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12 posts from April 2009

AndApril 29, 2009

Lala has been blogging. She should have time off more often.

Of Hair, Cats, and TitlesApril 28, 2009

So many things are running around in my head, and I can't seem to grab one right now to put it on the page.

I cut my hair.

There! Caught one! A thing running in my head, that is.

Back to the hair --I just chopped a couple inches off. It had reached that way-too-long point where nothing worked but pulling it up, and while I was thrilled by this suddenly long hair I had, I was also BORED out of my mind with it. It was great for curling and going out. However, more than going out, I go to work, and ponytails only go so far.

Oh, you want a picture? Okay, but it's not a good picture.

Photo 423

See? I'm not even wearing lipstick. Bet you've never seen THAT before. I've barely seen it myself. That's what I look like in the morning when I'm writing. I would like to say I'm usually in a handknit, and I DO often wear my sweaters while writing, but as often as not I'm in an old sweatshirt or just a tee, and it's not that glamorous, is it?

I like to chop my own hair. My hair stylist hates it (don't tell Carol!)  but I had scissors right there. It's cheap. Also, it's just fun, that snipping sound. (And if you don't have massively straight, heavy hair, if it has any wave at all, no one will ever notice if it's not perfect. No one except your stylist, who will NOT be amused the next time you go in. Fair enough.)

It didn't stop right away, either, that feeling of good-snippery. I grabbed Clara, who had some crazy dreadlocks behind her ears and on her chest, and she quite good-naturedly sat there while I pulled and cut. I got enough hair off her to start another dog, were I to plant it in the garden, which I didn't. We are at capacity, I don't know if you noticed.

Speaking of the garden and animals, some DAMN CAT (not our indoor kits, of course) shat in my garden, tearing up one of the squares. Bastard. Any easy solutions? I already have a little white fence up around it, so hanging netting (what kind?) wouldn't be hard, but what about when the plants get tall? Any and all ideas are appreciated.

Me, today: We're going rock-climbing in a little bit. I haven't been in a while so I expect to be puny. Then I have some writing to do. I'm THISCLOSE to finishing Book Two, which is great because I can't wait to edit this puppy.

Oh, DID I TELL YOU? I have a name for Book One. Remember, back in the day, when it used to be called Love Spun? It's so much better now, people. Thanks to Marketing at Avon, my book will be called:

How To Knit a Love Song
(A Cypress Hollow Yarn)

Okay, that could change yet again, but I'm told it probably won't, that this is what will be on the shelves come next spring (OHMYGOD STILL SO FAR AWAY). I love it. I love the rhythm of it. HOW to KNIT a LOVE song.

My book. It is still so thrilling.

New Plate!April 24, 2009


Yarnago, Yarnagone. Get it? I love. Yay!

Britney! April 23, 2009

Okay, that was teh awesome. Really. Neither Lala nor I had ever been to a show on that scale, let alone a Britney Spears anything. We didn't own a whole album of hers between us in our vast iTunes library.

But it was so exhilarating! We went to In'n'Out for dinner beforehand, and for a moment, when we saw the line, I was worried about timing -- would we make it to the show? Then we noticed that the ENTIRE restaurant was full of teenaged girls, some wearing handmade Britney 2009 puff-painted tee-shirts, most sporting gold or silver lame of some type. I tell you, I've never seen In'n'Out like that. The level of excitement almost lifted off the roof and we weren't even at the Coliseum yet.

We took our hamburgers and drove to the BART parking lot, which is just a raised walkway away from the Coliseum. Free parking, yo. We ate our dinner in the car and chased it down with Brooklyns from the flask (there are a few different cocktails named this, but I named our cheap Costco brandy Manhattans this, and I'm sticking to it).

Outside the Coliseum, I almost lost it, cocktail-buzz notwithstanding. We were CRUSHED in a thirty minute wait to get in the doors. So many teenaged girls, all screechy, and their bitchy mothers. Also, lots of lovely gay men, who made it all worth it. (Favorite overheard saying of the night: "Look at all these hot moms! I might go straight for a night! Get a cougar! Yow!")

But inside -- amazing.

-13

The noise of thousands and thousands and thousands of screaming little girls is truly painful, but exhilarating. Everyone danced. It was mostly a standing-up show. Britney gave only the slightest pretense of singing at all, but who cared? The dancers were great! She said Oakland and meant Oakland (she has a track record of greeting the wrong city, which I kind of wanted to happen).

And I have to say, she's so COMPLETELY  fun. I've spent time listening to Circus recently, in preparation for the show, and I LOVE IT. Really. The other night, when it was 90 in the house, the only thing that made feel better was cranking Mmm Papi, soaking my dress in the sink,  and then dancing in front of two fans. (I mean the blowing kind, not Digit and Clara, although they were duly impressed from their heat-flattened positions on the floor.)

I'm so glad we went (thank you, Martha! You are the BEST!).

-14
(The usual.)

My Gentle AlpacaApril 19, 2009

Do you know Sarah Haskins? If you don't, you should. And now that she's done her thing with my favorite commercial, the ad for the Schick Quattro, I would like her to run for president. Or move into my house or something else fun like that.

Please, do yourself a favor and go watch her piece on Your Garden (and then get time-sucked as you have to watch everything else she's ever done). It's completely safe for work, although suggestive enough your boss might think otherwise, just so's you know.

Now, I'm going to turn on Freedom to get some dang work done. Fighting an alpaca of a migraine, but I will WIN!

My New Favorite ThingApril 15, 2009

It's FREEDOM, people.

No, not that kind of freedom. It's the freedom from the evil internet (o, Internet, I loves you, don't be mad). It's a free program for the Mac (sorry, not for the PC) that disables all connectivity to the outside world. You set how many minutes you want to be offline (up to eight hours -- but that's just crazy talk), and then it pushed you off the internet. You can't get back online until the time is up, or if there's an Internet Emergency (as if), you can restart your whole computer, but we wouldn't do that, would we?

It's awesome. I've used it three times this morning, for 45 minute bursts of writing, free of the siren call of email-checking/twitter-posting/facebook-browsing. I usually try to write for 45 minutes at a time, and then I give myself 15 free minutes, to get more coffee, to check email, but it's SO easy to get frustrated with a sentence or a word, and flip out of the document and over to the promised land of immediate gratification and wasted time.

But when the document is the only thing in front of me? Then I write. I just sit and write. I know, I know, I could simply turn off my AirPort connection, but then it's only a simple flick of the wrist to turn it back on. Freedom doesn't let you do that. You simply have to sit there and work (or stare grumpily at the clock) and wait for the internet to turn back on.

It's really good. I recommmend it. (Found via VSL, although Lala swears she had already told me about it.)

WalkApril 14, 2009

The Easter fambly walk:

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Look at those poppies!

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This is up in Leona Canyon, only a mile or so from our house. It's hard to find, but the BEST dog-walking route when you get there. It's unbelievable that urban butts up against rural like this.

-9

Anyone know what these flowers are? They are CRAZY awesome.

-5
Click to see those wild petals better.

Lala and Harriet!

-7

That is all. xo

UnexpectedApril 12, 2009

-3

Look at that! We didn't expect this harvest! In cleaning up the yard yesterday afternoon, I found a thick stand of something hiding in the grass that had infested my square foot garden. I pulled -- green onions! Loads of them!

And Lala harvested a bunch of collards from her garden, and there is SO much rainbow chard, and that makes us happy, since last week we had some and IT IS SO GOOD.

Amount of care put into our gardens in the last six months = 0.

Okay,  I weeded my garden once, in preparation for putting in seeds a couple of months ago. Then I didn't put in any seeds and the goddamned bermuda grass grew back. I'll just have to be diligent in pulling it out more regularly from now on.

Yesterday was so unexpectedly productive in the garden. Lala was on a mission to move her whole 4X4 squarefoot garden from its concrete pad (yes, the grass attacked us on a concrete base) to the yard below, and I got home from my RWA meeting in time to help. We'd put the gardens on weed cloth two years ago, that was awesome, because basically, she took lifted the plywood frame, moved it out of the way, and then we lifted the whole garden and moved it to the cardboard base she'd laid out on the grass. Then she put the frame back on.

The chard and collards didn't even seem to notice:

-4
(That's one of our tremendous artichokes in the foreground.)

We hate the grass. Well, what we hate is that it's bermuda grass and foxtails, a horrid combination. I mowed the "lawn" yesterday (using the lawnmower I got on Craigslist for twenty bucks -- I'm the only person who can start it. It takes more than a hundred pulls  to get it to turn over), but the real goal is to cover everything with cardboard and then build up mulch on top of it. (Anyone with a line on free mulch in the Bay Area? We have a HUGE driveway, ready to receive it.)

And me, I weeded (again) my bed, leaving the onions, adding a zucchini (I know, I know, but I love zucchini bread).

Then I went CRAZY with the seeds. I'm working on a polycultural garden. Doesn't that sound cool? (Yes, we're living by The Urban Homestead. LOVE this book.) A polycultural garden is one in which you sow the seeds of everything you want to grow, hopefully things that have different maturation dates. Since I sowed just about everything, I think I did well in that category. You eat the baby things as they grow, allowing a little room for other things, but what you want eventually is a pretty dense chaotic tangle of plants. As you eat through one thing, say, the radishes, then you fill in the holes that occur with other seedlings as the season progresses.

It was hard for a type-A person like me to throw seeds willy-nilly, but it was good fun, too.

For posterity and my inability to remember a thing, here's what I sowed:

Radishes
Stumpy carrots
Golden beets
Rainbow beets
Dark red beets (oh, for one homegrown beet, full failure last year)
Lemon cucumbers
Buttercrunch lettuce
Rainbow chard
Basil
Super bush tomatoes
Heirloom baby leaf lettuce
Italian bush beans
Edamame
Foxglove and columbine, for fun.

Hopefully out of all those, I'll get some nice return on investment. I can't kill everything, can I? Hmmm.

We also set out ten tomatoes, including two different heirloom types (including Mr. Stripey! I want a Mr. Stripey!) and two Early Girls.

Now, today, on an unexpected Easter off, we are going to the store to prepare for an impromptu dinner to which we just invited sisters and brother. I think we'll do the traditional Easter sushi roll-yer-own dinner, followed by Pavlova and hot cross buns. Time to get my ass in gear.

But you know what I have for you?

DSCN3198 

HOT CROSS BUNS!

Hot or Not? April 10, 2009

Oy. I feel psychically damaged from putting those photos up yesterday, and it's because you were all SO NICE. Seriously. I was exhausted last night, and then I realized it was mostly due to the pictures. People voting on my looks. It felt like a game of hot-or-not with myself. I was winning! But I was losing! Ack! This picture is good! No, THIS picture is good, not that one! Ack ack!

I am so bad at this.

There are now more than 600 votes a day after I put them up. (Hi, New Zealand! Hi, Iceland! Hi, Newfoundland! Hi Taiwan!) Number one was far and away the winner, and I thank you for voting. It was VERY exciting, and I'm done now, so I'll try to divert you a bit, okay?

Things I've been thinking about:

  • The bumpersticker I saw the other day. GODSNO1   Wehn I saw it, I thought, Well! She has a good, high opinion of herself, doesn't she? If she's God's number one, what does that make me? (Number 134,425,791 -- I asked.) Then I realized it could also be read God is no one. What? I passed her and looked in her window -she looked kinda churchy. Lala had to explain to me that there was a third option: God is number one. Duh. But boy, that was a versatile plate.
  • This just in yesterday: Stephenie Meyer is ruling the universe. USA Today reports "sales of her novels accounted for about 16 percent of all book sales tracked by the [USA Today bestseller] list in the first quarter of 2009." Think about that! Sixteen percent of ALL BOOK SALES. Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I hope she's having a GREAT time. I love that.
  • And lastly, a quote I've fallen in love with:   Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else. - Gloria Steinem

Author PhotosApril 9, 2009

Good morning! Hey, guess what? I got my author photos done! Whoohoo! It wasn't as painful as I thought, mostly because I had them shot by the phenomenal photographer Khalil Robinson.

But I can't decide. Let's talk it out, shall we, and there's a poll or two at the bottom for your convenience (if you're reading me in a blog-reader, click on in to vote! Please?). 

COLOR POLL

Number 1:

Rachael.4 

DELETED: I was going to write my criticism of each photo. I even did a couple and it was fun, because it's always kind of fun to be self-deprecating. Instead, I'll just shut up and let you vote. I will ask, however, to consider if my shoulders look too high in this one. Moving on.

Number 2: 

Rachael.5

Number 3:

Rachael.5_2_2_4

(Same as above, but cropped and shadows lessened.)

Number 4:

Rachael.2_2

Number 5:

Rachael.3

Number 6:

Rachael.6

VOTE!


MORE FUN - BLACK AND WHITE!

Would you vote on one of these two, also? THANK YOU!

Number 1:

Rachael.4_3

Number 2: 

Rachael.5_2_2_3

This and ThatApril 6, 2009

Photo 401 

Documentation of nose-kiss

I have various small things on my mind, so I will list them here. It's easier than trying to string them together into something cohesive....

1. I had the most wonderful afternoon yesterday. I sat in Janine's living room, and ate delicious snacks and drank sparkling juice, and talked with Maia and Brooke, Nancy, Becca, Celia, Joy, and Therese (am I forgetting someone? I probably am..... Apologies in advance).

I would never have imagined, when all this knit-blogging stuff started seven or so years ago, that I would end up surrounded by such amazing women. I felt blessed and lucky to count them as friends. It was one of those afternoons during which the hours flew away on the wings of laughter. Annoyingly poetic, right? But it was honestly that lovely. I can't remember an afternoon with friends ever being so completely enjoyable and renewing.

2. Facebook. I'm really the last one to the party, and I never thought I'd like it, but I do. I love the Scrabble. I like being able to comment on my friend's doings without direct messaging them in Twitter (although I've set up my Twitter to post to Facebook, so I don't have to think about two different places). Friend me over there! (Rachael Herron - the only place I really go by my name instead of Yarnagogo.)

Also, I might be the only person in the world (no, wait, La's with me on this one) that likes the new Facebook. I find it way more intuitive. Thought the interface was kinda crappy before this one. I bet interface isn't how the computer people put it, but you know what I mean.

3. Yoga gets harder the more you do it. I both love and hate that about it. I've been going every week -- the same studio, the same teacher. I even accept that I'm  doing the same moves. But I'd forgotten that when you start yoga, you feel great, and you're good at it. The more you do, the more you realize how to drop into the pose, move into the opening (THERE I GO BEING ALL NEW AGE AGAIN, GAH), and then it's HARD. It's seriously kicking my sorry ass, week after week. But I love it. And my skinny jeans, the ones I hadn't worn in a year because of the dreaded muffin-top (oh, how I hate that very accurate turn-of-phrase), are a little baggy today. While not trapped by need to lose weight, I love the feeling of loose jeans. You know? (Lala says mournfully, "You're letting yourself go..." Heh.)

4. For the Digit fans in the house, he just kissed my eyelashes. It was very nice. It was better than punching me in the chest, which he was doing just a few minutes ago, trying to fit himself on my while I type.

A flashback photo, our man at his best:

Digitscary_0003 

I just found this photo and scanned it in the other day. I love it. That's our boy. He would like you to believe he's doing that at this moment, but don't believe the lie. He's trying to suck on my tee-shirt and purring as loud as a wooden roller-coaster.

AnniversaryApril 1, 2009

1. Couldn't afford Vegas, so went to Bolinas and Pt. Reyes instead. WAY FEWER SLOT MACHINES. Dude. Who knew?

2. Pt. Reyes is closed on Tuesdays, we found. I am surprised the ocean dared  wave, but it did, and we explored Tomales Bay and found oysters, oh, such oysters. I'm a fool for oysters, but Lala is a recent convert, finding that fresh ones really are the way to go.

3. Dinner at the Olema Inn was everything everyone says it is, and more. And the oysters there? Oh, my. One had caviar on top. I think I liked it even more than the one with pink grapefruit (who THINKS of that?) but it was a close call. Oh, such a happy brain explosion of flavor.

4. Bolinas on a Tuesday is not closed, and it's nice that the bartender knows you from the Whoreshoes days. The hotel room is quiet despite the loud Irishman next door, and the sheets are soft.

5. I'm one of those drivers who toodles along, ooh-ing and ahhh-ing at everything, and for that reason, I pull over at every turn-out to let the locals blast past me. It does not cross my mind that it looks suspicious when I pull into a turn-out to let the cop pass me. Then, when he waits and pulls in behind me, I also don't think it looks suspicious that I take the immediate first right turn into what is basically a field (but I wasn't even really paying attention to him! The sign said Historic Life-Saving Cemetery. Wouldn't you turn in? What the hell could that be? We must find out!). It is when I pull over that we realize Lala's brake light might still be wonky, and oh, the reg just expired. However, the nice cop, Ranger Craig, liked Lala's "I adhere to my chihuahua's radical agenda" bumpersticker, and after running my license, registration, and gun info, he whipped out his iPhone, and he and Lala compared chihuahua cuteness. His, however, are five months old and still wearing e-collars from getting fixed, so he won. And we got away without a ticket (to DMV tomorrow! Haste!). (BTW, the Coast Guard cemetery was awesome and weird and great, up on the hill overlooking the green hills, cows, and water.)


DSCN3129  

6. The lighthouse was closed. Tuesday, dontchaknow. But the wind was asTONishing, and we saw tule elk, little elk that are just so cute you want to put them in your pocket.

I love this picture, from South Beach below the lighthouse:

DSCN3138

7. Driving home, we got the best sandwiches at Cowgirl Creamery with homemade bread-and-butter pickles and triple-cream Swiss.

8. Once home, we made it up to the dogs by taking them to the beach. O joy. Forgive the metric crapload of pictures to follow, but we do love us our dogs.
DSCN3148
Keeping watch.

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I am very small. This is serious.

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You think this is sandy?

DSCN3167
I IZ SANDMONSTUR!

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Stackables.

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Drying at home in the sun (that jasmine smells WONDERFUL).

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Looks like one didn't make it.

DSCN3190
Three years. No foolin'. xoxo