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26 posts from April 2004

I *heart* NYApril 30, 2004

Our first meeting with Em!

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In'int she gorgeous?

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At the March!

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The Cutest Marcher:

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The next day, lunch with Wendy!

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Our lovely Lady:

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And how she sometimes appears:

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Don't tell his mom, but Scout sometimes sleeps on sock yarn.

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Knit NY!

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Cashmere at School Products..... I love Michelle.

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I love Cari.

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And I love Alison, too.

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Bethany found that Central Park has good swings!

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Up in the castle:

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Cherry blossoms are in season:

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Tulips are, too.

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In front of the Chelsea Hotel, the home of poets, writers, and artists of all sorts. Bethany's trying to look inscrutable. I think she succeeds:

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Very happy:

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Cari is proof that yes, knitting IS sexy.

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A goodbye kiss (note that gorgeous Rosedale....)

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Whew. Deep breath. Now the post. But all I have to do is pretty much cut and paste, so here y'are, m'dears.

Friday, April 30th

We just left New York. I’m on a bus that runs between the New York and DC Chinatowns. Beth’s sitting across the aisle from me, knitting, and I’ve decided to hope that I’ll be able to download this post from my very own computer when we hit the hotel in Maryland later today. So far, carrying the computer hasn’t been the best choice. I’m still hoping it’ll pay off, though....

I’m semi-heartbroken to leave New York. It’s not a full heartbreak, though, because I know I’ll be back. When I leave a city like Prague or Paris, I have a vague hope that I’ll return. But cities like Venice and New York, my return is assured. Completely.

The best part of the trip so far? Being with my Brooklyn girls. I already loved them, you knew that. But actually being with Em and Cari, in the flesh, was a different and wonderful thing. I think I was only able to articulate it when I met Cari’s dogs for the first time. I had heard stories about them and seen pictures of them for so long, but when they were before me, in three dimensions, I finally met them. I finally knew them.

Actually, that’s how this whole trip has been so far. The flat, two-dimensional New York of books and movies became fleshed out in front of me. I understood the spatial relations of sidewalks against walls. I discovered how long it took my particular feet to cross Central Park. I tasted that knish, bought from a street vendor, that every newcomer has to taste. (Actually, I was way cool when I ordered our snack. “Two knishes.” “Mustard inside?” “Yeah.” Took the knish. Nodded at the vendor. Then turned back into Rachael and leaned in and told him, “This is our very first knish ever! We’ve never had one! I’m so excited!” And man, was it worth it.

Yesterday Bethany and I had the most marvelous New York kind of day. We took the subway in from Brooklyn and went to the Chelsea Hotel. We goggled a little. Then we ate Krispy Kremes across the street. I believe I inhaled three of them without exhaling once. Then uptown to the Park. Well, we thought we were going uptown, but by then we were both getting cocky. Yeah, this subway system is easy. We got it. We know it. Uh-huh. Oh, shit, we’re across the river and not in Manhattan anymore. We really did go uptown via Queens (which is kinda like going from Fisherman’s Wharf to North Beach via Oakland), but the subways are so damn fast and efficient that we were back uptown in a flash.

Central Park was insanely beautiful. The sun was shining, and the cherry blossoms were in bloom. We climbed the castle and rambled the Rambles (I know, but it was daylight – we saw no illicit sex going on, darn it). For Christy, we found the Dakota and went to Strawberry Fields and watched the nations throw flowers at John Lennon’s circle. We kept passing places that rang those 2D bells. Oh! What show were these benches in? (Sex and the City.) Where have we seen this bandstand before? (Breakfast at Tiffany’s.)

Bethany travels at the same pace I do. Lots of walking followed by prolonged periods of eating, resting, and people watching. After a quick tour of Madison Avenue, we went back to the East Village, which is by far my favorite section of New York. We drank beer on the sidewalk in the sun and watched the clothing/hair go by. I have now realized that Californians really don’t know crap about dressing. They think they do, but New Yorkers have that confidence that just makes ‘em look GOOD, no matter what they’re wearing.

I was just talking to Bethany and realized we really hadn’t bought any souvenirs. We didn’t shop at all, actually (you leave that cashmere outta this). I did buy a crappy NY tee shirt that I plan to sleep in, and yesterday, after our day out, I took Bethany back to Knit NY to have a cup of coffee and to knit for a little while. I bought one of their shirts, and I’m glad. After my all-day yarn excursion on Wednesday, and our knit-night at Cari’s, I can now say, Yes. I did Knit New York.

** Friday night: Now at the high-speed internet connection at the Sheraton, I’m glad I brought the computer. Still no time to catch up on blogs or email, I’m sorry, but I’ll do that when I get home. The bus ride was uneventful, but rather miserable. They put on a Chinese kung-fu romance at an amazing volume, and I couldn’t stop watching it. I was also pretty stoned on Aleve because in the subway in Chinatown NY, I pulled a muscle in my back. I was trying to go through the turnstile while reaching for my heavy suitcase on the other side. I scared poor Bethany to death because I found myself still leaning over the turnstile, only able to say, “Stuck. Stuck. STUCK!” She ran all around me, trying to get me unstuck from the mechanics, but it was just my body that wouldn’t move. She carried my suitcase the six blocks to the bus, and I tried to keep still for the rest of the ride. Ever tried to do that for four hours on a swaying bus? Oy. But the drugs helped, and I’m in the hotel now, and I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be good as gold tomorrow for the Sheep and Wool Festival! I can’t stand it! See you there?

Oh, I Got the Cone.April 29, 2004

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I'm in School Products in New York. This was our last stop on our Yarn Crawl of New York, and yes, behind me is Em and Cashmere. Not shown are Cari and Iris of Unfurnished Brooklyn.

CAN YOU TELL HOW HAPPY I AM?

It's ridiculous. Yesterday I had cashmere (a 2lb pound of lovely green and 2 small hanks) and pierogis (both potato and spinach) and an egg cream (?) and a gander at a lot of the City. Today, Bethany and I will tackle the City on our own. We leave tomorrow, but I don't want to!

I have so much more to write. You know I do. I can write reams on the way I buy toilet paper, but today there are things to do (and eat). Ciao.

April 28, 2004

From this:

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and this:

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(thanks, Maureen, for the photos), to THIS:

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Sigh. I love New York. Doy. Didn't I know I would? I think I was a teensy-tinsy bit worried that I might not, but I do. Falling head over heels already. Yesterday found us waiting in line on a busy street in the East Village. I felt so cosmopolitan. Waiting, with all the other busy New Yorkers. Oh! What were we waiting for, you ask? Tickets to the Producers? Waiting for entry to the hot new club? Oh. Uh. No. Free cone day at Ben and Jerry's.

We went to the Statue of Liberty first thing. I met the Manhattan skyline properly, with the polite handshake followed by the kiss on the cheek which she deserves. But by the time the ferry pulled back in to Battery Park, I was flattering her with my most effusive compliments, hoping that she'll love me back. The rest of the day was just spent wandering with our fantastic and lovely tour guide, Em. Then we had dinner with Cari. I can't even TRY to describe her. She's all I thought she would be and more. Double sigh. I'm totally, wonderfully happy and satisfied.

Especially since today is our Yarn Crawl. We're meeting at Knit NY in less than an hour, and then it's ON. Yarn, the whole day. Expect exhaustion later. Bethany's out meeting the city by herself this morning. She likes yarn, but maybe not QUITE as much as we do.

I'm sorry I'm not checking email, but I am thinking about you. Really. In and around the yarn fantasies. From New York City, MWAH!

Bush, Stay Out of MineApril 27, 2004

My favorite sign slogan. Damn, I love that.

Yo. I'm sittin' in Brooklyn. Yes. Yes, I am. I brought my laptop with me, and I've been writing just a little bit, but it's been soooo hard to find the time to write what with all the marchin' goin' on. At some point I'll get to a point on this trip when I can download all my pictures and show you a photoblog, but for now, just go read Em. She writes about the day so beautifully.

Seriously, it was one of the best things I've ever done. To sum up incredibly briefly: We marched. We were at the beginning of the march, but still hit walking traffic -- those bottlenecks that prevent motion but promote talkin' to your neighbor. We were all the best of friends. Walking past the White House, the chanting and yelling got exponentially louder (that's actually how I knew to look over and see the little manse). Darling Maggi was there, with her extra-darling Wee C., who thankfully slept in her backpack while we marched past all the bloody signs the opposition were holding. Whew. I mean BLOODY. But we didn't look. Instead, we chanted, and the chanting got louder as the screams from the Pro-Lifers got more vitriolic. At one point, I found myself leading one: Picking it up from a woman next to us, I would yell, "Keep! Abortion!" and the people around me would yell, "Safe and legal!" I felt frightened and strong at the same time.

Our knittin' group (about eight strong, see Em for details) marched into the Mall and set up camp. We broke out our knitting and shared our sandwiches (I can't wait to show you the snaps of C diving across the lawn for mouthfuls of my turkey). SO MANY people wanted to know more about Knitters Against Bush and where we got out tee shirts. Older women were gratified to see people still knit, and younger people just thought we were cool. (Maureen, you rock.)

We walked out of the Mall, after sitting and listening to speakers for almost three hours (like Madeleine Albright, Gloria Steinem, Whoopi Goldberg, Camryn Manheim, Ashley Judd -- not to mention THE INDIGO GIRLS!), only to find to find that people were still streaming in, full force. We stopped, astonished, and asked someone, "You're not actually still marching?" This was FOUR HOURS after we had started walking. When they said Yes, Em and I burst into tears. It was overwhelming.

I didn't mean to write this much. I only meant to say hi.

I'm sitting at Michelle's computer, and it's a sunny day in Brooklyn, and this is my first day EVER in New York. So I have to go. But here are a few pics I was able to get off my camera phone.

Bethany behind Tach, in front of the Watergate.

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Me, on the lawn of the Mall.

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Me! Em/Michelle! Maggi!

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Knitting has been all around us. Yesterday, we knit, like, ALL day with the lovely Maeve and the fantastic Wendy (hi, girls! Pictures to follow at a later date!). Drank some beer. Took the bus that runs between DC and New York Chinatowns. Today is for exploring, tomorrow is for yarn shopping and more knitting (with the lovely CARI). After that, no plans. Ramblings with Bethany.

Keeses to all.

The March for Women's LivesApril 23, 2004

This is why I'm going.

Molly Ivins:

Over 335 new state laws restricting a woman's right to choose have been passed in the last eight years. Eighty-seven percent of U.S. counties have no safe abortion provider. Twenty-four states have mandatory delays and state-prepared anti-choice propaganda. Anti-condom policies not only result in unwanted pregnancies but an increase in AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Right-wing legislation gives fertilized eggs more rights than women. Doctors are prevented from giving accurate information about birth control and abortion rights to their patients. Anti-choice terrorists continue to murder and bomb, intimidate and harass, but the Department of Homeland Security has no time for those terrorists. This is for our lives. Be there.

Full article HERE. Be there.

Bungee Jump

I called Bethany yesterday and she was in Super Stealth Mode, so she spoke in almost a whisper. She was parked in a nice little suburb of Georgetown and didn’t want residents to know she was getting ready to sleep in her truck. I told her where our hotel in Georgetown was located, and she realized she was just across the street from it. Heh. I told her to thumb her nose. Sleepin’ for free, baybee. After two weeks of travelling with me, I think she might have a hard time going back to the camper shell.....

I leave tonight!

I’m not packed!

I don’t know why I’m enjoying this so much, this non-organization. So unlike me. It’s the Rachaelized version of bungee-jumping. Wheeeeeee! I’ve made lists of the necessary phone numbers and addresses. That’s about it. I think I’ll go buy some moleskin (it’s going to be a long day of marchin’ I think) and then I’ll finally start pulling things out to pack. I travel light – one suitcase and a backpack, both carry-on.

People who are going to see me on this trip: Be advised, I bring three outfits when I travel. One to wear, one to dry after hand-washing, and one for emergencies. I always have laundry hanging around, and Bethany’s truck will see my damp socks everyday, I imagine. So if in person or in pictures you think, hey, isn’t Rachael wearing that again? And again? The answer is yes. That leaves more room for yarn, don’tcha know? (I remember having to buy a second pair of shoes in Italy because my only pair got soaked. Hard times. Don’t you just HATE buying shoes in Italy?)

Vaguely thinking about taking my laptop. I could write everything up when I get home, or steal time on other computers, but I’d like the ability to get in bed at night and write a little bit, before the memory goes stale. Hopefully I’ll get to download it to blog-able form, but if not, you’ll get the Great Travelogue when I get home in two weeks. I think I’ll just wait until I’m packed to see if I have a safe travel space for it.

The Frantic Bella progresses. Two sleeves down. I love making sleeves first, especially in a lace or cabled pattern. You learn how the pattern works in a smaller space. Less to rip if ripping’s needed.

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She’s Calmer and she’s soft. Yup.

So, hey. I’ll catch more than a few of you in Maryland (spot/hug the blogger), but for those I don’t, there’s always next trip, right?

I’m so flipping excited! Ciao!

By GeorgeApril 22, 2004

Here’s a shot of George in the morning. [Please don’t EVER think he’s named for the president. My George is beautiful and intelligent.] Yesterday I came home at five in the morning from work, and this was taken in the early pre-dawn light. The camera picked up way more light than my eyes could, but I like how the poppies are still closed, sleeping, waiting for the sun.

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And a woodshed, for Em.

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The next door neighbors, a young couple who are redoing their house, are eventually going to fix up their yard and put up a fence. I don’t blame them. They have a lovely huge backyard and right now it’s my front yard. There are no barriers and no boundaries; their plants come right up to my front doorstep. They have two small children, and they need a fence of some sort. I understand that. I kind of know in my heart, also, that George rests right along the imaginary fence line, and he’ll probably have to go. Even if he didn’t get uprooted, I wouldn’t be able to see him with a fence, so I’m spending as much quality time admiring him as I can.

Ooooh. Even though I totally understand, I’m going to HATE a fence.

And here’s sister Christy! Socks! Koigu! She’s going into her very last month in the graduate program at Berkeley in Environmental Planning. She needed some hot pink socks to keep her happy and focused. Yep.

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And to complete this quick, disjointed post, a thought from Silvia, with whom I discussed the need for a loose knitters support group. She suggested several fabu slogans, including “Loose knitters are sexy.” I’ll say. Snort.

Media Darling

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LOST SHEEP: Shepherd Daniel Devine carries this merino ("Shrek"), which has evaded shearing for six years on New Zealand's South Island - and has the wool to prove it. STEPHEN JAQUIERY/OTAGO DAILY TIMES/REUTERS

More HERE. Thanks, Maeve, for the heads up!

Setting UpApril 21, 2004

Bethany “They’re already setting up for the March!”
Rachael - “How could you tell you were in the right area?”
“I was in this place where they were putting up banners, and I wondered, and then the speakers started blaring Sarah McLaughlin."
"Oh. Yeah."
"Dude! I just almost got hit by a limo!”
“Are you driving through DC and talking to me at the same time?”
“I’m NOT driving!”

T minus how many days? Four? Jaiz, I’m getting freaking excited. I’ve done almost nothing to get ready for the trip, though. I am the biggest packing/list whore there is. Usually. When I travel abroad (ahhhh....), one of my favorite parts is the list-making. That's why it's so weird that I’ve done nothing. I think I have a note to myself somewhere that says to change the sheets for my house-sitter. I know I’ll forget that one, though. I’ve barely thought about what I’m bringing to wear. Travel in the US seems so much easier and so much more difficult at the same time.

When I leave the country, I take one of everything: one dose of sudafed, one of tylenol cold, one bandage, one tube of antiseptic cream, one needle, one clothesline. Here, I know I’ll never be out of range of a drugstore. But the pace of the US is so fast. You’ve gotta know where you’re going and how to get there and where you’re going to stay and what you’re going to do. Or at least, when thinking about a US trip, that’s how you’re made to feel.

I’m trying to reject that. I know where we’re staying in DC, because with the March and millions of people descending on the city, that was imperative (and ass-expensive, too). I know where we’re staying for the Festival, because I want to worry only about wool. I know how we’re getting to NY and back.

That’s it. That’s just about all I know. I’m taking a page from Greta’s book. She knows she doesn’t need those kinds of plans, that it will all work out, and it does, and happily so. Why is that so easy for me to accept in other countries, but not here? I’m working on it. I’m going to transplant my Italian serendipity and place it right on the east coast. Kay?

Oh! I started the Bella cardie in Calmer last night. I think I might really be crazy. 2+ weeks? In lace? Every other row there are these weird k2togs that, because of the following y.o., are just tricky to pick up. I have to look at and fiddle with every single damn k2tog. I don't know why they're wonkier than normal k2togs.... Frustrating and slow. Oy. But it'll be good non-boring travel knitting.

And go read Cari today. (Well, every day, for that matter.) I love her.

ShoppingApril 20, 2004

Worst spam header so far: “Slay creche.” Who opens those things? Worse, who writes ‘em?

Forgive me if I’m a bit ragged-edged today. I’ve been running hither and thither, a million errands and can’t seem to remember a one. My friends Rachel and Kira (of ArtFibers) are getting married the day after I get back from my trip, and they asked me to say a few words. I hadn’t been thinking much about clothing, knowing I could pull a little something from my closet, but when I looked, all my best clothes are variations on black. While I’m not opposed to wearing black to weddings anymore, I think I’m actually a co-officiant and black just won’t do in that case.

But navy blue might! I found a cute cocktail type dress with a nice Jackie O kind of neckline, tags still attached (Spago, anyone?) for half-off $1.99. Shoes: navy strappy heels from Payless Shoe Source, $10.41. Rowan Calmer (color Slosh) from Article Pract for the Bella cardie I simply have to make before then: $80ish. That’s eighty dollars OUT of the MD yarn budget. Oy. But I have to make it. Good airplane knittin’, right?

Are my spending priorities totally out of whack? (Mom, you’re not allowed to answer that.)

Back to running around. I’m fighting an ear infection, and dear Greta told me about sweet almond oil (I'll do that in a few minutes) and Rescue Remedy, which is interesting and weird and I think I like it. Anyone else use it?

Two new blogs have arrived!
Juliette, who might get a tattoo with me someday, and my friend Exy. Go say hi!

Woot!April 19, 2004

What fabulous fun I just had. Damn. My friend Christina, owner of Article Pract (my LYS), and I went out for lunch. We went to the Temescal Cafe, where we had the knitting meet-up last week, and where I think I’ll be spending more time. I’ve been looking to adopt another cafe, as my old walk-able one is just too far away now. This could be it, folks. I could see myself writing there. We had a fabulous veggie sandwich with excellent smoked gouda and avocado, and then we went over to the (closed) shop -- how cool is it to be in a closed yarn shop? --where she asked me if I wouldn’t mind helping her with special orders.

I was a bit nervous. I thought special ordering yarn would be tricky and precise. Nope. She showed me how to find the color needed in the swatch books, and then she’d say, “Hey, order five more bags of whatever colors you like. Okay, three for Classic Elite Waterspun. Two more colors for Anny Blatt Super Angora.”

In through the nose, out through the mouth. I got to choose yarn! I got to ORDER yarn and not pay for it! I got to touch all the little samples I wanted to touch.

Playing it cool: Yeah. *shrug* It was all right.

I was grinning ear to ear.

From playing it cool to playing catch up: There are certain questions that keep coming up in comments that I’ve been meaning to answer and kept forgetting about. 'Cause I'm like that, you know.

1. Cromarty.
Dude. Ms. &tarmore’s creation has been put on hold. I’ve got the sleeves and the front totally done. Then I came close to running out of my dyelot of Koigu Kersti(I had received every skein of said dyelot) because my stitch style EATS yarn. Rob has sent a remaining skein up to the wonder-dyers of Koigu who apparently LOVE him (who wouldn’t?) because they’re working with us on the problem. While I can’t wait to have a finished object, I am (obviously) enjoying my break.

2. The Doctor.
What can I say? Fizzle. We had those coupla-three dates and nothing. We emailed desultorily for a while, and then let it wither on the vine. It seemed totally like a mutual death. Come on, I’ve never had a kiss with that little chemistry. It was like kissing the top of my cat’s head. Only I WANT to do that.

3. Vacation Plans.
It’s close enough now that I can reveal what I’m gonna do this month. I’m so FLIPPING excited. I’m flying in to DC on Saturday, where Bethany will pick me up in her truck named Tach and I’ll get to give her (Beth, not the truck) the BIGGEST squeeze ever. Then we meet up with darling Em, and the next day we're meeting Maggi and Maureen to march on Washington. I’ll be wearing, of course, my KAB shirt (have you seen Maureen’s store? Her profits actually go to worthy causes. As do mine, for that matter. If you think Buy Rachael Some More Yarn is a good cause. I do.)

Then, it’s up to Brooklyn, for some more fun with Em, and I get to meet my favorite novelist, Cari. Yarn stores in New York, baybee. Hear me roar. Then it’s truckin’ back down to meet up with our Greta for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

*insert little chair dance here*

I’m joining the SpotTheBlogger plan – I’ll be wearing the Knitting is Sexy shirt with MyGlassHouse on the back. Find me! Point at me! Laugh at me! (I won’t notice, I never do.) And I get to see ALL the SHEEP!

(Bethany, honey, let me apologize in advance. We’re going to be seeing a lot more yarn than you probably ever wanted to see. At least you’re a knitter now. You’d kill me in my sleep with a blunt dpn if you weren’t.)

Then back to stay with Maggi for a night (or two?) and then we’re off for our own few days of unplanned adventure. All I know is I have to end up in Boston to fly out on the 8th of May. How we get there is going to be spontaneously decided.

Man. I get all giddy and silly just thinking about the Fun To Be Had.

And I still have eight Cadbury Creme Eggs left.

Counting DaysApril 16, 2004

I just counted the days in my book. I’ve been writing this novel for about a year (oh, be honest, more like sixteen months), and I just realized I’ve only moved three weeks into my character’s life. That’s a whole lot o’days spent on each day. I’ve got the Pioneer Melissa thing going on – I feel there’s a lifespan for every piece of writing, and my book’s days are numbered. I need to finish it, edit it (!), and get moving on the next one. I’m not scared, really, just mindful. I don’t need any more two month breaks. I don’t even need a week’s break (well, vacation is vacation. I don’t write fiction when I’m on the road. Too much of the travel’s flavor winds up in scenes that don’t need the seasoning.)

Slow and steady wins the race.

Man, cliches are annoying. But they feel good to say, don’t they?

I finally finished the Interminable Yoke on the man's raglan I’m working on. I’d show it to you, but there’s no way to make gray 3x1 ribbing interesting in a photo. I tried.

Oh, hey, I found a new place for yarn money in my house. Thought I’d share in case you’d like to look in your house for extra cash, too. Christy asked me if was growing out my hair. The answer is technically no. I do like the length, but it had been getting pretty damn shaggy. It was driving me crazy. I love the woman who cuts my hair (so please don’t tell her this story), but this is what I thought before the knitting meet-up last week: I pay $50-60 for my cuts. I was about two months overdue for said haircut and REALLY needed it.

I took a shower, combed my hair while wet and snipped away. I’ve had MORE compliments on this cut than I have in a long time. I decided that my knitting philosophy (it’ll never be noticed from a trotting horse) applies well to crooked hair. And that $60 went right to yarn last week at Article Pract.

Heh. It’s like I’m getting over on myself. But it still feels good.

Oh, here's hair and raglan crop-top:

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It’s an addiction, people. Admit it. Now I have to call my pusher, Rob. Did you know he has Rowan Calmer? Lord. I think that cabled hoodie in Debbie Bliss’s book Cotton for All Seasons would be great in Calmer..... Yep.

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And before I forget (I just keep going, don't I?), reader Anna who came to our knitting meet-up is doing the Aids Ride, something I am in awe of. If you'd like to donate and make a difference, go here. Go Anna!

FictionApril 15, 2004

You know what’s interesting? To me, anyway, and since you’re reading, come along. I’ll tell you.

I hadn’t been reading fiction when I wasn’t writing. For the last few months, I’ve been reading mostly non-fiction, things like writing manuals and biographies and the New Yorker. This is totally unlike me, the fiction queen. I’ve always sneered a little at non-fiction, thinking it dry and dull. Shows me. The non-fiction I’ve been reading has been fascinating and wonderful and witty and smart and so fine.

But it wasn’t fiction. Down south, over the weekend, I picked up a novel that Mom had just finished, A Certain Slant of Light. Not only was it gorgeous, lyrical writing (with some great references to spinning and wool and fiber – the author obviously knows her sheep), but it started filling something that I didn’t know was empty. That first night, lying in bed, reading her words, I felt as if I were drinking water after being in the hot sun all day. Every word tasted good.

While I was reading, my brain turned on. It started to think again as a writer. In between paragraphs I thought of my own characters. It was like they were standing up and waving to me. “Hey! Over here! Remember us?”

Seriously, it was weird. But really, really good.

I have eggs on the boil (is there anything as good as a hard-boiled egg, still warm?) and I’m ready to make my coffee. It’s windy as hell outside, and I feel sorry for the little plant-lets I put out last week. Some of the flowers have just broken right off and over. And I just decided right here and now that I don’t like my garden plan. I hadn’t been sure, but now I know. I also I know it isn’t going to be changed until after my vacation, so I won’t worry about it now.

Do you know that with work and prior obligations and being out of town, my next free no-plans night is MAY SEVENTEETH? That, friends, is ridiculous. But short of canceling my trip (HELL, no), there’s nothing else I can change. Yipes. I’ve scheduled a couple of do-nothing afternoons, though.

Can’t figure out how to end this entry. So: Good bye. Mwah.

There.April 14, 2004

I did my writing.

The penal code in California for an altercation/fight/disturbance is 415 (said four-fifteen). I’ve always got code running through my mind, and I struggle not to use it in polite conversation. But there’s no other good way to say it: I’ve been four-fifteening with my writing for the last, what? Month? Ever since I got sick, I think. I think about it constantly. I want to write constantly. But I don’t. I just put it off, until it’s ludicrous to put it off one more time – yet I do.

I was talking to Bethany and my friend Marama yesterday about it. There’s something so similar in the way I put off writing to the way other people put off working out. It’s always “tomorrow.” (I say “some people” because while I put off working out, I NEVER feel badly about it. I figure I’ll be fat and happy, right? No guilt on that count. For once.) And it’s always tomorrow. How the hell do we tell ourselves that with a straight face?

“Yeah, Inner Rachael, I’ll write tomorrow. Because tomorrow I’ll suddenly have all the time I need to get into a good writerly space, I’ll have the energy, and my brain will be more alert. In fact, if I don’t write today, I’ll be BETTER at writing tomorrow. It’s gonna be great! I can’t WAIT to write tomorrow!”

How does my Inner Self prevent herself from falling about the place, holding her sides from laughing? Instead she nods and agrees (lazy cat). “Tomorrow sounds like a perfect time to write. Now you just put your feet up and read some blogs or something. Relax. You’re working hard, you deserve a break.”

FROM WHAT?

What it comes right down to is that I’m a writer. Not because I write, and not because I get paid to write (please, every blue moon or so), but because there’s nothing else in my heart or mind that makes me happy like writing does. I have no idea why I kick and scream my way to the page, but once I’m there, I’m happy. Even struggling with the characters, as I am right now, I’m happy. Utterly content. And having written.... Well. Is there a better feeling? If I still smoked, I’d light up after writing. It’s like that.

Today I kicked my procrastinator’s agenda by attacking it like this: Instead of doing my eternal puttering upon waking, instead of blogging and checking the blogs I can’t live without checking, instead of making phone calls and paying bills, instead of making breakfast (or whatever meal it is you make when you wake at 2pm), I got out of bed, made a cup of green tea, and wrote.

Seems so simple, doesn’t it? Make it the first priority, because it should be that, anyway. Do it first. I’ve always been a big proponent of Doing the Hard Stuff First because then the ice cream tastes better, so I don’t know why I’ve never done this. Some little voice in my head (I swear I’m no more schizophrenic than most) always told me I had to wake up first and turn on my thought processes. Screw that. All that means is that I get quicker at thinking up excuses why tomorrow will be better. And waking up in front of the page was lovely.

Write first. Eat/blog/chat/TiVo/clean later. Yeah.

Dang. I'm soooo tired. Got up yesterday at 9am, had donuts at the beach with Mama. (Speaking of the beach, here are Mariko, Hedi and the little mama the day prior.)

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Now I'm at work, 0442 in the ay-em. Yawn. I feel like a Bad Blogger, but I'm too tired to post more. Only this: I had lunch at In'n'Out this afternoon (yesterday, whatever), and I'm convinced they are some kind of weird cult. (Overlook the grammar, please. Cain't think right.)

1) Every employee is young and white. No matter WHERE you go, they're young and white. Check.
2) There are the tiniest little bible verses printed on the cups and bottoms of the food labels. They're not quoted, only referenced. I remember looking up one of the Revelations ones once, and it freaked me out a bit.

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But DAMN, it's a good burger.
Off in 14 minutes. To sleep.....
More later,
xoxxxzzzzzzzzz


Way Down SouthApril 12, 2004

On the central coast. Still at the little mama’s house, still having a good time, so I haven’t had time to blog or respond to email.... And I haven’t had time to blog-surf, either, which is even worse. But I’ve been reading and knitting, so all’s well.

Had a lovely lunch with Mariko and Hedi today – we ate clam chowder at my favorite clam chowder place in the WHOLE world, and we sat on the Pismo pier in the sun. I took pictures on my camera/phone, but Mom’s house has no cell reception so I can’t email them to myself until I leave.

Sometimes, does it suddenly strike you how ridiculous technology is?

All right, off to be non-technical again. You do the same, okay?

Who Knits?April 10, 2004

Why, we knit!

Photoblog time! (I just heard a run-through of HammerTime in my head. Not okay.)

First, I have to show you what was on my doorstep this morning when I got home from work. I had been complaining all night that I hadn't had any Cadbury Creme Eggs in a while, and look what the Bunny (Christy) left!

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I took two eggs to bed with me for my two hour nap. Those eggs are my favorite candy in the whole wide world, and if they're available anywhere all year round, please don't tell me. It's a good thing for my ass they're seasonal.

After my nap, I got up and went a'knittin'. I gotta tell ya that I was a little nervous about it -- only a wee bit nervous, since I've held S'n'Bs before, and this time I knew Joanna and Silvia were my co-sponsors, but still. There's that moment in which you wonder, "Will anyone come? At all? Will I sit here and drink by myself?" Luckily Seltsame showed up right after I did (I don't want to butcher the correct spelling of your name, dear, so I'll use your online name....) and pulled out her knitting. She was quickly followed by Martha (I think). After that, hell, I lost track.

So many cool, fun, funny people! All in one place! I had a BALL! Didn't even take that many pics (for me) 'cause I was too busy running my mouth off. But here's a few fer ya.

A group shot (that's all us in the background, too):

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Here are Juliette, Silvia , Amy, and Stella:

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And how cute is this one? Sharlene and Juliette mugging it up:

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And below are Laura, ready to HAVE that baby, Nyondo, Laine (the reader who recongized me at Stitches!), and my friend Tara. Martha's in the foreground in her FABULOUS pink Bella cardie.

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No one could stop ogling Martha's bella Bella , and she inspired us all -- I bought a bunch of Horstia orange (duh) silk/wool to make it.

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Darling owner Christina of Article Pract gave us 15% off all yarn purchases (THANK YOU!). It was so much fun walking around the store talking to Joy about spinning, and Nathania about color, all of us passing our patterns around -- What's the yardage needed for this? Hey, can you check the gauge on that? Sigh. Heaven.

Nathania and me (yes, she really is that gorgeous):

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And Stella, me, Nathania, and dear reader Anna:

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See? I wore it in public (and then took a slouched picture, oh, well....).

Am I almost done? I'm soooo tired and sooooo stupid after so little sleep, but I want to post this before I collapse on the sofa for the rest of the afternoon/evening (NO SLEEPING! If I sleep now, I'll screw up my night sleep for my weekend.....)

Oh, can't forget my favorite Rogue, Joanna:

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Isn't that fit aMAYzing? Mission Falls Wool, people. All I'm sayin'.

All in all, it was a MARVELOUS time. Hey, send me an email if you want to be on my reminder list for the next meet-up, let's say next month? The more the merrier, says I, and it sure proved true today.

Damn. I'm tired and so happy.

Okay, off to be stupid in quiet. I'm going to the little mama's house tomorrow for some hot cross buns so I won't be around on-line much for the next few days. But I'll be thinkin' of ya! Meantime, didja see my new cafepress store (below)? Knitting IS sexy, damn it. See above pics for proof!

WavesApril 9, 2004

I had that dream again today. I’m not scared of the ocean, not really. I like boats and I like snorkeling and I LOVE being in/near the sea. But one of my recurring nightmares is about THE WAVE, the big one, the thirty-footer tsunami-like one. I’m looking up, either on the beach at the water’s edge or actually in the water, and the wave is towering over me, just cresting, ready to fall, ready to drag me under. Or it’s getting ready to do that to someone I love and I have to hold on tight (never tight enough; I always let them slip from my hands). Today while sleeping it was just me, bodysurfing the waves, knowing if I kept just beyond the crest of the waves I’d be all right, but I was getting closer and closer to the breaking point.

How symbolic is that? I know, disgustingly so. And what’s always irritating is that the dream comes not when I’m stressed out, not when I have major life-decisions to make, not when I’m in the midst of chaos. That would be satisfying. I could point to the dream and say, “look how stressed I am! See? See?” No, I always get the dream in relatively quiet periods of my life. Makes it difficult to say my subconscious is clever. No, I have a delayed-reaction synapse in my psyche, apparently.

Although I am thinking about surfing lessons. Hmmm.

I’m off to slap some pics on Bethany’s site. For those of you keeping track, she’s my little sister and she’s off on a Grand Adventure. She’s been living in her truck since August, traveling the country. When she runs out of money, she gets a job, makes a little bread, and then gets back on the road. She just had her last day of work at the inn two days ago, and she’s in Florida, headed south toward the Keys. She does wonder if the Keys at Spring Break is the wisest choice, but hell, maybe there’ll be free beer to make up for the bikini crimes. Might take a while to sort and download all her photos that I just got processed, but there should be a few up tonight.....

Meet-up Saturday! See below.

*blush*April 8, 2004

Wowie. I didn’t know one could receive virtual wolf-whistles! Look at the sounds I’ve received from y’all:

Ha-cha-cha!
Hubba-Hubba!
Whoo hoo!
Hel-lo!
HOTTTT!
Yowza yowza yowza!
Daaayyyyyy-ummmmm.
Homina homina homina homina a-WOOOOOOOOO-ga! (thanks, Em.)
Call 911! (thanks, alison.)

I do believe I’m more than a little embarrassed by all the attention my tank top received. And that was, honestly, the most flattering picture I took of it (them?). Most of the photos look even MORE busty, so I’ll be wearing something OVER said piece until I get a little more confident. I am normally not reticent about tight clothing. There’s something about making it yourself, though, that makes you think, “is this really all right? Don't I need more fabric right about here?”

Carrie asked how much I changed the pattern by using the Microspun. Answer: I didn’t, I just made the 3rd size, using size 5 US needles. Remember, I am the loosest knitter in the world. Sad. But true.

All right. Back to waking up for the evening of work ahead. Need.More.Coffee.

Don’t forget the Bay Area knitting meet-up on Saturday afternoon! 15% discount on yarn at Article Pract for our little group! (I’ve already received tentative yeses from over fifteen people, so it should be a blast.)

Details:
Saturday, April 10th
1pm
Temescal Cafe
4920 Telegraph, just a few doors south of Article Pract, map HERE.

StrappyApril 7, 2004

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Welp, this tank is pretty cool. It also reminds me that I need to hit the streets, for a walk and some yoga later. My arms! Oy. This is a headless picture since I haven't had a shower and my eyes are having an allergy attack. You've seen my mug enough, anyhow. And this is the only shot where you couldn't see my upper arms (YOU try taking a picture of yourself in a tank while avoiding those parts):

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And THIS is what happens when I try to take mirror shots.

I really liked the Lion-Brand Microspun (color 144). I used about 4 skeins, perhaps a little less, and while it is splitty and a little finicky, it's so SOFT. And inexpensive, to boot. Pattern is from the new Spring/Summer 2004 Vogue Knitting.

Now.

I have a friend who has done a LOT for me in my move. He's a good guy, and a good friend, and he's giving me a couch. So I'm gonna make him a sweater. Now that the tank is done, I can dive right in. I'm using Galway Highland Heather in a deep grey, and I want something simple but not boring. I'm thinking a 3x1 top-down raglan, but I'll have to do some swatching experiments. I cannot believe I now both swatch and mattress stitch. I used to be so proud of the fact that I DIDN'T CARE. Now I do. Don't tell.

Confessions

Confession number one: Up until tonight, I had never used the mattress stitch for any seaming. I was a back-stitch girl. Kinda like a back-street boy, but way more geeky. (Hard to imagine.) I was terrified of mattress stitch, and thanks to the new Knitty article, I am now a deflowered mattress. Or something. MAN, is that stitch cool. The seam is, like, invisible! (Big duhs all around, I know, but I had no idea.)

Confession number two: I left an inch unseamed tonight. I’m a damn inch from being done with the new Vogue cover tank, and I just can’t do it. I’ve been up since ten am yesterday, and I just got off work. It’s almost six am now. I have a tub running and hot water on the boil for tea. Tomorrow I’ll have pictures. But that inch will remain undone until I wake.

I have a sneaking suspicion this baby’s gonna be TIGHT. I know tanks are supposed to be form-fitting, but yipes. I may not be legal in it. We’ll see.

Best call tonight – a guy in a wheelchair goes into a jewelry store and asks to see some rings, asking the price of each. When he is told one of them is $8000, he says “That’ll do.” Then he gets up out of the wheelchair, and runs away into the night. Dude was fast. AND we had to return the wheelchair to the right hospital.

I find that hilarious.

G’night.

(PS - Bay Area people, don't forget Saturday's meet-up! See below.)

This Just InApril 5, 2004

Yeah, that knitting meet-up on Saturday? Well, Christina, the owner of Article Pract, emailed me and said anyone with our group on Saturday gets 15% off anything, excluding books. How cool is that? Now you HAVE to come, if you live anywhere in my time zone. And if you don't, I'm sorry. I wish you could come, too! (I really do....)

Wanna Meet Up?

Last minute, yes. But Bay Area bloggers (and, heck, knittin’ readers, too), you want to meet up this Saturday? JStrizzy, RedSilvia, and I are getting together for coffee/beer and snacks and maybe a little yarn shopping, and you’re more than welcome to come.

Details:
Saturday, April 10th
1pm
Temescal Cafe
4920 Telegraph,

just a few doors south of Article Pract, map HERE.

Do drop me a comment or email, though, so we know roughly how many chairs we should grab.....

Now that the business side is dealt with, let’s go straight to the whinging portion of the programme, yes? I told you I was in a window-shopping mood yesterday, right? I didn’t really mean it. What I meant was I was in a mood to BUY. I just didn't want to say it. When I went to the antiques flea market, I wanted patio chairs. I wanted old trellises. I wanted old broken French doors to prop against the ivy and drape with outdoor lights.

What I found were things like this chair:

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This was $65. Puh-leeze. I tried to look suave when told the prices, nodding, as if thinking “ahhh, of course the iron bedstead that’s rusted through is seven hundred dollars. I would have thought more!” Then I walked away from each seller, actually thinking, “Dude. He’s HIGH!”

So I left, and went predictably to the place where I thought the real junk would be. The flea market. Okay. When did the flea market stop selling crap? Let me re-phrase -- when did it stop selling people’s old crap and start selling all new made-in-China hecho-a-Mexico shit? There’s always been that row or two out of thirty that sold the cheap electronics and hair barrettes and cowboy boots and pirated CDs. But now that stuff took up twenty-eight rows and I barely found the row and a half of real people selling their real junk. By then I was so disgruntled that I left with nothing but a bag of dried mango. Oh, and this photo for Alison:

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Not sold by weight, no, but there must have been at least ten of these booths peppering the flea market, all bras selling for either 3 or 4 for $10. Damn! Now there’s a deal. I give credit to my girl La Brainy for having the balls (breasts?) to actually buy some of ‘em. They scared me. I snapped the pic and ran.

A poor shopping day. But a good photo day. This one is for Lisa:

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And after all that whining about never being able to entertain, I entertained six people at my house last night. One was a pop-in, three were a call-and-drop-by, two were planned, and all were lovely. At one point there was an overlap of five, and it was truly fabulous to hear the chatter and realize we really all COULD fit in my new apartment. Dinner party, here I come!

The girls brought over dinner in this basket. I was rather embarrassed how quickly it was appropriated.

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Oh, and I did buy two things yesterday. A cute purse at Marshall’s, and this round container next to the lamp.

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Who knows what it was originally meant for, but I’m using it for straight needles. I actually never use straights (stop it), so they’re merely decoration, but such good decoration, don’tcha think?

And I'll leave you with one of my most prized possessions. Seriously. I love this so much. My Pope-in-a-Globe.

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April 4, 2004

Thought you might like this:

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Rogue is an alehouse in Northbeach, the Italian section of San Francisco. I took BART over yesterday and met Brooke and some pals for the SF Oyster and Beer festival. Celtic music in the park, what could be better? Well, the problem was that EVERYONE thought that. I managed to grope my way to a beer, never got an oyster, found my breathless friends at the entrance, and we escaped, leaving the masses to sit in the cold sun. We found, instead, a table at Rogue and sat and drank and watched all the Boston-Irish transplants drink a LOT at the bar.

Then I caught a ride back to the East Bay with a friend who was going to the same impromptu dinner party that I was, and we had one of those charmed evenings where everyone is funny and sweet and the food tastes great. I have to hand it to my friend Jenn for throwing together a dinner party like that. I’ve said for the last seven years I might have a dinner party someday, and now that I have the room, I’m too nervous to do it. Oh, I hate throwing parties. Love going to them. Hate hosting them. Jenn, however, decided yesterday that it was a good day to have friends over. She bought chicken and steak and made some sides, called some folks, and people came over. How hard is that?

I still don’t want to do it. Maybe when I have mine I’ll have it catered (like I can afford THAT).

I’m rambly today, ain’t I? I just feel so much BETTER (but I’m not overdoing it, I swear. I’m being very careful) and it feels so wonderful to have almost my old reserve of energy back again. It’s overcast and chilly today, but I think I’ll hie me off to the monthly Antiques Fair in Alameda, a huge high-priced garage sale. I need some wrought iron chairs for the backyard, and I just feel like looking at trinkets. I’ve got the need to window shop. You know? And tonight I’ve got the girls coming over for The L Word and I’ll work on the new Vogue tank with which I’m in LOVE. You know the one?

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I’m doing it in some plain ole Lion Brand Microspun, and it’s working up nicely, I have to admit. I have the back done, and I just started the front.

Off to weekend!

Knitters Against BushApril 3, 2004

The apparel in which to march on Washington, or garden. Both things are good things to do. Props to Maureen for making up the store. All proceeds go to NARAL and MoveOn.org.

Now I gotta go march into the City. I hear there's beer and oysters and Celtic music over in Northbeach, and I'm so there.

Cat ToysApril 2, 2004

Dude! Go Knitty!

Knitty rocks for so many damn reasons. But this issue is way freakin' above and beyond. I love like seventy-two of the patterns (okay, a slight exaggeration) and I want the child in Anouk. Forget the (cute) sweater, I just want to kiss those cheeks!

THANK YOU for the NoroCompliments! I've decided I won't put it up on the shelf and let it languish like I do other sweaters - this one's for wearing. It's my new alterno-sweatshirt. Yeah.

It's two in the morning, I'm at work, and my thoughts are jumbled. But have I mentioned you should go read the seven deadly cozies? Honestly can't remember if I've pointed you there, but she's fabulous -- witty, a touch acerbic, and very clever. A new fave.

And hey, would y'all stop posting such funny things? It's tiring to keep up with all the intelligence and humor out there. Dang. (That's a complimentary complaint, of course. What I really mean is keep it up.)

So yesterday? I got off shift at nine in the morning, went home, and got in the tub. I'm lying there, happy with my tea and candles and New Yorker, contentedly listening to the kitties playing in the living room. After a good meal, they like to romp, and the noise they make is so cheering to me. I thought to myself, what sweet kitties I have. I'm so lucky.

When I got out of the tub and went into the living room, I discovered what they had been playing with.

A BUNCH OF GRAPES. I had left them in a bowl on my coffee table, hoping to prompt the healthy snacking I'm so poor at. Well! More proof that health food is a bad idea. Do you have any idea how much fun cats can have with grapes on a hardwood floor? I captured a lot of the errant squished drippy grapes, but I'm sure I'll be finding raisins for months to come.....