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15 posts from March 2008

At the CafeMarch 30, 2008

I'm doing a final edit. And I have to share this editing hack I made up: Every time I jump around checking for continuity errors, I type the word bookmark at the place I want to come back to. Then instead of having to scroll around looking for where I left off, I just do a Find on the word bookmark, and I'm taken to where I need to be.

Of course, if you're writing a book about bookmarks, you might want to use the word zygote instead. Or watershed. Maybe hillbilly.

And one more editing note -- I love the word "STET" so much. It's an editing mark, Latin for "let it stand." I love the way it looks, the way it sounds. I think it would make a good tattoo. Of course, I'm not letting things stand right now; I'm tweaking and fixing them like mad. But in general it's good practice, I think.

One final thought: Putting a Canadian sticker on the front of your MacBook makes very nice Canadians come up and talk to you. I heart Canada and her people.

Back at it, then.

Lights Out! March 29, 2008

Short notice is better than no notice, right? How did this one sneak up on me? I usually hear about things like this. But I just learned on the news that tonight is Earth Hour. From 8-9pm, lights out! Non-essential lights, that is. San Francisco is participating, but I have one quibble with it. I think ALL THOSE LIGHTS should go out. Yes. Cool. But they're also turning out the lights on the Bay Bridge. I don't actually consider those non-essential. What about low flying planes? What about a ship (say, the Cosco Busan)? Things hit our bridge during daylight. I vote that they leave THOSE lights on.

Also, Lala is out of town this weekend. Therefore, candlelight, while nice and all, loses some of its thrill. (However, our 2nd anniversary getaway to Hearst Castle starts on Monday -- hooray!)

That is all.

March 26, 2008

Well, crap. I just wrote a post and lost it. Just as well; it wasn't a very good post. But I did mention that I finished the almost-final draft of Love Spun. I'll take one more pass through it, but it's almost as good as I can get. And that will have to do. I'm crafting the query letter and synopsis right now. You know, I can sum the book up in one sentence for the blurb. I can do it in a paragraph for the query letter. But  trying to sum up the book in two to three pages for the synopsis might just kill me. It's really, really hard.

I am too stupid to do any more work on it now. So I'll just write to you.

I took my editor out to lunch the other day. Yes, me, myself, and I. All three of us had a celebratory meal on the water in Tiburon at Sam's. I asked my editor what she wanted and she said STEAK. So I had a Niman Ranch steak sandwich with horseradish sauce and au jus and a Hefeweisen to wash it all down. I watched the sunlight sparkle on the bay. Watched the tourists take pictures. Watched the boats bob in the marina.

And I watched the cheekiest seagulls I've ever seen (and I went to a high school where we were regularly dive-bombed by the dirty birds). They attacked in flocks, six or seven at a time. They screamed down en masse and landed on any table at which the patrons had carelessly leaned back in their chairs. They stole as many french fries as possible before being beaten off by terrified customers. Children were crying all over the waterside patio. As soon as they'd pull it together, another attack would occur sending them into absolute fits. I felt sorry for their parents who would have to deal with the subsequent nightmares. My server gave me my lunch and told me to hover over it. I used my body as a french-fry shelter. And damn, it was worth it.

We are DoomedMarch 24, 2008

My (our) beloved Digit is a wonder. A miracle. He is still very not-dead. However, he is grumpy as hell and can sometimes be an asshole (surprise!). We cuddle all night. We hold hands. He sucks on my pillow. He purrs so hard the bed shakes. But between four and six in the morning, he wakes up mad. So when that happens (every morning), I get up and carry him out to the front sun porch, him spitting and hissing the whole way. This is his spot. He has his catnip, his water, his litter box. He likes to be in this room often during the day -- away from the dog/kitten hustle and bustle of the Hehu household.

I fed him out there this morning, as I always do. As he always does, he inhaled his breakfast which WAS NOT ENOUGH THANK YOU, and he started to howl. He has to be separated from the other cats while they eat because he's on a special diet for his crystal needs (and they're not supposed to eat his food). So every morning and evening at feeding time, there is one minute of silence and then howling for as long as I grant  the other cats to eat.

This morning I heard fumbling at the door of the sun porch that leads to the living room.

Then it opened.

He is a polydactyl - a Hemingway cat. He has finally figured out how to use his thumbs. Together, he and Clara could rule the world. Luckily, they don't hang out. Much. I am scared.

Morning Photos For You


Harriet: Too Damn Early


    This is the door Digit opened. A regular doorknob, thank you. Also, when I shut the door, I didn't notice that Waylon was out there. Whoops.


Wrong side! O noes!


    Even without a camera, Willie is usually blurry like this.


    Getting ready to Plan Something Big.

   Perfection. Thank you. Yes, I am.  

EasterMarch 23, 2008

Why are Easters always like this? In my memory, I have lost every Easter when it rained or was foggy -- I seem to think that every Easter morning in my life has dawned clear and sparkling with a heavy dew, cool, but with sun bright enough to warm. My favorite memory of Easter was a sunrise service on Mount Tagpochau when we lived on the island of Saipan. I was probably fourteen or so. It was island cold, probably around seventy degrees, and we were freezing. Then the sun rose over the sea (Philippine), and lit the ocean (Pacific). There was singing. That was always the best part of sunrise service: singing up the sun. (I do realize I'm kind of missing the Christian point.)

Today, though, is a secular Easter. I've already seen the Easter Bunny -- Clara and I went for a run at Oyster Bay early this morning. We had the perfect Easter light, the Easter chill, the Easter dew, the Easter sunshine, and then a huge hare streaked out in front of us. Luckily I was running a bit uphill, so Clara, attached by leash to my waist pack, helped tow me up incline as she raced after it. We saw another one later. I love how they leap away, until they think they're in a safe area and then turn their heads, looking at you from the side. He had no Cadbury Creme Eggs with him, but I considered that polite, since I AM ALLERGIC TO THEM NOW with the soy lecithin and all. We won't discuss that.

But the run was gorgeous. And I didn't die, even though I haven't been running in over a month. That was a pleasant surprise.

Now, I'm jumping in the shower and then going to a brunch, which will be followed by a picnic. And there will be knitting. Hooray! I hope you are having a sunny time, too.

Friday NightMarch 21, 2008

I just had five caramels, a quarter pint of ice cream, and a stick of cheese for dinner. I had three glasses of wine (but they're small glasses, juice jars really, so it's more like two regular glasses, swear to god. Work night and all). Lala, her brother Richard, and my sister Bethany are in the living room playing Heroscape (or as I like to say, Hero-scrape). They are big, big nerds. I love the sound of nerds in the distance. Richard just said, "Special attacks are never modified by cliffs." I have no idea what that means, but it sounds.... deliberate. And nerdy. They sit out there, preening with defensive tactics and three-hundred point armies. I mock, but gently. I really do think they're cool. Plus, they just let me show off Mr. Roombinator. Talk about nerds.

I have to go to bed because I get up to go to work when it's still illegal to buy alcohol. I will put in my earplugs and hear them laughing anyway. I love that, too.

"No, you can have robots AND zombies," Richard says. That can't hurt.

WhirrrrrMarch 19, 2008

Oh, the sound of the Roomba in the morning... It starts itself up at ten and vacuums for about an hour or so, getting the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen. And because those are the rooms the animals are in while we're out, those are the worst hair collection rooms. Have I mentioned I love it? Even given the fact that we have three dogs and four cats, I have no idea why I'm so surprised every night when I clean it out to find SO MUCH CRAP. (The book says you can go three or four runs before cleaning it out. We can't.)

Also, to give you fair warning, this is now my second Roomba. The first one had something go wrong the first week -- kept telling me that I needed to clean the brushes, even when I just had. Frustrating. And I love it so much that I marched right down to Costco (I hate going to Costco), stood in line to return, then stood in another line to happily repurchase. This new one has treated me great, but I have warned it that should it act up, it will suffer the same fate. It is worth the time spent in the Costco line.

You may notice that I've blinged the blog. Please disregard the google ads low and to the right, but I have to admit I like the Amazon ad up there. I'll keep it filled with books I'm loving, in case anyone is interested. I'm still neck-deep into memoirs, although I'm dabbling in reading fiction again.

Must get motivated! I have to do at least a little writing this weekend before I go back to work tomorrow -- I had planned on taking great whacks at the rewrite, but yesterday I didn't leave the house once. I had an unplanned pajama day, which was great except for the guilt. Which I fought, tooth and nail. I won, I think. But today I have Things To Do.

Oh! I forgot. I decided on Lush and Lacy, in stash red wool-something (love Classic Elite Lush, but it looses definition if you breathe on it). I have one sleeve done. Thanks for all the great suggestions!

And remember, I told you about the radio repair guy at work? The Jimmy Stewart guy with his sweater literally FULL of holes? Some big enough to put four fingers through?

Ees all fixed:


You can see the only obvious place is down at the bottom right of the picture -- there just wasn't enough yarn in the world to save that bit. I picked up stitches and diked them off as well as I could. Most of the repairs look more like this:


A casual observer wouldn't notice, and a Knitter would think someone had helped the sweater out. Which would be true.

That is all. No more procrastinating. Off to Do Things. But I'll have fun, too.

Don't forget to wear a sweater tomorrow in honor of Mr. Rogers' birthday!

Update!March 18, 2008

On the Bart story. We went to visit him yesterday at the SPCA. We first went to the sick bay, but they led us over to where the kennels are. Oh, great. He's well enough to be in a kennel now, I thought.

Um. No. He's in the director's office. Everyone who enters the admin area gets to pass him and get kisses and give treats. He's gained so much weight in the last two weeks that you can't see his ribs anymore! And he's a LAP dog! The sweetest lap dog you ever met -- I sat on the floor to get more kisses, and he crawled into my lap and put his head over my shoulder so Lala could still reach him for scritches. (Picture over at Lala's blog.)

He really is the nicest dog we've ever met. We call him our perfect dog. In any other world, he would already be at our house, but with the four cats, two  dogs, and one very old dotty sometimes-crazy Harriet-dog, we just can't take him. Can't. We REALLY want to, but we're being smart. So because of that, he will always be perfect in our minds. He's never chewed up anything! Never! He's never peed on the carpet OR pooped in the kitchen. He never, ever whines to wake us up in the middle of the night.

But god, he is a love. Bay Areans, really. Every single person at the SPCA is in love, and they don't fall easily. Those folks are pretty tough. And they're head over heels. Plus, if someone we knew adopted him, then we could have visiting rights, right? I'd make him a sweater for Xmas......

Where Did I Put It?March 17, 2008

Knitting mojo continues to elude me.

I am near completion of a sweater that I really wanted. But in trying it on today, it was just wrong. I measured and remeasured, but somehow it is three inches short and six inches too narrow. And it's HUGE, a wrap-blanket of a sweater, so those inches shouldn't matter that much, but they do. It's just not right. Doesn't bear thinking about ripping. I will place it in the time-out box (getting pretty full in there). Maybe by next winter I'll want to do something with it.

And the other sweater I've been working on, the DROPS 101-3 Cardigan, well, it's almost done. And I'm going to run out of yarn. I NEVER EVER run out of yarn. I am terrified of doing so, ever since Cromarty, so half my stash is made up of leftovers. But no, I just reached in the bag where I keep my working yarn, and there's only one ball left. And I'm only three-quarters done with the back, and still have the collar to do. (I always make the sleeves, then the fronts, then the back, because the back is my favorite bit to make.) Frustrating. I can find more of the yarn I subbed; it's just the work involved to do that that's maddening. Also, it's curling badly at the hems. I've been hoping a good stiff blocking would help that, but now I'm wondering.

Waste of a month of knitting time.


Casting on. For what? Everyday I search my sweaters for the perfect cardigan. It should be short-sleeved and lightweight, maybe lacy, but there should be enough there to cover up if the wind blows the sunshine away. Any great ideas? I'm trawling through the Ravelry pond, but I haven't figured out the perfect pattern yet. I love Titania, but it ain't no cardigan, is it? I do want to cast on for it, though. Like, now. Only I'd bring that into a deeper vee-neck, I think. And then I'd have yet another lovely sweater that I'd wear twice a year. I'm looking for an everyday sweater. But a graceful, sweet, everyday cardigan. Harder than it sounds. I know YOU know.

I'm Here to Recruit YouMarch 12, 2008

I've been composing posts for days. Really. That's what I do sometimes, just drive down the highway, thinking about what to tell you. And damn, I am a fine writer when I'm in the car. We're talking Pulitzer, baybee. Strong emotive words. True and original thoughts, startling in their vibrancy and beauty.

Then I get to the computer and my brain goes HAVING TJ'S CHICKEN NUGGETS FOR DINNER WHOOOOHOOO!  Or it says Roomba Roomba Roomba. Or it just goes plonk.

And I have things to tell you, too, so rather than try to gather the genius-droppings (they were everywhere but the Roomba got 'em), I'll just list what little I can remember.

1. After 13 hours of nothing but talking -- seriously, without a break, and usually at least three voices talking at once -- silence in the car coming home is good. It's not as good as meditation since I gotta focus of the other cars a bit, but my brain fizzes in a similar manner.

2. For the love of god, I have to teach Clara to spin. Or at least to ply.


3. I am in a Gus Van Sant movie. Oh, yes. Yes, I am. IS THAT SO COOL? More: He's filming Milk here (you might have heard about it on NPR, mmm-hmmm), and my sister Christy talked me into going on Sunday morning. I'm so glad she did. We got to watch Sean Penn give Harvey Milk's 1978 speech, which started "My name is Harvey Milk, and I'm here to recruit you." (More about Harvey Milk here. Goddamn Twinkie Defense.)
    And it was odd -- there were a lot of us extras, all dressed in 70s clothing, trying to be cool. Sean Penn was doing the same thing. We went through the whole thing a couple of times -- he came out onto the dais in front of City Hall in Civic Center and gave the speech. We cheered and yelled and then he exited the stage. The director yelled cut.
    But then: After two run-throughs which we thought had been real, the director said "Take ONE!" Sean Penn, just walking onto the stage, was a different person. He WAS Harvey Milk (believe it or not). We were in his pocket. His speech, which we'd already heard a couple of times, was world-changing. We would have done anything for him. The cheering and whooping were real. The tears were real. The pride I felt when the pretty boys on the balcony unfurled an early evolution of the Pride Flag was real. The fact that people were there as extras who had been there the first time..... Amazing. So lucky to be part of it.
    So you might see me. But if you don't, please know my voice was one of the voices raised in support.

4. If you're in the Bay Area, you should take Kira's skirt class, first class on Saturday. They still have two spaces, I think, and I believe the reason people haven't signed up is because they think in order to wear a knit skirt you have to look like Kira.


She is one of my two pocket-vegans. No, friends, you don't have to look like that to carry off this skirt. You can also look like me:


And another shot of my as$, thank you very much:


Don't say I never did nothin' for you. You should take this class. I would, but I'll be working, but I'll be making this skirt, you can bet your sweet fanny. Class here.

5. These pictures were taken at the Gay Bay Knitting Meetup from Ravelry last night. Oh, Ravelry, how we love thee.

6. Kira's been wearing that skirt for four years. I'm astounded by that. Looks new. No sag.

7. I have been typing FOREVER (worked on the book rewrite when I got home from work). Which means I've been going non-stop for almost 17 hours. TV! Now! And chicken nuggets!

New Baby Brothr?


HA! Link. From IHasAHotDog. Soon even politicians will be speaking Cheezeburger. I has a dream.

I has knitting 2 do. C U.

Nose-kissMarch 9, 2008

All right. I'm about done with the whole animal thing. Driving home tonight, Lala saw something lying in the road in front of us. When I stopped, with the thing lying right in front of us, we could see it was a cat. A cat who had only been hit once. So far.

I turned on the flashers, got out, and checked. Yes, she was very very dead. Newly dead. She was almost undamaged, just a pool of blood under her head, coming from her mouth. I lifted her with both hands. She was so newly dead that she still felt like a cat,  a sleeping  limp cat. She had no collar, so I put her on the sidewalk so that her owner can find her intact, rather than seeing her flattened. After Digit died (but didn't), I drove our neighborhood for months, checking out every flat dead animal, searching for a scrap of fur that I recognized.

Lala said I was brave, but I didn't feel brave. All I know is that the owner of that lovely, fat, black and white girl is going to be very, very sad. When I picked up Digit tonight, he had the same heft she had. He's on me now, as I type in bed. Hard to use my right hand, but that's okay. He's alive. And so is Bart.

I'm really sad for that owner, though.

Aww. As I typed that and got teary, Digit nose-kissed me, that nose-kiss that he never EVER gave me before he returned from the dead, the kiss I always wanted but never got. I love the nose-kiss. I've had two more since I started typing this paragraph! Joy. (Now three!)


    Still not dead

BartMarch 7, 2008

Lala has the best-worst-best story ever. It's an animal story, so you should go read it. Really. People suck. And people are really, really good.

(You can comment here -- no comments on her blog. Or feel free to email her. And look at that picture! That picture!)

More Edits

My new favorite place to edit: In the dining room. On the table. After work. With a glass of wine. While the Roomba whooshes at my feet.

I worked on the book last night after I got off work, and the noise of the little vacuum (which had filled up with animal hair during the day and hadn't finished its cycle) was great white noise. I thought I'd be too tired to do any real work, but maybe the tiredness lowered inhibitions -- it went well. I monitored the glass of wine (monitored it REAL well, oh, yeah) because I've never been a drink-and-write kinda gal, and I don't want to be one. It was nice yesterday, though.

Editing. It doesn't suck. Not near as much as I thought it would.

Also regarding editing, memo to Caltrans:

YOUR ELECTRONIC SIGN IS KILLING ME. You know, the one at the 580/238 split.

"Please drive careful" is not okay. Ever.

The other signs in the area say "Please drive safely." "Please drive slowly." "Please use caution." These are all acceptable. But if you can't fit the word carefully on a sign, USE SOMETHING ELSE.

I swerve a little every time I see it.

YesterdayMarch 3, 2008

What an eventful Sunday!

1. My father-in-law came over for coffee.

2. Upon leaving, his rental car was hit by a car WITH NO ONE IN IT that rolled out of a parking lot. (No injuries, little damage.)

3. I thought I had a gas leak. The fire department came. They were nice. I didn't have a detectable leak. Rather annoying. When leaving, the engineer looked at one of my spinning wheels and laughed. He pointed, "Come on, who uses that?" I said, "Look in here." Showed him the yarn room. Duly impressed. (If you didn't know anyone who even knitted, how weird would it be to meet someone who also spun?)

4. I discovered Oyster Bay, an off-leash dog park very near our house that is AMAZING -- on the bay, overlooking the Oakland airport runway, HUGE, and lovely.

    Clara likes sourgrass.


5. Used an unexpected work bonus to buy (drum roll): a ROOMBA! Got it at Costco and it's running right now. Lala and I are both in love with it. She's been trying to talk me into one forever, and I've been resisting, but why? Now she has a robot and I have a vacuum cleaner and it's a match made in heaven. I canNOT keep on top of all the animal-hair tumbleweeds around here, even with my beloved Dyson. This might help. And it's cute! The cats think it's funny and Clara thinks maybe she is being replaced.

6. Went to my godson Dylan's 2nd birthday party. We got him chaps and a cowboy hat. Oh, yeah. He got many instruments to go with the ones he already has (I think now he's only missing a bass), but he loves this most:


And he's good at it, too!

7. Made a big error in judgment when I told Lala to bring Harriet over when she came to the party (she had been training for the AIDS ride, and had been out all day riding 48 miles). The house dog, Scally, and Harriet have hung out many times. They go to the beach together. Scally's been at our house. I only assumed Harriet had been to Scally's house with Lala before. But Scally is protective of her house, and was surprised to see Harriet. Small fight, quickly separated, but I was OVERCOME with remorse at my stupidity. Harriet was fine, appreciated all the attention, and I was the one who broke down. Man, Harriet is FIERCE for sixteen, though.

8. SUSHI! Lots of it.