Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


Subscribe to Rachael's mailing list

knitting projects

DSCN13632.jpg Email me


Subscribe to Rachael's mailing list

book tour

knitting projects


go here

Email me

« October 2004 | Main | December 2004 »

23 posts from November 2004

DogBlogNovember 30, 2004

Harriet likes to ride with her nose right up to the cold-air vent in my car.


I feel like I did when I was twenty-five and in snow for the first time: I noticed that snowflakes really DID come in snowflake patterns. I had always thought that was just poetic Hallmark-license. I like learning things about dogs at thirty-two, things that probably everyone else knows, like the air vent thing. And how when you pick up their poop with the plastic bag, you have to feel that it's actually warm. That was so surprising, and gross. Deal-able, sure. But who knew? (You did, probably.)

The animals did pretty well last night. Adah opened the accordian doors to my bedroom and then reconsidered hastily when she realized what was on the bed with me.

And here she is next to me, a few minutes ago. Doesn't she look disgruntled?


That's because to my left are these:


Can you tell by Miss Idaho's proximity to my computer how teeny she is? Here, this might help:


And another tense moment:


I think if Lala knew about this photo, she'd come right back from Buddha Camp. Digit is a son-of-a-bitch, and for a second I thought he was going to go all whirling dervish on the dogs. But no, he just leaped off the couch in disgust.

And knitting! Dogs and cats and knitting, all in one day! Alert the media! (Aside, related to none of this: I'm highly irritated that I'm still fighting off whatever it was that I had last week. I had a fever all last night when I went in to work some overtime, and now I just feel stuffy and cruddy. I need to get BETTER! I leave for Hawaii a week from Thursday to run the marathon. There. I'll go make more tea. Back to knitting, which is where I was going.)

I love this gansey so much.


Like, SO much. I thought about making it a Christmas present er sumpthin', but I just can't. I can't give it up. Plus, I'd better mail the Boys their Cromarty, so this will take its winter place. It's going to be fitted, friends. I have to warn you. I was really worried about running out of yarn, so I made it a mite small. A sexy gansey? Oxymoron, or an idea whose time has come?

Pattern is from Silver Creek Classics, number S-806, available here. I only bought it because I had seen and touched one made from this lovely, lovely wool at MDS&W. The pattern picture? Tres early nerdy eighties. But I love it. Have I mentioned I lurve this pattern?

Babbling too much. I'm cold and may go back to bed for a nap before work. But I might knit a leetle bit more first.

Cats and DogsNovember 29, 2004

What's truly weird is how I felt yesterday, when I picked up Lala's dogs for a sleepover. I felt giddy-happy. Almost ecstatic to see their little jumping happy heads.

See, I don't know from dogs. I've never, ever been a dog person. Whatever. I thought they were sometimes cute but dumb, and drooled a lot. I just figured it out: They get you by making you feel like the most important person they've ever seen. I've always seen Lala's dogs when, duh, Lala was around. They freak out when they see me, but they really freak out when they see her, so before yesterday I'd never had the opportunity to open the door and watch them lose their little minds in sheer joy that I was there, that I was just who they wanted me to be, that I was the most wonderful, beautiful, head-petting person they'd ever, ever seen or hoped to see.

It makes you puff right up with pride and then you have to HUG them. It's easy to hug Harriet, harder to hug Miss Idaho, since she is, after all, only five pounds, but I managed  with no serious injury on anyone's part.

And then driving them to my house, they were so HAPPY that they were in the car with me. Then home, they were so HAPPY to be outside. Then going in the door, they were so HAPPY that they got to come inside.

(Dude, I might be a dog. Must think more about that.)

And inside, the cats just growled. There was no happiness in cat-land last night. Both of them did eventually get off the top of the refrigerator, and they slept on the living room couches, but it was with the highest level of disgust. The dogs don't even pay attention to them. Perhaps that's the problem, actually. They're feeling slighted by not being chased?

It was totally selfish, me getting the dogs. I sleep SO much better at night with them in the bed. See, during my day-sleeps, my cats are the best. They cuddle and purr all day with me, and I sleep like a log. My night-sleeps are horrible, since Adah wakes at 2am and spends, literally, the next FOUR HOURS jumping from my head to my feet to my head to the bookcase to my head to my hands. She's a jumper and a pouncer, and I have no doors in this house to lock her out of the bedroom (just accordion-style doors that she learned to open within the first thirty seconds of being in the house). But with the dogs on the bed, Adah does not jump on my head. And the dogs sleep late. It's a lovely thing. I'm using them again tonight, too.

Pictures tomorrow, maybe? And I'm working on a gansey that I'm loving, a pattern and wool I picked up at Maryland Sheep & Wool, and I can't remember when I've had such fun knitting a pattern. Cromarty was amazing to knit, but it was so HARD, and required constant graph reading. This pattern is memorize-able but still fun on every damn row. Love, love, love it. Worried I'll run out of yarn. I'd hate to be making a vest.

(As I post this, both dogs are on the couch next to me, and Digit just crept across the living room floor and skulked up to sit on the other side of me. It's obviously not that he likes me, because right now I'm prolly pretty low-down on his list of favorite things. He's just asserting his right to me. This is better than TV.)

PosesNovember 26, 2004

Holy cow. You MUST see the Rachael, the Em, and the Iris, done as only Zay can. Go HERE.

Buddha Camp

Dear Lala,

As I understand it, you're meditating right now, right? You've up and left for Buddha Camp up north and left me to deal with the crazy people at work. And the citizens who call me while I'm there, too. (I'm pretty sure the people you're with right now call it something else, not Buddha Camp, maybe something like the Buddhist Autumn Retreat, but I like your way better. It makes me think you'll chant songs around a campfire and roast soydogs on long sticks, while carefully and humanely shoo-ing mosquitoes away.)

And we can't talk for eleven days? Dude. I get so used to today's methods of communication -- we must email each other more than twenty times a day. I have JUST learned your phone number, since I never use it, and when I do, I just pull it up on my cell phone. But up there in the thoughtful woods (are there woods there? There should be woods), you've got no access to a computer, and your cell will be turned off, and for the first time in five months, I won't be able to talk to you.

And you won't know what I'm blogging, either. Hah! I'm going to steal your dogs from your brother (okay, borrow 'em) and dress them up and take pictures of them! Yeah!


Miss Idaho would like you to know that even in California little five-pound dogs need sweaters in the winter.

Okay, I know that one's store-bought, but I also know that you learned to knit just so you could make her sweaters for the snow. Softie. (But I'm glad you learned to knit. SO glad. I love it that you can intelligently discuss stitch patterns with me. That's rad.)

I had a fine Thanksgiving, by the way. I woke up and had bacon and eggs. (Makin' Bacon? Now there's a cool item. I swear. That bacon is perfect.) Then I came to work and had some ham that a coworker had brought and some mashed potatoes from downstairs, provided by the officers' association. Then I ate a lot of cake. It would be better if you didn't ask how much I actually ate. I brought an apple pie, boxed from the supermarket, which is still sitting in the back room. Oh, well.

So in terms of Thanksgivings, this one wasn't particularly outstanding. But seeing as I don't like pumpkin pie, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, or green bean casserole, Thanksgiving is usually something of a white-plate yawn anyway (white turkey meat, plain mashed potatoes, and bread with butter make up my plate every year). I missed my family something fierce, though. And you.

Oh, if your dogs could talk. Rather glad they can't. Have a good, wise, and compassionate week, okay? And have a soydog for me.

The BombNovember 24, 2004

So. Cari’s outed our little girl gang. I think most of y’all might have picked up on the tightness between us, anyway, but she did a good job of describing what we’re doing. Basically: Em, Alison, Cari, and I are doing round-robin sweaters. By the end we’ll each own a sweater that every other gal worked on. I’m working on Cari’s sleeve right now, and I’ll want to show you it, and we knew we’d have to ‘fess up eventually. Plus, we’ll HAVE to show you the finished product. (My goal is to someday show a picture of all four of us, together, in our GAWK sweaters. It’ll happen.)

And she made well the most important point: It’s not that we love you any less, because that’s not it at all. We just love each other a whole hellofalot.

More knitting content: I finished the Rowan thing-a-ma-bob recently. Boy, you’d think I’d pay better attention. I haven’t shown you it before this because I’ve been too busy to put in a zipper. But I wore it the other day and realized it looks okay without one, too, so here ya go.



Pattern: Rowan, Denim People, pattern: Bomber
Yarn: Paton’s Classic Merino, to gauge
Size: Bust 38

All right. It’s Turkey Day tomorrow, and I hope you have wonderful plans with your families, and I hope no one throws the gravy boat at anyone’s head. I’m not able to go home this year because I’m working, so think of your local dispatcher, okay? For god’s sake, if you have a 24-hour Starbucks open on the holiday, call and offer them a coffee run at night. Tell them you know a dispatcher in California, and then tell ME about it.

And lastly, Oakland rocks.

DoorsNovember 23, 2004

Boy, I'm so lucky. I'm always learning. You know how they say that's a good thing? Keeps your mind snappin' and blows away those old mental cobwebs, that's what they say.

I learned this yesterday: BART doors are not like elevator doors. Betcha didn't know THAT, didja? And if you did, don't tell me.

Lala's superpower is to make the train leave just as she reaches the platform. Me, on the other hand, I've usually arrived just as the train is pulling in. (But I have no parking karma, so it evens out.) Yesterday, however, I heard the train pulling in as I was going up the escalator. I ran up, up, up, and got to the doors just as they were closing. They have rubbers bumpers on them, just like elevator doors. So I did what I do with elevators: I stuck my hand in between the doors.

Let me say it again: BART doors are not like elevator doors. I was standing there, with my hand caught tightly (and rather painfully) in the door, people inside the car gaping with horror at my little fingers grasping at air. I think we all had a mental image of the train starting to roll. Two people leapt up and tried to pry the doors open. I learned later that the conductor can tell if a door is open and will look out her window and pop the doors, which she did. I fell into the car, trying not to clutch my poor mangled hand (it wasn't, but it felt like it was), and had to face approximately nine thousand concerned, shocked faces. "Oh, it didn't hurt! Isn't that weird? It didn't shut hard. [Yes, it did.] It was just surprising. No, I'm fine! Yes, I'm glad I didn't die. Yes, I'm sorry your child is crying. Yes, it IS a tragedy narrowly averted, thanks for reminding me. 'Preciate that."

I meandered as casually as possible to the back of the car, having these conversations with, like, EVERYONE, and then at the next stop, I (carefully) changed cars. I needed the pitying stares to stop. (My hand is fine, by the way. My pride will take about a week to catch up with the hand.)

I think I blushed all the way to Powell Street. There I met Brian-Mark, where we caught up with each other to the tune of a $110 lunch (!) and a bottle of wine each. Each, mind. O joy merlot divine. In Venice,  I met him on a boat, and in the one minute of conversation we had, I got his room number at the Hotel Rialto. I left him a note later, and the next day I picked him up in the lobby. We wandered the city together for the next two days. Yesterday, I picked him again in a hotel lobby, and we wandered another city, marveling at our luck, and admiring each other, and the way we managed to meet each other in the most romantic city in the world, the lesbian and the queer boy, walking the narrow streets above the canals, arm in arm. Yesterday was a lovely, lovely afternoon. And I was hungover by 6pm.

More Movin'November 22, 2004



That’s how inspired I am to write on Mondays. Yep. That’s what you’re gettin’.

Coffee, get to work. Dammit.

We had a very productive weekend, even though I didn’t run. (It was an eight-mile training run. Come on. I’m still healing from the 26 last week. And still fighting that cold. It was an easy call to stay in bed.)

But we did manage to move Lala into her new place, which is my old place. There. I’ll let you think about that for a second. (At dinner one night, we told Bethany that Lala was moving, and she said, “Where?” I said, triumphantly, “My place! Can you believe that?” She sat there for a while, as did Christy, and then said, “Wow!” It took me a minute to realize I hadn’t differentiated places, and that she wouldn’t automatically know that I meant the place I was vacating. They were troopers, though. “Wow!”)

What I didn’t realize earlier, though, was how WEIRD it would be moving her in to the place I had just left. For her housewarming present, I got her the best present of all: Movers. She thinks I’m the bee’s knees for it. In reality (shhh, don’t tell her), I was just lazy. It’s definitely a girlfriend’s job to help move, and I couldn’t bear to lift another box. (There are only two real unavoidable jobs in Girlfriend Land: Moving, and airport runs. All other jobs are negotiable.)

So the movers arrive (at seven pm, instead of one, ouch) and the same two guys that moved me out, moved her in. They were a little surprised, I think. They remembered my desk. Then her apartment with its red and yellow walls filled up with her things, and suddenly, it wasn’t my place anymore. It was like all those boxes and towels and bedding and musical instruments were so imbued with her her-ness that my me-ness didn’t stick around. I’m glad about that, too. I had wondered if I would feel like she was staying at “my place.” But nope. I took a shower there, and there was this moment of complete brain-disconnect when I was standing there, and I knew the shower, knew how to work the fiddly handles, but I didn’t really recognize it, since it was Lala’s new house.

I can’t quite explain it. Huh.

I was going to say more, about how well the cats and dogs did last night, and about how I had a lovely little knitting afternoon yesterday, for the first time ever in my new home, watching the Amazing Race, but I just got a call from my gay porn-star boyfriend that I met years ago in Venice on a boat. He’s in town with his new man, and he’s now out of the industry (to many men’s sorrow) and living in Miami Beach, and I have to hear ALL about it.

UltimoNovember 19, 2004

And this: If you live above the freeway, and you're tired, and you miss your exit because you're thinking about ab-so-lootely nothing, you get to see your house go by for the first time. That's so exciting you almost miss the next exit.

And then, if you're really super-cool like me, you back into your parking space, thinking you're all hot because you got it in so tight next to the wooden post and then realize there's no way in hell you're ever going to get out the door, but you try anyway and almost break the window with your stomach and have to crawl backwards out the passenger door over the two bags of books and the mop.

Just so you know.

Access Regained

Well. All right. I was a little hasty in yesterday's post. The wondrous, all-powerful IT people have now restored our access, and I can resume reading about naked ladies knitting.


(See, you knew there would be a but, right?) I noticed that while a great part of me was relieved, there was this  small blue part that thought, "Oh. I thought I was off the hook there. I thought that meant more book-reading time. More time to write."

Let's examine that.

This blogging thing is one of my main joys in life. Really. I love and adore it. And you. I have no intention of stopping. But MAN, does it take a lot of time and commitment. If you know me, you know I have Catholic issues with guilt. (Never been Catholic, however, nor has anyone in my family. I was crushed when Mom told me I probably couldn't be a nun because I wasn't Catholic. Devastated. I'm not kidding.) Big guilty feelings happen when I don't wash my sheets often enough, so imagine how I feel when I realize I haven't left a comment on a person's site in a long time, and I really like that person, and I want her to know I like her.

Then I had a rather revelatory thought. I thought about the people that I read and love who rarely, if ever, comment on my blog. I realized that I don't mind if they don't comment on mine. I don't care if they don't even read my blog. Ever. I still read them, still adore 'em, and even better, feel no obligation to leave a comment behind me when I close the window.

Do you ever feel that way? I've been blogging now for about three years, two of them within the knitting community (even though god knows how I got here, I almost never write about knitting), and I've found the people out here to be some of the most brilliant, caring people I've ever had the privilege of meeting. I can't wait to read my favorite sites, and it feels like coming home when I do. But there was a moment that happened, about a year ago, maybe, when I got a wonderful comment from someone who maintained a fantastic site with unbelievably great writing, and while I was thrilled to make her acquaintance, there was a part of me that said, "Shit. That's another fantabulous person I want to keep up on. Damn it."

Would you all just quit being so freaking awesome? Please?

So I have a rather drastic resolution. I'm going to read Bloglines like it's goin' out of style (please, please, please, publish an unabridged RSS feed if at all possible -- it ups your chances of being read by more people by about a million percent. Or at least a little more. It might not be quite that high. But it's higher. Jeesh). I'll dip in and comment when I feel really moved to do so. I will not feel guilty about this. I will still adore you. I promise. I hope you adore me, too. (Damned codependent crap. Oh, well. Who doesn't like to be liked?)

My little worrying voice is chipping away in my mind (I know, they have drugs for that, but I'm not ready for 'em just yet), asking, "Is that okay? Will that work for you?"

I say to it (myself, whatever), "Yes! It's okay! They're blogs, for the love of cashmere. They're not your life."

But really, they are a large part of my life. Okay.



Happy weekend, all. Thanks for reading me. I'm a better person for y'all. I'm so HAPPY to know you. Big, sloppy MWAH.

AccessNovember 18, 2004

I'm sick. And I have to go in to work early tonight. Bleah. Why the hell isn't it Friday yet?

I am so annoyed. Our brilliant webmasters at work have adjusted the reading levels again so that I can't go to any sites that are related to typepad or blogspot or livejournal, to name just a few, and I can't access bloglines anymore, either. Because, you know, all you knitters write about sex so much. I wish you would quit posting all those naked pictures of yourselves. Sheesh. Pervs.

Our webmasters really are quite stupid, you know. Seriously. I do more complicated things on a daily basis to my computer, and I ain't no computer hacker. Things like spyware make them scratch their  heads. Firefox? What's that? Maybe if we block access to all sports pages (goodbye, AIDS Marathon home page), we'll solve the virus problems. Perhaps if we prohibit all websites about "Hobbies" (goodbye, Knitty.com), we'll make our workplace safer. Please.

Now, I know I'm lucky to have access to the internet at all while at work. But it's a necessary perk. If you can't read the internet, there is no humanly way possible to stay awake at four in the morning when the radio is silent and the phones aren't ringing and you've said all you can say to your co-worker without going deep into the gossip bowl. Knitting is not enough at four in the morning. Writing is not enough. Hell, jumping rope wouldn't be enough. I have seen people pass out in the middle of a sentence. It's not pretty.

So. That is to say this: I will be commenting less. Much, much less. I choose to restrict my computer time at home to respectable levels. Sitting in front of four computer screens full-time makes me sensitive to spending much of my personal life in front of my computer at home. I'm writing, too, and that's just more time in front of the screen. I can't bear much more.

I'll still browse. I'll still access my bloglines at home and skim all my favorites (and good lord, do I have a lot of 'em). But don't feel badly if you hear from me less, please please please. I don't love you any less, I swear. And iffen you wanna chat, drop me a line. Or if you write a great post and want me to read it, write me and tell me. I'll still be around, just not as visible.

But this cheered me up:


Rebecca, late of marathon completion herself, sent me a bag o'goodies to get me over the rough spots. And look! There's a bag of foot stuff to get my poor feeties over the rough spots, too. And blister band-aids! And chocolate! (That's all gone now.) Bless her heart.

Bless all your hearts. I hope you all know what your readership means to me. I've met  the best, most wonderful people through this little blog, and I see and read the world differently every day because of you. I am blessed.

And I have jelly-bellies to eat. Excuse me.

Knitting RelatedNovember 17, 2004

I don't think I actually told you about knitting for ArtFibers, did I? Kira got me to make a shop model for them -- it took so little time to make, and I really like it. It is, however, impossible to photograph. I've tried different times and different lights, and nothin'. I have a sneaking suspicion that I could take a GREAT picture of it while seated drinking wine on the Grand Canal in Venice, but I don't really have the time or money to check that right now.

So here's what I got.




Digit has taken to drinking the drops of water in the bathroom sink. I have no idea why, but he was making me laugh while I was attempting the mirror-shot.


Yarn: ArtFibers, Bolero, in dark purple. I'm sure the yarn has a real color name -- I just can't remember it. Yep. Huh. Kira'll know.
Pattern: Kira wrote it for me using their store pattern generator. And if you buy the yarn from her (even over the phone), she'll write one for you, to your size and gauge.

See? There's your commercial for the day. ArtFibers rocks.

And baby Luna came over the other day, and I got to see her in the little ballerina sweater I made her.


Her brother Winter likes his french fries, just like his fairy godmother Rachael.


Enough for now. I'm fighting something off, feeling like I'm about a minute away from having the flu. Common after a marathon, I'm told. Erg. I'm going to sleep ALL day today. You should, too.

HobblingNovember 15, 2004

I feel so behind in EVERYTHING. Oh, my body hurts. I haven’t done much today, and I’ve got nothing to prove it. See? Nothin’. I groan when I stand, and walking downhill is almost impossible. I’m a big fat whiner. A big fat whiner who’s going to be lacking yet another toenail in a couple of days, when it decides to desert me like the others have.

But I’m still riding high on the memory of coming across that finish line, dammit. Oh, yeah. Lala’s been taking good care of me, and I can almost walk again. I think with extensive physical therapy, I might heal up, in, say, thirty or forty years. She’s going to need to work pretty hard on my therapy, though. Good thing she likes me.

Actually, it’s a really good thing she likes me, because her dogs stayed over at my house last night, which would have just been awkward and embarrassing if she didn’t like me. We introduced them a few days ago. Digit stood his ground, good little (wo)man, and only bitch-slapped Marathoner Harriet once. No injuries. Miss Idaho, the five-pound chihuahua-wonder, didn’t even seem to notice the cats. Adah, who I thought wouldn’t notice anything, went up a bookcase and stayed there. Not a bad start, I thought.


They came to visit last night, and the cats’ feeder (me) fell asleep during Regency House Party (while DB Alpaca Silk was being knitted above my head and brushing my cheek—how is THAT for pleasant dreams?), and we just couldn’t go to Lala’s house. Mostly because I was asleep. And crippled. So we stayed.

Digit got on the bed in the middle of the night, not realizing that there was a five-pound chihuahua-wonder already in residence. It took a while, but eventually Miss Idaho sneezed or put her pencil down or something, and Digit realized he was sharing the bed with a D.O.G. Then he went back to sleep, which made me SO happy. Then he went to the bathroom (presumably to go to the bathroom) and was Bounced by Harriet, and he refused to come out again. He slept under the clawfoot tub for the rest of the night. But there was no blood shed, and I think they’re going to be civil-like. Hooray! I like a blended family, how about you?

(As soon as the cats recovered this morning? My friend Monica came over with her toddler and newborn. The cats took to the closet, horrified. It was Just Too Much.)

So that was fun.

Not so much fun was finding La’s car window smashed, but I gotta tell you: Her reaction, dismay followed by a shrug, was really something to watch. I got mad, I stomped my feet, and felt thoroughly responsible that it had happened in front of MY house. She had to make ME feel better, which was not the way it was supposed to happen. Shit.

All right. So that’s that. I’m behind in all emails, so please forgive me. I’m also behind in house-cleaning, unpacking, and paying bills. I’m especially behind in reading and TV watching, so I’m going to pry myself off this couch and attempt to walk myself to the kitchen. I know there are brownies in there, somewhere.

26 MILESNovember 14, 2004

I did it. I really did it! I’m so unbearably proud of both myself and Marama for going the whole distance.

Okay, so they were calling this a “practice” run, the Galloway method of training for a marathon. I think the premise is that after running 26 miles, your body will remember it later, the next time you run a “real” marathon, and not think you’re going to die. No, it only thinks you might die the FIRST time you do it. Like, yesterday. It was a fantastic day to run. Cool and breezy and still sunny the whole day, my pace group started out with seven people. We ran up the Cliff House mountain from the windmill and then through Sutro Park. I hadn’t done any of my training runs during the week in hopes of keeping my shin splints from flaring up, and it had really, really helped.

Coming down the hill, I was feeling great. I kept feeling pretty darn good up until about mile ten, when we were approaching Lake Merced. I helped myself to a handful of gummy bears, because apparently they’re something you eat while running. Know what? When you’re running 26 miles, don’t eat ANYTHING you haven’t practiced running and eating already. Oh, the belly cramps. I hate running with my hands way up in the air, but it was the only way I could get air to my innards. They went away eventually, but I felt pretty durn sick for about four miles or so.

Apparently I’m a long-distance runner. The three and four milers are all right, I like ‘em just fine, but I hit my stride right about fourteen miles in. From fourteen to about nineteen, I’m happy. I’m feeling good. I realize that I’m going to make it. That I’m actually going to run twenty-six miles, something I’m not sure if I ever really believed I would do. I had hoped, yes, but I wasn’t sure. (Kind of like living in my own home, or falling in real love. I’ve had a REALLY busy few months, haven’t I?)

The group:


At mile eleven, Vanessa peeled off from the group and went home to take care of her poor knees. At mile twenty, Kat called it good, going way farther than she had hoped she would. Miles 20-23 were really hard, but we did ‘em. At 23, Lauren decided she had had enough and that her hips were all done for the day. Laura, Dan, Lynn, and I kept running.

I thought maybe the last three miles would be like 20-23. Okay? They’re not. Everyone says a marathon is in two halves: The first half is twenty miles, the second half is six. They’re right. Mile 24 was hard.

Miles 25 and 26 were almost impossible. I remember just putting my head down and staring at the ground that was going by sooo slowly. I hated every car that passed me. I really hated the bicyclists that whizzed by me on the sidewalk. When you’re that tired, you really have a limited amount of motion accessible to you. I couldn’t move right or left, I just had to hope the bikes would get around me somehow (when I stopped to retie my shoes, I could barely work the laces—the only thing my body could do by then was run). I even hated the two girls on their skateboards. I wanted to mug them and ride a board to the finish line, but I don’t know how to skate and yesterday probably wasn’t the best time to learn. So I kept running.

I think I had assumed the last mile would be easy. It wasn’t. It only became easy when we came around the corner and saw the balloon arches and heard the music and suddenly realized there were dozens of people screaming as we came running. We took hands and held them over our heads, and we broke the tape they held out for us, and I cried a little bit as they hung my medal around my neck. Just like I am now, just thinking about it.



It was so fucking worth it. I did it. Sure, it took me six hours and fifty-two minutes, but I did it, damn it. Marama was a little ways behind me, with her reconfigured group, so I got to cry and yell all over again as she came in. I can’t tell you how beautiful she looked, breaking that race tape, arms up, so happy to be where she was, to have MADE it. And our coordinator gave me Marama’s medal, so I could put it around her neck, and I’ve never been prouder. Really.

Then we got in the car and drove straight to Barney’s, where we ordered:

A beer
A coke
A milkshake
Fried zucchini

I told the Emmylou Harris look-alike sitting next to us that we had just run 26 miles. She nodded and smiled. Then she saw our medals, which we are planning on wearing until we die, and said, “Oh, my god, you’re serious!” Yeah, lady. We were.

No, we didn’t even come close to eating it all, but it sure felt good to sit there with her, grinning our heads off for running a MARATHON, dammit, no matter what they were calling it. That wasn’t no practice, man, nosiree. That was the real deal. I’m so happy. And so proud. And YOU were with me every step of the way. Really. Thank you. One month to Hawaii! Whoo hoooo!

GrumbleNovember 12, 2004

Grrrr. I'm grumpy.

Grump. Grump, grump, grump. No good reason for it, either. Ain't like I'm depressed, or even unhappy. Just grumpy with the world. I suppose it could have something to do with the fact that I've spent the last two hours in the car making four stops on ALL sides of Oakland. Seriously, I've been around this whole city, up 13, over on 80 to 980 to 880, into Alameda, up High Street, over on 580 to San Leandro and back. On two hours sleep. In traffic.

And when I got to Gray Wolf, my favorite bookstore in the whole world, to sell my five bags of really excellent grown-up type books, the lady looked at me coming in with my bags and said, "We're closing soon."
"It's 5o'clock. I thought you closed at six."
"We do. And we're not buying books."
"You always buy books!"
"Only good ones."
"Well, these are good ones."
"No, we don't have time before we close."
"Are you serious?" I was thinking about the forty minutes I had just spent in the car trying to get to the shop.
"You have any classics?"
"Sort them out and I'll look at them."
"I'll go to Moe's, instead, thanks." I don't usually play the competitor card, but I was just annoyed. Such a little, silly thing. But I grumbled all the way back home.

Luckily, I get to see the La in half-an-hour. We might attempt to introduce our animals. Don't worry, we're going to go slowly. We had the dogs in my new place a LOT for the first week, before the kits came home. They're used to smelling the dogs on me, too. We're going to first just show them to each other, keeping the pups on leashes in the doorway. Maybe next time we'll make it a little longer. Slowly, slowly. It's the only way this might work. And still I think Digit is going to be PISSED. Literally, probably.

All right. The grumps are lifting. This helps:


Little freckle-nosed Adah. How I love thee, and how freaking annoying you are in the morning when you stand on my head.

Have a great weekend, y'all. I'll tell you about the 26 on Monday! Mwah!

11-11November 11, 2004

It's 11-11! That's so frikken cool! You know this is one of the best days of the year, right? You should. It's just so pretty. Two prime numbers, all parallel and lucky. Happy day.  This morning at work I was in the middle of a sentence when I looked up and saw that it was 1:11:11. I froze, and stopped talking. I scared both people to whom I was speaking. But it was just too perfect.

Did I mention I saw The Incredibles? Day-um. I haven't liked an animation feature that much in years. Seriously: So much fun. And to add fun on top of fun (and who isn't in favor of that? Raise your hand, and you're not coming to my pool party. If I ever have a pool. Okay, I'm sidetracked), it was filmed on location in Oakland! My city!

Okay, maybe not filmed. Maybe it was more like the animators used this area as the backdrop for their artwork, but whatever: local street names like Adeline and San Pablo, and dude! The Lake! Lake Merritt! My lake! Where I run!  We watched it at the Grand Lake Theatre, a two minute walk from the lake, and I swear only about six people seemed to get excited about it or recognize it. Me, though? I was jumping up and down in my seat. Ask Lala. Or don't, since she might still be swearing. She does that in kids' movies, you know.

Is this Thursday? Why does it feel like it's been such a long week? I can't wait for the weekend. No, wait. Hang on.  I can wait. This Saturday, we run 26 miles. That's what they call a "practice" marathon. That's what I call CRAZY, but I haven't been accused of any serious sanity fora while now. Have I already written about this run? I can't remember, and I'm honestly just too lazy to go back and check. So ignore me if you've seen this already: We run 26 miles on Saturday, then three eight-milers on the next three Sundays, and then the marathon. The real one. (And I have simply GOT to stop typing marathong.)

I'm terrified thinking about Saturday. I know what'll happen is I'll just go out and do it, without much thought, and power through till the end, but it's daunting, for sure. We have the option of stopping at mile 20 or 23, also, and I figger it'll be a hard, hard thing to pass the stopping party point and keep running those extra miles. But I really want to do it. I really, really do. I think the heat and humidity of the real deal in Hawaii are gonna be hard on me, and I'd like to at least know I can physically do it. A confidence booster, that's all Saturday really is.

Lord. Remember when seven miles was a lot?

And this is fabulous: Eleven Things  a Straight Girl Learned in her Eight Months on Team Dyke

November 10, 2004

The little mama is already on her way home today. She just came up for one night, bless her heart, just to see my new place and the three lil kittens that Christy is fostering. I got some time in the car with her, but then I had to work. I got off a 5am, and I didn't want her to get up, but she woke when I got home, and we rotated the bed like Bethany and I used to do. Where were those railroad hotels? Where the beds were always warm, with the engineers sleeping days and nights, just swapping off? It's not a bad method. Especially when your sister Christy gives you high thread count sheets that you forget about until you move and can flip them on the bed because you haven't actually washed your reg'lar sheets in two weeks. Not that I would neglect laundry that long. No. Of course not. Not me.

Mom came in to work last night for a moment because I wanted her to meet Marama, and I had this really weird moment where I said, "This is Jan, my mother." After she left, Marama said, slowly, "Her name is Jan?" She had never really thought of my mother having any name but Little Mama.

Today's sleep: Not bad. Not long enough, but when is it? I'm up and I've got Things To Do. A ton of things to do. And know what? I'm having a hard time thinking about unpacking crap because I'm thinking about knitting. This is the first time in a LONG time that I don't have a large project on the needles. I've finished two little sweaters recently, the one for ArtFibers, and the Rowan Denim People one (that still needs a zipper), pictures to follow of both when I get around to it. Cromarty is done, and I have NO idea what I'm going to make next. That's a weird, good feeling. I'm making some fingerless mitts for a friend that I'd like to get off the needles before I start the next thing, but it's fun to imagine what I'll take off the shelves. The reclaimed cashmere perhaps? I'm thinkin'....  Colorwork, however, seems to be calling me, having had none lately, all cables, all the time. Colorwork, however, might require a purchase, and god knows I don't need to buy yarn right now. Nope. I don't.

I don't! Stop that.

Do I?

Home Again, Home Again,November 9, 2004

Jiggety jig.


Lookee! A little Mama in the house! In my house!  That's completely thrilling. I got to open the door for her and invite her in. Oh, the fun of it. Really.


And the cats, they seem to be settling in just fine. Adah doesn't even seem to have really noticed she's in a new home -- she just thinks I've rearranged the furniture. Digit, or Mr. Scaredy Pants, is being a Very Brave Polydactyl and faking it well. He's on my stomach right now, kneading me. If he buries his head in my shirt far enough, maybe all of this will go away.

All right. No time to blog today. Drove home this afternoon with Ma and the kits, and I still have to go to work tonight. It'll be a three-cup night, I think.

(I never, ever thought how much pleasure inviting my mother into my home would give me. I'm about to bust with house pride. Really. Oh, this is good.)

I'm Very, Very ButchNovember 8, 2004

The only thing that makes it okay that this:

is parked in my backyard is this:

on my coffee table. That is Manos (yum) from Maeve, heavenly color, and soap all the way from Brazil (and I know she carried it back herself) from Jennifer, and a home Madonna from the amazing MaryB (it’s not too Catholic, dear—I put it on the shelf with my pope-in-a-snow-globe. Tell hubby).

The post could not have come at a better time, darlings.

I was a fool this morning. I had some dead stalks in my flower vase, but the rest of the them were still beautiful. I thought, Hey! I have a garbage disposal! Won’t that be fun? I shoved ‘em down and spun ‘em through. Then I watched the green sludgy water foam back up at me for, sticking out its tongue.

Damn it. Having never owned a disposal, how was I supposed to know you’re only supposed to put boiled rice and chicken broth (strained) through it? I called the Dude, who is my psuedo-husband (all the chores and none of the perks; not sure why he sticks around, but I aDORE him). He walked me through taking the disposal apart, which I am very proud to say, I did. I flex my muscles in your general direction. But the disposal was clear. That was alarming. And might I add, while it’s not too bad taking a disposal apart, it’s hell on wheels to get that fucker back together. And me in my new jeans. Only a small blood sacrifice, and it wasn’t too painful, either. But I did it.

And the sink was still backed up, gurgling up and mocking me with evil spongy floaters. Grrr.

So I went to the hardware store, where my new best friend Joe told me all about plumbing. I love Joe. I really, really do. I bought a drill from Joe, just because I wanted to keep talking to him. Laurel Hardware on MacArthur, people. Joe rocks. He sold me a snake and told me how to use it (not like that. Dirty minds). I took it home, opened the plumbing back up and snaked it out. This is what I ended up with.


Ew. Ew ew ew ew. Still backed up. I did a number on that one, I tell you. I actually think I made it worse, because after I snaked it, NOTHING would go down, and before I had a slow drain, at least.

Opened the yellow pages, hoped that I wouldn’t get burglarized again, and called the ones who advertised they’d be here in forty-five minutes. They were, they’re just finishing up now, and apparently not only did I clog it, but they found that the pipe is broken about twenty feet out. At least that’s not my problem – that’ll be for my homeowner’s insurance to fix. Thank god. But not today.

Today, as soon as they leave, I’m getting on the road to go pick up two cats and a little mama. She’s coming up for a short day visit to see the new place, and I can’t WAIT to show it to her.

Okay. I have to go pay them. Sheesh. It’s like a test. Own a home! Break some things! Pay out the nose! (But one of them just asked me for paper towels so he could clean up under the sink. That’s totally cool.)

November 5, 2004

I'm sure I'm the last person in blogland to catch this, since I've been a bit busy lately, but you've seen the Gansta Knitter video, right? Thanks for the link, Michelle.


I have the best readers in the whole world. The. Whole. World. Really. Your readers might be very, very good, but I have the BEST ones.

You're right. You're all right. No guilt. Not my fault. The dude broke into MY place, leaving doors and windows open, leaving me liable for any damage/vandalism/theft that might have arisen from other criminals taking advantage of this fact. And Ryan, well, she made the best point. What if my cats had been there, instead of at Grandma's house?

Oooooh, I'd like ta.... Lemme at him.

I called the manager again, who said the owner was at Stanford all day having his chemo treatment. I can accept that. I'll wait. I will talk to the owner. That's all I really want at this point. I thought about reporting them to the Better Business Bureau, and then I decided to check them out. Turns out my threatening to do that won't mean much to them, because they already SUCK at the BBB. It teaches me another valuable lesson: Research FIRST, not last.

Anyway. All's well. All is, in fact, very well. I have the best bathtub in the whole world. This weekend I will finish moving out of the old place and work on unpacking (I still have a lot of that to do, believe it or not). After I do that, I can PAINT, and I'm getting more and more excited about that. I'm going to TSP. I'm going to use joint compound. I think that's for holes in the wall. Or my knees. I'm not really sure, but I know it's official sounding. I'm going to cover things with dropcloths just so I can say I did. Oh, yes, I'm dropcloth-ing today. Very different from drop-clothing, you know. Almost as much fun.

We have a ten mile run this Sunday, our last short run before the practice 26 miles the next weekend. Practice. Sheesh. That's a marathon, people. That's what I think, anyway. Call it what you want, but even with the word Practice in front of it, it's freaking me out. And hey! Go congratulate Rebecca for finishing her marathon! Amazing girl! She IS supergirl.

That's about all I can think of. I'm tired. (Lala's at my house right now, manning my TiVo without me. And her blog is flirting with mine, I think. That's adorable.) (See? Mine is flirting back.)

Happy weekend, all! MWAH!

FelonyNovember 4, 2004

I am terribly grumpy. And it's not just because of who our president will continue to be. (That couldn't be called grumpy, anyway. That's more like shell-shocked. Despondent.) I am not feeling eloquent enough to even try to address that. Go read Lala's take. I may be prejudiced, but I don't think that's why it made me feel a tiny bit better somehow.

I'm just grumpy because of a carpet cleaner. I had a company send a guy out to clean the one carpet in my old apartment. He was fine, and did an okay job. He left his file folder in my apartment, and called to ask when he could get it back. When I got the message, I was on the way to drop Bethany at the airport, and then I had to go to work. I told him I'd go to the old place at five in the morning after work, get the folder and leave it on the front porch. He could come pick it up any time after that. He said that was all right.

I got off work yesterday at five. I'd been up at that point for twenty-two hours. I got to my old apartment. Bethany had confirmed that she had seen the folder in my place when we had left, but she had assumed it was mine and hadn't said anything about it.

The folder was nowhere to be found. I thought, huh. It must be somewhere else. I was cleaning the tub when he had me sign the charge slip: maybe he had left it in the bathroom. I checked. Nope, no file folder, but the window was open, the sill was filthy, and the screen was on upside down and partially open. I then checked the living room -- the sliding glass door was unlocked, and the back gate was standing wide open.


Now. Okay. I wasn't technically living there anymore, and the only thing missing was his file folder. I can understand the motivation. Perhaps he was scared of getting in trouble at work if he didn't have his files. But it was a major lapse in good judgment, since now he's REALLY going to be in trouble.

And therein lies my Rachaelish problem. I called the cops and had them make an incident card. This is documentation, but less formal than a report. I didn't want to press felony burglary charges against the guy, since, as stated, I could understand the motivation and no damage was done.

But what I wanted was an apology from him. (I think I was a little naive about that -- someone who breaks in doesn't normally apologize later.) And not having to pay the carpet cleaning bill would have been nice, too. I was furious that someone had entered my old home (still full of the stuff that I'm not sure what to do with) without my permission, through the bathroom window. So I called his company and told them what had happened.

The manager was horrible. I really think she could have made it all go away by saying, "I'm so sorry. We'll figure out what went wrong, and we'll get back to you. I'm sure there's an explanation. But in the meantime, I'm so sorry."

Instead, she said, "So what you're saying to meeeee.... [Long, acrid pause.] Lemme get this straight. Someone broke into your house. And the only thing stolen was the file folder YOU say he left in your house."

"HE said he left it in my house."

"Whatever. What makes you think it was our employee?"

Golly, I don't know. It's true, there might be a horrible Oakland criminal on the loose who ransacks homes for cruddy-looking old file folders. Terrifying, isn't it? Fer fuck's sake. I believe that's just about what I told her, too (although I didn't swear). She said the owner would call me. He never did.

The cleaner dude, however, did call me. And that just made it worse. I answered, mistake number one. I should have let it go to voice mail. Mistake number two, I asked to know what he had been thinking, breaking into my home. He pled his innocence so well that I actually almost fell for it. He sounded so sad and offended that I would consider him able to commit such a crime that I got off the phone and drove to my old place to see if the files had fallen behind the bookcase. Of course, they hadn't. Then I just felt stupid. And taken.

But now my main problem is guilt. And while I know you'll all sigh and send me comments telling me I've done the right thing, really I'm not sure that I have. There was no damage to my place. He probably considered it vacant. He took nothing but his own property. Had he called me and said that it was imperative that he get his files back or his boss would kill him, I can see myself telling him to try to break in. Now he might lose his job, and I'm picturing him with four small kids in dirty clothes, and a crying wife who has to now work 19-hour days instead of the 14-hour ones she's been doing recently. Plus, he's sober and this will depress him enough to fall off the wagon onto a four-day binge. And his sick mother needs the operation he's been saving for. And his brother just died, leaving him responsible for his widow and nine more children.

You know, something like that.

It galls me that he lied to me, baldly, on the phone. It pisses me off that he broke into my place. But in the larger scheme, this doesn't really matter, and perhaps I just made someone's life really rough, for very little reason, because I was too tired to really think it through before making phone calls. I think that's what's eating me up.

Bah. Blerg. Ne'er a dull moment, nosireejimbobarooney. Bleha. (Try it, it's much more effective than a simple bleah.) Now, to get in my (MY) bathtub and swim off the grumps. My house! Oh! Yay!

November 3, 2004

Oh, my gosh. Those comments! This: Thank you. Really. From my heart, thank you. Oh, I'm HAPPY. Hey, did I tell you? I have a HOME!

Huge happy sigh.

And now, more pictures! Bethany's in town for the weekend (all right, my weekend, since I suppose Tuesday doesn't usually count as such), and she's in my tub right now. Surprised? Bathany never misses an opportunity. We've been running around all day and I've been a grump from HELL. I *love* being in my new place. But I *hate* all that crap and literal dirt that is still left in the old apartment. I used Beth for good ole slave labor today, so she deserves the bath. After she gets out, I'll jump in and then take her to the airport before I go to work. There's still junk at the old place, but it'll get sorted yet, right? Right?

All righty. Here's moving day:


Yes, that's the Desk of Doom standing up behind us. The best thing I've done in a long time was hiring those movers. They actually got the desk out of the bedroom and into the front yard, where it's still sitting with a tacky "Free" sign flapping from it in the wind. I couldn't watch them move it out the front door -- I was positive it was going to kill someone.

My first bubble bath:


The tile is real, but kind of dirty looking. They're 2X2 white tiles with white grout, and some of them are dark with what looks like car grease. I've scrubbed with the regular cleansers, and I just bought some industrial peel-the-inside-of-your-nose-off stuff that I'll try later, when I've fully unpacked and feel up to the challenge. That bath, though? Sublime. Really. Insane. The shower? Not so great. I've changed the shower head and that helps, but the pressure just isn't good enough to get a good flow of water. Eh. I like baths better anyway.

Something else I had to be philosophical about was this: I propped up a shelf in the bathroom temporarily and then heard a great crash. It had fallen right on the toilet tank cover and whacked a great chunk of porcelain off the corner. I know it's fixable, or I could just buy a new cover, but jaiz. I would have liked to have waited more than an hour and a half to break something in my own home.

So then, looking from the bathroom through the living room toward the bedroom:


And out the front windows:


Standing in that spot, the kitchen is to your right. Here's one shot:


And looking back toward the living room:


The flowers are from Lala. They made me feel much better about the cracked porcelain. And the toilet tank that ran (I fixed it with Paton's Classic Merino, orange). And the heater that's off for safety. And the living room windows that don't open. Lordy. But do you hear me complaining? Nope. You won't, either. I'm so frikken lucky that I've been afforded (used loosely here) this opportunity that if you DO hear me complaining, report me to the Cry Me A River Police. Really. Remind me of this then, okay? (I'm also lucky I have friends like the Dude, who fixed the toilet, my shower, my outside light, and rigged my Tivo to talk to my fabulous new DVD player (also from Lala -- tell me I ain't spoiled to hell).

Goodness! I started this post this afternoon -- it's now almost four in the morning and I still can't remember half the things I was going to write about. Not even a quarter of them. Random snippets: I'm on the freeway, but semi-trucks aren't allowed on this section of it, so the traffic only goes whooshwhooshwhoosh soothingly, along with the occasional scream of a motorcycle going by at the speed of light. My next-door neighbor is nice. I don't like my upstairs neighbor's boyfriend who parks in my spot. There's a hibiscus outside my door. I keep getting my junk drawer mixed up with my cutlery drawer. The bedroom gets warm in the afternoon sun. It is quiet. Opening your own door and inviting someone in is infinitely more enjoyable than opening someone else's door to do the same thing. Plus, some people get annoyed when you just open their doors like that.

Egad, I'm sleepified.

In!November 1, 2004

Hi, there! I missed you! I couldn't wait to tell y'all about it, but I just now got me some DSL back. Let me catch you up with a lil photo-blog, okay?

The ex-owner got his shit out on Friday. I got the call when I woke up that the key was in hiding, and I should high-tail it over to make sure nothing was vastly wrong in the place, so I had no time to collect anyone to go with me to open the door for the first time. I got in the car and drove over, nervous as hell.

I found the key.


I gave a hop and carried myself across the threshold. The only other thing I carried was this:


It's my unfinished novel, all 500+ pages of it. I wanted to honor the fact that this will be my home while I finish this book, and we came in together. Yep.

So. We're in. This is how I feel.


Pretty mushy, huh? Yeah, you're right. I was all sappy'n'stuff. I took a walk through, all on my own, in my new home. MY NEW HOME. (I'm still not over it.)



I called Marama to thank her for being the one person who did the absolute most for me through all this house-buying stuff. If she hadn't believed in me like she did, if she hadn't encouraged me to keep going with it on an absolutely daily basis, I would have given up. And look at me now!

Then my peeps started coming over. First, my La arrived, bearing flowers and dogs. (Oh, my god, read her "update (annotated)" entry about my move. I rolled.) Here she is, trying to open the wee bottle of champah-nya that I brought with me -- we never did pop that sucker. I suppose we could have smashed the bottle on the balcony, like they do on ship prows, but then I'd just have to clean it up.


Then my girls arrived, sisters Christy and Bethany.



We had to celebrate my favorite part of my new abode:



Have I mentioned how I feel about my clawfoot bathtub? This is how I feel about my clawfoot bathtub:


This is how Harriet feels about hardwood floors. I feel the same way. I would have done the same thing, but I had company over:


Okay. There. I wanted to get these posted. In the next post I'll give you pics of what it looks like now. I've still got a ton of boxes to unpack, but it does feel like a home now. And better yet, it feels like my home. That's just CRAYZEE. Really.

You did it! All those crossed needles! All those wonderful, loving thoughts! You did it! You were right there with me! If I owe you an email, I'll hit you back soon, but know that I love and adore all y'all. THANK YOU!