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« September 2007 | Main | November 2007 »

14 posts from October 2007

La Durrow! October 31, 2007

Is complete!


I finally got around to joining the arms to the body, and from then on, finishing was a breeze. Especially since I was sick and had so much time to sit around and make yoke decreases. Boy, did I catch up on the TV I'd missed while being away.

Pattern: Durrow, by Jodi Green, available free
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted, color kiwi, six skeins used
Needles: 7US to gauge 18st/4in

I had read on blessed Ravelry that some people didn't love the fit of the neck, that it was a little wide, and I didn't want to start messing with arm-hole and sleeve shaping, so I did the whole thing in the round, joined the arms and body at the armhole, knit an inch, then decreased for a raglan every other row until it looked right. I did a neck a la Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Workshop, raglan style. Turned out to fit her perfectly, and I'm thrilled.


She chose the color, and while it's wild and some people couldn't carry it off, it looks perfect on her. Color is more true in this picture:


She likes it! She really likes it! Plus, it makes her look like she has guns. Not that she isn't muscular, because she IS. But her shoulders look BUILT under those cables. Yep. Sexay.

In other, sadder knitting news, I wound up a skein of that lovely orange cashmere I bought in New York. My splurge. I cast on for a lace scarf. I am trying to learn to love the lace. I can DO the lace, but I don't love it. And I see all these other knitters who rhapsodize over knitting lace, their faces brightening, their fingers quivering, and I want to feel that rapture. So I was trying.

I cast on, didn't like it, got another needle, tried again. Went twice through the opening repeats. I was liking it. I left my knitting on the table. I took a shower. When I got out, Clara had strewn the whole damn ball all over the house, pulled it into little bits, all 400 yards. Hopelessly tangled. And it's lace-weight, so it's just impossible.

I have to admit, I cried. Contrary to what one reader thought (comment deleted), we don't have enough money to be profligate -- hell, we barely have enough money for beer! I had to work an 18-hour overtime shift just to be able to go on the trip, and I had a strict and small yarn budget. Those two precious skeins of cashmere were just that to me: Precious. And Clara DESTROYED one of them.

However, my wife has a certain level of ADD when it comes to things like tangles in cords, wires, and yarn, so she might be able to save it. I have written it off in my heart, or the hope would be too great, but I will pass the mess on to her and see what she can do.

BAD CLARA. Strangely, the only yarn she's EVER gone after is cashmere. She destroyed another, cheaper skein once, not that precious, and she ate the arms and ribbing off a thrift-store cashmere cardigan. She never bothers my other knitting. I. Was. So. Mad. At. Her. Words cannot express.

And I even brought her a present from Rhinebeck! A border collie (which she loves loves LOVES).


Can you see it? She's dreaming of cashmere.....

So I've given up the lace for now, and I'm casting on for Ariann, by BonneMarie Burns, in some grey Rowan Kid Classic that I've had in the stash for at least five years.

The Results Are InOctober 30, 2007

Oh, my dear readers. I did not win the romance competition. Here's who did. But I can honestly say that when I found out, I was a tiny bit disappointed, but not surprised. My book was a first draft of a Nanowrimo, for pete's sake! The disappointment faded REALLY fast, though, probably less than a minute. Thank goodness. That's how I thought it would go, but you never really know, do you?

And now, the best part, I get to take it back from them and edit the daylights out of it, make it mine again, and send it out! As a national competition finalist! Plus, I get five hundred smackeroos just for making it that far! See? Reason to celebrate! Yay! (Also, Trust Me was the one I hoped would win -- it's great. You should go back and read those two chapters if you're bored.)

Thanks for reading, and thanks for believing, and I'll let you know when it's ready for reading again. You will get to read more about Abigail and Cade, never fear.

(Did I ever tell you why I named him Cade? I had a really good friend in undergrad, a guy named Cade. I thought his name was SO cool. He finally admitted to me one day that it wasn't his birthname -- he'd been David for a long time. But he was an addict, and spent a long time cleaning up, and when he got clean, he was dating a Harlequin romance writer. The character she was writing at that time was named Cade, so he took it, and re-wrote himself, and made it a legal change. Cade was a good man, and last I heard, he still is.)

Nanowrimo's almost here. You doing it? (I think I am, but I'm scared this year -- want to work on something totally different, and I don't feel ready. Deep breath.)

Me, I'm still sick! This is ridiculous. I've been diagnosed with a sinus infection, so I'm on antibiotics for that, and I hope to feel better really soon. All I've been doing is sleeping and knitting, and while that's nice, I'm getting bored. A hopeful sign, I think. Also, I have that Demi Moore/Kathleen Turner voice when the voice chooses to work at all, so I should really re-record our answering machine message right now.

Whining, Knitting, PicturesOctober 26, 2007

*Edited to add: The Whoreshoes will be appearing on Girl Meets Cowboy on Sunday night! Look up your showtimes; it plays on the WE channel. They'll be at the rodeo or the hoedown or whatever it is they're having.....

Whining, Knitting, Pictures.

In that order.

102.8.  That's how high my fever got before it broke. This flu is seriously kicking my ass. I haven't done a single thing in almost three days; I've just been lying around being pathetic, with chills, shakes, fever and headache.

Yesterday Lala had to assure me that I was a fun person. Because I'd stopped believing it.

(I just looked around at the menagerie to see which animal was whistling through its nose. It was me. Sigh.)

So. Which one of you Rhinebeckians gave this to me? And how long did it take you to get better?

No, I believe more that I got it on the plane, or somewhere in New York, holding on to rails in the subway, pushing elevator buttons. I always mean not to hold the handrails, and then I do on accident. Then I mean not to touch my face or eat anything until I wash my hands and then I forget. Surprising I don't get sick more often. Then I took a virtual red-eye back home and stayed up for almost 24 hours, which just depleted any germ-fighters I  had left, and wham, here I am.

I'm feeling a bit better, though. Fever down to 101 or just below, which by now feels almost normal.

Let's talk about knitting for a moment, shall we? Something we never do around here anymore, so this should be fun.

I left Rhinebeck SO INSPIRED. What a great and wonderful gift we all possess, being able to knit, don't we? There are so many things to make! To create! To spin! And I'm stuck here with Lala's Durrow sweater, right at the point where I need to join the sleeves to the body and start making some decisions. I don't think I'm smart enough at the moment to make those decisions so I've put it off for a while. Maybe later today if the Tylenol holds.

But I'm already thinking: what next? I do this every year -- I have a knitting slump through the summer -- who doesn't? I feel I've lost the mojo. Never making a sweater again. And then I get this itch, this familiar feeling. I actually lie in bed at night and fantasize about shoulder shapings and stitch patterns.

I just read the latest Vogue Holiday Knitting issue (Lala brought it to me last night, kind wife that she is), and I like two things: That crazy little reindeer number and that silly Debbie Bliss colorwork cardie. I don't love either enough to make them, I think (although I'd buy that reindeer sweater and wear it joyfully -- I just don't think the humor would sustain itself through the effort, do you?).

But it reminded me of what I REALLY want to make. My mother was in Denmark (I think it was Denmark, at least -- my memory is bad) in the sixties (probably the sixties) and commissioned a true fair-isle sweater, lovely green and white, traditional patterns to the village she commissioned it in. I want to borrow it and copy it in my size. Wouldn't that be cool? I think it's time.

Enough about that. What about a few pictures before I go nap again?

Me and a tree! A red tree! So exciting.

Me and my Michelle, and proof that I wore Cromarty.

Even if the rest of us bought a lot (3 POUNDS of rainbow fleece?), this is proof that La Brainy bought a whole sheep.
[Aside - Michelle, Alison and I are all aghast at the fact that we didn't get one picture of the three of us together -- did anyone else get one of us? Please?]

JStrizzy's first real yarn! HA! We GOT her and made a spinner, and a very fine one, indeed. She has the knack. (Sucka!)

Me and the It Girl herself, Jes, of Ravelry fame, at the pre-Rhinebeck-Ravelry party which was unofficially held in their hotel room. She is a doll, and I'm happy to report that Ravelry will take over the knit-world. As it should.

Maia, who made it all possible, really.

Just pretty. I should have brought some home to Lala. Instead, I brought her a pastrami sandwich from Katz's. Yes, really. Oh, yeah.

I don't know who she is, but I love her.

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Best bunny face EVAR! He looked even more like a little old grumpy man in person. Tremendous.

And now, kiddos, I'm plumb wore-out. Back to bed. Hope you all are well, and GET YOUR FLU SHOT. No joke.

October 24, 2007

I have the Yarn Crud. Or New York fever. I don't know what I have, but I feel like crap, and I'm back at work less than a day after arriving home. Bleah. Not quite sick enough to warrant blowing hours to stay home, but not quite well enough to feel okay sitting here at work. I believe it might be going around the Rhinebeckians. But what a way to go.

Clara loved her border collie stuffed toy. Lala loved her spindle. I loved my bed. (And catching up with TiVo, yay!)

And that's all I got, folks. No pictures, too tired to get it together. Soon. Forgive me if I owe you an email -- I owe many.

Dear Lala,October 22, 2007


Dear Lala,

I know you said I had to buy yarn. I know you encouraged me to have fun and bring pretty things home. But it is possible that this is all the yarn I bought. In fact, I think that's true. And those little purple skeins were only two dollars each at the Morehouse party. The deep orange ones say they're cashmere, but don't believe it -- I think that tag just got stuck on them somehow. Accidentally. And that border collie doesn't count -- it's a gift for Clara. You know how she likes to carry stuffed animals around and gather them all onto the couch.

So I might have let you down a little bit -- I didn't buy much at all.

But if Stephanie writes to warn you, don't believe her. She lies.


You can tell that those three pounds of Spinner's Hill merino are not mine because they match her so well.

Right? That must be hers.

I might hold on to it for her, though. If I can get it in my duffel bag for the flight home.....

More later, lovey, the internets are too slow at the Super 8 (which isn't that super, it's merely adequate), so for now, a picture of me and my friend, the turning leaf:


Kiss the dogs and bump Digit's head for me, and I'll be home soon,
Your thrifty wife who might have a lot of really freakin' bright fiber.

New York! October 19, 2007


I have been in New York for three days. I love this city. I love, love, love it. Isn't it a cliche? The writer HAS to love New York (only I know writers who don't). But I thought I did, and I was right.

This is the longest span of time I've spent here -- the previous two times I've been through Manhattan were also attached to yarn things (Maryland Sheep and Wool, specifically), and I only spent a day in town both times.

But this time, I've had time to really see the city, and it does not fail me, even though the humidity is at seven hundred percent or something. Man, hot and wet in New York is like nothing else -- it's like the tar of the streets hangs from your skin and the exhaust coats your lungs. I don't love that so much.

But that just meant that yesterday, the day I had to myself, the day I wanted to woo the city and it ended up wooing me, I had to slowly to beat the sweatiness -- had to stop frequently for an iced coffee here, an iced tea there.


I've been staying with Maia and Brooke at the most amazing apartment in the whole world -- it's her father and step-mom's place, and her dad is the famous Paul Discoe and designed the whole thing. In Cooper Square, it has amazing views of the city, and for the love of pete, it has a contemplative garden. Indeed.

    These are really big rooms, if you can't tell.

    The oh-my-god tub

So yesterday I woke up, had coffee with the girls, and started walking. I walked down St. Marks (yes, we're on St. Marks -- just think!) and saw a cafe that looked perfect, people eating outside, dogs at their feet. I hadn't even planned to have a sit-down breakfast; I was just going to grab a bagel, but this was great.

The waitress brought me eggs and toast and orange juice and a cappucino, and I watched these two men talk. They moved between English and Spanish, and they looked totally happy.

And they were so friendly! They talked to everyone, and everyone talked back, and six of us at nearby tables got in a conversation about their gig they'd played the night before. They are both guitars players, one from Brazil, and one from Uruguay, and they'd had a magical session at a close-by club, and they'd never gone to bed, just wandered and ended up at this cafe, reliving the night.

The Uruguayan, Oscar, had seen me scribbling in my book before my food came, and he asked if I was a writer. I said yes, and he said he was, too, and wasn't New York the best for inspiration? Yes, I said, it really was.

He asked me what I wrote.

Then I had this amazing moment. I said I wrote books. "I have a novel that's being read by Simon & Schuster right now, in fact."

He nodded and said, "Of course, that is why you're in New York."

Holy cow! It's true! It may never be true again, and it's only true until the 30th of this month, but right now I can totally say what I said, and IT WAS SUCH A THRILL.


    Oscar and friend

I rode that moment the rest of the day -- I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge as a writer, and walked back, looking at the city as writer.


I walked through the East Village into Greenwich Village on a cloud of delight. A cloud of hot, sticky delight, but delight, nonetheless.

I made friends with the owner of the Stonewall Inn and had a Manhattan.


    In front of the poster of the first gay pride march/riot.

I walked past a huge line of people queued outside a store, so I got in line. I figured that many people had a real reason to be there, and it turned out I was right -- it was the Magnolia Bakery, the two cupcakes I bought and ate in the park across the street were amazing.


Michelle came into town and picked us up for a drink -- we went to St. Mark's again, and she showed us the most secret wonderful bar ever, and then she took me to Brooklyn, where I had one of those perfect, never-forgettable meals (oh, lamb shank with herb-infused gnocchi and spinach, how I love thee) with fantastic conversation and fast-flowing wine. I believe the restaurant was called Chez Oskar or something like that, so it strikes me that my day was book-ended with meals involving an Oscar.


    On the Brooklyn Bridge

And today, we're taking the train to Rhinebeck! O, glory-beaming New York Sheep and Wool. CanNOT wait. But sad to leave the city so soon.....


    At Katz's. I don't even like pastrami, and this was the best sandwich I ever had.

I am VictoriousOctober 15, 2007

I am victorious. In a very small matter.

We had an HOA meeting tonight, and I have been dreading it like I can't tell you. We're still trying to sell the condo (think good thoughts, please, oh, please -- your thoughts are MAGIC), but as a member of the four-member home owner's association, and as president, I kind of had to go to the meeting.

Well. Okay. You want the truth? The meeting was scheduled for two weeks ago, but I sicked out with a migraine (which I truthfully was fighting) and they rescheduled it, the lousy bastards. I just wanted them to have it and let me know how it went. Weak of me, yes. But I'm human, and I hate the meetings.

Really, I just hate these things. The knowledge that it was coming up has ruined a big part of many hours this last week, and I am SO good at not doing that. But the HOA defeats me. Just beats me down. Or, rather, the Problem Owner does.

We three who are not the Problem Owner are reasonable. We like to make repairs and pay for them. Seems like a good idea. We all win. The Problem Owner just likes to hear himself talk, and he makes things up with such flair that you believe him for a moment. Long moments. You think that you're going crazy. And then you realize that you're not crazy, he's just rambling and doing a good job of it.

Plus, he just pushes my buttons like only two or three people in this whole wide world can do.

But I have to say that I am proud of myself for one thing: I am not a pushover. People think that I am, will even tell me that I am, that I should fight more. But I just don't mind a lot of things that other people DO mind, so I don't bother to fight. I don't care if things aren't always fair -- I know I can't make them be fair, so why stress out? Frustrating thing is that there's nothing really WRONG with the place, we shouldn't be bickering like this -- there's no need. But he needs to.

But when pushed, I push back. And I take care of myself and people around me. Tonight, when I thought the two male owners (we are evenly divided) might come to blows, I shut the meeting down. I actually said in the middle of the pointless argument they were having (courtesy of the Problem Owner), "Let's wrap this up. So, point one was we want to get the deck painted. Point two is we need a permit for the deck work." I went on, finished my wrap-up and said, "Great! Let's have a meeting next month to discuss that guy's CRAZY ASS IDEAS." But I didn't say that. I said, "Great. Let's have a meeting next month." And we left, no one bloodied.

But I swear, there were ten or so minutes during which I was chanting in my head, "Run. Run. Run. Run." I've never run out of an uncomfortable meeting before, but I was actually considering it. So what? Just pack up my notes, smile politely at the two considerate owners, flip the Problem Owner the bird (which I can never do right -- Lala says it's because of my New Zealand half -- see Flight of the Conchords) and run home. Never to return.

But I didn't. Even though my face went BRIGHT red and my heart beat faster and I could actually feel my upper lip swelling (a stress thing that combines with MSG and hasn't happened in years).

Know what? It's OVER. And I leave for New York soon. I will be around My People and that damned meeting is over, and I'm so happy. I can't wait to get on that plane and fly across the country for the love of yarn people. Because I'm not going for the yarn. Can't afford it while trying to sell a condo. I'm going to see my clan. I can't wait.

Camera! October 14, 2007

Have you seen my knitting mojo? I don't know where it's gone. I want to finish Lala's sweater, and I want a million of my own, but I can't seem to work on anything consistently except socks. Have finished lots and lots of socks lately.

Went to the dog park in Alameda today.


Also, got a new camera! Doesn't it take nice pictures? A friend gave it to me, which was sweet and wonderful and unexpected. Our old one was broken, which is why you've been subjected to phone-photos for so long. I love having a camera again.

Feeling disjointed today. Worked a firefighters' pancake breakfast yesterday morning, and I pressed about a million 911 tattoos into little children's skin, and I didn't wash my hands after touching them because I just forgot how germy they are, and now I feel a little off.


I have spoken.

But the pancake breakfast was fun -- I taught a ton of small children how to dial 911, and what it's for, and I think I increased the amount of prank 911 calls that the city of Fremont got last night. And I spoke to all their parents about programming their cell phones with the seven-digit number emergency lines for all their local police/fire departments -- people never realize that a simple 911 call on their cell phone canNOT be expected to be fast or accurate. Won't be that way for years yet. So yes, I educated.

That's what pays the bills so I can come home and look at Your Favorite Cat And Mine, Digit.


His mouth is open because he is complaining. As usual.

He also doesn't like this:


But he doesn't get a choice, does he? HA! Hug the cat! He's alive!  Yay camera! 

Noo York! October 13, 2007

Hey kids, I'm going to Rhinebeck. New York Sheep and Wool! Yep, I'm really, truly going.

So. Excited. That's all I can say. Not playing Blogger Bingo because I wasn't on the ball enough to get signed up in time. Didn't really believe I was going, I think. But if you see me, say hey! I have a new camera and I want to take your picture!

But hey, I'm going to have one free day in the big apple, and while I love New York, have been twice, I've always been WITH someone, and this will be my first time alone. What should I see or do? Never been to the Empire State Building, planning on that. What else? What little-known something do you know about? What New York secret do you insist I do/see/touch/taste?

I MADE IT! October 11, 2007

I am one of five finalists in the First Romance Competition.

Read all about it HERE.

You all did this, you know that, right? I thank each one of you who took the time to read and vote -- I thank you with all my heart. My little book is going to be read by Simon & Schuster, and who CARES if I win or not, that's so FREAKIN' COOL! Also, it's literally a first draft, sent out into the cold world, so if it comes hightailing back and tries to hide under my apron, I will fix it up and send it out again, and I will be able to put in the query letter that I was a finalist in this national competition. (Winner will be announced on October 30th.)

That's the best. Damn.

Thank you. (And more thanks to you darlings who got the notification and sped over here to leave your congratulations. SO nice of you. YAY!)

Wood-smokeOctober 9, 2007

Picture from the weekend, me and my godson Dylan (who is at the DANCING age - my god, is he cute):


I'm sitting in the yarn room, decidedly Not Writing, but that's okay. I worked the 18-hour shift last night, drove blearily home, slept till noon, and then got up because I still have to sleep tonight and get up at 4:30am for another round.

But that means I can be lazy today. So I am. I've been sitting here in my armchair, doing nothing more than reading blogs (leaving few comments, because I'm that lazy) and thinking about what I'll make for dinner (I'm thinking 3-hour baked potatoes and my new favorite salad: spinach, chopped beets, feta, with poppy-seed dressing).

Waylon is one side of me, and Digit has been my wrist-weight for a while now. There's a heaviness in the air outside -- rain is coming. I can't wait. And someone is burning wood in a fireplace, even though it's not necessary -- not cold enough for that yet. But I won't complain. I love that smell. I'm relaxed, because I'm sleepy, I think. Gunshots heard a few minutes ago (we live in east Oakland, so this isn't uncommon, but they're not usually heard this early in the day), followed by the helicopter drone as it flew low. We have devices in this area of town that tell police dispatch the difference between gunshots and fireworks (surprisingly hard to differentiate by sound, even for cops) and it locates them by triangulation, so the police helicopter is usually pretty quick to respond. It left quickly, though, and no sirens were heard, so no one was shot, and for that I'm grateful. I just heard a man yell and slam a door down the street (not related to earlier gunshots, different direction), but then I heard a mother walking her two kids up from school, the kids laughing, the mother speaking in Spanish to them. We live on a culdesac, so I can hear a lot of things, but fewer people actually pass in front of the house, so I listen more than see.

And that smell! That fireplace wood-smoke is soooo good. I could eat the air. But instead I think I'll go to the store (even though that means getting out of my robe) and buy some potatoes. 

To bookend with photos, one picture of Lala and me, at Slims the other night (doesn't she just look like a rockstar?):


Wow. October 8, 2007

It's been DAYS, hasn't it?

I've been busy hanging out with my rockstar wife -- The Whoreshoes played the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and oh LORD was it the best thing ever. First, they rocked the show. Everyone who walked by (they were close to the entrance) stopped and stayed for the show. People danced. They had a shirtless bearded fellow dancing, and that's always a sign of success at a festival.

And they got backstage passes! I got one, too! That meant clean bathrooms and free food, water, and beer. But the best part, to me, was the party that night. Warren Hellman, the billionaire who puts on the free concert for San Francisco every year, rents out Slims every year and puts on a party for the performers. It was catered with really super fancy food, things I do not normally get to eat, like prime rib, and there was an open bar, which meant I would have had a fancy drink like an Old Fashioned had I been feeling better and not been driving, and we were hanging out with EVERYONE. Seriously. This may not mean much to those of you not into bluegrass, but Del McCoury patted Lala on the back. I sat at a table and watched a New Lost City Rambler realize that Whoreshoes is spelled with a W and not an H (he was rather taken aback). Laurie Lewis, who was setting up the entertainment, a casual MC of sorts, grabbed performers and pulled them up on stage -- everyone doing two songs. The Whoreshoes played while Hazel Dickens, Michelle Shocked, Bela Fleck, and David Rawlings watched. My favorite part of the entertainment was standing mere feet away from Bela Fleck, David Rawlings, and Abigail Washburn as they did a simple tune. Bela Fleck just played instead of losing his damn mind like he sometimes does. David Rawlings looked like an angel, and Abigail Washburn IS one, I think.

Sigh. It was something, all right.

The second day, Sunday, we took Clara and Harriet with us. Harriet, at 16, turns out to be a Festival Dog. Of course, this is because she knows that this is another name for Giant Sandwich Bar of Heaven. Keep your nose down on the ground enough and you'll come up with the GOOD stuff at a festival.

Clara, on the other hand, usually such a mellow content dog, hated it at first. Hated the crowds, hated the noise, hated the bass, HATED the applause. My border collie at my side turned into a bagel, wrapping herself up tighter and tighter during the first set we watched (Red Wine, of Italian Cats CD fame -- Mom, remember?). I coddled her and soothed her and spoke softly into her ear and nothing helped. Then I remembered our dog trainer's words: don't LET her be scared. I stopped coddling and rewarded her when she acted brave, and in a little while she was just fine.

Here she's watching Earl Scruggs:


She likes the banjo. It's a family thing.

Harriet the Haystack got very sleepy:





(Last two courtesy of my friend Will. )

So, yes, they were big, big rockstars, and I was really pleased to be able to be part of it. Plus, I spent a while talking to the most delightful man about his cats, and it turned out later he was Doc Watson's grandson. (I know it's name-dropping, but it's bluegrass, so does it really even count?)

And for those of you keeping score, there's an unofficial tally of scores on the First Chapters Romance competition. The voting for the second round has now closed, and I repeat, this is an UNOFFICIAL LIST. Just one guy's best estimate. The five moving on to the last round won't be announced till Thursday, but unofficially, my book Love Spun might just be moving on. Maybe. Knitters rule, people. Muggles have no idea.

And because you rule, one more picture. I'm at work on an 18 hour shift (think about it, you work eight, and then you work ten more), and Lala just sent me this to cheer me up:


Not-dead Digit in front (DOESN'T HE LOOK GOOD?!?) and silly Waylon in the back, plotting how to leap on Digit's tail again and get clobbered for the fourteenth time in ten minutes. Lala didn't tell me what's going on, I just know.

NapOctober 2, 2007

I like napping on purpose in the middle of day, crawling into bed while it's still bright sun outside, leaving the bedroom door open so any of the seven animals living in the house can get up on the bed with me (except Clara, she's too big and kicky to share the bed -- she goes into her crate and lies on her back). I like having the kittens play bedmice with my feet (they sleep in the yarn room at night because I am a light sleeper and all they really need is each other, anyway). I like when they sleep pressed against me, surprised to be allowed up with me. I like when Digit pushes them out of his way with a hiss and half-hearted swipe as he stalks to his rightful place next to my head (where he sleeps every night, my wakefulness bedamned). I like when Harriet demands to be picked up and placed on the bed (she must be getting shorter -- at 16 she usually can't quite jump up on her own anymore), and I like when Miss Idaho scrambles under the covers and curls up behind my knees. I like when we are a big bed full of sleeping things together. I like the sun against the curtain. I like the noise from the high school track across the creek. I like the sound of planes overhead and distant, bored-sounding barking dogs. I like reading, lying on my side, until the book drops from my hand.

I didn't do any of this today, because I don't try to nap on days when I have to go to bed early for work. And I was too busy running errands and getting the brakes fixed and cleaning the house and doing laundry on my one day off. But boy, did I think about it. I can't wait for a napping day. I like to think about napping.

Oh. My. God.October 1, 2007

I am in the top three so far! I am duking it out with a fourth person -- there are four of us with very similar scores in the romance competition, and right now, at this second, I am in the top three! And still a whole week to go!

Okay. Let's talk. I DID NOT WANT TO GET ATTACHED TO MAKING IT INTO THE LAST ROUND. I wanted to be all cool. All calm. All like, whatever. It's great to be a semi-finalist. I finished a book, therefore I am a winner already.

I did NOT want to turn into a woman obsessed with checking the scores. I didn't want to have the pipe dream of making it to the final round, didn't want to have it running around my brain all night, waking me up early. In the words of lolcats everywhere, DO NOT WANT.

But okay, I do want. If I were in 15th or 20th place, I'd be happy with that. I'd talk myself into being completely content -- I'm good at that. But in the top three? With a WHOLE WEEK to be bumped out by people with bigger email lists and more friends?

So Saturday I found myself doing this: I wrote an email and sent it to everyone in my contact book. YOU probably got one -- you did if I've ever emailed you from my Gmail account. (I almost sent one to Corey Flintoff, since he DID write back to that post (swoon), and I wrote back to him. Can you imagine spamming Corey Flintoff with a request to read a romance chapter?)

I sent so many emails that Gmail thought I was spam and locked me out of my account for 24 hours! Indignant, I told Lala, "Gmail thinks I'm spam!" She just looked at me and said, "Well, you sent a mass email, with links, to a huge number of people. You ARE spam."

BUT I AM A CRAZY WOMAN, PEOPLE. I am now insane. I want Simon & Schuster to read the book. Even if they reject it. Just to know it got there.

So here's my last request. I swear I won't ask again.

Lovies, will you blog about this? And if YOU have people who like to read, who like books, or hell, who just know HOW to read on your email list, I have composed an email for YOU with which to spam your friends. Copy and paste, my ducks, and I WILL OWE YOU FOREVER. (I am quite aware I already do. MWAH!)

Dear friend/coworker/exboyfriend- slash-girlfriend/landlord,

My knitting-romance-writing friend Rachael has an urgent plea which I have pasted below. Please make her LIFE for her by voting for her, and if you enjoy it, please pass this email along!

Hi there.

Please forgive the mass mailing -- I have a favor to ask.

I'm in a competition you may have already heard about. I wrote a book, a romance, full of yarn and alpacas and sheep and hot knitter-on-shepherd action (no, really). I entered it in Gather.com's First Romance Competition. I posted the first chapter, and it garnered enough votes to move on to the second round (in the top 25 of more than 300), so I'm thrilled to say that I'm a finalist, with people now voting on the second chapter. It's kind of an American Idol type of thing, if you can imagine, and this second round is still vote-driven, and the the most important thing to know is that if I end up in the top three, with the most votes, I move on to the last round where THE WHOLE NOVEL IS READ BY SIMON & SCHUSTER and their favorite is published. Oh, my god. I would like that. I would love that.

So I need your vote. I *really* need your vote. I'm in the top four right now, and the three people ahead of me have LOTS of friends. I need to be in the top three to move on, and you will make ALL the difference.

Here's what you do: Read chapter one, but don't vote on it. That one is nice and content and voted on as it is. Please ignore the typos. They hurt my soul, but they're there.

Then read chapter two and please DO vote. If you like the chapter at all, please give it a 10, as they only count 10s (they throw out all votes of 1-9). The chapters with the most 10-votes win.

Even though I know you want to, don't vote more than once, since they're watching for IP fraud. And you DO have to register with their site in order to vote, but they won't spam you, and they don't share or sell email addresses. They will send you a daily email which you can easily opt out of.

Oh, please, please? And will you forward this note on if you like the chapter? To all YOUR email contacts?

Thanks so much. Here you go:

Don't vote on chapter one:
DO VOTE on chapter two:

All my thanks. Really, ALL my thanks. It means so much. Whoo-hooo!