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6 posts from October 2010

AdulthoodOctober 26, 2010

I like it. I make interesting discoveries ALL THE TIME. Like this one: If I work all day on writing, it's totally okay to take two hours off in the afternoon. With those hours, I can do whatever I'd like. No guilt. Yesterday I went for a run around Lake Merritt with Clara (running you ask? Why, yes, I used to be a runner. I hadn't run for so long that I couldn't find my iPod and I put my bra on backwards. The run itself was great. I'm easing back in slowly, so I'm doing the Couch to 5K again, and in the first week you only run 8 out of 30 minutes; the rest is walking. But I still call it a run, and I can FEEL it today).I also did errands, and just hung out.

And today I used those two hours to take a nap. A lovely, lazy nap, something I wish I could do every day of my life. I'm almost done with the completely delightful DIRTY LIFE: On Farming Food and Love, by Kristin Kimball (a girl from Manhattan who falls for a rather... eccentric farmer and moves to the country to farm -- to me she's the female version of Michael Perry -- the subtext is  different, but the voice is very similar, a love song to things usually unsung). I read it in bed until I drifted off, listening to the sounds of the high school football field, the ice cream truck, sirens (always sirens in the city). Miss Idaho formed herself to one side, and Waylon (none of the cats except Digit are allowed in the bedroom to sleep at night, but naps are the exception) pressed up against the other.

Lovely. Now I'm rested and refreshed, and I can't decide whether to a) write some more or b) clean up my office, which looks like a tornado hit it. I think, on reflection, I'll do the latter. It's been depressing me, but I've been too busy to fix it. I'd also like to tidy some things in the back yard, put away some things that already got hit with the first rains, but that might be a little ambitious.

It's perfect here today -- I think that's why I'm reflective and why I have that fall cleaning urge. It's really, really fall and I want to clean things and buy new pencils and bake a lot. Made delicious banana muffins yesterday, and I think I've eaten six of them today (they were really small, and BOY running gives me an appetite).

And I keep telling myself I will NOT break into the Halloween candy. I believe that resolve will last until six pm. Probably.

Some pics from the trip that I just took off the camera:

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Me at the Jane Hotel, again trying to show how impossibly small the room is. That's the whole room there. The mirror makes it look bigger.

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Views from the High Line, the old raised train tracks on the West Side that has been turned into a lovely public park.

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I love this piece of art at the end of the High Line.

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Brownstone and pumpkins.

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Church door in Chelsea.

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Interior shot of the Jane.

Now, to Organize Things!

Swooping InOctober 25, 2010

to say come see me over at the PensFatales. Today I'm talking about how when I was a kid, I figured out how to stop World War III. Really.

HAHAHAHA.October 21, 2010

My friend Janine just gave me this from her Vogue magazine. I am putting it on our fridge. I can't help it.

Mjacobs 

Oiled up and ready to go. What makes this even more funny is that he has a Sponge Bob tattoo. And one that says shameless. And EVEN BETTER? It's actually Marc Jacobs. And I believe it's a serious ad. From HuffPo.

I, for one, will remember this fragrance when I see it in the store.

Hello, New YorkOctober 12, 2010

I'm in New York. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you're . . . well, you're aware of that. I find it impossible not to tweet when I'm alone on an adventure, and this, although it's only begun, is that.

I started the trip by downloading Sophie Littlefield's BANISHED, released today. Now, y'all know Sophie's a friend of mine, blah blah blah, but I was blown away by how hard I fell in love with it. I read it in one fell cross-country swoop, and it allowed me to ignore the elbow of the tall man sitting next to me. Her characters are stunningly real, the action at times shocking (Hailey can not only heal but bring the dead back to life -- if she dares), and the emotion (a Sophie-specialty) is visceral. I loved the story, and I can't recommend it highly enough (even if YA isn't normally your thing, this probably IS).

Then I got off the plane and dove into the nearest cab. I know there are other ways of getting to the city, but I was in a hurry. I only had a couple of hours before the sun went down, and I had to do some wandering.

I'm staying in the West Village at the Jane Hotel. And I do think it's the coolest place I've ever stayed. While a large part of the thrill is being here by myself, I regret that Lala isn't here to see this (though we'd need a larger room). I regret that Bethany and Christy aren't here (especially Bethany -- this is HER kind of place to the teeth -- check her blog to see proof). I regret that the whole hotel isn't full of everyone I care about.

Check it out: It's a pod hotel. What that means is that the rooms are small, cabin-style (shared bathrooms, which are very nice and clean -- they even provide you a robe and slippers so you can walk down there!). I have the smallest (and I swear that this is if not my room, then my room is EXACTLY like this one) and most inexpensive cabin:

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(Katie Sokoler/Gothamist)

I've decided, after much consideration, that this room is the size of a King bed. If you include the 6inch deep shelf at the end, perhaps a California King. I can touch both walls with my arms outstretched (and did, several times, just for fun). But IT IS NINETY FIVE DOLLARS. In New York, that's practically free. There is room under the bed for one suitcase (you could NOT have two very skinny people in here if they both had a suitcase). You'd be hard-pressed to have one person fit in here if she brought two suitcases.

But it is AWESOME. And did I mention the price? And in the West Village (bordering Greenwich Village)? Dude.

I walked around a while after I checked in (not in the room, that wouldn't take long) in the area, down Jane to Greenwich, then wandered Hudson and Bleecker.... I had the best cheap burger at the Corner Bistro and sat watching the world go by outside, in the warm wind as leaves struggled to fall, while everyone and her brother walked their dogs.

After a drink and an accidental trip-and-fall into Magnolia Bakery, I wandered back to the Jane, where I found the bar.

Oh. Oh, oh, oh.

The whole hotel is like this (survivors of the Titanic stayed here -- they even had a memorial service here), but the bar is the MOST like this -- it's as if I'm staying in the Haunted Mansion. Or the Tower of Terror. Only SO MUCH BETTER because it's not Disney, it's real. (Okay, it's fake-ish real. Redone real. But I don't care. I'll buy it.)


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I'm right now sitting in this room, above. Only it's dark, only lit by candles and wall-sconces. And I'm the only one in it, at almost 8pm. And strangely, they're playing Tina Turner and Michael Jackson. (Really, no problem with that.)

More photos HERE. (The desk help really dresses like that. I can only imagine the maids do, too. Should I be ashamed for loving it so much? Probably. But the martinis are good, as is the music, and I'm going to bed early in a cheap awesome hotel in a great location, and I'm stoked.)

And when I go to bed (actually, as soon as I finish this post and get out my Kindle and relax in front of the fire with my dirty martini), I'll be reading ASH, which is breathtaking (Cinderella with a fairy-tale GLBT twist). I didn't mean to go on a young-adult kick -- I just seem to be there. And I'm loving it. Tomorrow will be a work day, and then more fun. I'll keep you posted.

Winners!October 5, 2010

Whoops, I forgot to draw winners last night. I'm a little out of it, fighting off the cold that's being going around. I don't feel awful -- I've just felt kind of crappy for days now. Low-grade malaise. The kind that requires sitting on the couch with cats, which I haven't done enough of, but hope to get some of that in tonight.

All righty, using the magic of Random.org and showing only the first part of the winners' email addresses:

YARN: Remembering the Way Home goes to alisiadragoon.

BRAVE NEW KNITS goes to tddurand.

VAMPIRE KNITS goes to d_hage.

Woot!(I've emailed y'all who won.)

And now I have a pretty full day planned, lingering crappiness notwithstanding. Writing and doing laundry this morning, lunch in the city, then I'm gettin' my hair done, because it needs it. (Trying to grow out this silver hair ain't for sissies. I mentioned I was doing it at work, and a friend said, "Really? I thought you were just kidding with that." So I want to get it done so that it looks really intentional. A little bit punk. While maintaining my own look. GOOD LUCK, CAROL. God bless Carol. She does good hair, and she's nice, too.)

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Digit helping with a manuscript.

A Digit update: He's been diagnosed with a thyroid problem, which explains why he's been so vocal and has been terrorizing the dogs and eating twice his weight in cat food and still losing weight. I got him on meds two weeks ago, and suddenly he's gaining weight again and his fur is smooth, and he's less tense. He's still a jerk, but he's OUR jerk.

Things I'm Loving (and Giving Away!)October 2, 2010

Oooh, there are some things I'm loving right now and I have to share.

First, there's my new purse organizer:

Pursedivandcon 

I got it from Divide and Conquer at Etsy, and I heart it so hard. The sides are rigid (maybe cardboard?) so it makes my beloved Queen Bee bag stand up again. It had been collapsing sadly, full of My Stuff, and now it doesn't:

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And a view inside:

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Believe it or not, that is ORGANIZED, people. I love it. (I bought the small size and it fits perfectly.) 

Also: BOOKS! (and giveaway!)

#1: YARN: Remembering the Way Home, Kyoki Mori

Yarn

 I finished this the other day, and I adored it. I was also really glad that I waited until after I finished my book of essays to read it, because she writes about yarn and knitting similarly to the way I do, except, um, she does it better. Way better. I think I would have had a crisis of confidence had I read the book before I was done with mine. In much the same way that I try not to read knitting fiction (excluding Barbara Bretton, because I can't get enough of her work) -- I don't want it to influence my writing, even unconsciously. After I'm done with this third novel, I'm going on a TEAR of knit-lit. Can't wait.

But back to YARN: It's the story of a Japanese-born woman coming to terms with her relationship with her American husband, and how everything relates to the death of her mother (O HAI Rachael, just your speed). A couple of short snippets from the book:

"Thread holds together and restricts, while yarn stretches and gives. Thread is the overall theme that gives meaning to our words and thoughts -- to lose the thread is to be incoherent or inattentive. A yarn is a long, pointless, amusing story whose facts have been exaggerated. I had gotten D's in home-ec., math and science because I was concocting a yarn in my head when I should have been following the thread of each lesson. Thread was all I got at home after my mother's death."

Kyoki Mori has a Ph.D. in English, and was teaching in Green Bay, a place with such a small minority population that people stared at her wherever she went. "People in Green Bay couldn't get over the fact that I was an English professor. 'You mean you teach English to Americans? Well, I guess that's all right. You do speak pretty good,' they said. Every time I heard someone say good instead of well, or borrow when they meant lend ('Can you borrow me a pen?'), I wanted to leave town and never come back."

I loved this book: spare, a bit dark, and lovely. Also, she taught me things about knitting I've never HEARD of, which was delightful. Salish wool dogs, indeed! I'll give away a copy of this to one lucky person on my mailing list.

#2 Brave New Knits, Julie Turjoman

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I received this book to review and I've enjoyed it so much. I love how Julie talks TO the designers, the people we've gotten to know in knit-land over the years, and I adore how it's kind of a love poem to Ravelry. Ravelry deserves a love poem, don't you agree?

And the patterns are GORGEOUS. I kind of want to make them all.

I got to ask Julie a few questions (I always love hearing from the author):

A. What was your inspiration to write the book?

 As my personal blogroll grew longer and longer, and I found myself spending way too much time reading about my favorite knitwear designer-bloggers, I wondered why nobody had assembled all that talent into book form. Although some have suggested that the internet eliminates the need for a paper book about this subject, we knitters really do love our books. I felt there was a place for a collection of patterns by the blogosphere’s shining lights.

B. What was the most surprising thing you learned while writing it?

 It’s one thing to have a lightbulb click on and think to oneself, “This is a brilliant idea!”, but it surprised me that so many others agreed! Although the designers were incredibly generous about creating their projects for the book, and forthcoming in discussing their knitting lives, I was also surprised and grateful that they allowed me to share so many of their insights and experiences about designing.

C. Because I'm always curious about other people's processes, what's your writing process like?

Because the interviews were conducted in rapid succession over a 3-month period, I used a digital voice recorder for each one to ensure that I would quote each designer accurately, and to help me recapture their individualism. I’d write up a first draft as soon as possible after meeting or talking to each person while our conversation was still fresh in my mind. My writing process after that was to focus on each designer’s professional trajectory and design inspirations, with a bit of personal information to round out their personalities, and to flesh out those early drafts with appropriate quotes and detail until the final version felt right.

D. I know you can't say what your favorite pattern in the book is, but which one would you wear if you went out to dinner tonight?

That would depend on where I was going for dinner! I’d definitely wear either Jordana Paige’s delicate Delysia Camisole or Teresa Gregorio’s sexy Milk Maiden Pullover on a date night out with my husband, but if I was heading into chilly San Francisco for dinner outside at Fisherman’s Wharf, I’d want something warm and cozy like Jen Hagan’s Global Cable Coat, or Hilary Smith Callis’s Koukla Cardigan.

I keep thinking I might be able to give my copy away, but I can't. Here's a Ravelry link to the patterns from the book, and I have to say, I love Joan McGown Michael's Kimberly Cardigan best, but there are many runners-up.

So instead, I'll buy one copy of EACH of these books and send them to someone on my mailing list. Are YOU on my mailing list? (Join here.)

#3 Vampire Knits, Genevieve Miller

Also a review copy from the publisher (thank you!), I'm giving away a copy of the very fun Vampire Knits:

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My favorite pattern in the book? The Tourniquet Scarf.

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HA! This one cracks me up every time.

Make sure you're on the mailing list! (If you're not sure if you're on it, you can always put in your email again -- it'll tell you whether or not you are.)  I'll draw three winners on Monday night. Whoohoo!