Subscribe to Rachael's mailing list

book tour

knitting projects


go here

Email me

« January 2009 | Main | March 2009 »

10 posts from February 2009

La's ShooterFebruary 25, 2009

I finished Lala's sweater! I had originally wanted to finish it for Stitches, but I realized that Wondercon is her even bigger thing this weekend, and it should be done in time for that, too. So I put on speed and finished it yesterday (finished knitting the back, doing the duplicate stitch pattern, seaming and sewing in the zipper -- all in one day).

And I'm so pleased.


It's Jesse Loesberg's great Retrofit pattern, free at Knitty. And it's his Space Invader chart, also (Ravelry link).


Specs:  Ella Rae Classic, 8ish balls used, 3US needles, size 46 made to gauge. Zipper from -- they are the BEST.

All in all, great, easy pattern. La loves the shooter, and I love that she loves it.

TODAY: Michelle comes into town from NY! I'm so excited. She's doing Wondercon with Lala, but I'm hoping to drag her to Stitches at least for a minute. So yell if you see us, okay?

Cobbler's ChildrenFebruary 20, 2009

Oh, Alameda. It's a persnickety town, too privileged for its own good. I worked dispatch there for years, and I know its ins and outs -- I know who the crazies are and where the pains in the ass live. I even still remember one drunk's birthday, because I ran him for warrants so many times.

Today we went to the dog park in Alameda. In the time I was there, I heard five different people gripe at each other about some small infraction: Don't let your dog too near mine, you can't trust him on the leash (why on earth is he at the dog park?), don't leave the trash can lid open, it's my turn to go through the gate. I ignored them all and we just ran around.

As we left, a woman told me what a fucking asshole the guy was that she'd just talked to. She'd told him his dog had pooped. He said thanks but didn't clean it up. I said perhaps he was going back for it later, but really, I didn't care. Some people don't clean up after their dogs. They should, I get that, but I don't care enough to police every action of those around me. She was mad at me that I'd even suggested we give him the benefit of the doubt. She's probably very stressed out all the time with other people's action, you think?

(Pt. Isabel, in Richmond, is totally different. It's Disneyland for dogs, and the humans are usually peachy-keen, too. I have to remember that.)


Clara has finally figured out how fun it is to stick her nose out the window (she's on a seat-belt harness that keeps her safely inside the car). It took her a long time to learn that.

I've had a lovely day so far, aside from having to go get blood tests. Dr. Smartyboots diagnosed me with gallstones earlier this week, from wisdom gleaned from the internet. I do not browse medical sites. They freak me out. I thought she was crazy, but then I read the symptoms, and went to see my doctor, who thinks Dr. Smartyboots is probably right since I have all the classic symptoms. So, blood tests. A sonogram next week. Whatever. If it is gallstones, it doesn't hurt most of the time, so I'm not too concerned.

Then I had two hours to kill before yoga, so I wrote at Gaylord's in Piedmont. When did everyone start smoking again? I'm just wondering. It seems to be hip again.

Then yoga rocked, even though I was tired and achy. Yoga is my church. I'm so in love with Loka Yoga. Then a bath, and a nap, and a dog walk, and now it's time for more writing. Then I'll head to a rendevous with a friend with whom I'm collaborating on a pretty exciting creative endeavor, and there should be beer there, so it's just a damn fine day, isn't it?

At some point I should knit. I'm getting close to finishing a sweater for Lala, since she obviously needs something to wear to Stitches next week. Instead of this:


A thrift store sweater (nothing wrong with that) full of holes (SO WRONG) that she wears all the time. She'll totally wear that, too, if I don't finish hers, just to prove that cobbler's children go barefoot.

Book RoundupFebruary 18, 2009

I feel like I've been reading non-stop for a while, and I never get around to updating that little Amazon portal on the right or telling you my latest and greatest favorites.

So here are a few I've read recently that I'm still thinking about:

Still Life with Chickens, Catherine Goldhammer.

What a lovely, lovely book. A memoir about divorce and starting a single-mom life in which the author buys a small house, gets some chickens, and builds a new world for herself. Her writing is spare and elegant and true. Not since Michael Perry's Truck have I enjoyed a memoir so much. (Per his website, his new book will be out in April.... Yay!) (A reader recommended this, but I can't remember who, so thank you, whoever you are!)

Casting Spells, Barbara Bretton.

Oh, I loved this. It was -- get this -- a paranormal knitting romance. And I LOVED it. (I don't read paranormal/magic anything usually.) Great, engaging writing, fantastic characters (a non-magic (she thinks) yarn store owner living in town full of people with strange powers, and the cop who comes around investigating a murder). It was like a wonderful yarn-ey Brigadoon story, and I highly recommend it. (And while I was reading it, Barbara herself contacted me to see if I wanted to group blog at Romancing the Yarn. To be in her company in cyber-space? Hell, yes!) (Recommended by local cutie Cordelia -- thanks!)

Just Desserts, Barbara Bretton.

Unable to get enough with just Casting Spells, I moved on to the next Kindle-able one I could get by Barbara, partly to see if her love of knitting was what made Casting Spells sparkle. Nope. It's her love of romance, and words. She's awesome. This one was about a bakery owner whose famous rock-star father finds her -- the lawyer negotiating the "find" falls for the independent single mother, and no matter how strange the set-up sounds, it's a great tale.

Too Good To Be True, Kristan Higgins. 

You know what I love about Higgins? I could read her all day, every day. She writes those books that are so fun you can't wait to pick the book back up. You just know there's going to be a wacky hijink on the next page and it's going to be funny as hell but it's also going to move the conflict/love story right along. This one: Her sister's dating her ex-fiance, so to show people she's all right, she makes up a fake boyfriend, all the while falling for the ex-con next door.

Knitting the Threads of Time, Nora Murphy.

I was graciously given a review copy of this memoir. The author knits a sweater for her son, and writes about the crafting of it through the year, adding bits of fiber history along the way. I enjoyed the memoir parts more than the history, but that's because I'm a big loser and not that smart; I like creative non-fiction better than Real History. However, every knitter passionate about the history of our craft would like this very much.

Anything new you're loving? Hmmm?

RainFebruary 15, 2009


I'm home. I've spent two hours today driving in the pouring rain, in the dark. I've decided that I hate that. I know that's a big shock. I'm sure you LOVE driving in the dark in the rain at  speed in heavy traffic.

I also realized, after hydroplaning twice, that hydroplaning is YOUR CAR FLOATING ON WATER. No. I do not like that. I had a couple of little hydro-boosts, and one scary go-one-way, skim-back-another.

It was my brother-in-law's birthday, so after my shift, I met him and Lala for Indian food at House of Curries. They thought I was kidding when I said I wanted a Tikka Masala for myself. I was not kidding. Tikka Masala (who cares about the chicken -- it's all about the sauce), rice, and garlic naan. I am stuffed. It was worth the rain.

And now I am liking being home. At my desk. I have two great piles of papers, one of either side of my computer -- I got my final edits from my editor! And I can't tell you how exciting it was yesterday to pull almost a ream of marked-up paper from an envelope, how cool it was to go through the revision letter, to glance at the pencil marks, to set it on my desk and start working. (There will be another round, I'm told, of copy-edits, but these are the last big Decisions being made.)

But now, bed. Oh, and I'll finish this half-glass of wine. If I must.

MenFebruary 12, 2009

We are having all kinds of ruckus around here this morning. I hired a handyman to come over and deal with our gutters, which have had problems with pigeon poop from the birds that have been nesting in our eaves. I thought they were a problem, and that they were gross, but I didn't know the extent of their grossitude. The handyman was rather horrified, and did what he could, but he's not a pigeon guy.

But he cleaned the rest of the gutters, which needed help, and then found some problems we didn't even know we had. Now he's at the hardware store, getting supplies to fix a stand-pipe on the roof and our toilet, which has been leaking a little bit lately.

While he was on the roof, I was researching pigeon removal companies, and the one I called came over immediately. So now I have two guys working on the house.

AND THIS STRESSES ME OUT NO END. We have barky dogs in crates, and I feel like joining them in there. (Waylon was being a punk-ass and jumping Digit every time poor Dig turned around, so I threw Waylon into Clara's crate which was GEENYUS.)

I am a Cancer, through and through. Even a piece of paper or a glass left on the dining room table gives me a headache, and it depresses me to see the state of the old rusting tub (literally, it is depressing to me. I know it's not a big deal, and we'll fix it when we can afford to, but I have to keep the shower curtain closed at all times). I like most things just so, although in marriage I have learned to compromise on things like dishes. I can leave dishes in the sink now, which is not something I could do five years ago.

But men, even very, very nice men, crawling all over and through the house, freaks me out in a little-dog way. I feel all jittery. The only one completely not fazed by this is Harper.



Introducing, my Betta, Harper! He's much more blue and scarlet than this picture shows -- it's so hard to photograph his colors. (The name is courtesy of my friend Stephanie. She suggested it, and I said, "Oh, like Harper Lee?" She gave me a look and said, "No, like HarperCollins." Duh. She seems to be prescient also, as Collins is going the way of the Dodo this week, dismantled in cutbacks, leaving HarperCollins just Harper (my imprint, Avon, is unaffected, thank goodness).

(I have a publisher. Squee!)

But Harper is COOL. I've never had a fish, ever, except for ill-fated goldfish in my youth. I lurve writing next to him. When I'm stuck, I stare at him. It doesn't really help, because he's interesting, but it's nice.

The handyman (thanks, Janine, for the ref!) just came back and went through the house on his way out. He asked why the dogs were crated, and if it was for him. I said yes. He said, "Oh, let them out. I love dogs." I said they were bouncy and barky. He said, "I used to have thirty-five sled dogs." Now, THAT'S a line to be saved for fictional dialogue later. And I let the dogs out.

Neighbor Sam is barbequeing right now, and blasting old-school R&B. It's nice. And soon the men will be gone, and so will the pigeons, and all will be quiet again. Then I'll write better. But for now, I'm just going to write as well as I can.

Local PSFebruary 11, 2009

(For anyone planning on seeing the last Whoreshoes gig tomorrow night, get tickets beforehand -- they will sell out.)


Here is where I am.

I am in bed. The laptop is propped on my bent knees, and I'm all hunkered down into many pillows. Digit is draped over my left arm and up onto my chest, and I have to look over him to type. Now he's washing his paw with cat-food breath only a mother could love.

Harriet is on my right, staring out the window at Harriet-TV. It's raining -- I can tell by the sound and by the way I can just see the rain misting in front of the eucalyptus trees. Harriet can't see that, but she knows that the window is her favorite thing to watch, even if the picture is fuzzy nowadays. Miss Idaho is sandwiched between me and Harriet, as chihuahuas often are, and Clara is snoring on the floor beside the bed.

I'm going to stay right here as long as I can. I have a day off, with nothing planned. And I'm feeling just the right kind of under-the-weather: I don't feel well, but I'm not miserable. I think a day of doing nothing but reading and blog-surfing will be the ticket to health. I'm fighting the predictable sense of guilt: I could be writing! I could be cleaning! Shopping for cat food and litter! Getting the tires rotated, the oil changed!

But right now, I'm not. Lala said as she left for work that lying around all day was a spectacularly awesome thing to do. Turns out she is right.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

That cat is clearly getting Bounced. Digit used to love that, so much that when I folded my own sheets I'd catch him up in them and swing him around. He'd purr so loudly that I could feel the sheets shaking.

Books on Kindle, animals, and rain. Tylenol and napping. It will be good.

Woot! February 8, 2009

When she isn't helping to put out fires, Rachael Herron is creating flames of a different kind.

That seriously made my weekend. (Yes, I wear a uniform. In order to answer the phone. But at least I don't ever have to decide what to wear.)

Now. The house is clean, it's a rainy evening, Lala is out, and I have a date with a glass of wine and some television. I have just a SMIDGE of work to do tonight, and then I'll be getting cozy on the couch with some knitting and an artichoke.

WorldwideFebruary 5, 2009

I was just standing in front of my copy machine. I was making copies, don'tcha know. Tax stuff. For writing. Because I'm a writer. I was dealing with international tax stuff. You already know my book is going to be translated into German and sold there.

But now I'm going to be published in Australia (and distributed in New Zealand)! Random House Australia has picked up my book for publication in early 2010! How excited am I?


I love that my family and my mother's friends in New Zealand will be able to buy it right there, off the shelf. 

Also, I'm rather giddy, thinking about how I'll have to collect the different editions of the book. I think I'll have Lala put up a shelf somewhere in the house, just for the books.

I can't quite tell how you my head explodes when I think of things like this.

It's still the dream. Coming true.


It's nice to be thrilled. Also, it's nice that I've done the 2008 taxes today, and I remain standing. No blood, none at all. I am annoyed that dumb old Governor Arnold is withholding my state tax refund indefinitely, since California can't afford to give us the money they owe us. They are issuing IOUs instead. Dude. Whatever. Whenever money comes, it's welcome, right?

Oh, and speaking of taxes -- my 2008 taxes were simple enough to do with Turbo Tax. But can anyone recommend a Bay Area tax preparer that can help me out with filing quarterly taxes this year, since I'm now getting money for writing (woot!)? Thanks! I'd found a great one, and I've LOST ALL THE INFO on her. Because I'm a moron sometimes.

Australia! New Zealand! And I'm getting my hair cut this afternoon! Good stuff. (Also, after taxes are done, everyone deserves a big old treat, right?)

Drive-ByFebruary 4, 2009

Hi! Hi!

Just a few thoughts, thrown at the computer as I hurtle by:

1. What happens to roses when they are allowed to grow wild with NO care, for perhaps five years? This is on the Western coast in a beach climate. (For the new book. I'm not planning on planting and then neglecting roses.) (Although I do want to plant roses. So perhaps I AM planning that.) Would they live? Would they spread? Shrink? Bloom?

2. It's almost the weekend! (My weekend, that is. One more shift and I'll be off for four days. Huzzah! Less skiing, more errands this weekend.)

3. I got a fish! I need to show you pictures. He's on my writing desk, and I lurve him. I thought it would be nice, when I'm spacing out while writing, to stare at a fish, and perhaps that will come, but right now he's more of a distraction. Look! He ate! Look! He spit it out!

3a. I couldn't think of a name for my fish for a day or two. When I DID pick a name (I will reveal the fantastic name with the photo to come), I said to Lala, "I named the fish!" We were in the kitchen at the time. She was holding a piece of salmon to be grilled for dinner. She was very confused.

4. Speaking of fish, we're having sushi for lunch, which is thrilling. Sushi at work. We never leave site for lunch, and we brown bag it every day. This is big time.

5. I like you! (And fish, apparently.)


Edited to add: I forgot to tell you that the Whoreshoes broke up! You should come to their last hurrah: February 12th at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco. I'll be there, with knitting.