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24 posts from May 2004

Memorial DayMay 31, 2004

Ah. The Girls just left. I realize that in this world there must be a billion women (and some men) who fit into a group that is called by someone, somewhere, The Girls, but these Girls are Rachel and Kira. (It would seem like my darlin' and beloved sisters would be The Girls, but they're not. Well, they're MY GIRLS, something entirely different.) You’ve seen R and K here before on this blog. They’re the ones who got hitched recently, and I was lucky enough to be part of their big day.

They’re also the ones who Took Care of Rachael on Memorial Day Because She Didn’t Want to Leave the House Ever Again. Of course, that meant that I had to go out driving for sorbet and videos, but they brought the food. We barbequed. Yes, we did. In my backyard. World, meet my first barbeque!

Looking at Kira:

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Looking right:

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Looking left:

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See? Yard is coming along. The tomatoes are going crazy, and I'm starting to get things where I want them.....

Now, one must remember that The Girls are vegan. Normally that would send me running for the hills (where the juicy cows live), but they are also magic vegans. Everything they cook tastes good. Seriously. When I’m around them, I (happily) eat zucchini and squash. Really. I do. I swear. So they barbequed and I watched and was appropriately impressed and then we went inside and watched movies and drank beer pretty much ALL DAY. They came over about 1pm and I think they meant to leave at dinner time. They just left. It’s after ten.

But my clothes smell like smoke, and it came from my backyard! That’s the coolest thing ever! And they even left the barbeque in my custody, since they don’t have a yard anymore. They left the charcoal and the lighter fluid, too, so if I want my clothes to smell smoky again, I can go light some briquettes and stand over it, anytime I want! I suppose I could cook something, too, but that would require thought and preparation, something I am rather short on this week.

Oh, la. Off to bed. That’s a lie. I’m off to watch TV and then take a bath, since I have to stay up late tonight. I have to do that in order to sleep late tomorrow, which I must do, since I’ll be up all night tomorrow night at work. I love HAVING to stay up late. It’s a good thing to have to do. You know? Hope you get to stay up late, too. (And thanks for the amazing, awesome comments last post. You all rock.)

Here's Dude!May 29, 2004

It makes me look like a lumpen grey marshmallow:

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It practically hangs to my knees, and the armpits hang to my waist. I had despaired of it fitting him. But look! It does!

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He came in to work fifteen minutes early (which at 0445 is a chore) just so we could do a photo shoot and get him in the trademarked Rachael pose.

Yippeeeeeee! Thanks, Don, for the house-painting, and the free couch, and the heavy lifting, and generally making my life easier.

Specs:
Pattern: Raglan Generator for measurements, 3x1 rib everywhere but at cuffs and neck, where it’s 2x2.
Yarn: Plymouth Galway Highland Heather, color 704, approx. 10 skeins.
Needles: 5US
Gauge: 5st/inch

And now, to kill the teaser I posted earlier, I did end up cancelling the date I had lined up for this afternoon. I had recently put a personal ad up on PlanetOut, a gay/lesbian online magazine. I thought it would be fun. I had always assumed you had to pay for the service, but once I found out it was free, I thought, cool! What can it hurt?

Well, it don’t hurt none, and it stays pretty quiet, but recently for some reason I got three interested nibbles that were interesting in return. Nice, smart, pretty women that I thought I would like to meet.

I met one for coffee the other day. She knits, she contra-dances, she’s eclectic-looking, she’s a blast. But was I interested? Eh. I had another date scheduled for this afternoon with a fabulous-seeming gal who probably really is that fabulous. And I’ve been dreading it all week. (Lest you ask why the hell I set it up in the first place, I answer, because I thought I should. Shoulds. Always get you, don’t they?)

I thought of all SORTS of things I could beg off with. Migraine. Work. The dog ate my car keys. I woke up in the shape of a giant cockroach. Then I remembered: I hate lying like that. I used to be so good at it. In the last few years, I just can’t do it and still remain happy. A lie like that, small though it is, bugs the hell outta me. (And it’s karmic. If I plead migraine, I get one.) So I wrote:

I'm going to be a complete ass right now, okay? I'm going to pass on coffee tomorrow.... and if I can make anything clear to you, please let it be that it's not you. (I realize how lame it is to use that line before two people even meet.) I find your pictures to be both charming and lovely, and everything you've said in email makes me think that if I dated anyone, even just met them for coffee, you'd be the one with whom I'd want to have that coffee. But right now I'm stuck in an alone period. Not really sure how to get out, nor if I should even try. I thought I'd jump-start the process by meeting new people, but I'm beginning to think that's a poor idea, and ultimately not fair to anyone I meet right now. We'd probably have a lovely time at coffee, and then I'd have to send this email anyway. Better sooner than later, I think. I hope I do meet you someday. Please email me back to say you got this. Thanks, and I’m sorry.

Yep. And this morning I got a nice little email back saying “no worries, and best wishes.” I remain guilt-free and SO HAPPY that I’m spending the first afternoon of my weekend in my backyard, alone.

There’s something to this alone thing, I’m convinced of that now. It’s not shyness, it’s not apathy, it’s just where I need to be right now. Society’s pressure is insidious. I don’t care about what society thinks, but somehow it shapes my own thinking without my noticing. *I* sometimes feel I need a partner to be complete. Then I stop and think about that feeling, and I know it’s crap, but it was there for an ugly second.

I’ll meet whom I’m supposed to be with at the right place, at the right time. (GAs: Is that whom right? Still sleepy from working all night.) I’m not against the internet for hook-ups. Look where it’s taken all of us! But I’ll know when I’m in the right place, and right now, I ain’t. And I’m not worrying about it anymore. Hear, hear!

I didn’t know I was going to proselytize to myself. And you, in the process.

Last thing, there is apparently a war to get me to change coasts. Cari has a kitten. But look what Ann found that needs adoption.

rach_mini1

Heh. I love it.

Deer MommMay 28, 2004

My friends have animals doing their dirty work for them now. Look what I just got in my email:

Hi ther nice laydee. Anty cari tole me that mebbe you wer movingg ouwt heer to nu yawrk to liv weeth mee an I jus wann say that my baggs er packt an eym wayting fur you ta com git me.

Ey lov anty cari jus fine but I no yu ar my mom probabbabbly.

Lov
Pitiful peony the sidewalk kitty

How can one continue to resist such coercion? Help! (Can't you just see the kitty? Sitting on the stoop, bags packed next to her, craning her little fluffy head up and down the block? Sigh....) And speaking of fluffy heads, did you see who Greta met?

FO!

The Dude Sweater, eet eez complete! There were no seams, so no kir royales (sorry, Becky, next time!) but there were pains in the ass enough to equal seaming and then some. That kicky flare, for one. Oh, I ripped that out good and put in a simple 2X2 rib and a tight bind-off. And a neckline that just wouldn't cooperate, for another. I made a nice simple collar (ended up with my original idea of simple ribbing) and then I bound it off too tightly. So I had to rip that, too. Erg. I hate ripping. Such a waste of time that I could be spending on something really fun, like cleaning the cat box.

I gifted the sweater this morning (he works with me), and he gave me the highest praise a girl could hear: "It's the best sweater I've ever owned!" It made me look a grey bowling ball, and it came to my knees, but it fits him great. I was so pleased! He promised I could take a picture of him in it tomorrow, so I'll show you then. For now, here's a shot of the top of it, me in it. I cut off my head because I've been up for so long that eyes are beet-red and my face is flushed. That happens at o-dark-thirty in the morning.....

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Collar?May 27, 2004

Quote of the day (heck, of the year):
"The U.N. is cool. I got a brief tour of it yesterday and somehow managed to restrain myself from running into the Security Council meeting room and representing Angola. " -- Em, Everybody Loves Saturday Night

I’m a-gonna work on the Dude Sweater (as Silvia has dubbed it) tonight and hopefully finish it the hell up. I’ve got too many things on the needles right now, and it kind of stresses me out. I’m not a multiple-item knitter. I like one big project in the works, and socks somewhere in a basket for train knitting. But right now I have the ChicKami waiting only for straps, the Dude Sweater waiting for a bottom that doesn’t flare (aren’t we all?) and a collar, the Cromarty waiting for custom-dyed yarn from Canada, and I REALLY want to cast on for a Debbie Bliss cabled cardie from her Cotton for All Seasons book.

Last night I put the big projects aside and swatched with the cashmere from the cone I bought from School Products. I was convinced that if I worked hard enough, I could get gauge for the cardie. Nope. Couldn’t even get it on ones, and let me tell you, I tried. I did the math to see if I could make the smallest size to make up for it, and no. I can’t. Blast it all. I’m getting four stitches per inch on ones, and the yarn would honestly be more comfortable at about 3/in. Why didn’t I notice it was on the bulky side? Sigh. I want to make something incredible with that stuff, and I’m disappointed. Anyone know a good bulky weight cabled jacket/cardie? Bring it on!

Ah, well. So I’ll finish Dude. I was going to pick up the collar and just do a (k1 p1) for six or seven rows and then cast off, but do you have a better idea? I’m feeling uncreative and I realize that someday I need to invest in the Vogue knitting bible so I have it to run to when I’m this uninspired.

I just finished my writing for the day. I’m sitting outside right now, on my porch swing. I love my backyard, have I told you that recently? It’s still nothing very special, and I have several pots of dead flowers that for some reason I just keep watering, but there’s a fuschia at my right hand that is so pink and purple that it makes my heart feel good. And my tomatoes are growing (and wondering what they’re doing, it’s just not that sunny back here). And my the wind flirts with the ivy behind me and the swing is hung low so my short little legs can keep it moving, and I’m just happy writing out here. I’m doing well with the writing on my work days. It’s easy for me to be regimented on work days: I have so many minutes to write, so many to run, so many to eat, so many to shower, and back to work. Easy. But my weekend days.... I’d still like to figure out how I can fit a little writing in on those days. Maybe I have to do it the same way: Do it first thing, as soon as the eyes open, before the protestations can occur and the distractions arise. It’s also not as important to me to work on my weekends. I do, after all, need a weekend. But I have three days off a week, not two, and I could definitely do with a little work on at least one of ‘em.

Babbling, aren’t I? Don’t let me get started on the date I don’t want to go to on Saturday..... Ideas for the collar? Please?

(Bethany's in Maine, the top edges of her trip....)

***update -- Friday morning. Dude is complete and gifted. Pics tomorrow. Sleep now. Mwah!

Snort

Knitted breasts, and their "essential" tension made me laugh in this, the 14th hour of my shift.

FlareMay 26, 2004

The Guy Sweater has gone from boring me to mocking me. I finished the bottom of it yesterday, theoretically leaving me only the collar and weaving in of ends to finish. I had thirty seconds after the final bind-off before I had to go to work, so I threw it over my work shirt.

Damn. It’s hyoooge. Way too long. Must remeasure. And my bind-off went floopy for some reason, giving it a little kicky flare at the bottom. Unfortunately, my friend is not the type to appreciate flare. Not around his hips, anyway. So I have to rip and I hate that, ‘cause I’m just so ready to be done with this one. For MaryB, who insisted, a photo:

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Fascinating, isn’t it?

This is only slightly better, since I didn’t have good light this morning, and didn’t feel like standing up to turn one on, but this is the ChicKami I’m about to finish. I swear I know this pattern by heart now, and it’s just so much fun to throw in lil details, like this lace insert.

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I must run. Actually, I mean it. Just woke up from a poor sleep, filled with bad dreams and kitty whines, and I’m going to fit in a run (and honestly, a little swatching of cashmere for the next project) before I shower and go right back to work. I’m working from 5pm to 7am tonight. The mind reels. Go kiss Greta.

I. Am. So. Bored.May 24, 2004

with the sweater I’m making for my guy friend (bartered for couch and wall painting help) that I’m eternally grateful for TV. Dude, 3X1 ribbing. The whole thing. Feel my pain, wouldja? But it is, like, the coziest big ole sweater I’ve ever made, and if he hates it, I’ll keep it. I kind of hope he hates it.

Okay, can we talk Colonial House? I had to take a break to write this. This is for several reasons. One, if I write now, I can sleep in tomorrow without feeling guilty for having not really blogged much for DAYS (sorry 'bout that). Two, I can’t stand to watch what’s going to happen on this sixth episode. Had to pause it. I was at once sad and happy to see the governor go back to Waco and the present day. He and his whole family seem like beautiful, wonderful people that I would be glad to call friends. Only thing is, the governor wouldn’t call me a friend. He’d call me a homosexual sinner, and I'm bummed that he never got called on his homophobia – that he never had to confront Jonathon and that they never got a real chance to talk. I also can't stand what'shisname the New Governor, and I like his wife even less. Erp. The revolution is coming. I can feel it.

Also -- I really liked when Don Wood said that if they didn’t straighten up, they’d be known as the F-ckin’ Lame Colony. Heh. The humor of this particular show comes directly from their lameness.

Enough TV talk. I never used to talk TV. I didn’t even have cable for most of my life. Cable is relatively recent in my life. TiVo is still brand new. And hear me now, I won’t go back. You can't make me. No pillar of salt, me. Won't even look back to say goodbye to my cable-less self....

I went running today! It was the first time this week, and I ran three times last week. I hate to admit it, most of all to my non-athletic-and-proud-of-it self, but I’m still liking it. A lot. I actually like the running part more than the walking-because-I’m-gonna-die part. The running hurts less somehow. I also HAVE to call it running, even though what I’m doing is more like a jog. A really slow jog. Even a semi-quick walk. I have short legs. What am I going to do? I canNOT say that I’m jogging. That’s just dumb.

Oh, and I’ll leave you with the best picture EVER. The little mama (wearing the Mindless Raglan) and blissed out sleeping Adah:

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CONGRATULATIONS!May 23, 2004

My sister Christy graduated about twenty-six years ago.

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Today, she graduated again, receiving her Master of City Planning diploma from Berkeley.

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Isn't she bee-yoo-tee-ful? I’m the proudest sister in the whole wide world. She had a small ceremony yesterday within her department, and today was the large one, where she wore her robes. What IS it about that hood that’s so wonderful, that has so much power? I loved seeing her in it.

And you must have the obligatory LittleMamaInHat picture:

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Christy, you ROCK! I’m so proud that you’re my sister, and my friend. I love you.

Bad MomMay 21, 2004

I went to bed late last night (well, as late as a girl who works midnights can say is late) and didn’t fall into real sleep until about 5am, when Adah decided she wanted to eat. That’s a little early for us, so I usually put her out in the living room until about 6 or 7, when I’ll get up and feed them and then go back to bed. This morning (oh, the guilt), I didn’t wake up to their crying. I always wake up to their crying. Usually the slightest whimper of hunger wakes me and then I can’t get back to sleep.

Today they cried until 10:45, when I finally woke up, looked at the clock, and said Shit. Because, you see, there’s only one litterbox in the house, and it’s the depths of my closet. In my bedroom. To which they had no access.

Not sure which one it was, but s/he had pooped very neatly into the sissal Ikea two-dollar rug and then rolled it up. Not kidding. Wasn’t that sweet? But still. The looks on their faces! Betrayal! Shock! Disgust at having to live like cats in the wild.

I’m a Very Bad Cat Mom today. Digit and I were had been in retroactive-mother’s-day-present negotiations, but today the talk has been tabled until further notice.

And by popular demand! Mariko's running tips! Whoo-hoo! (Besides the knitted jogbra, the last line is my fave.

Well, I think it's great you are going to start running. I'm sure you will get loads of unsolicited advice, so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon! Here are a few suggestions so easing into running will be fun and painless (the most important thing):

- Get yourself a good pair of running shoes. Transports, which is just up on College Avenue, is a good place, and they will fit you with the appropriate shoe for your foot type (that is VERY important. Don't let me catch you going to Big 5 or the 24-hour Long's for your shoes!!!!). A pair will cost you probably $80-100 but will be well worth it.

- If possible, run on soft surfaces such as DIRT. Dirt is your friend, and concrete is not. Do not run on sidewalks unless you absolutely have to. They are murder on your joints. When I first started running, which was when I lived in Berkeley (sigh), I ran around the little dirt track at that park on Cedar Street. It was perfect for me because I didn't have to think that hard (since I was just going around in circles), and I could keep track of my progress very easily. Sometimes having to find a route is psychologically more brutal than just going to a track. So, to start, that might be an option for you. Also, I initially ran with a walkman because I hated running, and I needed a distraction. After a couple of weeks, though, I decided to go cold turkey. I figured that if I was going to become a runner, I needed to learn how to run without music (plus it's really dangerous).

- Pepper spray, if alone.

- Don't start worrying about the marathon yet. First you need to get into routine running and build up a baseline. The marathon is far away, and you have a ways to go before you get there.

- Please don't knit yourself a jogbra. I don't think it will be very effective (you are, after all, a loose knitter).

- Don't worry about speed. Maybe find yourself a nice little path or track on a soft surface and begin by running 1/2 mile (that's what's nice about a track), walk 1/2 mile, run 1/2 mile, walk 1/2 mile. Maybe for your first week or two just work on ONE MILE, then slowly build your way up. Pay attention to what your body tells you, obviously.

- When you start building up to higher mileage, explore! My favorite runs in the East Bay were the Strawberry Canyon route by the Berkeley campus, and the Inspiration Point area at Tilden Park. Gorgeous.

- If you like social running, join a running group or start one. I have several friends in Berkeley/Oakland whom I am trying to coerce into joining me for some part of the Chronicle Marathon, and they would love to run with you. They are kind, funny, generous souls, and they would adore you. They are also trying to get into shape right now, so it's not like they are going to run you into the ground and leave you for dead.

ErrandsMay 20, 2004

Mariko sent me the BEST list of running tips. I can't thank her enough for that. Especially this one: - Please don't knit yourself a jogbra. I don't think it will be very effective (you are, after all, a loose knitter).

I’ve got errands to run today, and I just hate that. I wish that you could do EVERYTHING on the internet sometimes. I was one of the first people to order groceries from WebVan when they went into business. I abhor grocery shopping (and most kinds of shopping, yarn excluded), so I thought it was brilliant that I could sit up in the wee sma’s clicking on what kind of tomato I preferred most, and that some strong young man would deliver it two days later, bringing the boxes down my stairs for me! It was like a miracle.

*Sniff*

The good old days..... WebVan's gone now, and I can't afford the actual store delivery prices.....

Today I have to go spend my monthly hundred dollars on the prescription cat food that keeps Digit alive and grumpy. Then I have to go stand in a huge line for the birth control pills that are obviously not necessary for anything but pain management, and which my insurance will not dispense to me in any greater quantity than one month at a time. Because I might sell them on the black market? Pssst.... Gotcher top-grade progesterone right now, kid. Dime bag. Innerested?

Then, what else? I know I have to go somewhere else. Oh, yeah. The grocery store. I’ll hit Trader Joe’s, which lessens the overload on my system by being easier than somewhere like Safeway. At least I like most of their stuff and don’t have to navigate through Processed Cheese and Chip land quite so much. But Bay Area Trader Joe’s stores might kill you. Really. People are crazy inside, and it’s worse in the parking lots. At the Emeryville one, I used to park across the street in the hotel parking lot and then walk back to my car with my loaded bags, just so I could avoid the BMWs vying for first place in the I-Beat-You-To-The-Stoplight race.

Then, though, I have to go to the yarn store. No, really. I do. I have to go. I lost my Article Pract measuring tape somewhere on the trip, probably on the plane home, since I know I saw it there last. I rarely lose anything, but this is a GREAT thing to lose. I should lose it more often. Not only does it promote my fave store, but it means I have to go back and visit Christina. I swear I won’t look at yarn. Uh-huh.

Ugh. Besides that last, I don’t want to leave the house. Family’s coming in to town, though, for sister Christy’s graduation from Berkeley with her master’s (whoo hoooooo!), so I kinda have to possess the rough approximation of nourishment in my house. A remainder of gouda (ooh! Hungry!) and fourteen beers left over from camping ain’t gonna convince my mother I’m living healthy. I am, Mom, I swear. I ate two bananas yesterday.....

Off to it. Mwah.

Just a couple of things:
A dead fish sachet. Wins as funniest knitted object I've seen in a long time.
And the whole wide world, knitted. Wanderlust, indeed.

ConfessionMay 19, 2004

With her permission, I give you the only work-safe campin' photo I have, Kelly knitting. This doesn't show the beer or the dog at her feet:

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It is a little odd, this new home. Yarn-A-Go-Go. I write. I knit. I yarn. Brenna has fixed me all up, and you can officially update your links. Please? Yippee!

Okay, now I can’t think of anything I want to say. Huh.

Actually, there’s too much I want to say. I wrote today, in the sun, outside, writing for the first time on my garden swing. I KNEW I bought the one with a sun-shade for a reason. It’s my writing swing (and my reading and napping swing, too). Damn, it feels really good to re-claim what I know was already true, and give it voice and authority in my on-line life.

I never meant to have a knitting blog. Really. When I started blogging two years ago, it was just a place for me to write, to get my thoughts focused, to jumpstart the real writing. But I was a knitter, too, and I liked to read the knitting sites. When I moved to Typepad last year, it was easier for me to connect with knittin’ buddies, what with that elegant commenting feature ‘n’all. But I never joined the big knitting ring, never described myself as a knit-blog, although that is what I became. And I’m happy about it, too. I’ve made some of the best friends I’ve ever had, right here, because of the knittin'.

But really, I’m a writer. Yup.

[Aside, does my kitty up there really look like he’s heaving up a hair ball? I’ll have to change him again..... Yes, my cats throw up yarn. Now there’s some yarn-a-go-go for you. Ah, well. There’s only so much playing around one can do with copyright-free graphics and not lose one’s mind.... I'll do it later.]

Speaking of losing one’s mind, I canNOT focus today and track a single thought. I’m thinking about too many things. Right now, I’m primarily trying not to think about the fact that I’m trying to turn into a runner. I know. I don’t run. As Greta says, I’ll run only if something is chasing me. Or if the ice-cream truck is moving too quickly down the street. Why, oh, WHY is the desire to run taking me over right now? I called a friend on Monday and asked her to lunch, knowing full well that she’s my shopping buddy. I pretty much hate to shop, so whenever I have a shopping chore, she comes along. I told, “I need to buy running shoes.” Instead of snorting, which my other friends have done with much glee, she asked me to run a marathon.

Let me say that again: She asked me to run a marathon. In Hawaii. The AIDS marathon. In December.

I said yes.

It might be the most stupid yes I’ve ever said, and maybe that’s why I couldn’t think of what to write today, because I’m trying not to confess what I did to y’all, my readers, who might somehow think they should hold me accountable FOR RUNNING A MARATHON. Mariko? Honey? We need to talk. Mariko and her friend Hedi are marathon queens. Hedi told me recently, "I think I'm going to run a marathon in every state." (I think I'm going to eat ice-cream in every state, is that kind of the same thing?) And they’re about the size of both of my cats put together. Now, I’m a healthy girl. Shall I call myself big-boned? Sure, why not?

A marathon? Cripes.

I’m reserving the right to flake. But I’m going to put my shoes on in a minute here and go for my second (ever) run. Training starts second week of June, and I don’t want them to know I can’t even run up two flights of stairs without turning beet-red. Good god.

See? As soon as I got honest with you, the tongue was loosened, wasn’t it? Oy.

Under ConstructionMay 18, 2004

Still fiddling with the site and its new name. It'll take a few days to go-go all the way over to yarnagogo, but with BRENNA'S awesome help, it'll happen. Seriously, typepad users? How much do we love her, our technical support? I haven't yet asked her a question to which the answer wasn't glaringly obvious once I understood it, but she never makes me feel stooopid. Not like the domain registrar's customer service dude today, with his heavy sighs and unwillingness to listen to me (and his ultimately wrong answers). And Brenna, I swear, works about 27 hours a day, 8 days a week. Props to you, gal. To Brenna's boss: Brenna needs a raise. A big one.

I added a kitty up top to the new graphic, see?

Such a dork, me. Mwah.

Yarnagogo.com

Dude. Weird, huh? You like? I needed a clean-up, a little change. It’s like reorganizing the cupboards – addictive late at night.

Yarnagogo.com. That’s me now. You’ll see me around blogland with my new name. You can update your links, or you can leave ‘em (myglasshouse.typepad.com will also get to me). I’ll always be in a glass house, but I was ready to honor both parts of me: the writing and the knitting. I feel like I’ve spent too much time lately being a knitter. I’m forgetting that primarily, I’m a writer. My little writing/yarn gal up there will serve to remind me that the yarn is behind the desk, ready to be pulled out and played with after the writing is done for the day. I tell yarns, and I knit them. In that order.

You know?

Home AgainMay 16, 2004

Camping rocked. Y’all were right, I got there and had a magnificent time. Rippin’ and roarin’, both were going on. For the first time ever on a camping trip, I wasn’t mocked for knitting; I was actually joined by one gal. And two or three others did knit and regretting not bringing it along. I didn’t get much done. There was a lot of beer. And I mean a LOT of beer. I’m detoxifying now. Lordy. Somehow I missed getting an official hangover, but I have that old college ache in my knees. You know that muscle pain you get? After that much alcohol? No? You forgot? Yeah, I had too. I am 31, not 21. One doesn’t process the booze the same way, thank god. No one could keep up that pace. Or at least, no one should. Happy to be home, happy to be alone in my little house. No camping photos. They could be considered quite incriminating.

And thanks for the tank compliments! To several requests for the pattern, I tell you, I ain’t got one, since I ripped off both top and bottom from different patterns. But here’s the idea:

Find a lace pattern you like. Swatch, find your gauge. Figure out how big around you want it to be (I used my bust measurment) and futz (the official term) with the numbers until the lace matches up (or don’t, like I did, and just throw in some yarn overs under the arm every once in a while. Makeshift lace). Knit straight up, no shaping, it is lace after all, for about 12 inches. Then use the shapely tank top pattern (thanks, Joan!), knitting stockinette stitch for a couple of inches and then jumping in at the armhole part. Put in 2 yarn over/decrease combos of your choosing in the middle of the tank after the lace section, every four rows or so. Enough to run a tie through, that’s all y’need. That’s it. I didn’t even finish the underarms, cause they don’t matter. You know? Try it! Let me know how it goes.

Diamonds on the Soles of my ShoesMay 14, 2004

This is going to sound stupid and very whiney, but I don’t wanna go camping! Don’t wanna! I want to sit on my ass on my couch, alone, and do nothing for three days. Can’t, because not only did I say I’d go camping with a bunch of friends (which I would have no problem flaking on), but I told two friends in a bad housing situation that they could house-sit for me. They’d be devastated if I told them I didn’t need them. They’ve been living for playing house here, and they deserve to.

Whinge. Poor me. What a dilemma. Don’t want to go play. What a baby I am.

Just grumpy as all hell. And lazy to boot. I’ll show the pic of my finished Lacy Thingie to try to cheer me up. I used a feathery lace pattern on the bottom (from the bottom of Bella) and then just did a Shapely Tank-ish top, throwing in one lace repeat in which to lace the ribbon. I kinda made it to camp in, but it’s WAY too fancy.

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Specs: Soy Silk, from the boys, color unknown. The only green/yellow one (it wasn't printed on the ball). 3 skeins, just. Gauge: 5st/in. Needles: 5US. I do love that it's made from leftover tofu. That's kinda cool. And it's softer than it has any right to be.

I did cast on for yet another Chickami in green for mindless camping knitting. As soon as I get there, I’ll have a rip-roaring ball (with more roaring than ripping, I hope). I know that. But right now I’m just throwing a little haven’t-been-alone-for-more-than-one-hour-yesterday-in-three-weeks tantrum. Bethany left this morning, flying back to Boston to meet up with Tach, and I think that might explain a portion of my grumpiness. Miss her.

Don’t mind me. (grumping off to play, stomp, thump, stomp.....)

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NextMay 13, 2004

I’ll just answer some comments today, since I’m still feeling lazy....

Cat teeth: If I tried to clean Digit’s teeth myself, I’d never knit again. Take it from me. It would be an amusing thing to watch, however, if one could get past the blood. Who was it, though.... Oh, yes, Rock Chick gave me the kick in the ass I needed when she said her cat had come home with fewer teeth but feeling happier. Cats hide pain well, and I can’t bear the thought that Digit might be hiding any pain from me whatsoever. So it’s off to make the dreaded appointment. Funny, I hate dealing with my teeth so much that I think I’ve carried that over to my companions.

Yarn choice: All that yarn I brought home with me? (please, Mom? Can we keep it? It’s so cute and I’ll take care of it all by myself....) I loved the questions about how I came to buy it. I think what it all came down to was I had to buy the yarn I couldn’t leave there. Much like an abandoned kitten on the street, I got Very Concerned that particular skeins wouldn’t go to a good home. What if, say, that Harrisville Highland Style went to a house where the yarn was going to be used for making crocheted trellises for supporting geraniums that were destined to be used in a Pro-W float in the hometown parade? See? Could I really let that happen? When I picked up fiber and it whispered to me its fears of becoming dog drool toys or macrame fruit baskets, I couldn’t just turn my back. I am a rescuer, people. I care.

What to make next: Whoops. I’m actually working on what to make next next. I’m just finishing up a lacy tank (on a blog-cruise this morning I saw at least six others in the works or done) made out of soy silk. I started it on the trip, and worked on it a lot in Nantucket, so it has really really good vibes. Pics tomorrow, I hope. I’m going camping this weekend, so I’ll probably just take some more cotton and start another tank of some sort. ‘Tis the season. Yep.

Kitties!May 12, 2004

Bethany just said, “Periodontal disease is one of the biggest killers of domestic animals.” Oh, yipes. I was just telling her that Digit’s breath smells like sheep. It’s been stinky for a long time, but it wasn’t until we were lying in bed this morning that I realized he was reminding me of a sheep farm, dirty mud and all. I gotta tell you, it smells better on the sheep.

Ew. Bethany says if the teeth get infected, the infection can travel through the body, causing all sorts of other horrible things to happen to the cat. I was hoping for a spinning wheel soon. Now I’ll need to buy a kitty teeth cleaning instead.... Ah, well. The things we do for love. And hygiene.

The little mama watched the kitties for the last three weeks while I was gone, and Dad had business up here this week, so he brought them to me yesterday. It was awful – I had to say hello to my babies and then go to work (oooooh, I was grumpy). But I was sure cat-full during my sleep today. Bethany said they tripped back and forth between me. When Digit would move from my head, Adah would move in.

They were the mighty hunters at Mom’s house – pulling in a lizard or bird a day apiece. I still have no idea why they don’t seem to need to go outside when they’re here in Oakland, but they seem fine again as indoor cats. Thank god. They’re safe at Mom’s house. Here, even with my fabulous backyard and neighboring yards, there’s still traffic and mean dogs and mean people and I want them inside with me, if at all possible.

I think you need a couple of pictures, don’t you?

Such a mug on this one.

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Look at all these toes! Keeps him busy.

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Oh, he's curled up next to me right now, on the little computer table, next to my coffee cup. For a grumpy little man, he's sure smiling right now.

Excuse my excessive cat sentimentality. Mwah.

BellaMay 11, 2004

I wrote a bunch of crap this morning that now I don’t feel like posting. I like my job, very much. It supports my writing and yarn habits, and that’s fabulous. But you know? It’s a job. And I have to go back to it tonight (and work a 7pm-5am shift after getting up at 8am this morning, sigh). Vacation is over. That blows. It was SUCH a good vacation.

Grrr.

So. Anyway. Here’s Bella.

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Specs:
Bella, cardigan version (included in directions), size 45 finished bust
Yarn: 9 balls Rowan Calmer, color 479
Needles: 5US
Gauge: 5st/inch

I love this cardie. It’s light and so soft, and it just feels good to wear. I added some blue shell buttons I picked up at MDS&W. Do take Joan’s suggestion, though, and add a hook-and-eye at the closure, or you’ll be safety-pinning it, like me. I’ll get around to it. Someday.

Last night Bethany and I took sister Christy out for a celebratory dinner at Fog City Diner in San Francisco. Christy’s about a minute away from getting her master’s degree at Berkeley, and she deserved a break. We realized that it was the first real grown-up dinner we sisters have ever had together, just the three of us. We’ve eaten out a million times, but this was the real deal – cocktails to start, appetizers (truffle fries with aioli, and oysters on the side), full dinner, bottle of wine, dessert.... We had the best time. They wanted to walk back to BART, and I was pretty whiney about it, but they were right: it was a gorgeous walk, a clear night, no fog, not many people about, just walking along the embarcadero, watching the traffic on the sparkling Bay Bridge.... It’s putting me in a better mood just thinking about it. And these faces! Look what I looked at all night!

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They slay me. I love them.

And now, because you’ve been so patient, I give you the spoils of war. This is the whole haul. It felt like more when I was lugging it home, but spread out on the floor, I'm not that embarrassed.... If I were a Very Good Blogger, I would catalog the yarns with their colors, vendors, and prices. I’m a Bad Blogger this week. If you MUST know, email me and I’ll look up the name for ya. All anyone really needs to know, however, is that the huge green cone is cashmere/merino from School Products. I haven’t slept with it yet, but I still might.

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And off to relax. Maybe a nap before work? See yehs.

Happy Mother's Day!May 9, 2004

Ah.... I’m home. Bethany’s here, too, seeing my apartment for the first time. Actually, she’s a great person to have around, since she woke on east coast time and walked to the store while I was sleeping. At the moment, she’s making us ham and cheese croissants for breakfast while I type.

Hello, George! I love my huge aloe plant. He’s still here outside my window, no wild fencing having been erected while I was gone. I did come home to find that my house-sitters had put together the cheapo porch-glider-in-a-box that I had vaguely suggested they might find fun. It had been sitting in the rain and sun for weeks, staring at me. I hate putting things like Ikea furniture together, and this was Ikea times ten. I have a glider/swing thing now! Must start planning that party....

It’s nice to be home. But I have to say, this was one of my best vacations ever. EVER. One of my favorite things on getting home is thinking over the best parts of the trip, and I’ve been doing a lot of that. It’s a wee bit overwhelming, though. We did so much, and went so many places, and met so many people that I find it hard to remember them all.....

Photo Recap

I realize that I never really wrote about the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I won’t belabor the description, as my friends have already shown you things and told the tales, but I have to say: It’s the happiest place on earth. It’s WAY better than Disneyland (and I love me some Splash Mountain). I just couldn’t get over walking through the dirt, between barns FULL of gorgeous yarn, listening to people playing Celtic music, looking at lambs and ewes and rams and alpacas and bunnies and sheepdogs, running into friends and getting hugs. I mean it. I could NOT get over it. Bethany probably wanted to slap me over the head, because I must have been grinning idiotically, both days. (Although I must tell on her: She woke on Sunday telling me that we had to get there early, as soon as it opened, because we still had so much to see.)

The line of cars to get in (the festival is still about a mile away):

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Macabre. But funny. I'm sorry.

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Walking through a barn:

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Lookee who I found!

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And who else I found!

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And more (Silvia, Theresa, and BonneMarie):

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See how happy Tach is out in his field?

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As Kathleen says, deep fried twinkies are dangerous. You can choke on the powdered sugar, and watch out for the sticks. But damn, are they good.

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Sheep shearing.

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Sheepdog working.

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Look, Mama! South Downs. (The kind of sheep she raised in New Zealand as a child....)

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(While at the festival I remembered one of my all time favorite memories: Being in New Zealand, on Uncle Jim’s farm, playing in the shearing shed. There was a long wool chute where the fleece was thrown, and we kids could slide down the chute into the piles of soft, lanoliney wool. I was telling Bethany about this and she said, “well, that explains a lot.”)

Then on to Richmond, where being with darling Maggi was only enhanced by hangin' with the smartest cutest almost-3-year-old I've ever met, Wee C:

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Driving more, driving north, and we drove through Mystic, a gorgeous little town. It was weird, but we were thrilled to see this:

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We both really like old graveyards (like the magnificent Hollywood in Virginia), and this was the Mystic one, right on the water. I liked this photo best, though.

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[Total odd aside: Does anyone know anything about a church in a city just east of Mystic, CT on Rte. 1? It's gorgeous, and huge, and is on the right while headed east, fronting a large graveyard. Bethany and I want the name of it......]

A co-worker (#85) told me about this hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Providence, an Italian joint he worked in as a busboy fifteen-plus years ago. We went through Providence just for dinner, and man, it was worth it. It was tiny, with maybe ten tables, no alcohol (but you could walk it in from the bar across the street), and a chef that Bethany thought was really good eye-candy.

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We drove hell-for-leather that night to make Hyannis after Providence. We wanted to be near the ferry boat to Nantucket the next morning. We got a little lost, and had no place to stay, but had seen a hotel listed in one of those discount hotel books you pick up in Denny's lobbies. We were sure we wouldn't be able to find it, but driving down Main Street, Tach turned into a parking lot. Bethany thought we were thinking about options, but we looked up and we were IN the parking lot of the hotel we wanted. They had forty-dollar rooms, and we got room number eleven (!). I asked the clerk where the ferry left, and he pointed down the street. He told us we could walk, and we could even leave Tach in the lot if we didn't want to pay the $20 parking fee the ferry would charge us. AND there was a pub attached to the hotel, the Duck Inn, where we had a nice lil nightcap.

Next day, on to Nantucket. It was WINDY on that high-speed ferry:

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Do you know how much I love Nantucket?

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And they love me:

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We met darlin' MJ in the Even Keel at noon. She was on her lunch break. We had never met, but we hugged, chatted a bit, and then she said, "Here are the keys to the car. Want to take me back to work? And meet back at the house tonight for dinner?"

She let us have the car! It was awesome! (I guess we couldn't have stolen it, though. It is an island, after all.) We drove to have lunch on the water at a little local place she told us about, went to the yarn store (Sheep to Shore), bought this local MA yarn:

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Then we drove to the Surfside beach and took a nap here in the sun:

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Oh, nap photo:

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Am I killing you with photos? Oh, well. I cain't help it.

This is how cool MJ and Steve were. We had been sitting around her kitchen, watching her do this graceful dinner-making dance in front of us, talking of cabbages and kings, when Steve came home. He asked if we wanted to go driving on the beach . MJ took the food off the stove and wiped her hands on her apron. We piled into the jeep and headed out.

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It was two days before the real season started, so a lot of the shops were still closed for winter and there was still no one on the beaches. Well, almost no one. There were several of these guys. Say hi:

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We *heart* MJ and Steve (and cool cat Jake). The next morning, we still had their car (which we left in a downtown lot with the keys on the running board, doors unlocked -- it's that kind of town), so we headed out again. Did you know Bethany swings?

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Went to the airport. Come on, you knew we would. Hello, Wings..... We walked through but saw no one we recognized.

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Not shown: We also went to the dump, on MJ's recommendation. They had a terrific Take It or Leave It (she showed me the cones of yarn she got there once) and we found a nice little wool coat that Bethany's wearing to the wedding tonight. Heh. Don't tell the girls.....

Okay. Now tired of blogging and want to get some knitting done (and catching up on blogs and emails will take DAYS). Hurrying: We left Nantucket regretfully. On through Cape Cod, which was gerjess, and into Boston where we hung with Maryse and Amber (thanks for putting us up, cutie!) for a short time.

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Had to split WAY early and get to the airport which was REALLY difficult from downtown. Luckily we had left in plenty of time to get lost and still park in economy. And we flew home! Bethany's back in the City she loves! And I'm home. No matter what, there's nothing like everything being in place, including yourself.

To all those I met and hugged and loved up, thank you, for everything you gave us. To those I missed, next time? Yes?

Coming up in the next post (someday): Stash brought home (OMG) and the finished Bella cardie (turns out I had plenty of time, finished it in Richmond, watching Sopranos with Maggi). Ciao.

Oh, oh.May 7, 2004

Only a minute or two (really) in this Nantucket library -- but let me say quickly that Delaware is beautiful. I take it back. We loved it. And then we drove through SIX states in one day, all New England, all beautiful. Had dinner in Providence, saw Yale and Princeton, saw rivers and trees and the town of Mystic. Ended up Wednesday night in Hyannis, Cape Cod, where we left the truck the next morning. We took the ferry to Nantucket, which is impossible to describe. Really. MJ and Steve put us up, met through this blog, and last night we sat knitting in a farm house in Nantucket with a 13th-generation Nantucketer. I found the yarn store. MJ met us, hugged us, had to get back to work, so she gave us her car, which is at this moment parked on Main Street.

I love it here. It's sunny, and the boats and water are magical.

Boston tonight, and home tomorrow. Oh, it's sad to leave all this. But I'll be happy to show Bethany my new home!

Besos.

Dela-where?May 4, 2004

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Damn, that takes a long time. I'm on dial-up in a hotel, and I'm sorry to say you'll be gettin' no more pics. This was a very cute yarn shop in Williamsburg, however.

Cari's comment about me surfing the blog-ring in person cracked me up. It's true, I've totally been doing that. But I wish I had MORE time. I want to hook up with Maryse and Amber in Boston and Christy in Philly and about ten others I can't remember. I swear I need another trip. Or y'all need to come out west. Yeah, I like that one. And Joanna, geography was never my strong point. Heh. Is it that obvious? I've seen a LOT of the east this last week.....

We drove today. We drove a LOT. We’re in Delaware right now, and I can honestly say this is the first time for me. So far, no offense to Delawarians, but I’m not very impressed. Of course, we’re on the interstate, and that’s something I should remember. I'm sure Delaware isn't all Arbys and Exxons. We haven’t even made it to Dover yet. We’re in a smoking-room (sigh) Super 8 and Bathany’s in the bath, as per usual.

Today we left Richmond and went deep into tobacco country. We actually saw tobacco growing, something I didn’t even really know still occurred. Isn’t that stupid? Maggi said something humorous about us being so easily awed, but really, I am. I don’t know anything about these areas, and they’re so new and exciting! And the brick of the buildings is the most perfect red I’ve ever seen.

We went south to Jamestown and east over to Hampton and then up across the Chesapeake. I put my toes into the Chesapeake waters! And that’s technically the Atlantic, so I killed two bodies of water with one foot. It was cool. And actually, pretty damn cold, too. We crossed on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which is 17 MILES of bridge and tunnel, up and down. Friends, that’s not a joy ride to me. Give me a nice easy plane ride. I hate tunnels. Especially deep ones where the traffic is oncoming, and there’s a person who slows suddenly coming at you in the other direction, and the traffic behind her has to brake so quickly that the semi four back is suddenly in your lane, and your sister is braking and doing an absolutely beautiful job fitting her little pickup truck body between the walls of the tunnel and semi’s wheels, and you look in the rear-view mirror to see another big-rig barreling down, trying to brake to accommodate your sister’s necessary slow-down.

I was so shaken I cried. Bethany was reassuring and cool, and I loved her. She said, “I knew I could handle my truck and that I would do the best I could do, and the rest wasn’t up to me.” She rocks.

After that little three second scare, the rest of the day was charmed. We drove north from the bridge, all the way up Virginia’s east shore. We left the regular small road and drove up the unlined road that went through old fields and past houses that haven’t been rebuilt after falling down and just rest there, in the middle of their overgrown trees, brick and wood sagging into the greenery. We saw almost no one else all the way up. At one point, we looked right and a little old lady was sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck, swinging her legs, her hair in a pink net. She waved. We waved back.

We went out to Chinkateague and saw the lighthouse and the NASA station. We tuned to their AM station and listened to their public service announcements about “Puppets in Space.” We ate a lot of Zingers bought in a rest-stop where they sold fruit and tee-shirts with pirates on them. (Shhh. I bought Bethany one.)

Tomorrow we’re booking up to Rhode Island and Providence. We’re realizing that we have almost no time left, and we really want to see Nantucket. Man, remember Wings? I loved that show. Can’t wait.

The Fastest Blog EverMay 3, 2004

We're at the fabulous Maggi's house, and I just read Wee C my favorite book ever, Bread and Jam for Frances. This is my first time in the South, and I'm in love. (You might notice a trend. It's like with people. I fall fast and hard. And often.) Richmond is the ideal city. (Don't burst my bubble. I like my romances to be sweet for a while....) And who wouldn't love it? Red brick everywhere, the azaleas blooming, a hot tub and wine and knitting? Sigh. If only Greta had made it to our slumber party, as had been originally planned. But life gets in the way sometimes, and there will be other trips.

Bethany and I had a great drive down from DC. She had a little black cloud hanging over her head while we fought the 95 traffic, and as soon as we hit the blue highway again, she became yellow and sunny. One should never tell a sister really good news at a confusing intersection, though. We saw way more of Fredericksburg than we ever planned because I told her that our friends Kira and Rachel (getting married on Sunday) are flying her out with ME on Saturday! She's going home for six days! Wheeeee! I suppose a wrong turn was inevitable. I had totally been convinced she already knew, that someone had spilled the beans (everyone knew but her), but she was overwhelmed with surprise. It was fabulous.

Maryland? Sheep and Wool? I'll show you my haul when I get home, and pictures, too, but suffice it to say that I don't have enough arms to carry it all. That's the real reason I'm bringing Bethany home with me. And I met (let me see if I can remember): Bonne Marie, Carolyn, Theresa, Froggy, Anna, Christy, Jodi, Stella, Christina, Silvia, Claudia..... It's late and I think I'm leaving about four others out. Remind me in comments. I'll add links later. Want to get downstairs and knit more with darlin' Maggi. We called Threadbear Rob earlier and he just told me to go home. "No one is allowed to have that much fun." I know it.

We're hitting the highway tomorrow, heading up and out to Boston. We have a Nantucket stop on the way, which we're really looking forward to, and a lot of good snacks in between here and points north. Absolutely no time (or really, inclination) to check email (or even to proof this post), but know that I love y'all (see? Southern!) and kisses are sent your way. Mwah!