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17 posts from November 2006

HOT DAMNNovember 28, 2006

I did it.

Today, I hit the 50,000 mark with the word stabbed. Actually, the hero and heroine are making out in a pantry, and he gets stabbed with a knitting needle. Thought that was a good 50,000 word . Two days early, yo!

I'm about 2/3 done with the novel itself, and NaNoWriMo was such a wild ride that I think I'm going to continue using its momentum. I've written 50,000 words before. Four or five times before. Maybe six. But never all at once, never in four weeks. It feels like an astonishing victory and I can't wait to get home (I'm at the little mama's house) so I can upload the work and see my progress bar turn to the winner's purple bar. Isn't that silly? I can't WAIT to see it go purple.

Crazy plan, man. Crazy plan for these Oakland people to think up (you know it's based here, right?) 70,000 people worldwide signed up, and I know as of this writing, 4883 have finished.

Make that 4884. Oh, yeah. Little victory dance in my chair. Uh-huh. DaWEET, daWEET, woopwoopWOOP! That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh, we LIKE IT. Uh-huh uh-huh.

That was the dance. The finishing party is on Friday, and I get to go, having conned someone into working for me. I can't wait. CAN'T WAIT. That was so fun. You have to do it next year. Seriously. SO FUN. Plus, then you don't have that excuse that you have no time to write. You do, too. I actually got more running time in this month than I have in the longest time -- I was better at time management somehow.

OH MY GOD.

I'm so happy.

*Edited to add - HEY! They're calling me a 2006 Winner already, even though I haven't officially sent in my words! See, the box at the top on the right? YIPPEE!

*Edited a second time to add: Further proof that I can't talk anymore, not while writing this much. While I was reading the recipe card, I told Lala I wanted to make oatmeal kittens. WHILE I WAS READING THE CARD which clearly said oatmeal cookies. Well, come on. Wouldn't everyone like an oatmeal kitten? How cute would that be?

Thanks, dude. November 24, 2006

I had the best Thanksgiving. 

It didn’t start out so well. I’d woken up too early, after about 5 hours of broken day-sleep, to Lala wondering if I wanted chicken. Lying in bed, earplugs still halfway in and eyemask shoved up on my forehead (yes, sexy), I said, “NOW?”

So I got up, looking forward to my non-Thanksgiving. I was going to do my writing while Lala worked on her music and cooked chicken, and then I'd go to work, and maybe have a turkey pot-pie while there.

Then Lala said, “Hey, is it okay that my brother and sister-in-law are coming over for dinner?” *

“NOW?” 

“Well, yeah. I told them 2:30.”

I looked at the clock. Two o’clock. No writing, I supposed, as I started sweeping and cleaning the bathroom and polishing the dining room table.

Of course it was okay that they were coming, but I was grumbly.

I was a grump. A big, huge grump. I took a grumpy shower. I followed Lala around the kitchen, scowling every time she dripped, growling every time she wanted me to move so she could get something out of a drawer. I’m surprised she kept cooking for me, actually.

Then Richard and Won-Ju arrived, and I’d put on lipstick and had a little more coffee, and then this miracle occurred: Lala put a full dinner on the table, out of things that we’d mostly already had in our kitchen. We had chicken that she cooked on the grill because we live in California and we can do that, you know, which had been marinated in olive oil and lemon and basil and garlic, and we had kale greens and leftover green beans with roasted pine nuts and potatoes with butter and a Korean pasta dish that Won-Ju brought, and IT WAS ALL SO GOOD. 

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It was so good, suddenly, to be sitting there, with them, eating and hanging out on a day I’d planned to be very hum-buggish. This was my first year being married to Lala, my first Thanksgiving with her family. While I felt incredibly cheesy, I actually got a little verklempt for feeling so damn thankful.

I drove to work, thrilled with the way the afternoon had hijacked me. Nothing had happened the way I’d planned it, and it had been perfect.

Lala did the dishes, too. I just went to work. I suppose I can’t count on that happening next year? Hmmm.

(Lala is famous, did you know that?)

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*Edited to add: In the spirit of full disclosure, Lala said, "You have the right to veto this, before I ask. Would you mind if my brother and sister-in-law came over and I made us all dinner? I know you just woke up, and you can totally say no." But that doesn't read as funny! And it doesn't convey the spirit of grumpiness that was black in my soul when she said it! But I should add it, just to be fair to her. Y'know?

November 22, 2006

Joan Jett? Still hott. Just so you know.

Just GoNovember 21, 2006

Oh, that worked well.

In that mood that you witnessed yesterday, I did indeed pack up the laptop and the border collie and we got into the car and headed down the coast. Sure, we made a couple of errandish stops first, to assuage my Must-Do brain, and then we drove across the Bay Bridge (no traffic!), all the way through town, up past Golden Gate Park out to Ocean Beach, where we headed south on Highway One.

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We got to Pacifica, which has always fascinated me. Only ten minutes out of SF proper, it’s a rather blue-collar coastal town, kind of like my own home town. Trailer parks and auto shops gaze at the water in the north end of town. I assumed I’d find a coffee shop with outside seating so I could sip and write with the dog next to me, but I didn’t, actually. So I drove until I saw a man with a dog, and I pulled over and asked him where I should go.

He sent me to the a café several blocks up. It was a cool, foggy morning, though, so even though I wasn’t right on the water, I could still smell and feel the ocean, which was good enough for me.

It was a great little café, with fabulous coffee and AMAZING chocolate croissants, made right on premise.

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The nice lady inside showed me where I could sit outside – they’ve made a little seating area in the back parking lot – and I left Clara out there while I went in and ordered.

We heard a crash, and ran out to find Clara had dragged the IRON BENCH she’d been tied to into the middle of the parking lot, taking a table with her, in her attempt to get back to me. Sweet, but oy. We’re still working on the stay command, obviously.

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I wrote and wrote. The fog cleared, and the sun came down on me, and I closed my eyes and wrote that way. Sometimes I forget how nice it is to do that. Try it sometime. You’ll fix the typos later, and there will be fewer than you expect.

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Then I decided to take Clara to the beach, out to Fort Funston, which is an old military site on the coast just north of San Francisco, now turned dog park. It’s huge and rambling, and full of dunes and cliffs and old gnarled trees and NO POISON OAK so it’s lovely. And I’m so glad I went.

Because I met this gal.

We fell into step right inside the park – her dog is a brute of a two-year old mutt, most used to playing with pit bulls, she said. So when her dog Louis dragged Clara to the ground and kept her there with his teeth, I knew we were going to have fun. That’s Clara’s favorite game, y’see, and she likes to be the chased one, the one pinned to the ground. It looks awful, but she’s good at snapping at the ones who get out of hand, and until then, she’s in HEAVEN.

This gal looked like a forty-five year old metal-head. Long straight hair, remnants of old dye, pink and purple, an old black shirt, black ripped pants, boots. She might have been older, or she might have been twenty years younger – I couldn’t tell. She had a slight German accent, and I learned later she’s only been in the States five years.

She said, after we’d walked for a bit with our dogs, “My name is Fox. Shall we walk together?”

At first, my brain was doing its stupid “make an excuse, I want to be alone” kind of chatter, and then I decided, why not? “Sure,” I said, and she led me down to the beach, which at Fort Funston means DOWN to the beach. You have to practically rappel down this immense old sand dune, dogs tumbling before you, until you reach the bottom, where the beach is as wide as the ocean itself. You can walk from there to the Cliffhouse. Not that you’d want to. But you could.

We walked on, our dogs wrestling frantically in the surf, and I learned that when she moved here, she was a taxi-cab driver in SF for the first four years.

“That must have been something,” I said, fascinated. “Did you ever get robbed?”

“You kidding me? There was never anyone in my cab crazier than the driver. I am always the craziest. Once a guy got in and called me a bitch, said he was going to fuck me up. I hear something in the back, him getting something out of a pocket and I turn around, and he’s holding up a knife. I yell, ‘you crazy? What you gonna do? You gonna cut me? You think? I’m going to KILL you!’ and he gets out and runs away like a little girl. I chased him, going backwards in my car down the street, but I lost him in an alley.”

My mouth hung open.

She said, “That’s nothing. This one time I got a fare of three guys who want to go to a club. When they get in, they’re only going four blocks, and that pisses me off. Not worth it. One guy is stupid and breaks my interior light, rips it off. I tell him he’s gonna pay for it. He calls me a bitch and a whore, and tells me no way. So I hit the gas. I’m going fifty, then sixty up Valencia. I got nothing but green lights. I’m going away from the club, as fast as I can. The other two guys are crying for me to stop, to let them out. I hit a red, and the asshole gets out and runs away. I take the other two to the club, and they apologize, and one gives me $75 for the light.”

“Wow,” I said, “that’s crazy.” (See how interesting I am when you run into me on a beach?)

“And that is not the end! The very next night, my husband picks up a fare in front of a strip club. This guy is going home to Oakland. He starts telling my husband about how he hates this taxi company, about how he had to ride with a crazy bitch the night before who wouldn’t let him out of the car. My husband, he wants to let the guy off in the middle of the bridge, wants to kick his ass. But he just drives him home, pulls up to the front, and then turns around and says to the guy, 'That bitch was my wife. And now we know where you live.' The guy almost peed his pants.”

She roared with laughter. I thought she was the coolest thing in pants. We walked for an hour, and she was full of stories, but those were my favorites. We parted as friends, and I drove straight to Imagiknit, not even getting lost a little bit, taking turns by intuition that turned out to be just right. If you know me and driving in the City, this is a small miracle. There was parking in front. I found the yarn I wanted for the sweater class I’ll be giving in spring.

I drove home, craving a bagel, so I called Joni up and made her bring my godson down to the bagel shop in Alameda, and we ate and I joggled the baby.

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I sang all the way home to my new favorite song, “By Heart,” by Sylvie Lewis (go give it a listen on iTunes! The whole album is worth buying, but that song is amazing).

I came home and cooked shrimp pasta with garlic, fresh basil, and lemon, with a touch of vermouth. Lala loved it.

I had the best day.

When your body tells you to get up and get out and DO something, do it. Okay?

Oh - and today, when I wrote, it was almost effortless. Not completely, but close to it. Yep. Woot!

November 20, 2006

All right.
I'm going to San Francisco, and the beach. Happy?
Also, if I happened to research how to get from Ocean Beach to Imagiknit, that was purely academic. Yep.

An alpaca has made a break for it, and I'm about to toss the heroine down a well, and I still can't put a word next to another one. I have, however, tidied four or five separate areas of the house.

I have a romantic image of myself, loading up the car and driving down the coast, laptop and border collie at my side, sitting at some cafe near Pacifica or Ocean Beach (such a creative name, I always think), pounding out my novelishious words, but in reality if I actually stand up and make that happen, I will end up sidetracked by the flea treatment I need to go buy for the wee dog who kept me up ALL NIGHT with the scratching and cat food run (different stop, sadly) I have to make today if I want my cats to continue living with me. I should also go to the bank and order a new ATM card, since mine is all scratched up and won't work, and there are a couple other errands that should get done, and I know myself too well. I will tell myself I'm going out "to write" and I'll end up being hyper-productive in errand-running just to avoid that whole writing part. Might as well stay home.

Good god. 217 words, wasted on angst.

GakNovember 18, 2006

Trader Joe's Candy-Cane Joe-Joes (like Oreos with ground up candy-canes) are GOOD. I don't even really like candy-canes, but I like these cookies. I'm hoping Lala won't read this blog and go eat them all before I get home.

Tomorrow I am going to go to the local spinning guild with Janine. Uh-huh.

OH MY GOD. Words will NOT come to me today. Earlier, while I was working on the NaNo novel, I would place a word on the page and then I would think GAH. Then I would put a word next to it and think GAK. It wasn't even The Editor, really. I don't actually struggle too much with that editor-brain that makes you want to rewrite and not move forward. I'm happy leaving crap sentences on the page, knowing I can go back and fix 'em later. I like the fixing part.

This was just my brain not really knowing where I was going next, not trusting my outline which feels as thin as onion paper (why didn't I think of THAT earlier, huh?), and balking. My brain was saying, "Nope, I can't see what's on the floor in here. It's dark. I will NOT take another step. Forget it."

So I would force a word down and then another. Maybe someday I'll find words to put next to those, to make them not suck so much. I dunno.

All I know is that tomorrow is for spinning, followed by knitting at Janine's house, and apparently it's MUCH easier to write about not being able to write than it is to actually not be able to.

I Was RightNovember 17, 2006

You know what? Google searches are good stuff. I found out yesterday that an ex of mine is married. I can’t even tell you how much I love that.

I remember, god, it’s like nine years ago now, when we broke up, he told me that he’d never be happy, and someday I’d realize that I’d made the biggest mistake of my life (he was also the one that thought the attraction to women was a cute and temporary thing. Tell my wife that, huh?). I remember telling him that someday he would be happy again, promising him he would be happy. He swore he never would.

He’s was the opposite of me in many ways, although I loved him. He lived his life trying to stay off the radar, off the net, using cash instead of ATM cards, refusing to give his info to anyone, anywhere, anytime, storing gold in his house, since it was the only currency that would last when The Man came for all of us. Annoying, really. So it’s been hard to follow him online, on the google searches. He’s really the only one I’ve stalked, checking his unusual name once or twice a year.

Because, you know, I wanted to know he was happy. Even the day after we broke up, I only wanted that. I’ve been DYING to know he was happy, first of all because that’s good for all human beings, second of all because DUDE, I told you so! No one can be miserable forever! Not even if you really, really want to be.

He married a soil scientist, last year, according to my expert sleuthing. And you know what? You get married because you’re happy. And then, with luck and expensive cheese, you’re happy being married. On your wedding day, you’re happy.

Woot! I was right!

That makes ME happy.

Also: this struck me as funny today. Lala sent me an email that said,

I have noticed that since you've been doing nanowrimo your emails have
gotten more... writerly. Not in a pretentious way - it's barely
noticeable. Just a little more of the sort of thing I might say "hey, you
should put that in the book!"
On the other hand, your ability to structure spoken english has gone
downhill. So it's a trade-off.

It’s true. I can’t speak at all lately. But I have been finding that it’s just easier to write. This NaNoWriMo thing is awesome. Went out to an East Bay meet-up yesterday, and ate Mexican food with a big room full of other writers. At my table, the age range went from 7, to 16 (he’s almost done), all the way up to about 60. It was just heaps of fun talking about the writing, about how, really, it’s not THAT much writing. It’s translated to about an hour and a half or less of writing a day. On the 15 hour work-days, that’s been hard. But on my days off, it just gets done. Makes me think I should do it all the time. NaNoWriYe, anyone?

Also: A big shout-out (boy, does that sound dated and silly) to my girl Jodi, who has a brand new blog to go with her fabulous NaNoNess. Jodi was the officiant at our California wedding. And listen, in order to do that, she got a minister's license. Think about it. Did she NEED one? No, we weren't doing anything legal, nothing that required a minister, because we don't have all the rights that others do. But she still got the license. Made us feel all real and wonderful and stuff. She's truly the best, and I love her. Go say hello to her and encourage her in the word count.

Woot!November 14, 2006

I hit the 25,000 word mark today with the word "out," which is, I think, ironically funny for my straight romance novel.

*Edited to add -- oh, my GOD, look at the date! I worked so hard to reach 25,000 because I thought it was the 15th! It's not! It's the 14th! YAY!

I'm having a fantastic weekend. It's one of those weekends where I've been doing things, but I feel leisurely (and it lasts until Thursday night this week! Hurrah!). I've hung out with Lala more than usual, that might be helping my mood. I dyed my hair yesterday and gave it a cut (pic later? I'll try to get to it). I'd forgotten how much I like the DIY hairstyle -- how fun it is to hack at your hair with scissors in your bathroom. I just can't justify $80 on a color/cut anymore. Not right now, anyway. Maybe someday. I do love having my hair done.

And I got up early, and my words are done, and all the dogs have gone back to sleep, and we'll go to the beach later, and I'm meeting up with someone who wants me to teach a sweater class in the spring, which is kinda freaky, since I don't teach as much try to talk other people into realizing that mistakes are okay and no one will ever notice, just keep going. And I might spin and bake blueberry muffins. And maybe roast a chicken with rosemary and lemon and garlic.

And I'm making mittens, for the first time ever -- I've never been out in the cold, really, living in California, going from car to house to car to work. But now that I take the dogs out everyday, it's different. I realized on the beach yesterday, in the pouring cold rain, that my hat, scarf, and wool/angora sweater were all well and good, but my hands were wet and salty and sandy and freezing. Mittens, good throwabout sand-filled mittens will help. Made one last night watching TV, will finish the other today in time for the beach. It's sunny today. But dude, if I have new mittens (first pair of mittens since I was wee, I think), I'll wear them, sweaty hands and all. Pics of those later, too.

If I were a responsible blogger, I'd go take pictures. That's what you'd like, huh? Well, call me responsible, then.  Hang on, I'll be right back.

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My First Mitten.
I didn't really use a pattern -- I found some numbers online but it wasn't till I sat on the couch that I realized it was written in the flat, so I just started knitting in the round on two circs. Size 5 needles, 28 stitches k2p2 for an inch or so, increase to 31 st, knit to 3 inch from cuff, increase for thumb gusset by making two every other round until 11 stitches have been added, place waste yarn for thumb hole, keep going until it fits my hand, throwing in stripes where it felt fun. I'm using Korean wool that was a gift from my wonderful and beautiful sister-in-law Won-Ju. (But I'm only telling you how I made them out of interest, for the love of god don't follow these as a pattern -- there are plenty of free ones online. Follow one of those, not this jumble.)

Harriet likes it as a hat.

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Miss Idaho likes it as proof she is Very Small.

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Ridiculous Clara would like to chew on it. Big surprise!

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So, in other Hehu news, the other night Lala was bleaching in the bathroom. She, however, was bleaching beer bottles.

Hey, Lala!

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How's it going down there?

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Good, good. She's making beer, y'see, and I'm supposed to help bottle tonight. That should be fun. I will try to keep my WHY IS THAT DRIPPING OVER THERE kinda comments to myself. I really will.

So while she likes to bleach bottles, I'm now a bottle-blonde bleacher.

I went from this delightfully trashy look:

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    ROOTS!   

to this:

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That shot tickles me so. As does this one:

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Loreal Feria, Extra Bleach Blonde, if anyone's wondering.

I cut it to this length:

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Please notice my shirt:

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    1/2 way done, baybee!

And just a couple more gratuitous dog shots for the road:

Ridiculous Clara wants to know WHY we don't like it when she eats potting soil:

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And Harriet gets the last word. As usual.

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ExcerptNovember 13, 2006

I've posted an excerpt of my novel on my NaNo page (click on See Nano Stats and Read Excerpt at the bottom left). It's not good, it's from a rough draft, I'm writing fast, and the flash page-turning feature does strange things to my punctuation, things I couldn't fix from within the site.

But it mentions alpaca sex. And did I mention it's a romance? Like Harlequin-style? Oh, yeah. Fun so far. Enjoy.

November 12, 2006

Hey! People! If I talked you into NaNoWriMo, do not pass me in the wordcount. That means you, Becky! Slow it on down, there, champ. I’m struggling, and you appear to be on a greased skateboard. The wheels being greased, not the board, because that would probably suck and then you wouldn’t be going fast at all, because you’d be on the ground. But you know what I mean.

But I wrote. It was like herding cats. Completely futile, one hundred percent frustrating, and I have small cuts on my ankles from the bastards that kept biting me. But I’m done with my word count for today. So there.

I had a migraine last night, actually left work at midnight, six hours before my shift was supposed to end. I hate going home sick, have only done it a couple of times in my life. But it was worth it. Went home, took the new meds the doctor gave me (woot! They make me sleep, but only after I’d designed a new sweater that was genius, GENIUS, I tell you*), and slept for fifteen hours.

Today I feel great, except it feels like some guy took my head off in his garage, put it back on, and now he’s kinda standing there, looking down at the ground at that one extra part, going “huh. I wonder where that one goes. Oh, well.” Or maybe I should compare my head to Ikea furniture. You know, when you get it all together (gah, do I hate putting that together) and there’s always that one piece of metal left over, a very specifically shaped piece, and you’re sure it is the source of all stability in this chair/couch/bookcase, but it doesn’t go ANYWHERE. Yeah, they left that piece out of my head. Feels kinda funny.

But it’s almost my weekend. That means I can start training Clara, for real this time. She’s being a very bad dog, made worse by the fact that she saves all the badness for Lala and acts like a sweet angel whenever I’m in the room. Training will save us. She’s smart as a whip and wants to learn but is WAY too overeager and freaks herself (and me) out of training for long. She knows sit and down and jump up, but not stay.

What’s your favorite way to teach “Stay?” Lay it on me, for the love of small critters.

*The sweater I designed in my drugged state is not genius, I realized upon sober reflection. As a design detail, I had a piece of fabric INSIDE the sweater, tacked into place, so a lace panel showed up better. Hmmm.

 

Week TwoNovember 10, 2006

I want cupcakes. I just saw some online, and I want some right now. Of course, I don’t think I’ve ever had a cupcake live up to the cupcakes of childhood. I don't mind much, but it's the truth.

Whew. I think I’m written out. I was going explain the above few sentences, and I don’t feel I can. Let’s leave it at this: When I really want cupcakes, I’m just better off opting for fudge or ice cream or Cadbury Crème Eggs, because I really want something sweeter. Cupcakes just SHOULD BE sweeter. That’s all.

Writing: It proceeds. Apparently, this second week is the one that gets you. And how. This is the week that you realize all your fantastic ideas have leveled off into one merely okay one. (Pssst: You need more ideas, Rachael.) And where is your conflict? (You need more conflict, too.)

I swear, I’m about to throw in a rattlesnake attack or a plane crash or a yarn drought, just to liven things up. I honestly don’t know where I’m going yet. I thought I did. But I decided I don’t like where it was headed, and I didn’t care about who the characters were while headed that way. I do believe that even if you’re writing fast and hard, you need to care about what you’re saying, you have to feel for the characters, and mine were marching over to Cardboard Cut-Out Land, and I had to save them.

So yes, she DID in fact buy two alpacas, mostly on accident. THAT should shake it up a bit.

(That is the good thing about writing – you can live out all your fantasies and not have to worry about your urban neighbors calling animal control on your ass.)

I’ve decided, though, that as much as this has been a challenge, I’m SO GLAD I’m doing it. I realize, again (how many times do I have to have this revelation in order to remember it?), that I am a writer, and I love writing. I don’t just love the having-written glow – I love the time spent writing. I can think of only a couple of other things that make me lose track of time the same way. I love that feeling of looking up and realizing that an hour has gone by, and it didn’t even feel like five minutes. I love it when characters are talking and you’re not even really thinking about what they’re saying – you’re just taking dictation (this is not as scary as it sounds, really).

And dude, I have 64 pages in 9 days. That’s amazing. Who cares if the writing isn’t great? At least it’s on the page, and I have something to work with. I can’t work with nothin'. I have no real idea where it’s going to end, except I know it will be happily, and I’m in it for the ride, doing it to get the pages down so I have something to edit later.

This feels good. How 'bout you?

 

NaNo Progress Report CardNovember 7, 2006

This is an excellent way to keep track of your NaNoWriMo progress. (Excel-sheet download, courtesy Benson/Hyperion.) You're welcome.

November 6, 2006

Whew.

Just caught up with the NaNoWriMo novel, caught up on the words I was behind on -- didn't write a scrap yesterday. I thought my computer was fine after the fall, but then I couldn't make the power source work, so I was unable to charge it. So I couldn't write yesterday, of course. Didn't want to run down the last few minutes I had to my name.....

But of course, Lala was able to make it work, and I wrote today. Sigh. It was a struggle. But I did it.

I've been working from a plot-line for the first time ever. I don't know how long I'll stick to it, but it's been a dream so far. Every time a character wants to wander to the kitchen to make tea or coffee (yawn), I know it's time to pull a card. I used Holly Lisle's plot card idea, and I keep them right by me. I don't know how it will work in the end, but for right now, it's keeping me writing, without that desperate back-of-the-mind I-have-no-idea-WHAT-to-write-next thing that usually hits me about now.

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(At first I uploaded a picture of the cards that could actually be read, and that was a very bad idea. Too incredibly embarrassing.)

And hey, as of today, I'm twenty percent done. Dude! Not bad.

Yesterday Lala had a great idea -- I should insert myself as a character, and then I could include my blogging, which is always somewhat wordy. Up my word count that way. Heh.

I can hear a tambourine somewhere in the house. This is so cute and domestic: Lala has signed on to do NaSoAlMo (is that right?) National Solo Album Month. So she's in there making an album. Which I think is rad.

Especially since she's found that Clara is TERRIFIED of the harmonica. Lord, that's a funny thing to see.

Now, I'm off to spin some more on my new lovely Ashford, which I've tweaked into working great. Neck is way better today, thanks for asking. Mwah!

SoreNovember 5, 2006

SOAR is like nothing I've ever been to. Two hundred and fifty people, mostly women, sitting around talking really seriously about fiber. It was kind of unnerving and crazy and so, so wonderful. I guess I thought it was going to be something like a fiber festival, Stitches, or Maryland Sheep & Wool, but it was nothing like that.

It was more like winter camp (but roughing it meant having to wait a minute for them to bring out more filet mignon -- really) with classes, and a couple of small rooms filled with fiber and wheels, should you feel like shopping in between learning. It was intimate, and now Judith MacKenzie McCuin knows who I am (I have such a crush), and I told Alden Amos to XYZ. Heh.

The only unfortunate incident was caused by ice. Ice, unless it is in my bourbon, is stupid, people (actually, that's disingenuous. I don't even like bourbon and ice. I like bourbon and WATER. Hold the ice. See?). Ice on the ground is just ridiculous, and people from the Pacific Coast have NO idea what to do with it. I know neither how to walk on it, nor how to drive upon it. Lordy.

Yesterday morning, while leaving my room (I stayed offsite), I fell. I didn't just fall, but I did that feet skating back and forth wildly thing until both legs flew UP and I landed on my back and the back of my head. I was holding my laptop at the time, so it flew five feet up in the air and hit the ice on its corner. I remember thinking as I was going down, "The novvvvvelllllllllll......."

When I caught my breath, I got up and checked the computer -- bashed and cracked, but it still works! God bless my little Apple PowerBook G4. I then got in the car and took a small curve a few minutes later in the lowest gear, less than 10 miles per hour and totally skidded out, losing control of the car for a few seconds. Hairy, but I turned into the skid, and all was right, but I was shook up all sorts of ways. Stupid ice.

But besides a wicked case of whiplash today (dude, you have muscles in the FRONT of your neck, did you know that?), I am SO good. It was one of the most fun times I've had in memory, and that's saying a lot. Every single person I spoke to was interesting, kind, and talented. Isn't that amazing?

Hey, you want some pics?

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    On the road

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    My little travel buddies

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    A Joy-ful row (that 3rd one's mine)

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    Feral Janine

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    Alden's Big Ass Flyer and Bobbin (ABAFAB)

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    How Stephanie felt about ABAFAB

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    Ready to rumble

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    I won! (A gorgeous Forester Spindle and carrying bag)

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    My peeps, Brooke, Greg, Janine and Marilyn

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    Lake Tahoe, across the street from my hotel

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    Still cold, but not icy today

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    A Very Happy Spinner

I have lots more pictures, but if I post some of the ones I want to, Stephanie will yell at me for making her look rabid (and/or drunk, we went for a beer run, and not only did they let us drink it at dinner, they brought us an ice bucket -- okay, that's good ice). I have other pics of other people that I really like, but my camera kept adding things like chins and jaundice, so I will leave the post be and go have a little lie-down for my neck. Although I just want to spin.

SOARNovember 3, 2006

It's absolutely incredible that I was at one point ambivalent about coming to SOAR (Spin Off Autumn Retreat). I drove up yesterday in the rain, met up with Janine, who is my spinning guru, and then took part in a mad well-orchestrated scramble for classes. I ended up with Alden Amos, As the Wheel Turns, this morning and I have Judith MacKenzie McCuin for Three Wild Downs (buffalo, yak, and cashmere) tomorrow.

The Yarn Harlot spoke last night, and brought the house down, despite the chill of the rain beating down on the huge outdoor tent. Watch the SOAR blog, I believe I heard they'll be posting a podcast of it. As Stephanie's tagalong, I snuck into a knit-glitterati studded party afterward, and had a grand time pretending to Be Someone, which I'm not, but if one sticks close by the Ones Who Are, and smiles a lot, no one seems to mind.

Oh, and I bought a wheel. Heh. A really inexpensive Ashford Traditional at a must-buy price. It's the one I've been wanting, and I simply couldn't pass it up. There was a rather shady looking exchange in the parking lot, cash flashing, passing of things from station wagon to station wagon. These are SO my people. 

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Ain't she purdy? New Zealand, represent.

And I've been writing. I'm kind of exhausted. But really happy. Will write again here and catch up on email on Monday, okay? Peace out.   

Day OneNovember 1, 2006

Done with day one's writing! NaNoWriMo, here I come!

I write quickly. I forget that. And I write way faster when I have a plan, which I roughly do right now, and I write faster in the beginning, when everything is an option and I don't have to remember things. At the end of a novel (no, I haven't really completed one yet, but I've been at or near the end of three that are in desk drawers, waiting for the light of day), I can't remember what characters are likely to do, or what they look like, or what they do for a living, so I spend lots of time flipping back and forth, doing research on STUFF I WROTE MYSELF. That is how bad my memory is.

But in the beginning, I just go at it, and I got more than 2025 words written in 75 minutes. Words that don't suck very much, and it would be okay if they did. I am supposed to just get the words down, not worrying about editing or whether it's ass or not. It does help that 70,000 other crazy people are doing the same thing today. A lot of them are probably having trouble with the beginning. I wish I could share the excess beginning mojo that I have and swap it for a little middle-part stick-to-it-tivism.

Of course, I've always taken my time with big projects, and writing lasts months and months, into years. That's a long time to be forgetting things, and I'm very good at that. One of my biggest talents, actually. I've been trying to remember whether Lala likes a big fork or a little fork for almost three years, and I never remember it right. (I've solved this by setting out one of each, because I don't care and then it looks like I remember.)

So perhaps jamming through 50,000 (I'm aiming for 57,000, actually) in 30 days will help because that gives me way less time to forget. We'll see.

My challenge for this week is to write while at SOAR. I leave tomorrow for the retreat session, and will spend four of the first five days of Nanowrimo at a spinning retreat. How's that for a time-spending quandary? See, my goal is 2000 words a day, which it totally do-able. Almost easy. But where I will run into major trouble is if I lose a day. 2000 words a day is fine. 4000 to catch up would suck. 6000 to catch up would make my lower lip tremble, and 8000+ to catch up would make me cry. Not a day missed, okay?  And if you're doing it, we'll do it together. Send me your user name, and I'll add you to my buddy list (I'm writerach406 -- me linking you does not link you to me for some reason, this is no friendster). (And if you link me, it's a working title, and a joke. I can't decide on a title, ever, so I'm torn right now between using Bleating Hearts or Alpacas of the Heart. Heh.)

Woot! Off to the dog park! What a life!