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11 posts from May 2009

Maker Faire Today! May 30, 2009

Oh, we are so excited! It is a HUGE fair that is full of robots and flying objects and computers and knitting and all good things.

It's the kind of fair I'm going to get dressed up for. Have to do a little bit of work this morning while Lala sleeps a bit longer, and then WE'RE GOING. It's to celebrate Lala's birthday weekend! Here we go!

Also in good news: the goats are back! The city of Oakland hires them from a company in the valley to come out every summer and eat all the weedy fire hazards off the hills. Baby goats! Leaping off logs and jumping and gamboling. They're very close by and soon I'll be able to see them from my office. I drove past them the other day and pulled over because THEY ARE SO COOL.

This is just shot from my car. I could practically reach out and touch them.


And then their protector encouraged me NOT to touch them.


Fun day commences. Thank god. It was a REALLY long week. (Yesterday I was so tired that for about thirty seconds I thought properal was a word (and that I'd forgotten how to spell it). Sigh.)

Prop. H8 (or Why I'm Crying)May 26, 2009

I'm so mad, my friends.

You may have heard that the California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8. It sounds nice, doesn't it? But Prop 8 was AGAINST gay marriage: it was the proposition taking away the right to marry that the Supreme Court gave gays and lesbians last June. From June to November, we had the right to marry in California.

Then the popular vote of the people took away rights of a group of people in California.

This court decision was about whether or not what California did, in allowing that vote, was legal.

The court ruled that it was.


Gays and lesbians may not marry in my state. It means that a woman does not have the same rights as a man -- the right to marry a woman (and vice versa).

However, the 18,000 couples who DID get married in those few months it was legal, get to STAY married. I get to stay married.

You know what? I would bet that most of us would give up our legal marriages RIGHT NOW in order to get rights for all. (Besides, then I could just get out that well-used dress and wear it again.)

So there are now two distinct classes within the gay and lesbian community now. There are the 36,000 of us who are married legally, and the approximate million who aren't and who now CAN'T be married legally.

Somehow, this is worse in my mind than if Prop 8 had been upheld AND they took away our marriages. That, at least, would make sense. This makes no sense.

And it breaks my heart. Lala's sick today with a sore throat, but I woke her up crying with the news. We're not going to march this morning because the headache that threatened me when I woke up socked me upside the head with the tears.But tonight, we'll be at the rally: 5pm, City Hall, SF. Find your own rally here.

And somehow, doing the dishes and washing clothes and cleaning the floors is what's making me feel validated right now. Bringing Lala coffee and ibuprofen in bed. Making sure the dogs go out. We're married.


We're married. This is a marriage. Legally, I'm married.

And it's so bittersweet.

A Good DayMay 25, 2009

Really, there is very little more pleasant than having your ass handed to you in yoga class (neatly packaged in recycled paper, of course), and then napping in the afternoon. Something about yoga acts as a sleeping pill. I have a good few hours after class, during which I am completely, utterly productive, and then I go WHOOMP and fall down. A nap at the nadir of that cycle is a lovely, lovely thing.

Now I'm up again, and have twenty more pages to edit today before I can feel I'm done for the day. But I have a cup of coffee at my right hand and to my left.... wait, I'll show you.


I'm in the phase where I can't do this work anywhere else. My set-up is highly specific. The page I'm working on is in the holder on the pull-out desk tray, next to the wireless keyboard I prefer. The laptop is sitting on my old wooden writing desk that Mom used for years after I moved out of the house (I found it at a garage sale eons ago). It's at the perfect eye level. To the far left is the binder in which I place the finished pages. To my right is the Crotch Lake mug (thanks to Alison La Brainy) that I love so much. The kitchen timer to the right of that makes me work.

I'm going to wind it now. Work and then dinner. Lala's grilling steaks!

UpdatesMay 21, 2009

Radishes! We has them!


And they are BIG suckers. I've never known suicidal radishes -- they've been hurling themselves out of the ground at a rate that I can barely keep up with. (Sad: I think I plucked a beet on accident yesterday, thinking it was a radish. Do their leaves look similar? No, wait, they don't, now that I think of what beet greens look like. Huh. In any case, I shoved it back in the ground, hoping for the best. I WANT A BEET.) (Also: see that funny purple one? It tastes like a radish all right, but looks funny.)

And Lala is mad busy in the garden, mulching. She is a mulching fool.


See? Free mulch, under the freeway in Oakland. We have a system, rake it into the tubs and then dump it into contractor bags. Works great and she has almost all of the backyard done! Foxtails, begone.

And just for fun, an Extremely Rare Sighting of Adah off the top of the fridge. She loves the Love Blanket, too (although that was the first time I'd allowed her on it -- she matches so well, how could I deny her?).


Editing: Continues apace. I'm an editing fool. GOOD GOD I LOVE EDITING. (Really.)

B2BMay 18, 2009


If you follow my Twitter feed, you already know that sister Christy and I ran the Bay to Breakers (7.5 mi) yesterday. It was our second time doing it, and while it was fun, IT WAS TOO HOT. We were crushed by the heat, actually. We ran about 3.5 miles and walked/ran the rest of it (more walking than running). Everyone else was doing the same thing, too. Man, the reason you run in San Francisco is to run in cold fog, not to slog along in heat.

The best part were the photo spot areas: one we did like normal, running happily, smiling big. Then we decided, what the hell? We HAVE those kinds of photos. So for the next two photo spots, we Chariots of Fired it, putting our bodies into slow-motion, arms pumping, faces grimacing. Then at the finish we finally got the lead out and really raced each other the last 500 feet or so (the announcer yelled our names! I've always wanted that!). It felt like I was six again, dodging around people and things, with one goal in mind, TO CATCH CHRISTY (she's always had longer legs). We crashed into each other on the finish line and howled with laughter as we tried to catch our breath (the air at the ocean was blessedly cooler, too, which helped). That was the best part.

Neither of us were even inspired enough to go pick up our race shirts -- we just walked down to Muni and got on the train which was packed and rather agonizing, in many ways. Here we are, the two smilers:


Now, for your Monday pick-me-up, you should go check out  a knitted English village. It's amazing.

Maple CornersMay 15, 2009

I've been to Annie's blog before, but I was blog-hopping, as I am wont to do. But now, I'm seriously her biggest new fan.

She takes care of her mother, Josephine, who has Alzheimer's (and who is an artist in her own right - Oh, PLEASE click that link - it's amazing). She was part of the Memory Loss Tapes, the first of four documentaries in The Alzheimer's Project (you should TiVo it!).

The show is lovely, and difficult to watch, and necessary, and it's so good, in the middle of the heartbreak to see Annie carding fiber, her spinning wheel in the background, loving her mom SO HARD.  (It's an easy-to-miss line, but she says it was her spinning group that helped her put up the fence around the perimeter of her farm, the fence that protects her mother from the road. Of course it was. Bless the fiber-folk.)

Also, I can't be the only one who noticed Josephine hums everywhere she goes?

Annie also raises alpacas (as well as dogs, chickens, and llamas). Alpacas hum when they're happy.

When I retire, I'm moving in with Annie.

Editing AidMay 13, 2009

Yesterday, Lala and I made ourselves hysterical with laughter. I was literally out of my damn mind, tears rolling down my face. Funniest thing I've heard in years. It all started with the Best Joke You Can Play On A Writer.

Lala: I could sneak in here and change all the names of your characters! Find and replace! Suddenly your main character is named Evelyn! And you don't know why!

Rachael: [It takes me a minute to get on board.] I hope you saved my file as something else first.

Lala: Of course. And then, I could add adverbs! Lots of them!

Rachael: Silkily. Creepily. Scurrilously!

Lala: I could find and replace every "He said" with....

Rachael: "He whispered!"

Lala: And every "She said" could be "She shrieked!"

[We are by this point almost on the floor, slayed by our own wit.]

Rachael: "She shrieked, she shrieked!"  HAHAHAHAHA!

Lala: And then, oh my God.... Then, I could find and replace "He nodded" to....

Rachael: "He took off all his clothes!"

Lala (choking): I'm so sad I missed April Fool's!!!!

Rachael: What if I sent that version to my agent? Pay it forward! Then the next thing I send her would be so much better in comparison! Let's do it!

There you go. Now you know what to get the special writer in your life for their next birthday! Help them with their manuscript! They'll thank you in the long run. For sure.

Hit and RunMay 12, 2009

Hullo, kids.

Just a drive-by post -- I've been busy with editing Book Two along with working approximately eleventy-million hours at the J.O.B. I'm trying to get the book into good enough shape to send to my Amazing Agent, Susanna Einstein, by the beginning of June. I'm doing the hard-copy edits now, and then I'll input them into the computer next week (that takes SO long, and it's the most tedious part of writing, I think).

The best part is now. The book is written, and I'm playing around inside it, tinkering, moving things, seeing if they fit better over here or over there.

My favorite part of moving is after the furniture has been dumped inside the house. All the corners are clean, and you can put the couch here and see what you think about it. You can hang a picture there and then move it three times until you love it.

That's the stage I'm in right now. It won't last long, so I'm enjoying every minute of it. There will be many such minutes today -- I'm an editing fool today.

At least I have help.


Off to the coffee shop now. Not even bringing the computer. I will get SO much done this way.

Best Pizza EverMay 4, 2009

(I know, two blogs in one day. I can't help myself. Call me boingboing.)

We just made spontaneous pizza with stuff that we found in the kitchen, and it was the BEST. I'm chronicling it here so that when I ask myself how we did that, I'll be able to search and find it.

First, I took a grapefruit-sized hunk of that bread dough I had hanging out in the fridge. I put cornstarch* on our griddle and laid it out, smoothing it into pizza shape. Then Lala and I took the dogs for a long ramble during which Clara gamboled and Harriet tumbled. Miss Idaho just bounced.

Then we came home, and the dough looked riz enough, so I chopped up three cloves of garlic, and dumped them in a bowl with some olive oil, just a splash of balsamic vinegar, some salt and pepper, and some sun-dried tomatoes. I set the oven to broil, and put the griddle on a medium flame on the stovetop.

Then I dumped the garlic/oil/tomato mixture on top and moved it around with my hands. I tore big pieces of fresh mozzarella and scattered them all over, then topped it with chopped fresh basil out of the garden and pine nuts.

I cooked that until the bottom was just making it to too-brown, and then popped it in the oven under the broiler for about three minutes. The top started to char, so I turned off the broiler and let it sit in the oven for a couple more minutes -- I wanted the crust to be done.


Lala chopped up some arugula from the garden and we sprinkled that on top, and IT WAS SO FLIPPING GOOD. Garlicky and tangy and crisp and crunchy but soft, too.... I want more now.


Inspired by this. You should make it right now, with whatever you have in the house. Unless what you have is tequila and and baking soda, in which case you should probably go shopping anyway.

*I meant to use cornmeal, but grabbed the wrong box, and I must say it worked out just right! Odd.

For a Good Cause

Brenda Novak is doing her annual auction to benefit diabetes research. Last year she raised a quarter of a million dollars; this year she hopes to hit $300,000.

Romancing the Yarn, where I am lucky enough to blog sometimes, donated a lovely basket full of goodies, including a pair of handknit socks from ME (they would fit a ladies size 7-10 foot).


There are also a TON of things to bid on. Check it out HERE.

It's a great cause, kids. Let me know if you win it! 

Rachael's Favorite Things (No, You Don't Get A Car)May 1, 2009

I am so excited about two things that I HAVE to share them. HAVE to. You have GOT to know.

1. Pandora.com

Are you listening yet? I've waxed poetic about it before, but I'll do it again. It's internet radio that you create by entering a favorite artist or song. The music genome project (what drives your iTunes Genius) then plays all sorts of songs that share similar characteristics with what you entered, and you hear songs that you practically automatically love. (Oh, God. Except for what just happened right now on one of my stations. Warning: If you make a station based on Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love", you might get a death metal song. Huh. Every once in a while you get a dud, and you just thumb it down, and it doesn't happen again.)

It's free. They don't spam. Commercials are almost nonexistent (although they have little 10 second bits every once in a while that I don't seem to notice).

AND THE BEST PART?  They came out with a Blackberry app this week. That means when I get in my car after work, I open that app on my phone. I plug my cassette-tape adapter (HIGH TECH, YO!) into my phone and listen blissfully to music that agrees with whatever mood I find myself in. (And then I answer the phone when my sister calls and get completely freaked out to find her voice coming out on my car stereo, booming around me. But that's another story.)

If you want to sample it, go to my favorite station right now, FOUND HERE. I warn you, when I play it, Lala rolls her eyes and says "Your music is making me ovulate," so of course, I call it Ovulation Station. But driving home last night, it played Dar Williams's "Iowa" and Iron and Wine's "Naked as We Came," so you can already tell it's perfect. But you can make your perfect station, too. Go sign up. Come on.

I'm not associated with Pandora, except for a reader who works there (Hi, Lucia!). LOVE PANDORA.


Bread, dude.

Okay, I haven't really been eating bread lately. Good for me. Less headaches. Less weight. Yadda yadda. But I had a craving the other day and I saw the most amazing article in the New York Times. You know a few years ago, the no-knead bread recipe that took like a whole night of rising but no kneading?

The response to Mr. Bittman’s article was so fervid you would have thought he’d revealed a foolproof way to pick winning lottery numbers. It was a sign of how desperately people want to bake at home, and how painfully aware they are of their limitations.

The method he wrote about, though, looks like molecular gastronomy next to the one developed by Jeff Hertzberg, a physician from Minneapolis. His technique is more or less as streamlined as this: Mix flour, salt, yeast and water. Let it sit a bit, refrigerate it, take some out and let it rise, then bake it.

The crusty, full-flavored loaf that results may be the world’s easiest yeast bread.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Seriously. I made bread yesterday, while I was dying from a migraine. And it took less than five minutes of actual work (with rising, from ingredients to table in less than 3.5 hours).

Basically, you get out some flour, some yeast, some salt. Then you blow on the ingredients (okay, smoosh them around in a bowl with some water), and then POOF, you have bread. Good bread. Perfect bread. I'll eventually buy the book for all the different variations, but for now, we're going to subsist on the free recipe that makes like four loaves (over two weeks! Refrigerated dough).

Delightful article HERE.

Recipe HERE.

Not affiliated with those folks, either. But wouldn't I like to be? Hello, BREAD! Hot, buttery, bread. Yum. Luckily, I have more dough waiting to be cooked in the fridge.