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

« September 2005 | Main | November 2005 »

21 posts from October 2005

October 31, 2005


Not to go all product placement, but I think I mentioned the Starbucks I was in last week, didn't I? All the outside doors made it look like a bank, although I knew there was a Starbucks nearby, since there was a rooftop sign. I opened the door, thinking the bank might know where the coffee was, and this is what I found. The Wells Fargo part is off to the right, a full-sized bank. The coffee area is on the left, also larger than most. Incredibly weird. Someday I'll be able to pick up my dry-cleaning at the vet's office and buy an ice cream sundae at the steak/Chinese/Ethiopian restaurant on the corner.

I am, I admit, able to do way more than I'd ever have thought, right here, right now. I'm sitting at a small round table in a nice little coffee shop close to my new work. I'm online (seamlessly - god, I love my new Mac), and if I wanted to , I could download a new CD's worth of music, or I could pay any bill that I wanted to (I do all my banking online). I've got my iShuffle's earbuds stuck into the computer on one end, the other ends in my ears, playing an iTune party shuffle so that I don't have to listen to the nineteen year old at the end of the place blather on about what a brilliant lawyer she's going to be. My cell phone is to one side, and my knitting is next to me.

See, this is going to be my new routine. For the next few months of training, I'll be working 6pm-6am, and my new job is on the worst commute corridor in the Bay Area. Normally a thirty minute drive from my house, if I left at 5pm, it would take an hour and a half to get here. You do the math. So I've figured it out. I leave at 4pm, make it in the getting-heavy traffic in about forty-five minutes, and then I sit here at the coffee shop (locally owned, thank you) and do what I'd be doing at home, if I had the extra time: drinking coffee, and writing. And all the while I'm only ten minutes on surface streets from the job. Hooray for computer time!

It feels really good to be back on midnights, also. Last night was my first "real" shift, with the trainer I'll be with for a while, and I was on the radio all night, really dispatching. I hadn't realized how strange it had felt to be doing a month of theoretical training with no application until I started talking on the radio last night, sending rigs to where they needed to go (badly - the identifiers and new streets are so foreign to me). But I was working! Felt good.

Man, this is a hip place to hang out, if you're cool and seventeen. I'm neither. Huh. No wonder they're staring. Or maybe it's because I'm not wearing a costume, and they all are. Oh, Halloween. (I dressed all in orange to go my sister's party on the weekend, and when Lala came over I said, "I'm the Great Pumpkin!" She said, "You look great, pumpkin.")

BargainingOctober 29, 2005

If I pick up and put away all the laundry, and if I sweep the house and de-fur the couch and bedroom chair, then I get to come back to the computer and hit the button at the top of Bloglines (where it shows how many feeds you have) and read all 1194 unread posts by you all. Yes, I will skim, and no, I probably won't leave comments (what else is new? I can barely catch up with email right now). But at least I'll feel more connected to my gang....

Tonight, Halloween party at the sister's house. Dude. I don't like dressing up. Okay, not true. I like dressing up for real, not for Halloween. I know this is wrong, and bad, but Halloween just doesn't do it for me. Whereas sister Bethany, she lives for it. So I at least have to make some sort of effort. Or I should. Hey! I think I'll go as a knitter. Ha! They'll never recognize me!

Cleaning now. Loud music required....

CatchupOctober 28, 2005

Welp, I have been knitting. But it's been in fits and starts, and only in short bursts, when I can grab the time. I don't usually have more than one project going at a time, not including little things like socks. But look:


[Ack. I'm not enjoying iPhoto right now. Is there an easy way to shrink photos down to 320pixel-width? Sheesh.]

The left is a sock out of the wonderful Interlacements Little Feet, which I believe they stopped making? Is that right? Anyway, because that's true, or maybe it's not, I had to snatch up a skein I found last week while shopping with Jon.

Next to that is a lace scarf/shawl, my own design, my own yarn (silk/merino). How I love that last sentence.

Next to that, a determined stash-buster, inspired by the purchase of the software that ArtFibers uses to design their knitwear, called Knitware. You can buy it through ArtFibers (tell 'em I sent you!), and even though there's no Mac base right now, it's totally worth keeping my old PC clunker around for, just to fire it up and run this program. My favorite-fitting sweaters have been made using this design, and I swear I'm not getting a cut of any of the sales. You just knit a swatch, in what size needles you like, plug in the gauge and then drag and drop things around until you have a schematic of a sweater you like, and then it spits out the pattern for you. You can even rip out and measure the amount of yarn you used in your swatch and it will tell you REALLY darn close whether you have enough yarn to make the swater or not. I heart it.

It makes it so dern fun (too much fun, actually) to design a sweater. Print out the pattern. Put it in a plastic sleeve and pretend like you did all that math by yourself. Of course, I only got about two sleeves into that Chunky Wool-Ease (you know you have some in your stash, too) sweater before getting bored and casting on that luscious purple/green Malbrigo merino sweater. A little cardie, I think, with crochet trim on the edges. Yep, I designed it. Heh. Love it.

October 26, 2005

I am not forgetting the other bloggers! I met Karen (who captured a psychotic pic of me - lets blame ArtFibers's back sale room on that photo) and non-blogger but very talented M.C. this weekend while shopping, and then the lovely Silvia and her equally lovely sister Claudia came to a Whoreshoes show at McNally's in Oakland. Claudia, apparently, shares Karen's talent at capturing the side of me that escapes just before I get out the machete, so let me show you my rockabilly hairstyle taken by ME before you look at the picture she got. I'm not that frikken crazy, swear.


And tonight I got to see Marie, which was fabulous. She and her husband are just the sort you want to hang out with. No, really. I didn't even have to try to be funny or witty, I just let them be those things, and I got to relax. Good people. Of course, it's reached the point in blogland where I just don't think about taking pictures. We all got out our Treos and showed each other pictures of our adorable, wonderful cats (three Treos at one table!), but not one of us snapped a shot. Just as well. I'm sleepy and I'm sure in whatever shot was taken I'd look more psychotic than ever.

I'm a little overwhelmed with all I've been doing, as busy as I've been, and not being home, 26 stories up in the air overlooking the city, but it's true that feeling like a tourist so close to home is nice. There's nothing like the humming quiet of a big hotel, with the elevator whooshing right next to the room. Somehow comforting. (Unless you go underwater in the bathtub, when that whooshing sounds like the rumbling beginnings of The Big One. See how fast YOU pop out of the water.)

One more day of training and then I get to go home. Hooray! I feel like spinning.

Jello SFOctober 25, 2005

Thought you might enjoy seeing my fantastic view of the city. 

Aren't people amazingly and awesomely weird? Love it.
(PS - Almost all my cool links are courtesy of Lala. It's rather predictable that way.)


Jon's just the cutest thing, just like I knew he would be.


Look at him! How adorable is he? We had the best time, and we shopped for yarn (lots of yarn, sigh), and other things. It's not every day you wander the City with a guy, looking for yarn, and ending up taking home dirty pillowcases. And I don't mean they were pre-used. They're just made that way. And no, I won't show you. Come to the Castro, and I'll show you want I mean. Heh. See, now THAT'S fun shopping.

Then we drank beer and watched the people go by. We assessed walks, outfits, and dog choices. Now look at this little girl:


Jon blamed her outfit on Kaffe Fassett, and that just goes to show you what he's like. Don'tcha think?

Now, no more. I'm in a hotel in San Francisco on a training week (they're putting me up! Sixteen miles from home! I love it), but the internet access is spotty, so if I'm slow in emailing, forgive me.


A Good Friend KnowsOctober 24, 2005

I ran into my lovely, loving, beautiful friend Trish at the mall the other day. Heaven help me when I go to the mall. Hate the mall. It was only the outdoor outlet kind of place, but it's still the mall. Erg. Tried on approximately one thousand seventy-two pairs of pants that made my butt look flat, my hips square, and my legs short as a dachshund's (sorry, Harriet). So it was a vast relief to run into someone there, and even better, it was one of the few people on that frustrating day that I would WANT to run into.

I mentioned to Trish the stale smell in my house, and I sniffed a bunch of candles and air fragrance thingies at Bath and Body Works. Then I promptly became overwhelmed by all the choices and settled in for a chat with her, leaving the store empty-handed.

She tracked me down at Old Navy, and handed over a bag. It's the one I liked the best, Tuberose.


There's the BEST gardenia hint to it. It's just perfect. I'm happy.

Also, Oakland BootyOctober 21, 2005

Oh, I was just in SUCH a bad mood after dealing with getting groceries and a tire rotation and, on a separate stop, an oil change (which was staffed with boys who did NOT pick up on the my signals - I needed to say "SHUT UP! I'm NOT INTERESTED!" but I didn't, so it's my own fault), and then the bad mood was worsened by fighting my way up East 14th home, only to remember that after all those errands I had left my laundry back in Alameda and having to turn around and go out again.

Then I got home to THIS. Oh, yeah. I feel better now.

Also: To whomever sent me the free sample of Schick Intuition, dude. Although I have been too busy to shave this week, and I've been conscious of it (although I've worn pants all week), it was kind of a shock to receive it. Like the universe knew and didn't approve. But I've been wanting to try it, so thanks!

**And added a minute later: OH, MY GOD. God bless Lala. THIS is even better. I'm crying here, I'm laughing so hard. As she said, more people should drive while talking on cell phones.

It's official. I've defected and gone to the other side.

    Me on the fire truck.

Happy weekend, all!

October 20, 2005

I just came home (slept at Lala's) and I'm home for a few minutes before I dash out to work, but it smells funny in here. Not funny cat-like, thank goodness, but funny like I need to clean the garbage disposal, or like the apples are too old on the counter.

I've had NO time to clean, NO time to blog or read blogs. This weekend promises to be short, also, since I've got plans for almost every minute of it. (The Whoreshoes playing in Oakland on Saturday! Come see!)

But the cats remain obnoxious, and isn't that the most important thing? I've fed them, so my job is done here. They hate their new prescription food, so it sits on the floor until they're almost dead with hunger. Then they eat and glare at me. They've both lost weight, and that wasn't actually the plan. It makes them more obnoxious as night, though -- they know I'm at my weakest and will get up and give them the equivalent of Pop-Tarts in the middle of the night, just to shut them up.

Bath full! Must run!

(I haven't even had time to see the last twenty minutes of the Amazing Race, and that's just a sad state of affairs. Okay, bath REALLY full.)

The PostOctober 18, 2005

I just got this in the mail, and came right to the computer screen to copy it, so you can read it. Oh, oh!

The envelope is addressed to Rachael and Partner, at my address.

Inside is a sweet card decorated with hydrangeas (the embossed old-fashioned fancy kind of card), written in an older person's hand. It reads:

Dear Girls,
Myself and my family want to thank you from our hearts that you loved our house as much as we did. Your thoughts and your letters made us happy and sad that it didn't work out. We just want you to know what a wonderful feeling it was to our family that someone loved it almost as much as we all do. Good luck in all you do.
- Little Red House and the Family That Lived There.

It's from the owners of the house! The house that we thought was for us because we DID love it that much, our wagon-wheel cottage. It makes the owners real, and I'm so happy they wrote -- my imagination creates an image of an elderly woman in an assisted-living residence with her children around her - they know that they would have loved to have given us the house, but they had to go with the highest bidder (oh-so-much-higher than we could have ever bid) because they residence is expensive, and little Judy's going to Dartmouth and is going to cure cancer, and they DO need the money. But they're happy that someone else saw what they saw. And we did. Isn't that what matters, in the end?

How lucky and happy we are that they wrote. (I love that she wrote to The Girls, and put Partner on the envelope. Isn't that nice? The handwriting is over seventy-five if a day. I love that.)

MoviesOctober 17, 2005

What everyone will be watching! Two must-see trailers. THIS one might be a little scary for me, but THIS lighthearted chick-flick is going to be great! Oh, I just can't wait. (Thanks to the banjo-girl for this.)

So tired. Assorted animals, mostly Adah, kept me up all night. And this working 5 days a week at the crack of dawn, nay, EARLIER than that, is for the birds. Will be so glad when the in-house training is over. I can do anything if it's just three or four days a week. You know? Yawn.

I spun a little and knitted a little yesterday. That was nice. Oh, and Anthony Bourdain is my new boyfriend. HOT. Who cares about the food? Just wanna watch him smoke.

Whew.October 13, 2005

I am learning so much. My head is going to fall right off in about six minutes. It will simply get too full of knowledge and fall off and roll around and laugh and say, "You know too much! That was it! I'm done with you! I'm moving on and going to get on the shoulders of someone who doesn't think, like you used not to."

My old job was 911/police dispatch for a small local agency. My new job is fire and medical dispatch for an enormous geographic area, and there are about one million more things to learn than I ever thought there would be. I keep learning that we control and manage the resources for areas that I never would have thought about, both geographically and politically.  It's great, but totally overwhelming sometimes. I have to call the state leaders when? And send fire trucks to other states how? We do THAT? You're kidding. I used to read blogs. That's what I USED to do.

Luckily, I'm going through training with a nice boy, who knows as much as I do about dispatching. I would be totally freaked out if all this learning was directed right at me, by my lonesome. I don't think that would be fun.

The guy is sweet. He is. But he doesn't ask many personal questions. Yesterday, I realized that while I knew his girlfriend's name and job and where she bought coffee and where they ate every Thursday night, I thought it prudent to ask (after eight nine-hour days), "Do you know I date women? And that my fiance is a girl?"

He said, "Really? I knew this girl at my last job who was having triplets with her female partner." And that was 'nuff said on the topic of me. I told you, he's sweet. Rather cotton-ball-like, and I can't explain that. He just is. Smart, yes. Just doesn't ask too many questions. I can respect that.

Maybe next week I'll prove to you that I still knit, although in reality I've knit maybe twelve rounds of a sock at work, and perhaps twenty rows of a lace handspun scarf at home this week. That's it. Someday I will knit again....

Happy weekend!

This is why I leave writing about the music up to my girl.

SmartOctober 11, 2005

I saw Yarn!'s Janis knitting the neatest socks ever the other day. She was knitting self-striping socks from an unraveling piece of beautifully dyed machine knitting. There. Think about that for a minute. Dude.

Here you go
. Isn't that the best idea ever? Check out those gorgeous pieces in the gallery! Look at those kits! Dye your own socks! Nancy Roberts is a geeneeyus.

From her site:

So what is this inveterate hand knitter doing using a knitting machine? A knitting machine is yet another tool she can use to personalize yarn creation. With a knitting machine, she can quickly machine knit stockinette fabric for multicolor dyeing. Dyeing in the fabric, unlike dyeing a skein, allows her to produce a yarn with longer repeats of color, which means in turn that a single color can circle the circumference of a sweater many times before merging into a new color or shade.

Slumber Party! October 10, 2005

There is nothing funnier, when attending a slumber party, than dressing up the attendants in the chihuahua's cowboy hat.

See, Miss Idaho got a new hat:


But it looks good on Jodi, too:


Kris looks surprised:


But she shouldn't be surprised, because it really IS flattering on everyone:


Supa-R-LuvVa knows it.

So does Lala:


Even I know it, too:


But even though everyone can get behind (or under) it,


Even Blaze knows that it's really Miss Idaho's hat:


Now just shamelessly dog-blogging:


    Where's that barkeep?

    Hope my horse is still okay outside.

    The wind can sound lonely on the range.

    Barkeep! Make it a double!

    Four more pictures and I'm free. I need a raise.

HarrietOctober 7, 2005

I was in the store yesterday, a little veggie market not far from my house. It gets pretty crowded after work, and I felt scowly and headachey as I stood in line.

The sound-system was playing "Under the Boardwalk." A deep baritone joined in for a few lines. I didn't turn around.

"Come on! Sing with me!"

A short man in a purple suit was holding a huge bunch of greens to his chest, three customers back.

"Let's make the cashiers happy! Let's make them give the food away!" A checker grinned and shook her head.

"Look at these! Have you ever seen such pretty greens?" He shook them with a vegetable rattle. A woman asked him how he was going to cook them.

He spoke to the store at large. "I cook, sure. I cook all the time. I'm a great cook. But no, these aren't for me. They're for the rabbits." He heaved a dramatic sigh. "Those rabbits eat better than I ever do. Avocados. Raisins. Peanut butter, but only the fancy fresh kind. These greens. They eat more than me, too." He had such a big smile that just looking at him made me feel less scowly.

"Are they angora?" I asked. I had to know. I had visions of him spinning the fluff while they ate avocado on his lap.

He beamed at me. "No, lop-eared. Big lops. Great big lops. I get home from work, and sometimes I'll sit on the couch. Maybe I'll fall asleep. The white one, she'll hop up and pull on my pants until I wake up. She wants her food."

"But Harriet," he paused for effect, looking at his audience -- we were all rapt by now, "Harriet, she dances. Right in time to the music. She gives a little hop, like this. And then another to the left, see? Hop, hop, hop. Dancing! She dances for me when I'm tired. Who could be sad when Harriet dances like that?"

As I picked up my bags to leave, I told him it was the best thing I'd heard all day. He said that God would bless me. I walked out, thinking maybe he had.

*Lala's Harriet dances too, with a waggy spinning tail. Must be in the name.

YawnOctober 6, 2005

I would really like a night's good sleep. Really. What with police action and new-job dreams and the migraine I woke up with yesterday, I'm having a rough time. The other night, I had this terrible dream in which it was my first day of work, and someone was supposed to drive me there. She wouldn't tell me where she was going to meet me, though, and ignored my questions. Finally, I shouted, "WHERE AM I GOING TO MEET YOU?" at the top of my lungs and woke up both myself and Lala. You might know from her blog that Lala can sleep through things like alarm clocks and ringing telephones and nuclear detonations, so I was quite proud of my lung capacity.

I'm pre-blogging this, since I have a minute while Lala showers, and then we're going out to dinner, and then I'm going home to bed, where, by the time you read this, I hope I will have managed a very nice, sound, long sleep. I haven't knit a stitch in days. I want sleeeeeeppppp....... Wish me luck.

New MathOctober 5, 2005

I'm loving the new job. I'm in dayshift in-house training for the first two weeks, then I go to San Francisco for a training there, and then I go back to midnight shifts for a couple of months of training (I won't be online much for a long while - I'll be reading them from home, but not leaving many comments. Forgive me?).

It'll be nice to have the three or four days off a week (alternate weeks), but I have to say I'm enjoying this whole 8 hours a day thing. I did some new fancy math (are you ready? Got your calculator?) and worked out this astounding figure:

If you work eight hours a day, instead of twelve, you have FOUR MORE HOURS a day to play with. Isn't that WILD? Can you believe it?

I know, it boggled my brain, too. After working twelves for so long, I thought that they were just a normal day, and really, they are. When you're working twelve or more hours, it doesn't really feel like that much more than any normal shift. It's just your day. You're at work. You get to go home whenever you're able to, when the relief arrives.

But when you go home after eight hours, you can still go out to coffee with your girlfriend and her cute little dogs, and then go home and make dinner, and then watch an hour of TV, and then take a bath, and then go to bed in time for an eight-hour sleep (which was sorely needed, as I haven't been sleeping much, but there was MAJOR police action out in front of my house last night, so I didn't sleep that much anyway. You know how I live within stone's throw of the freeway? The police action led to people being stupid on the freeway, and I kept hearing the same thing, at half-hour intervals -- SCREEEECH, [metallic] thunka-chooooosh. Tinkle, tinkle. And then later, SCREEEEECH, [metallic] thunk-choooosh. Tinkle, tinkle. Hard to sleep through that. All lived, thank goodness.)

Also: Five days is one whole day more than four. (What would you do without me to help you like this?)  So while I'm liking this eight-hour thing, it'll be nice to go back to longer weekends.

But tonight, I'm glad I'm home.

Whew!October 4, 2005

Busy and tired, but I promised more photos of the weekend's festival, so here are a few:


Camilla, who's running the Aids Marathon, ran TWENTY MILES and then came to watch the music. I did that last year (Em was there!), and dude, Camilla's a trooper to walk so far after running that much. She looked good doing it, too.


Christy and Beth might have been enjoying the music, but the kids, they like their iTunes.


Me, I like my cowboy hat. Or Lala's, truth be told. I forgot mine.


Look! Jeni was there! Yay!


It was hard enough to navigate the festival ourselves (OHMYGOD, there were so many people), so we left the dogs at home. Many, many other dogs came, though. They like them some bluegrass.


I almost forgot one of the best things! See this unassuming trailer? Yeah, it's a bathroom. Backstage, Friends and Family area.


One of the many Rach(a)els in Lala's harem is dating a guy with connections (and as they met at the karaoke bar we went to for my birthday, I felt completely justified in taking the passes. Didn't I earn them?) Free food, water, drinks and best of all, bathrooms with no lines. (But Janine, darling, we hated all of it. It was horrible. And we missed you. Next year....)


You can't tell, I know, but that's Dolly. Man, she was fantastic, as were Bethany and friend Nate who arrived at about nine in the morning to hold a blanket. We were about fourteen rows from the front, and it was worth it. I can't tell you, cannot hope to explain how many people were there. They shut down the gates at one point and let no one else in (thank god Lala and friends had their passes, because they'd been out watching Ralph Stanley at another stage). It's hard to tell from the next picture, but there were people packed in, standing room only, as far as the eye could see. We looked up on the hills surrounding the stage area, and people were quite literally hanging from the trees.



Lala takes a picture of (another) Rachel with Dolly. Okay, Dolly didn't know, but she would have been happy about it, had she known.


I have no idea who these two were, but how cute are they?


My Sunday hat, with friend Sarah.

Emmylou Harris was also amazing that day, but we were just too far back to take pictures, sorry. But all these photos are with my new cellphone, you like? I got the Treo 650 in the mail after I spilled wine last week on my 600 (I always insure my phones, since I break them without fail). They didn't send out the 600s anymore, so they upgraded me. And the bluetooth in it goes with the new computer! New job, new computer, new phone. You know what? Thank god we don't have a new house. I think that would be a bit much, don't you?

[new stuff] mwah!

HSBOctober 2, 2005


Doc Watson, yo. Taken with my cell phone, at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. We're on our way back for the rest of the festival today, and I must I just say: Dolly. Freakin'. Parton. Later today. I'm going to keel over, just thinking about it.

Yesterday, there were sisters with sardonic expressions:


And there were sisters dancing:


And there was me, looking scary-weird:


Sexy, ain't I? More tomorrow or the day after, lovies (tomorrow I start my new job, so I might be overwhelmed and exHOSSted tomorrow)

Happy Sunday!