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10 posts from April 2008

We haz a sad.April 26, 2008

The blog shall be silent for a little while as Chez Hehu has a big ole sad. Something important was taken away from someone we love (but someone you don't know, so we won't go into it), and it makes us very, very sad indeed. One of those life-isn't-fair moments, and I hate those. It's enough that it's true; must life remind us so often? It makes us not want to write very much. It makes us want to write with a Royal We, which we must not allow.

I'm headed south this week to take care of the little mama who's not feeling too well lately. So I'll be back in a week or so to say hello and perhaps show you a new sweater. Or not. I'm making it up as I go along and I'm not sure I understood how to do a neck steek. I might be knitting a pillow instead of a cardigan. We'll see.

Well, hello! April 23, 2008

What's shaking?

I'm not doing much besides writing and working. I'm working a lot, 60 hour work week, and I've probably put ten hours into writing already, and it's only Tuesday. Or Wednesday. I'm confused. I'm really into a new project, and I've been leaving work, going home, feeding the critters and sitting down to write some more at night. It ends up giving me about twenty minutes of down time, from 8:10 to 8:30pm, but I'm finding when you're doing what you love, that's all right.

I'm not quite sure what's lit this fire recently. But I'm riding the mixed-metaphor wave as far as it'll take me.

And to amuse you, your weekly dose of animals. We bought Clara a dog bed, since she is now Without Couch. She is too timid to use it much, though. It has been taken over.

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And Digit just about killed me with this the other day. He does NOT go on top of the fridge. That's Adah's domain. She has her bed up there, and she loves it.

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Adah is nonplussed.

SundayApril 20, 2008

I'm at home, for my one day off in nine. I'm having an unofficial pajama day -- it wasn't planned like this, but now my main goal for today is DOING NOTHING I don't want to do. Except for laundry. I'm out of uniforms, and I've got a long week ahead of me.

I'm still under the weather -- this has been the flu that keeps on giving. The latest gift it's brought is a really sore throat, which should be illegal for someone who's had two tonsillectomies in six years. (I bet most people never have the opportunity or desire to pluralize tonsillectomy.)

I dreamed last night we added two giraffes to our menagerie. They were sweet and loving, and folded themselves up onto our sofas like greyhounds.

Lala's off cycling -- 70 miles today, from Concord to Sunol and back. I can't even imagine. My butt would fall right off, I'm sure of it. So now I'm NOT going to do anything physical -- I'm going to pry myself off the computer and go knit in front of the television. A peaceful day.

Not BrokenApril 17, 2008

I can smell things! Just a little, but it IS coming back, o joy. My house does not smell unclean, I am happy to report. Feliway is working SO well.

I am tired. Worked today for the first time in two weeks following this flu from hell. Up at four in the morning, rather than waking naturally. Home by seven pm. Tried to write, couldn't. Too stupid tonight. Instead, I had pasta that I made a few days ago (but first smelled today, and it was GOOD), and now I'm going to bed. At 8:24pm. Life in the fast lane.

A sneak preview of the sweater I'm working on now:

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It's a pattern I'm copying from a Norwegian sweater my mother had made for her in Norway in the 60s. So far so good. It's really unnerving, though, to look down on my couch and see a disembodied sleeve lying there, a replica of the sleeves that have always been attached to the sweater that my mother has worn for the thirty-five years I've known her. It's like the sweater broke.

To bed. I wish you a good night. 

Smelling SaltsApril 14, 2008

I have lost my sense of smell. It's the weirdest thing. I mean, I've lost some smelling ability before, when stuffed up. But right now, between stuffed up sessions, I'm completely clear and can't smell ANYTHING.

And my superpower is my sense of smell. I can smell cigarette smoke from the car in front of me on the freeway. That is not an exaggeration. My super-nose is usually irritating. The smell of coffee actually wakes me up from two rooms away because it's so annoyingly strong. But now I would like to use my powers for good and I can't. I can't smell perfume, even when my nose is not running. I can't smell Tiger Balm. Things one should always be able to smell.

It will come back, right? Right? I mean, the strongest perfume I have, held to a perfectly clear nostril (thanks, Zyrtec and Flonase!), and NOTHING. It's kind of scary.

And at the same time, I'm fighting the battle of the cat pee. I think we're winning -- the Feliway seems to be helping, and I moved things around -- the couch they were peeing on (now cleaned) into the front sunporch, where Digit likes to hang out. Digit is good with the peeing and hasn't marked the wrong spot in years. Thank god. So I don't think he'll be tempted to mark. But right now I can't find where the little cats are peeing, if they are, and I'm completely let down by my broken schnozz.

I'm a little worried that this new pretty configuration of furniture in our house would not be so pretty if I could smell. It DOES smell nice, doesn't it? (And Lala's superpower is to make BART leave -- her sense of smell is not so great for some reason, so she's not much help there.)

But I'll show you what I moved around.

There used to be a small sofa where the chairs are, a sofa I bought on Craigslist probably seven years ago and haven't been able to sit on for two years because that's where Clara liked to chew her kongs and deposit her fur and drool. No more of that.

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But what's that in the far, far right of the picture?

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Oh, it's just dead Clara. So sad.

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More dead animals. (I hope other people make that joke. Otherwise I just sound creepy. They're alive. But sleeping. If you know what I mean.)

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Willie ALWAYS falls asleep like this. BONUS: Little Miss Idaho in background. New couch-cover courtesy of Target sale (also the fabulous pillow on the green chair which rings the same bell in my head).

Okay. Now I will rest. I might have done too much for a recovering Rachael today. Oh well. The other day, while still VERY sick with the flu, I made artichokes, a buttermilk pie, chocolate cupcakes, and a spicy garlic/olive pasta. I couldn't stop talking, even when it was midnight and Lala was trying to go to sleep. Even though my throat was sore and I had coughing fits. I finally realized I'd taken Sudafed that morning, so basically I was ON SPEED ALL DAY. I hate Sudafed. But man, it makes me productive. I've knit two arms and part of a body of a colorwork sweater. This week. While I was sick.

I need a nap. And my sense of smell back. Please. Thanks.

ETA: and if you like cats, you should watch THIS. Really. Omigod, I just watched it again. That's the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. Make sure you get to the yodeling part.

Still SickApril 11, 2008

This flu is kicking my ass. And I've found a new thing I like to do: lie in bed with the computer, planning new projects. Like rejoining the CSA and freezing/canning/dehydrating the leftover veggies.

I'm pretty bad at using leftovers. This is probably not a good idea. But it's good sick daydreaming.

Also, this just in: We have a lot of animals. Especially when they all want to sleep on you when you're sick. It's just so nice, UNTIL IT ISN'T.

GahApril 9, 2008

I have the flu. Fever, aches, all of it.

But I did get the chance to read Candy Girl (Amazon link to right) by Diablo Cody, the writer of Juno. I adored Juno (who didn't?), and I loved this book. She really IS a good girl who chose to walk on the dark side. For fun. While being a copy-editor. Strong writing (if a bit self-conscious), funny as hell.

And I discovered the source of The Smell in the living room -- Willie has taken to peeing on Clara's couch. Good goddamn. While I'm washing everything right now (just what you want to do while you have a fever), I hold little hope for a cure. Once you're marked, you're marked. I see that couch out on the street, in the Big Trash Pick Up. Which is fine, because it really was ridiculous that Clara had her own couch. We won't go into that. And we can make it into a nice little spot, two wingback chairs maybe? A nice reading/knitting spot?

But the irritation. The worry that this is the start of something worse. He uses the litterbox, yes. Loves the litterbox. There are three of them in the house, and they're all clean, and he uses them all regularly. He just likes to piddle on fabric things, for fun, it appears. I will NOT have my house smell like cat piss (yes, using Nature's Miracle, and it's never been THAT much of a miracle).

Only I'm too sick to REALLY care. Just wait till tomorrow.

But because you've been so nice to listen to whinge, a photo or two from a better day:

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At Hearst Castle last week, in the library. The doors reminded me of spinning wheels.

And us, in front of the GORGEOUS water. I've lived along the coast all my life, and I've rarely seen it look like this:

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And we saw baby elephant seals.

And I'm vacuuming right now (thanks, Roomba!).

A Tale of Two SweatersApril 6, 2008

Surprise! Two done! Finished within a day of each other. My sister Bethany expressed surprise at this, but then I explained it's like books. You may have two or three (or if you're like us, ten to twenty) books in various stages of completion -- it's just all about your mood at the time. She totally understood that.

Lush and Lacy, Baby:

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Specs:
Pattern: Lush and Lacy, by Sweaterbabe
Yarn: Valley Yarns Sheffield from WEBS.com, red, 7.5 skeins
Size: XXL (42.5")
Needle: US3

Mods: I did seed stitch at the button-bands and neckline, and added a zipper instead of buttons -- I normally find that more convenient.

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This sweater is DANGEROUS, people.

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That is my look of terror. Then I got scratched. I deserved it. He is a snake in the Congo, not some damn America's Next Top Model.

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I am kind of surprised by how much I love it. I thought it would be okay, but I didn't know it would fit THIS well, and be so comfortable and CUTE! Love, love, love.

DROPS 103-1

What's even more astonishing than the fact that I finished this is the fact that I love this one, too. It almost got frogged, and I never frog.

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I made the sleeves. Then I made the fronts, but because of the double moss you can't tell what a janky-ass edge it has. Then I made the back. I told myself over and over again that someday the edge would lie flat, YES IT WOULD, and it wasn't till I was half-way through with the last piece that I realized, no, no it wouldn't. The edge would always have that AWFUL curl. People, why did none of you tell me that? Plus, I was running out of yarn in a big way.

I really have no idea why I seamed this yesterday, but I'm so glad I did. I seamed it, and the edges curled right up, practically to my shoulder blades. So I folded it under and blanket stitched it up. EVEN THAT CURLED. So I undid all the blanket stitching and added some crochet to weight the edge down.

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It worked! And it looks good, too! I put the edging on the sleeves, and instead of making that high-rise collar, I just finished the neckline with a line of single crochet and called that puppy good.

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It's a swingy A-line that actually works. I heart it.

Specs:
Pattern: DROPS 103-1, by Garnstudio
Yarn: Kraemer Yarns Mauch Chunky, color Licorice Snaps, 8.75 skeins
Size: XL (44")
Needles: US6

Mods:  Only two buttonholes. Line of single crochet around neckline.
Crochet edging around bottom and cuffs: Single crochet across. Turn, chain two, double crochet in each sc across. Turn, chain three, dc in second sc, ch 3, dc in second sc, repeat across.

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This is NOT dangerous. And I swear, because Lala trained him like this, this is the way Waylon loves to be held. Like a baby. It's so wrong.

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Blurry, but you can see the shape. Do you know the blessings of an A-line sweater? Means you can let your belly HANG out. I LOVE THAT.

Almost as much as I love these buttons, the Edwardian ones from the late 1800s that I used on my Ariann sweater, also (only two left!):

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Hooray! I have to go out today, just so I can wear sweaters!

On WritingApril 4, 2008

"A writing community based on encouragement and cooperation." PoMo Golightly's idea is genius. If interest exists, she'll pair writers up, and we'll encourage each other over the ether, with perhaps a small reward in the end? A yarn swap, perhaps? I'm in, and if you're a writer who likes the idea, go drop her a comment.

Me: Fighting a migraine which is most likely hormonal, and a mood, which I am attributing to post-book-completion let-down. Of course, I have two other books in the works, either of which I'd love to swing into, but there's a but. A friend would like to write a script with me. It IS Scriptfrenzy month, after all, and I'd love the challenge. But it's a HUGE challenge -- the subject matter is not what I usually go for, and I've never written a script. And I think he has high regard for my writing talent, much of which might be misplaced in this context. I think I'm going to have a meeting with him, to see if it's too completely ridiculous for me to consider, in which case I'll tell him, straight up, no dice. But I find myself drawn to it like I was drawn to the marathon -- such a crazy thing to want to do, so difficult, BRING IT ON -- then I'll give it a shot. 

Which puts me in a mood. It's not even a bad mood, especially since I called in sick with migraine. It's just an... itchy, angsty, get-up-and-move mood. A dangerous mood. I'm trying to stay very still and sit with it. I've reread most of Steven King's On Writing yesterday and today (great book, even though I'm not a fan of his fiction), and now I will watch TV and finish up that lacy sweater. Yes.

Two Years, Already?April 2, 2008

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That's teh bunnie Rabbitch Herself In Person there on the left, and Lovely Mandy on the right at our wedding in Vancouver. Ahhh. That was good.

We spent the last few days in San Simeon, celebrating our second anniversary. I know, can you believe it? We can't. No, really, we can't. A great two years. Here's to many more! Pictures of Hearst Castle to follow when I get them off the camera.

We had a wonderful mid-week celebration. And I have a co-worker working for me tomorrow, so I have another day off tomorrow, a day that I might well squander on frivolous pastimes. Like laundry. Grocery shopping. I might write a bit, but given the fact that I've completed the novel's fourth and final (for now) rewrite, and I've sent my query off for agent review, I'm going to be happy to do nothing at all. (And whee! So happy!)  I might go to bed soon, even though it's only 9:15pm. Reading in bed until the book drops out of my hand: one of my favorite things in life.

This morning:

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The view from our dog-friendly beachside hotel (Best Western Cavalier, San Simeon). What a cute black dog!

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Harriet has something to TELL YOU!

It is that Miss Idaho gets all the fun with Lala:

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Clara, our border collie, was boarded with her phenomenal dog-walkers, and we get her back tomorrow. I'm sure she'll come back with her learner's permit or something. Thank god. I'm going to send her to the store for more beer.

E.T.A. - I was just browsing the blog for that wedding picture, and I went to April 2007, instead of April 2006. I am ASTONISHED that we have had the kittens for a year this month. That is ridiculous. And it was a year that I told you Digit was gone (psych!). I yelled at Lala (who is playing Super Mario on the Wii), "Did you know it's been a year since we got the kittens?!?"

She said, "That explains why they're so big!"