Claire's, I carded Christina Aguilera. I had no idea who she was.  She said something along the lines of, "Do you have any idea who I am?"  She was not amused when I said I didn't, nor did I care. No ID, no piercing.  My manager wasn't amused, either. I was ordered to take my lunch break and not come back out until I was sent for.
The list could go on and on, but these are some of the classic examples.  I run into people I know in the weirdest places, I frequently find myself telling someone about my day and watch their expression grow puzzled as I'm explaining something that seems totally normal to me.  Perhaps it's my slightly odd interest set or something about my personality.  Maybe it's because the older I get, the more I become the sort of person to say, "That looks neat.  I'm going to do it." I don't know.  Whatever it is, we've given it a name.  The Squirrel Factor.  This feels like a good name for a blog that will cover all aspects of my random, abundant life.