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« September 2004 | Main | November 2004 »

22 posts from October 2004

HOMO-ner, Part 2October 29, 2004

In the continuing saga of Rachael's new home, I still ain't got no key. The ex-owner (referred to hereafter as Adam Henry. Police code, don'tcha know) still hasn't returned my realtor's calls. Instead, he is making his cop brother call her. The cop brother (referred to hereafter as Ineffective But Trying) told Ghet that he would do his best to wrap up his "deep undercover" gig and come over with his truck to remove the staging furniture last night. I've been at work, so I don't know if this has been done or not. IBT tried to soothe Ghet's ruffled feathers. She had none of it. He then asked for my phone number, so he could try to straighten things out with me. She said, "She's too nice for you to talk to." She related all of this gleefully to me. She enjoys this kind of fighting. This is a mentality I just do not understand, but I can definitely appreciate it.

I think this was mamacate's idea: I should find out where Mr. Henry lives and leave him a present. No, not dog-doo in a bag. No, TPing his house would just be silly.

I think Mr. Henry needs a desk. Like, in his driveway. Whatcha think? A housecooling present. Hmmm.

Irregardless*, come Saturday morning, if I don't have that key, I'm getting a locksmith in to change the locks and let me in. I'll then use my movers at Mr. Henry's expense and dump his shit in the street. Or in the carport, since I don't want to get sued. But it's way more fun to think about it in the street.

And then, only then, will I begin to worry about subletting/leasing my old apartment. I have until December 1st to get the vacancy filled, so I've got time to finish moving and cleaning, but this is my dream, and I want it to come true sooner, rather than later: I'm sitting in my tiny living room, knitting and watching TV, a cat nearby and a La sitting close. The old apartment is rented, happily and easily. I'm unpacked, and the walls are painted. The house is clean and sweet, and I'm home. Soon, soon, soon. So may it be, as our Greta would say.

DSL is down at home until at least Monday, and I'm off work until Tuesday, so I will be completely offline for a while. Pictures then? Hopefully? In the meantime, I'll show you the poncho my girl Kalea received (running mate Marama's daughter). I made it to match the realtor's girls' ponchos, also in the Cashmerino. She was so tickled that she wanted to pose, and she told her mom she couldn't wear it to school because she played tag a lot, "and it might get snagged." When she brushed her teeth wearing it, she asked her mother to wrap a towel around her first.


And of course, the Iris:


Isn't she a fabulous poncho diva?

Have a great weekend, all. Keeses!

*I just wanted to watch the Grammar Avengers squirm. Heh.

I Am A HomeownerOctober 27, 2004

Can you believe that? Isn't that the craziest thing y'ever heard? And you all... Now, you know those comments you left made me cry. Really. Wanna come over for a beer? My home is open to you.

Well, okay, in reality it isn't. That's only because it's not even open to ME.


My realtor, Ghet, called me at 9:30am this morning to tell me the magic words. It was done. I was a homeowner. We agreed to meet later to pick up the key from the lockbox on site, and we would go inside. By some miracle, I managed to fall back asleep for a couple more hours, but I had that fitful sleep of extreme anticipation. It was like I was five again and it was Christmas Eve, waking every half-hour to see if it was time to get up yet. Is it time? Now? Isn't it time yet?

Finally, it's time to get up. Finally, it's time to go open my door. MY door.

I arrive. My realtor is already there. She's furious. Spitting mad, ferociously dangerous. The ex-owner (because, you know, I am the owner now -- hey, didja know that?) has not removed the staging furniture inside and has REMOVED the key from the lockbox. On purpose. I have no way to get into my home. And he's not returning any of the phone calls.

I am pretty damn crushed. Ghet calls the ex-owner's assistant and screams. Lawsuits are mentioned. Rent-back is guaranteed. She threatens her with everything but brimstone on wheat toast.

But really. Okay. It's my place. Whoooopeee! I can probably hire a locksmith to open the place and change the locks, and have the movers place the furniture out on the sidewalk on Saturday, when they're moving in my stuff. It's a pain. Not a catastrophe. In terms of problems, everyone should have this problem. Like Juliette said in a comment yesterday, "Buying a home in California is tantamount to buying a small Balkan country...and you are like the Queen of that country." I am QUEEN! A queen without a key, that is.

I'm letting Ghet deal with it right now. I trust her junkyard-dog bark more than my little whine. But keep me out much longer? Grrrrr.

So for now, no photos. Soon. Well, I hope soon. Tomorrow the phone is going on in the new place and that means my DSL might be lost at home until next week. That means no photos since I won't be able to get them from my computer up to the site. Hopefully I'll be able to show you at least one photo. Oh, hell. You can see one now from when I walked through the staged furniture a while back. It's not bad luck anymore. Here's the living room.


Wahhh! Isn't that fabulous? Of course, with my furniture, it will be more cluttered. And it'll have way more yarn.

Oh. Knitting. Right. Ghet loved her scarf and wee ponchos. She wore the scarf draped elegantly while she paced the parking area, yelling into her cell phone. It was rad. She gave me a heavy cut crystal vase for my housewarming present. Crystal! I am not old enough or mature enough for crystal. I think I'll keep knitting needles in it.

More later! MWAH!

Oh my god oh my god oh my god

The loan funded!

! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Hot diggety damn, Martha. My realtor told me while I was sitting in the parking lot, just pulling up to work, and I just about lost my mind. I went upstairs and did this wild happy dance all around the communications center.

Really, a huge part of me thought it wouldn't. And when I talked to my realtor's brother (for whom I hurriedly made a Cashmerino scarf last night), he said that they'd had problems. Lots of problem. This was the Deal From Hell. The more I hear about it, the more I'm glad I was kept in the dark. I couldn't sleep because I didn't know what was going on. Had I known, I wouldn't have been able to walk, let alone sleep.

So the last step is to record it. For those of you who don't know what that means, don't worry. I don't either. I think it goes to the County Recorder's Office, where it is writ in blood or Sharpie or koigu'n'elmers that I, Rachael Herron, an Unmarried Woman, does own the property. And that's the easiest step. It should just take the morning. They say. With my luck however, said my realtor, the recorder's office is going to burn down with my docs inside.

Barring that, I could have keys this afternoon. Or tomorrow. Oh, help!

This is a dream come true. One of my biggest, dearest dreams. I can't WAIT to show you pictures. Finally. I haven't shown them before for fear of jinxing it all. But soon. Oh!

Oh, oh!

You're all perfect dolls for loving me. You know that? I mean it.

(Oh, the Salvation Army boys actually laughed at my desk and left me with it. Sigh. Ask me if I really care at this point. I don't. I care that I'm going to have to move it out of the bedroom somehow in order to clean the carpet, but that's going to be a chop-chop kinda deal. Yep. Get me an axe! Whoop!)

The Desk of DoomOctober 26, 2004

I hate my desk. I really do. I spent half an hour on the phone yesterday only to realize that EVERYONE hates a bizarrely heavy old office desk that likes to draw blood. Isn't that weird? Finally, I called the Salvation Army.

“Do you take office desks?”
“Would you like to schedule a pick-up?”
“Well, yes, but I need to know if you take office desks.”
“What’s your zip code?”
“94609. So you’ll take it?”
“We can do a pick-up for you tomorrow in your area.”
“Will you take my desk?”
“What’s your name?”

I was either talking to a machine or someone who’s been sued in the past over an office desk. I gave up and the pick-up is supposed to happen between two and five today. Better be before 430 is all I gotta say—I have to go to work early tonight. I’m at the point now where if they don’t come today, or refuse it when they get here, I’m going to PAY someone to remove it. (Oh, I just remembered. My favorite Lala suggested that we bust it up into small pieces while it’s still in my room. How satisfying that would be. Oh, the crunch and splinter....)

I am not so smart. Didja know that? Last night I decided to help the picker uppers by moving the desk into the living room. I knew it was crazy, but I have confidence in myself. I heaved and ho-ed (hey!) until I got it turned enough to move a little, then I used almost all my strength to put pieces of cardboard under each foot. If I braced against things, the wall, or the heater, I could push hard enough to move it an inch at a time. I knew we had managed to get it IN the damn room, I figured that meant I could get it could get out.

My mind is a leetle slow when it comes to geometry. Some might actually call it a form of stupidity. It won’t hurt my feelings if you do. This is what I ended up with.


I had to do the Dukes of Hazzard slide over the top of it every time I wrangled another inch of movement. I got it to here and finally thought, “There’s no way in bloody hell this is EVER going to go through here. How did we DO that last time?”

And then (sadly, only then) I realized that we had made it stand up (UP!) and waltzed it through the doorways. Took three of us. I wasn’t going to be able to do it.

It took approximately thirteen thousand more Duke slides to get it back far enough into the room that I could squeak around it on all sides. Those guys from the thrift store better be great in number and full of steroids. Bandages in the truck wouldn’t hurt, either.

Packing proceeds apace. The living room and bathroom are done. Hoping to polish off the living room today, and the kitchen tomorrow. I haven’t heard anything about keys today, so I’m officially not expecting them now. Maybe tomorrow. Oh, I hope hope hope.... This is EXCITING! Whoop!

Still PackingOctober 25, 2004

I’m packing. Really. I am. Okay, I guess I’m taking a little break at this exact moment. I hate packing. What I hate is the feeling of accomplishment followed by the instant exhalation that signals extreme frustration when you realize you’ve just found a whole ‘nother pocket of junk that you oh-so-cleverly hid months and months ago.

But on the other hand, when I looked under my bed, there wasn’t anything there. I loved that. Thank god I left at least one storage space alone.

I don’t have the key yet, which means the loan hasn’t yet funded, and the property hasn’t been recorded yet. (A small voice is still whispering that something could still go wrong, but I’m doing my best to ignore that voice. It’s hard.)

Up until now, I’ve been packing in small doses, doing the hard things, like cleaning out drawers and the closet and (gasp) the desk. Those are all done now, and today and tomorrow are for the real pack job. Everything goes into boxes except that which I need this week. You know, three tee shirts, seven pairs of underwear, two pairs of jeans, one sweater (I chose Olallieberry). Toiletries: Minimal. Cooking utensils: One pot and a stirrer and one set of silverware. (A stirrer? The hell?)

And believe it or not, I’ve been knitting. Hell, I’ll do anything to avoid packing, including start another “imperative” project. I wanted to thank my realtor some way, some way that wasn’t an expensive dinner or a case of wine. I’m sure she gets that all the time. I’ve found out from reliable sources that she isn’t going to make much at all on my property, since she’s paying all closing costs. She’s doing it as a favor to a friend of mine, and because a LOT of my coworkers use her for refinancing. And ‘cause she likes me. I really hope that’s one of the reasons. She tough as nails, but I like her.

The only time she’s not tough is when her two little girls come visit her in the office. Then she melts and squishes them and tells them to say hi to “Auntie Rachael.” (I love that.) She dresses them in matching outfits, usually pink ones. So I thought she might like two wee little ponchos, just big enough to fit a two year old and a five year old:


And I made Mom a scarf to match (with an angel pin at the end—she loves angels, and god knows if this is pulled off, she’ll have accomplished a miracle). The pile:


I loosely used the Harlot’s poncho pattern (cast on 34 stitches on size 15 needles, and went till Marama told me they were good lengths).

And dude, the yarn? Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky in color 16009. (Edging was Mountain Colors Mohair Loop in Indian Corn).

That Cashmerino? I lurve that stuff. I spent WAY too much on it (5 skeins for all 3 items), but it was worth it. I love cashmere.

I love cashmere.


Didja know I love cashmere?

Working with this stuff made me realize that *I* need to make more things for *myself* in really nice yarn like that. The pleasure you get from working with it is incredible. Oh, the addiction.

All right. Really now. Back to packing. Mwah!

inDeedOctober 22, 2004

I signed!

Yup. I did. The weirdest part? Sitting there, signing pages that had my name on them along with deed information. (A deed! Dude.) And I thought it was very odd that Rachael Herron, an Unmarried Woman is buying this property from (let’s call him) John Smith, an Unmarried Man.

I don’t know why that feels weird. Maybe because when I think of Rachael Herron, I think: Writer, knitter, photographer, girl with lots of toilet paper and fountain pens. I don’t think: Rachael Herron, an Unmarried Woman. Huh.

I don’t think I knew how much I’d been stressing about the loan until I was sitting there, signing, signing, signing, and I felt a band start to tighten around the base of my skull. By the time I left the office, I had a migraine forming. By the time I got home, I was ready to fall over and medicate on the way down. By the time Lala arrived to go to a celebratory dinner before I had to go to work, I could barely stand without wobbling. I felt green and nauseated all night at work, but at least the pain had been lessened by the nasal spray shot of Imitrex that I take. (I’ve never snorted drugs in my life, but I swear, taking that stuff makes me feel like I’m hitting something. Bumpin’ on Imitrex. Indeed. Deed. Dude!)

Today? I’m up and sleepy. Took a four hour nap and now I’m going to start doing things on the List. I still feel like I’m tempting fate, as the loan is now in the process of funding and the property is being recorded, and I won’t really relax until the key is in my hand next week, but I realized I need to make practical phone calls like turning things on: electricity, phone, (whispered) cable. (Okay, I thought I was going to get rid of cable when I moved, but I’ve admitted it. I love it. I want it. I need it. I really love it.)

And the old apartment? I’ve decided I’m not going to worry about it. I have a line on someone who might want it. If she doesn’t, I will worry about renting it once I’m OUT. I don’t really care about the money at this point, and I’ll just worry about that part later. It’ll work out beeyootifully. I know it.

This morning, I drove from work to the New House. It was a ten minute drive, mostly surface streets, and the house looked so sweet.... Really, in that half-light of dawn? It did. Quiet and sleepy and someplace I would want to go when I was tired. Then I drove up and behind it and realized the 13, my favorite highway, is right behind it. Love it, love it, love it.

Really love it. Still a little scared, but most of the pressure has been alleviated. I’ve heard of people having problems in the days between signing the loan and getting the keys, but I haven’t heard of one that actually fell all the way through in those few days. And if it happened to you, please have mercy and don’t tell me that until later. I *really* need to get some sleep tonight.

Happy freakin’ weekend, all! Woot!

WaitingOctober 21, 2004

Waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. I need the phone to ring and for my realtor to tell me to come sign loan docs.


Tap, tap, tap tappity tap.

I could also use more sleep.

HAH! And the phone rang, right then, after I typed that. I’m signing loan docs at 4:30pm today. An hour and a half. Yep. That’s good, right? Fewer things can go wrong now, right? Good god, how excited I am.

I am overwhelmed. And really, I’m overwhelmed, too. I have this new, crazy idea to try (again) to get out of this apartment by the 31st, which would be feasible if I find someone to rent it. There’s the catch. Another open house? Yick. That was like throwing a party at which I knew no one but Lala (but she was enough, really, the life of the party), and I don’t really want to do it again. But it would save me a thousand dollars.

But it’s nice to know I don’t HAVE to find anyone right now. I could take the extra month.

Oh, my god, it’s all happening, isn’t it? I think I’m going to run right now to burn off some of these nerves.

Nice job, knitters! All those crossed needles have been really working hard.....

BriberyOctober 20, 2004

Thanks for ALL the compliments on Cromarty! I lurve wearing it, I really do. It fits, and it’s soft (Koigu goodness), and when I met Mariko and Marie and Megan for a spot of yarn shopping on Monday, there was a group of knitters at the store. They made me model and spin and show off, and they made a big ole fuss over me. It felt great. And then we had frozen custard. All was right with the world.

Well, on the house front, I have good news. I can call it good news because it’s quite a bit better than bad news, which makes it good, right? My realtor said she talked to the lender’s agent and talked that person into going to the boss’s boss’s boss and telling him that her client “is a dispatcher, and there will be plenty of really unhappy cops and citizens if this girl doesn’t get her loan funded.” That is not true. There would be an unhappy writer/dispatcher/knitter in the Biggety-biggety-O, sure. But who am I to argue with corporate arm-twisting? They say that the boss agreed, and that the loan docs are going to come in any minute. Uh-huh.

Somehow this smacks of the guy at the car dealership shaking his head and saying, “Jaiz, I’d love to help you, but my boss isn’t going to like it. Man, I’d love it if you bought this car. My wife’s divorcing me, and I don’t know where I’m going to get the money for the court battle to see the kids.” (I once had a car salesman tell me exactly that. I waited until I was outside to roll my eyes.) And then he goes in the back room and he and The Boss talk about the Red Sox until he comes back out and says, “I don’t know how I did it, but he agreed. He’ll lower the price by seventy-three cents. Just for you. Whew. Ain’tchew lucky?”

Anyway. None of it sounds real anymore. We’ll just wait and see, and what’s meant to be, will be. I believe that, I really do.

There’s more good news, actually. My landlord called and apologetically said, “Rachael, all the people you sent me from the open house changed their minds or found other places to live. We have to start all over again.” This was the other night, when I thought for sure the lender wasn’t going to come through, so I said, “Oh, GOOD! Can I have it for another month?” I’ve already paid last-month’s-rent, so it won’t be any money out of pocket (a good thing, since I ain’t got none), and no matter what, it’ll either be a place to live, or it’ll give me more time to move. I swear, when I heard that, it was like a migraine lifting. And I didn’t even know I had a headache. I don’t think I knew just how upset I was at moving with no place to go until the fear was given a reprieve.

And I know it's all happening because I have a lot of knitters' fingers crossed for me. Y'all must be dropping stitches out there, huh? I appreciate it, SO much.


CROMARTY!October 18, 2004

She is finished. Hot damn, she's freaking done!


Pattern: Alice Starmore's Cromarty, from the book Celtic Collection
Yarn: Koigu Kersti merino, in a shade that has defied duplication (trust me on this one)
Needles: 1(US), because I'm out of my mind.
Yarn Provider: The Threadbear Boys. In return for it being a shop model for a while (sadly, during the winter as timing would have it), they provided (most of) the yarn (I felt guilty about my row gauge and bought some of it). So I'll be wrapping it up and sending it out this week. Whew. And I'll welcome her back with open arms (after wearing it just once, today, meeting with Mariko and Marie).

A little bit closer:


I'd show you the back, but it's just more of the same. I tried to get the obligatory lying in on bed shot, but this is all that wanted to show up. The camera kept getting all the squiggles confused.


And a few more friends, because after working on this off and on (as yarn allowed) for eight MONTHS, it's just 'bout time to break out the bubbly. The Double-barrelled Em:


And my new favorite, The Iris:


Because it's a partay, and a BIG one, one simply must have a Whack Rabbit shot (also known as Spirit Fingers Gone Wild, Uncensored):



But This HelpsOctober 16, 2004

Christy's fostering three kittens....


(and Susan B - can you email me again? I've lost your address, predictably.....)


So it goes like this: I’m on my couch yesterday afternoon, almost in tears because I’m SO tired and SO scared all of a sudden. I haven’t been sleeping well, waiting for the call from the realtor that never comes.

I call the office. My realtor’s brother says, “Oh, she was going to call you in about two minutes. I just got off the phone with her.”

“Is it good news or bad?”

“Ummm.... mediocre?”

I start to shake. Luckily, she really does call me. This is the sitch. The lender has a problem with the loan because the home-owners’ association ran in the red a couple of years ago. They had a repair that had to be made and there wasn’t enough money in the general fund (because it’s a 4-plex there’s not much money to be had). They don’t like it. My realtor has been fighting with them, and they’re sending it now to Corporate and Legal. The decision should be made by Tuesday (haven’t I heard that before?). My realtor already has another loan package put together and ready to send to another lender, should this one fall through. But will that lender like me? Who knows? They might be happy with the HOA but not with my finances.... The seller, luckily, is willing to wait. A blessing, that.

Anyway. I still have to move. My realtor and her brother have a duplex in a really great area in Piedmont and she wants me to rent it if this drags on a while. I, on the other hand, would be happier couch-surfing if it’s only going to be a few weeks or so. But if the place falls all the way through and I have to start looking all over again, I’ll take the apartment and move twice.

Move twice.

I can hardly bear the thought.

I had a major melt-down on the couch. I called Marama and bawled an unintelligible message on her machine. I grumped out and cried to sister Christy. I told Lala I didn’t want her to come over -- I would stick it out myself. I would be strong. I would pack. Then I melted down all over again and asked her to come over. She was amazing and strong and we watched an episode of Lost. I didn’t pack. It was great.

This much I know: I have to get into a place. I need to own a property. I’ve come this far, I can’t stop now. It might suck for a while, this part might be really, really hard, but I just have to get through it.

I didn’t like the way I felt yesterday. I’m going to try to avoid that as much as possible. I need more sleep, boy howdy do I. I need more baths. More ice cream wouldn’t hurt. More time to pack, but I’m not going to get that, so I have to do the best I can with what I’ve got.

This housing thing ain’t for the weak, is it? They’d get tromped into the mud. Sheesh. But really, truly, I’m all right, and my heart is stronger now. It’ll work out for the best.

Aren’t you tired of hearing all about this? Cromarty is put together! She needs neckbands, and we’ll be havin’ a party. Speaking of parties, if you’re in the Bay Area, Becca’s having a KIP get-together tomorrow. I can’t make it, but maybe some of y’all can?

Peace, love, out. I’ll let you know when I hear more.
MWAH! (typo: MWHAT -- twice.)

FezzikOctober 15, 2004

I just re-read yesterday's post. I'm Luke's favorite lay-dee. Does anyone besides me hear Andre the Giant saying, "Hello, lay-dee," whenever you read/hear that?

I'm done with the body of Cromarty! (I'm tired; I just typed a question mark after that instead of the exclamation mark it deserved. And then that had the power to make me doubt myself. Did I? Finish the body? Yes, yes, I did.) So I'll start seaming tonight, and then I have to do the cabled neckbands and attach 'em and she'll be done. You know when you're reading that *really* good book and it's about to end and you feel the end-of-book-remorse? I'm starting to feel that. Alice Starmore, she might sing her siren song again.... Or Dale. I could use a Dale. I can't *afford* a Dale, but I could use one. Humm. Color. I might be in the mood for COLOR next. Something in Svale. But cables, they're what I love. Oh, the options. And I'm convinced I want to do a lo-tech sweat in Lion Brand Homespun, taking my cue from our beloved Ryan. Serve me up some Crapyarn. I'm ready. No lie, I added up the expense of the yarn in Cromarty and the labor involved, and it was well over three grand, and that was a while ago. I need a nice seventeen dollar sweater, stat.

That is all. I'm going to see the Old 97's tomorrow night at the Fillmore with my gal. We have a Date, o joy. And then I'll run ten measly miles on Sunday and then pack a whole hell of a lot. I've got to get on it. Still nothing heard about the loan. Zenning it now. All good.

Happy weekend to you! (Didn't I *just* say that? Time flies.) (Sometimes cliches make me very happy, something to do with a phrase's kitsch value.)

PackingOctober 14, 2004

I’ve told you before about the couple who live next door to me, the young British couple with their two little kids. They actually own George, the Giant Aloe. My windows look into their yard, and I’ve spent happy hours watching Chris build things and Lisa play with the little ones. They’re one of those happy families that do the heart good to witness.

So yesterday when I was going through art supplies and found a HUGE box of Crayons, the super-duper crazy-cool hard-sided box, I took it next door. The kids are about four and five, and I think that’s the right time for Crayons.... I hope it is, anyway. I knocked on the door and waited. Then I rang the doorbell and waited. I stood on the porch and waved at Shirley who was walking by with her slobbery German Shepherd named Shadow, and I watched the nice lesbian couple across the street – we’ve never formally met each other, but we smile conspiringly when we pass on the street. I’m going to MISS this place.

Then the door opened, and little four year old Luke was standing there, naked as the day he was born, grinning at me with this huge beaming smile. Lisa came up behind him quickly and said, “Good god. Sorry about that.” She took the Crayons and thanked me and then gave me the best compliment ever. Luke was still standing there, looking SO happy to be gazing up at me, dancing from foot and foot, and Lisa said, “You’re his favorite lady, you know. He says it every time he sees you. ‘There’s my favorite lady.’”

Dude. When a little boy with those angelic curls says that about you, you can’t help feeling pretty awesome.

So I’m packing now. I’ve really started. It’s just as terrifying, and I still haven’t heard about the loan, but it’s good to have started. I began with the hardest part, too: The Desk of Doom. I hate that desk. It’s possessed. Every time I’ve moved it, I’ve sworn I wouldn’t do it again, because it cruelly attacks at least one person, usually drawing blood. It’s heavy as hell and too big and really ugly. And it’s broken in about five places. I have NO clue why I’ve dragged it around with me. A writer needs a big desk, I thought. How often have I written at that desk? Like, never. So it goes. I’m going to finish cleaning it out tomorrow (since I have to go in to work early tonight and only have time for a run and a shower) and then give it away to some sucker. I’m not telling said sucker about the blood-drawing, either. He can find that out on his own. I’m no dummy.

Well, nothing heard from the loan office, but who the hell cares when our gorgeous Cari is doing THIS?

And hey! Guess what? It's La Brainy's birthday! She of the excellent cat and wanderlust, she's flippin' the calendar over again, and looking better every minute. Go show her the love, wouldja? Darlin', we adore you. GAWK on.

KnitOaklandOctober 13, 2004

Dear Reader Sparkle said in an email to me, "Your energy feels kinda funky behind the blog." I have to agree. Standing behind this blog, looking out toward you, I can admit that it's just plain ole fear that's making me a little weird. I'm not normally scared. I have the normal fears, of course, of fire and nuclear weapons and being tied to a red-ant hill by a short man with a scrubby goatee, but day-to-day, facing big things, I'm usually pretty strong.

I've found the point at which I stop being strong and start shaking in my sandals: When I have to pack boxes in preparation for moving out of the apartment I've loved more than any other, with little to no guarantee that I have a place to move into at the end of the month. The loan docs still haven't come through yet. They were supposed to be in on Friday. Nope. Monday was a holiday. No phone call yesterday. Today? Here's hoping. Here's hoping super hard hope. I think if I signed documents and had a wee bit more assurance they're not going to find a financial glitch or a problem with the property, I could have fun packing. I really could. Moving into my first home? Fabulous. Bring it. But this not knowing? I'm scared, and I'm putting off the packing, NOT a good idea, when I need to move the big stuff by October 24th.

Oy. My aching head.

You know what's good for this kind of stress? (Quit it. This is not that kind of a blog.) (Okay, yeah, it helps. Happy? Really, people.) Good for stress: Ice cream, and a lot of it. Running (it really felt like I was training for Hawaii yesterday, 85 degrees and humid, even down by the water). Knitting Cromarty. I'm almost finished with this bad boy, and somehow the high level of difficulty is what my hands want to work on. I suppose it's distraction in a way -- stockinette allows me to worry, even if it's only low-grade. A gajillion teeny-tiny cables make me focus for a few minutes.

I'll keep you posted, I promise.

Now, pics of the Knit-Out. I don't need to summarize what happened, 'cause my fabulous fellows have already done it for me. Go see Joanna, Celia, Nathania, Emily, Christine, and Silvia , who all do a great job of telling it like it was.

A group shot:


Won-Ju, Kira, and Rachel:


Nathania, bein' surprised her Secret Pal tracked her to the Cafe:


We're jealous; she got a GOOD Secret Pal (and I know who it is, neener neener neener):


Mystery Guest revealed!


Me'n'Won-Ju, Lala's wonderful, beautiful sister-in-law:


There were a coupla shots of me and Lala, and lemme tell ya. Y'ain't gonna see 'em. Celia's shot of my forty-seven double chins is enough for me. I don't need to validate that on my own blog. Nuh-uh.

I'm immensely cheered now. What will be, will be. If I get the condo, good. If I don't, something better is out there. At this moment, my heart knows that's right, and I think it was thinking about my knitblog pals that made me realize that. Seriously. Look where the heart leads, after all, yes?

Assured MWAH!

Grrrr. October 12, 2004

Four hours. I just lost four hours trying to get onto the internet. Here I am! I shake my pompoms weakly in your direction. And I'm up for very little else. I'd love to write about our FABULOUS KnitOut on Sunday, or about driving all day yesterday up and down the coast (delivering Mom home and kitties to their temporary digs while I pack), but I'm hot and sweaty and disgruntled and I need to run. Really. I need to get some of this frustration out of my system.

Going offline again now. On purpose this time. Tomorrow, KnitOut pics? Hopefully.
Weak mwah....

SpareOctober 8, 2004

The Pioneer said that she has been "circling" around her novel now, and I find that word suits exactly what I've been doing lately with mine. It's there. It just needs to be finished. Then it needs to be rewritten. And maybe rewritten again after that. But can I finish it without a rewrite? Conversely, could I start a rewrite without finishing it? It's so BIG. I'm proud that it's so big, but at the same time it's like someone who collects, say, hubcaps, and the collection makes him happy, but one day he looks around his small apartment and it's no longer fun -- it's a health hazard, hubcaps piled to the ceiling and hidden in the suitcases on the shelves, teetering and ready to fall. (I'm talking about pages here, people. Get your mind of my yarn stash.) I have too many pages.

I have this thing in my mind -- I can't really call it an image, can I? But it feels like an image. In it I've taken the novel and pared it down and removed all the ways people get places and all the filler dialogue set over cups of coffee or bottles of beer (hell, there go at least 200 pages right there), and it becomes spare and lovely. Did you ever read Carole Maso's Ghost Dance? It remains in my mind What A Brilliant Novel Should Be. Alarmingly gorgeous. Erudite. Clever enough to make the reader feel special and chosen. She might have been a little too clever for me, actually, since I put it down one day and never picked it back up. But in my mind, my novel sits next to hers in its brilliant spareness. In reality, my fiction writing is a lot more like the everyday prose that I spill here -- sloppy, loved, rushed, careless, happy, not overly thought-out. Kind of like my knitting style, too. Okay, kind of like ME.

So why would I want to be Carole Maso-ish? Dunno. But I do, somehow. And that's what frustrates me when I sit down to do the real work -- that inability to breathe on my work and make it come out like hers. I'd have more luck running a marathon. No, wait....

I'm reading (finally) Art & Fear by Bayles and Orlando, and it's got me thinking. Obviously. A couple of things have struck me from it: "Vision is always ahead of execution.... and uncertainty is a virtue."

That vision? It's so far ahead of the execution that it's literally impossible to force this many pages that are already written into said vision. No matter how much I'd love a slender, tightly poetic novel (Housekeeping springs to mind), I ain't got one of those. I've got one in which cats run up curtains and little old ladies get confused and girls just don't know what to do about the little things, let alone the big'uns. And lots o'pages. I'm just set for supersized, I think. A&F says, "A piece grows by becoming specific." The most imaginative part of writing is the very beginning, when the first sentences are being placed. As each subsequent sentence is written, more and more options fly out the window (unless, of course, you're writing one of those neo-post-modern avant garde beat-the-drums let all the words out and not worry about sentence form or structure or logic kind of books, in which I wish you all the best in your weed-smokin' quest). In my novel, I've painted myself into a corner. Or, since I'm not that good at painting, I've mopped myself into one part of the kitchen, and I'm not sure how to get out of it without leaving my dirty footprints all over my nice clean floor. (I know. The floor might need to get a little dirty. Aargh.)

But writing about it helps. Looking at it helps. Just hefting it from table to floor to backpack helps remind me that something must be done. I want to finish it, if only to be able to start something new. I may be able to have lots of different things on the needles, but this novel thing requires monogamy. Cheating would just be too complicated, and I'd say the wrong thing to the wrong book, call one the wrong name, and everyone would hate me. I don't lie well. It would get ugly, fast.

So, to keep on Finishing. I feel like I've been this close for so long. A while longer, I think.

Happy weekend, all. Live a little dream in there, wouldja?

On FootOctober 7, 2004

So I’ve set up an “open house” for Saturday. Doesn’t that sound rather tacky? For some reason I’m almost apologetic about it, but my schedule just doesn’t allow inviting the 20 or so people who’ve responded to the ad over in different time slots. So I’m going to tuck myself up on the couch and knit and let people look around. Weird, weird, weird. And I have to work a fourteen hour shift on Friday night, from 7pm to 9am, come home, get a three hour nap, and up at 1pm to do the last bit of tidying. I’m tempted to pull a Mrs. Fields and bake something so the house smells homey and chocolately. All right, now THAT would be tacky. But I might stoop.

Sleepy. Completely uninteresting. My car is making brake-squealing noises (I love how my Petunia has never had one problem in her ten-year life, and only started asking me for money as soon as I started home-shopping) and I need to take it in on my way to work tonight. There’s something in me that actually likes to leave my car behind me while I take off on foot. Granted, it’s only leaving it at the shop and walking to work. But it makes me feel a tiny bit less reliant on my wheels. I am Californian. I have to have a car. I hate it, but it’s true. I asked Em, “Do you even KNOW anyone at home who has a car?” She thought about it and said, “I think I USED to. But not anymore.” Now that’s cool. And responsible. I’m really neither.

(I also really like the feeling I had once where I packed my suitcase, walked out my front door, down to BART, which took me to the airplane, which took me to Italy. It felt like I was walking out of the country. I can’t explain it more than that. But I like to start a trip on my own two feet, not speeding down a highway. Y’know?)

KNIT OUTOctober 6, 2004

Hey! Bay Area knitters, don’t forget:

Knit-Out This Sunday!

Where: Temescal Cafe, next to Article Pract on Telegraph
When: Sunday, 1pm-4ish.

And Christina from Article Pract has again extended her VERY generous offer—anyone with our group gets 15% off any yarn purchase (sorry, no books). Dude. Even if we DIDN’T have a Special Guest Star coming, that would make it worth it.

Don’tcha wanna know who it is? Don’tcha? Hint: She likes cats. Hah! THAT should narrow it down a bit. Not many knitters like cats, nosireebob.

All right. Off to worry. I just posted an ad for my apartment—trying to get it rented by November 1st so I won’t have to deal with the lease for which I am still responsible. But I think my landlord has just priced it too high.... We’ll see. Sigh. This is going to be a tough month, I think. ** A few minutes later, I’ve had three great notes back about the place: one’s from Mayor Jerry Brown’s aide, and one’s from a sweet gal who’s looking to move in with her girlfriend. All in about ten minutes. This might just work out.

But there’s this part of me that knows that if I rent it to someone, then I HAVE to leave, and that’s the part that makes me stop breathing. Just for a second. And the realtor just called, saying that disclosures are ready for me to read in the office. What the hell does that mean? I am SO not grown-up enough yet to make these decisions. I forget to buy milk. And worse, cat food. Sheesh. Good thing I’m going back to work tonight. Nothing like stress to take your mind off stress.

I need to knit.

Soccer MomOctober 5, 2004

** Prelude: There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING wrong with soccer moms. If you are one, you are a braver and stronger woman than I am, and I bow. I really do. But I ain't one. That's all this is to say. No offense meant. Back to our regularly scheduled programming. **

The other day I asked my friend Don (of the Dude Sweater) if he could picture me as a soccer mom. I said it with some attitude, I’m sure. I was positive I knew the response the question would engender. So I was really, really surprised when he said, “Well, yeah.”

Well, what?

I repeated this to the Divine Ms. Em while she was here. And she kinda looked at her feet and said something, “Ummm. You do have the hair, after all....”

The hair?

And then to Lala (why was I still expecting anyone to come to my aid?), I repeated the prior two exchanges. She helped me out by saying, “Well, your hair is kinda... sensible.” Em laughed. (Yeah, but were they laughing later? When I locked them out of the car and made them spell Albuquerque while rubbing their bellies and patting their heads? No, they weren’t laughing then. Uh-uh.)

This just wouldn’t do! Sensibility? Look at my yarn stash and tell me I’m sensible. MY kids wouldn’t play soccer, they’d have to spin fleece, four hours a day, right after kickboxing and just before harpsichord practice. Oh, cripes. That DOES sound rather sensible, doesn’t it?

Anyway, I went to the salon today. I had to. It was required. Enough of this cutting my own hair. I’d have a professional do it. I’d get something a little funky, a little On The Edge, a little punk, just a smidgen of wild and crazy. People would look at me on the street and think, “Hey. That’s a wild and crazy gal. I can tell by her wild and crazy hair. Yep. Wild and crazy, that one.” I can’t afford color right now, but I chose a fun salon, and my hair stylist was nineteen years old, with more than four colors in her hair.

We talked. I told her the whole story. I explained how I was cooler than my haircut would have others believe. She nodded. She said all the right things. She showed me the right pictures.

And then she cut my hair EXACTLY like I’ve been cutting it for the last eight months.


I mean, really. It’s thinned out a little, which is good because my hair is so damned heavy, but otherwise it’s the same freaking haircut. I didn’t know what to say when she spun me around. I think I just said, “Oh! Look at that! Wow!”

So I went to Longs and bought styling products. Because I think I might try that. Styling, I mean. Can’t hurt. Or I might go buy a soccer ball instead. And maybe a kid.

October 4, 2004

Em, with my George. She thought he was a little plant. She was slightly surprised.



I’ve had a wonderful vacation. This whole staying-at-home thing is highly underrated, I think. Traveling is one of my most favorite things to do. But I guess I already knew that I’m a stay at home kind of gal. I’m a Cancer. We like our shells. And I’ve had SO much fun staying in mine recently.

Having Michelle here was wonderful. She just left this morning, and I meant to have a post together before she got home, but she’s already called from the taxicab, saying she was almost home, almost within reach of Scout’s little head. Bless this modern world.

Here she is, as seen over the top of Petunia, my car:


She’d never been to the West Coast before this trip, never seen the Pacific, never seen surfers (!), never ridden the ferry from Oakland to San Francisco, never seen the Golden Gate or Bay Bridges. She was such a good visitor, because she took such honest delight in everything. On the ferry to Fisherman’s Wharf I said, “Listen.” She heard the seals barking and her face just lit up.


(Oh, and I loved that while we were walking down the horribly tacky pier, full of stores that would be in any mall and music-box shops, she said, “Let’s go. I hate this. Can we see the seals?” The girl’s got her priorities straight.)

And how. We went from the wharf to the business district, riding the running board of a cable car, swinging from the poles. I still haven’t figured out how the city lets that happen—the liability must be HUGE from tourists dropping off and under Muni busses, but we both survived, even though the tips of my sneakers hit several construction cones. I actually whipped out the camera for a shot.


Where were we going? Why, Artfibers, of course! I like to think that I enable people to buy yarn, but really, I didn’t have to twist Michelle’s arm. Instead, Kira ended up writing ME a pattern while Michelle shopped away. Joanna met us there for a quick hello and actually managed to not buy anything, clever girl that she is. Lala met us there, too, and then we did a tour of Mission Dolores, the Castro, and the Mission where we had insanely good burritos and beer. We were wiped out, but happy.


The next day was for Mills, which Em will cover in her post, and driving down the coast. We put the top down on a gorgeous sunny afternoon which Em seemed to draw right out of the fog. We went and looked at surfer boys, and fondled yarn at Fengari in Half Moon Bay (we could have mixed the two verbs up, had we been thinking fast enough). Then, of course, it was farther south to Pescadero for olallieberry pie at Duartes. Oh. The joy of olallieberry pie. Oh. A moment of reverent silence, please.


On Saturday, we considered our Sunday. Sunday was going to be busy. No lying around on Sunday. So we had to get all our lying around done on Saturday. We did something touristy (oh, yes, looked at redwoods at Woodminster Amphitheatre (remember, Greta?)) and then went shopping for food and videos. We propped ourselves up on the couches with drinks and knitting and plenty of snacks (one of my mottoes in life: Plenty Of Snacks) and whiled the day away together. It was decadent and relaxing and utterly lovely.

Yesterday? Sunday? Yeah. I ran twenty miles.

Dude. Twenty miles. (Or as my coach said, “You didn’t just run twenty miles. You ran twenty fucking miles.” Yeah.) If you know the City, we went from the windmill in Golden Gate Park up the huge hill past the Cliff House and Sutro Baths, into Sutro Heights and back down, down the Great Highway for a few miles, doubling back again to the park, all the way through the park to the end (and around all the lakes), back out to Sunset, up to Vicente, then up to the zoo at Sloat and back to the windmill down the Great Highway again.

It was hard. But it wasn’t actually as hard as I thought it would be. Miles 15-17 were a breeze; I felt like I had just started. The last two miles, though, were exhausting. I thought I’d never see the end. When we passed the Beach Chalet where people were enjoying their Sunday brunch, I yelled “We just ran twenty miles! Twenty! Not ten! That’s like two tens! Together! Twenty!” I waved. They cheered. I don’t think they understood what I was saying, but they were happy. This is what my teammates looked like coming around that last bend, right before we went to play in the ocean:


Then I went BACK into Golden Gate Park to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass event to see Gillian Welch play. Lala met me there, carting along not only Em, but her brother and sister-in-law and a big bag of FOOD. Lots of FOOD. Food, food, food. No one has ever looked better to me, and that was before the FOOD. Gillian Welch was amazing, as usual, but that brie? Don’t talk to me while I’m eating brie, okay? After twenty miles, you want to eat a lot. I’m just saying. A LOT.


Then later that night we had pizza with the little mama and Christy and Bethany, but I was really too tired to remember any of that, honestly. I think I was lying on the floor for most of it. I might have been twitching, I’m not really sure.

This has become a Very Long Post, and it contains a lot of “first we, then we, and then we” statements, which I sometimes find tiring, so I’ll end here. No news is good news on condo, hoping the deal will close by the end of this week or middle of next. Yow. Still trying not to think about it.


October 2, 2004


Em's first time at the Pacific, ever.