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« October 2003 | Main | December 2003 »

29 posts from November 2003

10 to 15 DaysNovember 27, 2003

Here I am! But I’m only back for a minute. Horror of all horrors: I have to ship my computer away for a while to be fixed. Nothing wildly wrong with it – just an internal part that charges the battery – but I want to get it fixed while still under warranty.

But this: It’ll take ten to fifteen business days! Oh, sweet Jesus. I’m one of those TechnoReliant people. If you’re reading this, chances are good you are one, too, and god knows if you have a blog, it’s a certainty. How am I going to do this?

Oh, I’m terrified. Isn’t that silly? It’s not even the thought of being cut off from blogging, which I’m sad enough about, but the thought of sending my whole little baby out there into the world. I’ve seen what the postal services can do to packages. Hell, when I ordered this laptop from HP, FedEx never delivered it. Two weeks later, after many tedious phone calls, it seemed that my computer had just walked away from their Oakland office. HP cheerfully sent me another one, overnight, but WHAT IF THAT HAPPENS TO THIS ONE? I am sentimentally attached. Silly, I know. But I’m not wiping the drive before it leaves me (although I have backed everything up), which means that 477 pages of my novel will be crossing the country without me. All my photos of Italy (also backed up). Lord. My finances, in all their bloody chaos.

Will it miss me like I’ll miss it?

I’m going to have more time, though. I’m giving myself a break from the novel (always an easy thing to talk myself into – hooray! One more excuse to procrastinate). I’ll write, the morning pages at least, but that might be all.

I think I’ll mop. Yeah. I haven’t mopped.... wait, let me think.... Maybe not this year.

Hey! I Swiffer! Big Swiffer girl, me. And I Wet-Swiffer, which cleans the floor with some kind of liquid chemical cleaning agent, so I call it mopping. But actually sponge mopping, down on the floor scrubbing? Not in a looonnnnggg time. Maybe I’ll do that with my extra time. And clean the hall closet. And decide on an archival method to store my knitting patterns (all ideas cheerfully accepted). I’ll knit, of course, but that’s obvious.

So if you don’t hear from me, don’t fret. I’ll be checking email from work when I can, and perhaps browsing a few blogs when I duck into them, but that’s just not the same as reading from home, tucked on my couch, knitting at the same time. Now THAT’S happiness. Browsing blogs at work is rushed and half-assed. I doubt I’ll post at all – half-assed reading is one thing, half-assed writing another (not that my posts are things of great meaning or content, but I like them to be somewhat edited before plastering them up on those great BlogWalls).

For a goodbye – here’s from this morning, before Thanksgiving dinner (fabulous, Christy did it all), before watching Love Actually (silly but JUST the holiday ticket), before the drive up the coast and home. We're all wearing sweaters I made! Not planned, but cool.


I’ll miss you. Come back in a couple weeks? Mwah.

On the RoadNovember 24, 2003

Quick post. Yep, sure am feeling better than I was over the weekend. However, I haven’t been taking it easy, working long shifts with short turns (ten hours off) because now other people are sicker than I. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, though, isn’t it? (Oh, I loved the Cookie Monster....)

Have to go in early tomorrow on my day off for overtime and then I’m driving from work to the folks' for Thanksgiving, so I won’t be posting or checking email until probably Friday night. I’ll be taking the two cats (my catsitter doesn’t do holidays, and can you blame her?) so wish me luck. Sometimes I put the top down on the 'vertible just to drown out the howling. Five solid hours of Digit keening is enough to make me a dog person.

I leave you with the scary fact that my site got hit by a person searching for “Indigo Girls stalker.” That’s frightening for many, many reasons.

And this. I know we know where angora comes from, but look at this. This kills me:


From here (more pics, but slow load). Thanks, OutOut, for the link.

And proof I still knit occasionally, the sleeves and the fronts of the Must-Have, just cast on for the back:



Happy Thanksgiving. Give the love you’ve got – we’re so lucky, ain’t we?

Things Not to Do With Cascade 220 WoolNovember 23, 2003

1) Bungee-jump
2) Caulk
3) Leash a cat
3) Wash in the machine

Okay! I know.

I know! I heard you, I heard that gasp of horror.

How was I supposed to know? I thought felting happened when HEAT was applied. Even some warmth, perhaps. But in COLD water? And just a little agitation?

The secret project felted. Oh, just a little. ON ONE SIDE.

I panic-blocked it – you know the method – where you throw your whole body into the object, twisting and pulling, muttering things about gods and saints and things you wouldn’t want your grandmother to overhear. I think I managed to right it. Almost. How many times have I said I’m of the “never be noticed from a trotting horse” camp? Too many? Is this fate? Taunting me? Testing me? Seeing if I really am a tithing member of the Church of the Trotting Horse?

Well! I am! Vehemently! I’m gonna give this project away at Christmas and ride away quickly. On my trotting horse. And I’ll never be noticed.

I’m feeling better – and THANK YOU for the well-wishes. I really felt like I was on death’s doorstep there for a couple of days. It needed a good sweeping, too, I can tell you that. Back at work today, where I’m going to try to take it easy, but it’s going to be tough to train for ten hours without much of a working voice. But it’s nice to be moving around again. (Oh! Go say hi to Bethany!)

Less AckNovember 22, 2003

Not feeling up for much today, either. The well-wishes mean so much, though. Thank you!

Only this point:
Recently Cari had a post about the song you won’t admit to liking, even though you boogie to it in private. This is along the same line – I have a new addiction to a very embarrassing food.

You know when you’re sitting at the beach or in the park, and you see young mothers feeding their children out of those little plastic pre-stuffed child-food bags? And then you see them sneak a little something into their own mouths? In my mind, that always smacked of eating cat food somehow. It’s just not right. We’re not SUPPOSED to eat baby food.

Oh, my friend, yes. (Deep sigh) Yes, we are.

May I suggest Gerbers Graduates Fruit Juice Snacks? They’re (shhh!) awesome. They’re like gummy candy but with less stick and more sugar. They rock. I bought three boxes the other day at Target and felt a little guilty about it. I was depriving needy children of their sugar high.

Seriously. Go get some. Plus they’re rich in vitamin C. Yup. Those moms on the park bench knew what they were doing. Now you. 'Fess up.

Ack2November 21, 2003

You know you’re sick when you can’t knit. I can’t even bear to touch anything, or have anything touch me, and the very thought of wool running through my hands makes me squirm. And that’s just too sad. A cold, sure, knit away. But this kind of flu? I want to lie in bed and never move again.

But I’m up for a minute to say: Thanks for the comments. I swear to god, I got up just to read them, to make myself feel better. And they work! I love two things when I’m sick, and two things only: 1 – taking my temperature (I have one of those electronic dealies) and 2 – getting nice notes from wonderful people who want me to feel better.

The only thing about being a grown-up and living alone is that you have to take care of yourself. It’s so easy to just let the kleenex pile up on the floor and eat nothing but vitamins and that last piece of wrapped cheese, but it does make you a little sad. Just a little. I was lying on my sofa, thinking of the good old days when my little mama would cater to me, bringing me Nilla wafers and 7-Up, and I wished for one small feverish (101.5) moment that I was little again. And you know what?

That’s when sis Christy came over bearing:
Taco Bell Mexican Pizza
Ginger ale
Nilla wafers
Orange juice
Good wishes

Aren’t I luckiest? Just a little food in my tummy and a lot of love in my heart – I’ll be better in no time and knitting again. Now back to bed with me (101 even).

Ack.November 20, 2003

Not a cold. The effing flu. A good one, too. I hurt everywhere, temperature 102. Going back to bed.

This blows. I even got the flu shot – but that was 10 days ago, and it doesn’t start to protect you for 14. I never get the flu. Hyperbole. I rarely get the flu.

Bleah. (Speaking of which, my site was hit by someone who googled Bleah in Russian. That’s funny to me. Not much else is, though. Teeth chattering....)

We're BAWKin'November 19, 2003

Drumroll please....

The Hot Water Bottle Cozy’s new name is:

Bottleneck Avenger Who’sKnit (BAWK).

Thanks go out to all who helped, especially the Grammar Avenger Who Knits (GAWK), Cari.

The problem, as I told Mopsie, is the damn name of the item that goes inside the cozy (or cosy a La Brainy): Hot water bottle. Could it be a little more utilitarian, please? And if you go to Longs and ask the employees where they carry the hot water bottles, nine times out of ten you get blank stares. “You mean like a thermos?” Where did they grow up? What did their mother give them at night when they were cold? Oh. Central heating. Besides that, I mean.

I won’t attempt to rename the item (although this should happen). But hey, make a BAWK, make someone happy. (Me! The person who gets it will be happy, too, though.) I’ll be happy to email you the pattern.

Knitting Question:

This is Beth’s Boxy sweater (no relation to sister Bethany). Headless, as I had a cold that day, too.


I don’t wear it, as it turned out a little TOO boxy, too wide around. Can I just machine sew the sides closer in and cut out the excess? It’s wool, so the ends will felt a little upon washing.... Why does this sound so simple in my head? Because it sounds so easy, it must be wrong. Will I eff it up terribly if I do this? Help!

And look! I spy a finished Wave-Along! This is from Joan in Reno, and isn’t the model beautiful?



Now I’m off to have a day. I will write today, I pinky swear. I’m getting a cold, so the Tomorrow Goblin is telling me I should just knit and eat the dark-chocolate-covered cherries I bought yesterday, but no. I’ll walk to the coffee-shop and write. And then I have a surprise birthday party tonight for a co-worker’s wife, which should be fun, so I have to chase this cold away. Lots of tea and vitamin C for me. It’s only threatening right now, and my goal is to vaporize it before it grabs me (that makes it sound like a bad horror movie) (but is there a good horror movie?) (enough parentheses).

CozyNovember 18, 2003

And dude, how excited am I that the first Hot Water Bottle Cozy (someone give me a better name, please!) made from my pattern was made by our very own Brainy Lady? You rock, Al!


The morning pages tricked me. It was weird. Why am I surprised? This time around (I’ve been doing them off and on for about seven years) I was using a Pentel roller ball, extra fine. I was proud of myself that I was using a two dollar pen – not getting suckered into the habit I always had of using a fountain pen. Pretentious, I scoffed.

(Not just any fountain pen, but a gorgeous Lady Patrician, seventy years old, that a dear friend gave me.)

This morning? The pages ate three Pentels. All purchased at different times, the morning pages just ate them up and their lives sputtered out. I threw a little tantrum. I have no idea why I was digging my heels in at the thought of using the fountain pen again – maybe I didn’t want to honor the pages that way? Too much commitment? Just being stubborn? But finally I ran out of pens and had to dig the bottle of purple Pelican ink out from the depths of the drawer and I filled the little beauty (the bladder doesn’t work, so filling it just consists of giving her a good dip).

I wrote. And OH! the difference. My hand flew. Of course, flying, you can’t read any of the words. But I ain’t writing the pages for posterity, just for therapy. There’s never been a reason to reread any of them. Lord, if I did, I’d fall asleep. Most of them are pretty heavy with erudite phrases like: Damn, I’m hungry. I have no food in the house. I have to do laundry. What was I going to get at Target again?

But they look better in purple ink, I’ll tell you that. The Lady Patrician is back.

Can I just tell you that there’s a new phenomenon on digital cable television in the Bay Area? Do you have it where you are? They’ve always had those miles of crap radio channels – you know the ones – hip-hop or house or jazz or classical, all songs, all the time, no commercials. And there’s never been one good channel. But we have this new one, lamely titled the Americana channel, and it is amazing. Right now Lyle Lovett is singing – since I sat down this morning, I’ve heard Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Tim O’Brien, Nickel Creek and Steve Earle.... They play the old stuff and the new stuff, the Waifs right next to June Carter Cash – and they display the name of the song and the name of the album. It’s incredible. I’ve given up any thought I had of cancelling my cable. This makes it worth it. This and HBO.

It’s my weekend! Hope it feels that way for you, too!

StarknittingNovember 17, 2003

Okay, Brooke’s given me permission (and thank god, 'cause I didn’t think I could hold it in any longer):

I was sworn to secrecy some time ago (and I did remarkably well, I think) that the lovely and talented Ms. Dar Williams was preggers. Yup. Can you imagine? A bouncy sweet sprite-like sensitive activist like her? Having a baby? Fabulous.

Of course, babies bring one thing to mind, and you know where I’m going with this, right? Baby sweaters.

So I made her one:


The buttons remind me of candy. But, let me say this, it’s quite small. It’s the two-week-old sweater. At about a month, it’ll be too small, I’m sure. I only know it’ll (probably) fit because I made one a little smaller once, and it did fit the baby (for about twenty minutes).

Anyway, I had shown it to Amy Ray and her girlfriend Carrie earlier in the evening. (All right, I’ll admit it – this part WAS thrilling) Amy said, “That’s the cutest thing I ever saw.”

*quick moment of star-struck-edness as she realizes fully for the first time she showed Amy Ray something she knitted*

All right, that’s over. Levelheaded again and now backstage, Brooke introduced me to Dar and I shoved the bag at her. I didn’t really know how to preface it. I couldn’t really say, “Hi, nice to meet you. You don’t know me from your taxi driver, but here’s a sweater I made for your unborn child.” I must have asked Brooke a million times in the last few weeks if it was going to come off as stalkerish. She said it wouldn’t, and I could only believe her.

This is the priceless part: Dar opened it, made the obvious coo-ing noise, held it up and then exclaimed, “I’m not having a KITTEN!”

It’s a leeetle small, did I mention that? Then she said it was her first baby gift (!) and it would make her husband cry.

I felt like doing a cartwheel, right then, right there.

Okay. Whew. I’m so glad I could tell that part of the story. Hanging out with the rock stars ain’t the same without a little knitting thrown in there somewhere, you know? Oh - and check out Brooke's account of the show - much more well-put than my stammering account - I agree with her about everything, especially Patty Griffin. That girl could gild cotton with her voice. It doesn't get much better than the four of them, up on that stage, singing alone and together.

(And to make up for not taking pictures, here's what I wore – and here's the backstage pass and seating assignment stuck to my cords.....)

Now Officially Done being cool. I'm WAY better at being geeky. Let the knitting/watching Carnivale resume.

DarIGNovember 16, 2003

Well, I don’t want to drop names.... You know I hate doing that.....

What the hell am I saying? I don’t ever have names to drop! Let the dropping begin. Sit back.

So my friend Brooke and I go to see the Songwriters concert: Dar Williams, Patti Griffin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Shawn Colvin. An incredible line-up, but in my heart, Dar was the headliner. I’ve been a fan of hers for what feels like forever but what is probably more like eight or nine years.

Brooke’s her pal. I mean it. From the stage, Dar plugged Brooke and her book, at which point it was all I could do not to squeal. The women standing behind us talking (which had been annoying most of the evening, but was tolerable at this point) said, “Oh, are you Brooke?” Brooke nodded, the picture of modesty. I heard a stage whisper and saw out of the corner of my eye a finger pointing in my direction, “I think I know her, too. The one in the white sweater.” I straightened a little and dropped my eyelids, trying to look a little famous.

Oh, yeah, get this: AFTER Dar plugs Brooke, she mentions that Amy Ray is in the audience. You know who she is. If you don’t, go buy ANY Indigo Girls album and get back to me in an hour. You need to be not only familiar with their music, but also be familiar with the fact that I LOVE THEM to understand this story.

Now, let me say that I understand I LOVE THEM is a strong statement. But think of your favorite musical artist in the whole wide world, the one that has shaped you the most as a human being, and then just imagine that you get to watch a Dar Williams concert with her.

Yep. Table for six at the Warfield? Amy, her girlfriend, two of their mutual friends, Brooke, and ME!

And what I was most proud of? That I lectured myself beforehand and really convinced myself that great as it was, Amy Ray is just a woman who likes good music and I was glad to meet her and talk with her. Doesn’t hurt that she plays good music, too. I didn't feel starstruck, just happy to be there.

And backstage later (okay – I’m going to get over myself in about six minutes, I promise), I got to chat a little with Dar and her friends. I got a hug.

(Only regret – didn’t ask for pictures after the show – I was really trying to maintain my “I Could Never be a Stalker, Don’t Worry” pose, but I would have liked one with Amy and/or Dar. There. I said it.)

It was cool. Doesn't that sound like an understatement? I know. But it’s appropriate. If I were over the moon right now, giddy and unable to speak, or moved to tears, I think I would worry about myself. That’s fandom, that’s too much, too far. But I will never be as jaded as to think that the chance to meet admired artists isn’t great. I had a fantastic evening.


My ShellNovember 15, 2003

I’m a Cancer, born July 5th. It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while I go into my own shell. I think something about the concert and being around so many people (while still missing the two who weren’t there) set something off in me because yesterday I did nothing.

I mean: Nothing. Except knit and watch TV. I never even got out of my pyjamas. I REALLY needed to go to the grocery store but instead I ate frozen peas and corn and found some frozen shrimp from Trader Joe’s. It’s amazing what you have to eat in your house if you can't bear the thought of long aisles and wobbly cart wheels (well, wobbly cartwheels would be okay, I suppose. 'Specially in those long aisles...). Frozen whole wheat bagels. Half a bag of incredibly stale chips (I never notice staleness, but these were almost chewy). Cheese that I cut inches of pale blue off of before eating. Six chocolate chips in the bottom of the bag. Chocolate sorbet that my sister brought one day. And it all tasted good!

Now: Back to work, to train. Leaving from there to the City to the next show which I hope will overwhelm me only with its loveliness.

I don’t usually do this. I have regular nights in, nights where I do nothing and am completely alone, but not usually a whole day. It was gorgeous, I gotta tell you. Oh! I finished the Must Have sleeves. Pics later. Happy weekend to you!

OMGNovember 14, 2003

Something NEW to do with Koigu.


The Indigo Girls rock. They’re true artists with fire and passion and a hell of a lot of talent. No matter what, they’re a great show. You can’t help getting tangled in the music, dancing and singing with it. And it’s fun to go with interesting women who are witty and quick and as in love with them as you are.

But I always go to their shows with my sister Christy, who couldn’t come to the show last night. And on top of her not being able to attend, I hurt her feelings on the phone while still waiting in line to get into the Fillmore, so hearing her favorite songs was kinda tough.

And I go to their shows with Jenn, who’s in Ethiopia for a year, who has running (cold) water twice a day if she’s lucky, and who has to carry a flashlight to look for hyenas on her way home from teaching class at night.

I missed them.

But about the show, here you go:
It was great, of course. Audrey (buy her CD, it’s fab) and I wrestled our way to the front where we made a few friends and a few enemies. We stood behind two big-haired people who thought they had invented kissing. But the sound was excellent. They played all the right songs as well as some new ones from their upcoming CD. They played Mystery, which I maintain is one of their best songs ever. “There must be a thousand things you would die for, I can hardly think of two....” Audrey was a great person with whom to watch the show – just the right amount of between-song commentary and she knew all the words.

But Christy wasn’t there. And Jenn wasn’t there. I never really knew that would matter quite so much. After all, the Indigo Girls are my favorite band in the universe, and I was there with a group of beautiful intelligent women .... And I just stood there, missing MY girls.

Brooke, clever girl that she is, got some backstage passes. No pictures, ‘cause that’s WAY taboo, but we did go upstairs afterwards, which was roped off for VIP, and I shook Amy Ray’s hand which, let’s face it, no matter what kind of mood you’re in, is AWESOME. Then we sat around and drank more and sent furtive I’m not a stalker glances at Amy and Emily who were catching up with their SF friends.

Came home a little shell-shocked, I think. Slept badly. Had a FANTASTIC phone talk with Christy as soon I woke up. Made us both feel better, I think. I apologized for being an asshole and she accepted said apology. That always helps. I considered for brief moment how fun it would be to mail Jenn the backstage pass and then I realized that she really might fly home just to punch me. “Hey, good thing you had a backstage pass. I had anti-malarial drugs and no chalk.” (Aside – this is when I become an asshole – when I don’t think things out and through to their logical consequences. When I don’t think before I act or speak. Trying to become better at thinking first.)

Today: To think before acting. To get a cup of chai at my coffehouse and write. To wait for the rain that’s lowering the skies and maybe go grocery shopping for healthy food (and some ice cream).

WhoopsNovember 13, 2003

Pride goeth before a fall. Sure. Pass up yarn from two shops Tuesday? Easy. No problem. I’m not a yarn whore. Nope. Not on Tuesdays, anyway.

But on Wednesdays? Behold. THIS is what whoredom looks like.


Yep. Nine balls of Jo Sharp Tweed Silkroad (mmmm, merino wool, silk and cashmere). That’s some touchable goodness, right there. It’s most likely going to be a zip cardie for me. That was yesterday. I drove to San Rafael (an hour away) to look at buttons. At a shop I heard might carry some yarn.

Some yarn. That’s like saying Costco carries some food. Dharma Trading doesn’t even really carry buttons – I bought what they had, just so I could say I did. Okay. I went there for yarn. Admitting that you have a problem is the first step.

It’s stunning – the enabling I do for myself.

Our Pioneer asked yesterday:

I just came from another blog where BART was mentioned and now you did it too. What is Bart? Is it available over the counter? Is it contagious? Should I be afraid?

BART, darling one, stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit and it’s our sweet little commuter train. It’s definitely Mass-Transit-Lite: doesn’t run all night, doesn’t go too fast, is pretty dang expensive ($2.65 one way into the City). But what I love about it is that there’s a stop less than a mile from my house. And now it runs all the way to San Francisco Airport. This means, effectively, I can walk out my front (and come to think of it, only) door, walk down the street and go to Italy, without having to drive. I don’t know why I think that’s so cool. But it is.

I had another nice day. You know what? Sometimes I feel guilty about my nice days. Isn’t that silly? I feel trivial writing about gamboling in yarn shops and eating with friends: I don’t have kids, I’m done with school (at least for right now), I work full time but have three days off a week, I only support myself and two cats.

But when I get over feeling guilty (MAN, was I supposed to be Catholic), I enjoy days like today. After the shopping accident, I called my friend Monica. We had lunch. Not no restaurant lunch, neither, I’m talking about the best kind of lunch ever – McDonalds, eaten out of the bag on her lawn in the sun, watching 15-month-old Winter cover himself in ketchup and dirt. He likes sticks. At one point, he dumped his fries into the grass. Then he picked a couple up and gummed them. Monica laughed. I think that’s the ultimate proof she’s a good mother, don’tcha think?

Then home, over the Richmond bridge with the top down, playing Death Cab for Cutie and the Long Winters, wearing my sunglasses. (I swear, doll, I was).

Then dinner with a friend. An ex, actually, but I don’t think of her that way. That would lessen her, and that’s impossible. Always a wonderful time with her. You know those people that you just enjoy? That you can sit across the table from and think, “Day-um. This is fun. I want to hear more.” And you lean forward and listen intently and feel right.

A full, round, happy day. No knitting, but that’s on for today, baybee.

Title-less TodayNovember 12, 2003

I can’t believe that y’all notice dates like I do. C’mon. I thought I was the only one who read things into the digital time (and I don’t mean just 4:20). Unfortunately, while I see lots of things in time, loving it when I catch 11:11, I also see penal codes. All day long.

2:45 - Assault with a deadly weapon
3:14 – Indecent exposure
4:17 – Brandishing
2:11 – Robbery
4:59 – Burglary

I could go on and on. I won’t. But I will say that most of the clocks in my house are analog.

Eleven Eleven was good. I took myself under the water on BART and had myself a little artist’s date. First to Art Fibers, where I fondled things. I KNEW there was a reason I hadn’t been there. Escaped without buying anything – not sure how that happened. I promised myself I’d go back when I had a pattern in mind – loved their Scottie #1, wool/angora blend, but not sheddy.

Then, on a suggestion from Indigirl Amy, I went to Urban Knitting Studio on Fell Street, where I fell in love with Rowan Calmer. Gotta get me some of that. Got out of THERE without buying anything, but that was ONLY because Brooke called, saying she’d meet me up the street for eats. I told myself I’d go back, hoping I wouldn’t.

I walked further into Hayes Valley, which is adorable, an area of the City I just don’t know at all. Amy had told me about Fritjz, a place for Belgian fries and beer on the back patio, so we ate, drank, and were happy in the late afternoon.


I had a crepe. She had a salad. But I swear, it was all about the fries and their dips of choice.

A good day. A got-little-done (but I did pay the bills) kind of day, but a good one. Got a pretty strong feeling today’s not going to be much different. REALLY need to buy kitty litter, though.

11/11November 11, 2003

On my weekend. Can now officially relax.

So what am I doing? Today:

Morning pages
Washing the Digit-hurl blanket
Going out for more kitty litter (hello, procrastination)
Paying bills
Cleaning the house
Wandering the City, looking for yarn, hopefully getting together with a friend.

I hope to get to that fun stuff at the bottom. But I have to do the others first. First three are done or in process, fourth is high on the list, and I suppose paying the bills and cleaning can go to hell if I don’t get to ‘em. Isn’t it Annie Lamott who talks about no one on their death bed wishing they had scrubbed more toilets? Something like that. (Sick secret: I love to scrub toilets. Floors, not so much.)

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. Eleven eleven. Eleven is my favorite number and I always think you can’t go wrong on a day like today, although once I broke my foot while WALKING across the Golden Gate Bridge on this day. BUT it was offset by me being on a terrific first date that led to a terrific relationship – she came to the hospital with me and held my hand and made me laugh.

Two years ago to the day, my mother and I sat in the square in Siena (there’s only really one, and it ain’t square) and drank red wine. We felt happy, lucky, and blessed. She'd had colon cancer surgery two months prior on the same day that terrorists hit the WTC, and for these reasons we weren’t sure we would honor our plane tickets. But we did, and it was the most wonderful trip I’ve ever been on. I remember sitting in that square, as we watched the locals walk past in the lowering dusk, lifting our glasses until our cheeks were pink, toasting her health and our luck and our blessedness.

Mmmm. On that wonderful memory, I wish you a very happy Eleven Eleven!

November 9, 2003

Good lord, I’m tired. Migraine again last night. Tired all day. While training is interesting and makes the time pass quickly, it’s HARD.

Stepped out of my car tonight in front of my house and I smelled the most amazing smell. It’s unbelievable, and I can’t think how to describe it. Hmmmm. You know that autumn smell of wood-fires burning? It was that, in the crisp, cold air, with the full moon hanging bright, but it was married with the strongest smell of cinnamon! It was holiday paradise. I felt like I was walking through a Hallmark commercial. Surreal.

I thought, Damn, my life is good. I was happy to open the door and greet Adah, happy to go into the back yard and find Digit, who ran meowing to my feet, happy to feed both of them.

MUCH less happy when Digit projectile vomited all over the living room. All over the blanket I made for Beth years ago (and which I’m keeping for her while she’s on the roadtrip). All over the corduroy couch.

Deep breaths. Lots of 409. No more food tonight. For either of us.

But it’s fall! Isn’t it the best? I can’t wait for my weekend – I want to rent movies and sit on my couch and knit the Must Have and oh yes, did I mention I’m seeing the Indigo Girls on Thursday? And Dar Williams on Saturday? (and I’m broke, but it’s worth it.)

Hope your moon is bright.

PlayNovember 7, 2003

I did it, I wrote. I’ve discovered (and what writer hasn’t, except me apparently?) that it’s GREAT to write at the coffeeshop. I always thought there would be too many distractions. And it’s true, there are a lot of ‘em. Weird-looking dogs. People who sing. People who talk on their cell phones WAY too loudly (common courtesy, folks, that’s all I’m sayin’).

But you kinda look up, you notice, you look back down and go on working. At home I have SO many more distractions, and there’s always the option of standing up and doing other things, all those other little things that absolutely must get taken care of right now. When you’re out of the house, those reminders are gone. It’s fun just to sit and write and drink chai and dream. Felt like playing.

I love that feeling.

It also felt like playing last night when I took BART into the City to meet the girls for knitting. It was raining and I got incredibly lost walking around looking for the bar where we were supposed to meet. I had Yahoo-mapped the directions, which is, let’s face it, not always the best way to go. I ended up about three-quarters of a mile down Delores in the wrong direction, in the rain. But it was awesome. Lost in the rain, on SF streets, it felt romantic and adventurous. If I had never found the bar, it would have turned into something quite irritating, but I called my friend Brooke who knew exactly where I was supposed to be and how to get there.

And so I ended up at Papa Tobey’s Revolution Art Bar Cafe. Yup. With the sliding walls opened all the way to the street and the rain, with its drunk cowboy who’s apparently a regular, with acoustic music sung by extremely sensitive women, with the back of the bar filled with eight or nine knitters, it was awesome.

Part of the group:


The cowboy, playing chess and drinking under the overhang, next to the rain:


But hey. Knitting cables by candlelight, two beers down, without a cable needle? Daring, to say the least. I swore quietly. A lot. But it was worth it.


Working fourteen hours Saturday, so I’ll see you Sunday?

A quick word to say Happy Friday (my Monday) and it's off to work with me. Didn't get up early today - had too much fun at the bar knitting last night. Will tell you about it later. In the meantime, Bethany's settling in.....

November 6, 2003

Three posts in one day? I can't stand it.

First, must say that Debbie Stoller bought yarn from my friend Kira at Art Fibers this afternoon. Uh-huh.

And second, look at what Missa whipped up. And I mean it took her about forty-two seconds to come up with two (excellent) choices. I chose this one:


Steal it!
Link it!
Whoo hoooo! We're tatt-ing now, and we don't need no shuttle, neither.

And speaking of cats,

holy cow, I love this story from alison.


I have identified and named my main goblin. (For those of you just jumping in the creative-process-talk that’s been going around some of these blogs, a goblin is that little voice that keeps you from doing your best work. Or any work at all.)

My big guy, my biggest problem, is the Tomorrow Goblin. Oh, he’s slick, all right. Today’s not quite right, he says. Sure, you’re a good writer. You’ll finish that novel and you’ll start another one. I have no doubt about that. But today you have to work a twelve hour shift and stop at the grocery store when you get off. Write tomorrow, you deserve a break today. – Or – Today you’ll barely have time to blog and do the morning pages before you have to be at the dentist and then you’re meeting the girls at the movies, you’ll have so much more time tomorrow. You’ll do such a great job tomorrow. Just relax today. – Or – Today you’re just in a non-creative mood. You’d do better to sit on the couch and knit and let the writing well fill up on its own. Tomorrow’s going to be such a fabulous writing day for you!

You see? He’s a flatterer. I eat that shit up. Yeah? I’ll do good tomorrow? Okay, today I should take it easy, then. All right. Who’s going to feed me those grapes? Concierge! *snap*

(And to those of you not involved in deconstructing the creative process, we are not crazy. These aren’t (in my case) actual voices we hear coming from grizzled little guys with pointy ears and curled shoes. These are the things we say to ourselves in rapid, mostly unnoticed thoughts. Mighty effectively, I might add.)

I’ve got other goblins that come to visit, but I’ve been dealing with them for years. I know what to do to trick them. To the Editor Goblin I say, have a seat. As soon as I’m done with this, you can tear it apart. And then I lock it away while he sulks. Most of them sulk, come to think of it. But the Tomorrow Goblin is crafty and makes me feel good. If I were on a diet, he’d be the one telling me that because I witnessed that fender bender on 3rd Street I deserve that ice-cream sundae for my stress – I can always eat better tomorrow.

But you know what? Yesterday, I kicked his ass. I dragged him kicking and screaming down to the tea shop where I made him stand outside in the cold while I got a huge chai and wrote sitting in one of the deep couches. He didn’t wait for me – when I went outside he had left for parts unknown. Probably out on a goblin bender, tossing back the spiked antifreeze. He’s getting closer today, I can feel it. I have to go get a flu shot this morning – he’s whispering that I might feel funny after it, it might be better to plan on writing tomorrow.

Hey. Today’s good. It’s that simple.

Oh! Big shout out to Steph – I’m working on the sleeves of the Must-Have (doing it in the wool called for, Paton’s Merino Classic Wool, in Natural Mix, a nice oatmeal color ) and I got to a line that I COULD NOT DECIPHER. I sat and fought with it for half-an-hour, almost coming to tears over it. (Thank god I did my writing early yesterday. The TG would have won, right there.)

The instructions were, over a 3 st group, K1, yfwd, K2togtbl. Hey, here’s what they left out: WTF? Yarn forward? Huh? If I bring the yarn forward, how the hell can I possibly knit 2 together through the back loop? And that makes a decrease, and I’m not SUPPOSED to make a decrease! I was ready to stab the carpet with my bamboo needles. I sent an SOS to Steph, who’s making the same thing.

And she saved me: It was a language barrier! Who knew? In Canada and Britain, yarn forward means yarn over! That tiny detail cleared it all up, and this is where I’m at:


Ain’t it fun? I’m in love with it. Sleeves always seem to take so long, but I know I should just enjoy the ride. Off for a flu shot. And then to write. Yup.

Total Time WasterNovember 5, 2003

Yep. This is the reason I'm still sitting here.

I only got 72. We didn't have cable when MTV came out. Okay, we never had cable.


Man, today I was going to say: Hey! The signing for the new Stitch ’n Bitch book is tomorrow night in San Francisco, let’s go! I had images of meeting up with some of the San Francisco bloggers and putting names to faces. I had already planned to meet up with friends afterward to knit at a bar downtown, so I thought it would be perfect.

Then Kira pointed out that the San Francisco signing is in Walnut Creek. Whatever. The one time I’ve already made plans to be in the City, something cool is happening in the East Bay? Lord. But I figger I can buy the book anytime and I’d rather have a beer and work on my Must-Have Cardigan that I’ve finally started, so I’m foregoing the signing tomorrow.

The Must-Have:


FMS. Fear of Missing Something. One of my girls (Cari, Em, alison, can’t remember which one) said they had that, and I got it bad. What FMS leads to is overbooking, which leads to exhaustion, which leads to flaking. No one likes a flake. But at least I try to admit it when I think I’m going to. Brooke called me the other night to try to get me out to a Halloween party. I was soooo tired from working all day and I did that whole, “Cool, I’ll try to meet you there. Don’t expect me, but I’m hoping I’ll get there.” She said, “Don’t flake!” I said, “Oh, it’s highly likely that I will.” There. Warning given.

But I do promise the girls (Kira and Rachel) so often that I’ll come see them in the City and then flake out that I’m not giving this one up.

FMS. Hey, sometimes you really DO miss something. You know my Stitch’n’Bitch that I used to lead? I held it on the first Sunday afternoon of the month at the gay bar down the street from my house. I’d have anywhere from three to fifteen people there sometimes, and it was great. I had to cancel the whole damn thing when I switched shifts – I’ll be working Sundays for the next six months. I took the listing off all the bulletin boards, off the websites where it was posted. I felt sad.

Then Tara said, “Hey, I’m going to the SnB this Sunday.”
I said mournfully, “I’m sorry, I cancelled that. I can’t lead it anymore.”
“No, my friend who owns the yarn store is holding it.”

Okay. Now I’m replaceable. AND to add insult to injury, I asked Tara later if it was fun. “Yeah, it was great. You know, the editor of Bitch magazine came.”

Sometimes you do miss something.

Oh, well. Ain’t gonna miss nothin’ today. I’m going to start my laundry here in a minute, and that’s my cue to sit on the couch for three hours while it washes and dries. I sit and knit and read all the blogs I haven’t had time to read all week. I LOVE laundry time. Then I’m going to walk to the local coffee shop and do some writing. Maybe I’ll do that whole writer-angst thing and dress in black and try to look soulfully pained. Or maybe I’ll just stay in what I’m already wearing, sweatpants and my Lo-Tech and be a comfy East-Bay writer instead. Or just be Rachael. I like that the best.

The IndignityNovember 4, 2003

It’s hard to type with a large, heavy, needy, kneady, somewhat smelly body trying to suck the front of your sweatshirt. Digit is the terror of the neighborhood (thus the smell of dirt on his coat) but is the quintessential pansy at home. He hisses and spits and acts like he hates Adah and is going to send her on to her maker in about fourteen seconds, and she just rolls her eyes and walks right by him to the food bowl.

So Digit’s on me right now. Adah, however, is on the bed, still sleeping off last night’s indignity. She a bathtub cat. I know. You can hear it coming, can’t you? Every night she sits on the edge of the tub and I pet her with one wet hand and hold the New Yorker with the other. Two years we’ve done this. Never a problem.

Last night, the bath was WAY too hot, so I was edging myself in, and she thought it was petting time. I gave her a cursory pat while trying to breathe through the scalding heat. She thought it was a real pet, leaned in and slipped.

Luckily, she wasn’t injured. Luckily, *I* wasn’t injured. She managed to hurl herself up and out of the water without using me for purchase, thank god. She started to bolt and then stopped, standing completely still in the middle of the bathroom, water running from her soggy legs and bottom. I think she was just trying to make it all go away. I laughed so hard for so long that Digit actually walked into the bathroom (he generally avoids that room). He stared at me laughing, put his tail down and stalked out. I laughed ‘til I cried. Am I terrible? Adah still isn’t over it. I hope she does get over it, though. There’s nowhere nicer to pet a kitty who drools than in the tub. You can wash your hand right off and start over.

Off to work today – yep, it’s a day off, but they needed a quick 8 hour slot of OT filled because someone called in sick, and I’m happy to do it. Christmas is coming and the purse is slim. Need to money.

New knitting update tomorrow, I promise. Happy y’all have found the secret. It’s like a big blog scavenger hunt, no? Happy day to you.

Wheee!November 3, 2003

I finished the secret project! And it's up on the web! Those of you who know where I love to buy yarn, it's there. Those of you who don't, or are possibly related to me and don't know what the secret project is, DON'T SNOOP! If you can't figure out where it's posted and you don't think I made it for you, email me. I'll tell you where to look.

Hee! Makes me happy.

Training DayNovember 2, 2003

Thanks for all the positive comments on the Sweater I Hate. Maybe I’ll wear it sometime....

It’s raining here tonight – just started as I was driving home. I love the sounds I’m hearing right now: Digit’s rough tongue washing himself, the hiss of the gas heater next to me, the people upstairs thumping about (somehow homey), the rain falling in large enough drops outside that they’re making that plopping sound, the occasionally great THUMP as Adah hurtles her little body at the bathroom door, hoping to get out so she can steal Digit’s food. Okay, that last isn’t a nice noise. It’s a pretty funny one, though.

Look! This is cool. Adah has her own little doppelganger. This is Adah:


Shelley in England (from Jane):


I had a migraine yesterday. A real one. I was at work, and the headache started up and just kept getting worse. I have new respect for all you sufferers out there. It sucked. Understatement. Not only did I just want to lie in the dark and/or die, but I got snappish and teary and all out of sorts. I also turned stupid and refused to go home sick, preferring to play the martyr. How annoying I must have been. I woke up this morning feeling completely sick and hung-over. The hang-over with none of the fun. Shite.

And today I started training a new person at work. It’s kind of big deal for me – I’ve dodged the trainer bullet for a long time. Scared, I guess. Dispatching is just such an impossible thing to teach – it generally takes about three to five months, sometimes longer. It took me three years to start to get comfortable with the job, and training feels like stepping back to the beginning, somehow. Reliving the agony. I had a dream last night that I was trying to talk to the trainee and she wouldn’t listen to me and when I looked down I had forgotten to put on shoes. It was awful.

I talked constantly for almost ten hours today, until I was hoarse, and I said almost nothing. For everything I taught her, I thought of forty-seven other things that she absolutely had to know right at that very moment. Frustrating and difficult, but somehow satisfying. Don’t quote me on that.

(But training is going to be so all-consuming for the next month that I won’t be posting as often. Or as well, for that matter. I’m sooo brain-fried right now. I feel like I’ve used my allotment of words for the whole week, just today. And it doesn’t really allow for me to take a break, so no writing on my lunch break. MUST WRITE AT HOME. Must not rely on work breaks to get my writing done. Hold me to it, kay?)

Off to make a lamb chop (wish me luck) and take a bath. And off to bed early tonight, ‘cause I’m gonna get some writing in before work tomorrow morning. Yippee! Hope you’re as happy and warm and dry as I am tonight. I lurve fall, don’t you? Knittin' weather if I ever felt it.

Love/HateNovember 1, 2003

I had a lovely phone conversation the other day with Leslie of Nake-id Knits. It was the first time I’d ever spoken to a blog-friend, and it really was weird at first. Then we fell into it – just as you’d think would happen. What I found curious were not only the connections that we’re all already aware of (the knitting, the writing, the cats, the (generally) liberal stance, the graciousness of spirit), but also our shared rapidity of speech, an ability to zoom from one topic to another and back again. It must be the knitting. The ability to make it up as you go along. She’s of the “trotting horse” school of thought, as am I (as opposed to someone like Becky whose finishing work is the stuff dreams are made of). It was a blast to talk about this kind of thing, to reference familiar blogs in our conversation, dropping names and sites, knowing we’re all just one big ole happy family.

I love it. We’re lucky, don’tcha think?

Plus, I get some great readers who are non-knitters who boost my spirits in just the same way. The other day my friend Nichole called me just to say she had read the virtual highway entry and wanted to thank me for making her laugh. She doesn’t knit, but she loves me despite my obsession. And special props go to Brandy and Kathy, who have read since day one, who make me feel so special. (One day Kathy’s son was in dispatch, and she said to him, “Oh, David, this is the website lady.” I didn’t think he’d really know what the hell she was talking about. Yeah, Mom. Whatever you say. But he exclaimed, “No yoga in the bathtub!” I almost fell off my chair. He knew me, all right.) And Brandy's a knitter now!

Didn’t know this post was going to be a love-fest. But it is. There you go. Thanks for reading, thanks for being my friends. It means more than you know. Or heck, maybe you do.

Anyway – what I WAS going to talk about is the opposite of a love-fest. Yep. A knitting hate-fest. It’s what I haven’t been talking about (no, it’s not the Secret Project, but that's done, too) because I was too busy just making it.

I hate this sweater. Hate (almost) everything about it. Won’t frog it because I hate ripping out my knitting and I hate this yarn. Not worth rewinding. It’s just Plymouth Galway Highland Heather, color 741 – not even that despicable a fiber. Good solid hundred percent wool. Nothing fancy. It’s the color I despise. What was I thinking?

In the sun, it’s beautiful. In the sun, there are hints of yellow and blue under the mint green. MINT! Aaaaaarghhhh! And how often do you wear a sweater in the sun? Huh? Huh?

And the pattern, a photocopied no-name travesty, is unavailable anywhere on-line. For good reason. I can’t even begin to document how many problems there were in the pattern. Just plain wrong, written in language that was just plain stooopid.

For these reasons, and for the sake of my sanity, I cut it short. Whap! It was supposed to have full sleeves with the pattern done down the arms. No fucking way. It got cap sleeves just so I could bind it off yesterday, for once and for all.

The thing is, I hate it too much to even give it away. That’s when you know it blows. The only way I find it tolerable is layered under black, which means I’ll wear it only on winter nights when I know it’ll be cool enough to keep two layers on (I overheat quickly). While cap sleeves might look good on some, they don't on me, baby. I’m a tank-girl. Cap sleeves make my arms look like thighs.

Enough ranting. Here’s the monstrosity:


A detail of the twists which were pretty all right, I suppose, once I rewrote the (almost wrote “code”) pattern:


Digit weighs in:


Me dancing in black. Trying to cheer it up.


Sheesh. At least it’s over. Mint.... Grumble....

No post tomorrow, no time, so have a great weekend! See you Monday! Mwah!