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7 posts from November 2010

LoafingNovember 30, 2010

I spent a lot of my weekend doing what I NEVER do: Relaxing. Check this out:


(I know our couch cover is godawful, but it hides the dog hair.)

That was my view on Sunday morning. We've recently reinstated the Sunday NYT, and I can't tell you how much I love it. I slept in (Lala was out of town, not that she would have tried to prevent me) until about 10:30 (unheard of!) and then moved to the chaise to drink coffee, read the Times, and do the crossword puzzle (on the iPad because the app is so fantastic). Every time my guilt-brain stirred and said, "Get up! Work! Write! Clean something!" I hit snooze on it and went back to reading.

Later, I idly wondered what time it was. Maybe 1pm? 1:30?

I looked at my phone. It was FOUR O'CLOCK. I'd been idling for five and a half hours. It was AWESOME. It felt kind of magical.

I've decided this: (remind me later, huh?) On Sundays when I'm not on total deadline, I will take the day off and only do what I want to do. Last weekend, when I made that whole list of things I was planning on doing, I felt like a failure when I counted things up and realized I'd only done three of my six plans. I don't want to PLAN my down time so much. I want to just be in it.

You would think it wouldn't be that hard, huh? I'm rereading Tom Hodgkinson's How to Be Idle: A Loafer's Manifesto because it helped me once, and it's helping again.

In fact, right now what I should be doing is folding and putting away laundry. Instead, I think I'll go take a nap. Or at least read for a bit. Back to work tomorrow for a long week, so I'm seizing the moment right now. Yay!

And oh, hey! You should check out the holiday recipe ring I'm in HERE, put on by all the Avon ladies at HarperCollins. My contribution was buttermilk pie. Mmmmm.

Turkey Day! November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, if you're in the States and celebrating. Happy cold Thursday if not. I'm not celebrating the day conventionally -- I'm sharing a turkey dinner from the grocery store with my coworkers, (nine bucks, everything included), and then I'm going to my sister's house to see family for a minute or two, then back home where there will be more family to see. Lots of family, lots of hugs, and then lots of sleep, since I have to get up at 4am tomorrow and do it all over again.

But I thought I'd stop in and show you a repurposed sweater.

You know I love Orange Alert. My own design, I've been wearing the heck out of it for six years. It pills awfully, and it isn't pretty, but it was sooooo utilitarian. I can't count the hundreds of hours I've sat at my desk, writing, wearing that sweater and sweatpants, my love blanket draped over my lap.


Recently, I felted it somehow. I'm not sure how I did it -- it's been washed before, but this time it did the slight dreaded shrink-upwards. You know the one -- suddenly the belly is no longer covered, and the arms are just that much too tight. I stopped enjoying wearing it, and yesterday, I made a decision.

I was going to felt the CRAP out of it and reuse it.

I threw it in the washer with the towels and put it on Hot in the most vigorous cycle we have. (Isn't vigorous a good word? I love that word.) Then I dried it! Oh, it all felt so forbidden and wrong and delicious.

It came out small, thick, and fuzzy.


Just right for a hotty cozy. You know that pattern I have for them? Yeah, I still don't have one of those for myself, so I thought this would be nice.

I cut around the hot water bottle like so:


Then I sewed it up, inside out:


Et voila:


 Nice and warm for Digit. He's lost some more weight, although he seems to be reacting really well to the thyroid meds, and he's always cold (even resorting to cuddling with the hated kittens), so I fill this up and he sleeps right on top of it. We went to the vet this week, and now we're waiting for results. :(

I also stole the sleeves and made some really warm gauntlets:


I just chopped them off and stabbed my scissors through the side to make a hole for the thumb. I sewed the edges of the hole with the machine, but they might still fray some more, in which case I'll call them punk.

 There. This makes me happy. My sweater lives, reincarnated, keeping both me and my cat warm.

I hope you're staying warm. Enjoy the weekend! Mwah.

Planning to RelaxNovember 20, 2010

I'm soooo excited! I'm just about to start a long weekend (four days off, back to work on Thanksgiving), and for the first time in a long time, I don't have any writing to do. *

I mean, I have things I could do, writing-wise, sure. I have a few things I need to work on soon. But at this exact moment, I'm under deadline for NOTHING.

So you know what I'm going to do?

1. Clean out my office. I've been buried in it for the last six months, and it was made worse when, for a moment, I thought I was going to try to fit a large chaise in it. I moved everything, stacked boxes and book and papers up against a wall and created disorder in the only area that was still ordered. I hate it. I hate being surrounded by chaos and clutter, but I literally haven't had time to deal with it. Now I do, and I feel a purge coming on. I'm going to call Waste Management, too, for a bulky trash pick up, so I can just throw out things (like the ancient chair that I never sit in, the one I rescued off a sidewalk and is now too old to even try to donate). Getting this done would be heaven. Hard work, and relaxing, all at the same time.

2. Manicure. Have you heard about the new gel nail polishes? They last TWO WEEKS without chipping. A couple of my friends have them, and I'm gonna try it. I love nail polish, but I hate how trashy my nails look in two or three days, so I never paint them.

3. Massage. I got one as a gift from Lala for my birthday in JULY. Three months I've been sitting on this bad boy. I wanted to save it as a present to myself when I finished the nonfiction book (DONE COMPLETELY, even copyedits are complete) and the third novel (DONE but waiting for revisions back from my editor).

4. Night of Writing Dangerously -- the NaNoWriMo night that shines like a brilliant, wordy diamond over the rest of the other 29 days of writing -- Bethany and I are going, thanks to the kindness of our fairy godmother. (Also, I'm giving a little talk at it. My pal Chris Baty asked me to. Squee!) (Don't ask me how I'm doing in NaNo. I'm wayyyy behind and likely to remain so, since I had the other deadlines. But I'm still plugging along.)

5. Bed. Book. Repeat.

6. Yoga. I'm TERRIFIED to go back, haven't been in at least four months. I'll be the most out-of-shape (and the largest, although those two don't necessarily go hand in hand) person in class, and I'm not going to care. You have to get back up on the horse at some point. You know, the yoga horse. My pretty asana. Stopping now.

I also have lunches and an interview with GrannyG in New Zealand (!) and some naps. Also some meditation ( we went to hear the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Sogyal Rinpoche speak last night, and he kind of blew my mind (typo: nose, I just sneezed) -- I'm going to try to still this brain of mine sometimes. HAHAHAHA. Yes, but I'll try).


*Note: I am nothing but grateful that I HAVE writing work to do. I'm so so so so so lucky to have it. However, that will not prevent me from relaxing this weekend and doing NOTHING. Except for this whole list. God, I'm bad at relaxing.

Please ForgiveNovember 16, 2010

the blog bouncing, but perhaps you'd like to read what I wrote about Venice, over here.

I'm missing Venice today.


Finally! November 8, 2010

I knitted lace, and I liked it! I've knitted a few lace stoles, just simple repeats in rectangular form. But the triangular shawl had always defeated me.

After Cassie told me that real lace knitters use stitch markers (I totally thought it wasn't something anyone else had to do -- I thought you all were counting every pattern repeat in your head, and I HATED knitting lace because it made me feel so stupid), I was on fire.

Now, a real shawl! And it's an exciting shawl, because it's a prototype for Book Three in the Cypress Hollow Yarns series. (I commissioned the uber-talented Romi to design it for me since I don't (didn't) do lace, and I'm adding my own flair! Like dropped stitches!)

And now, I finally get to show you that magic that I've ALWAYS loved seeing on blogs: the before and after blocking shots.

Before blocking:


After blocking:


A closer shot:


Isn't that GORGEOUS? I'm totally in love with it. (It's Spirit Trail Fiberworks laceweight, and it took all but a few yards of one skein.

Then, of course, the challenge is to wear a triangular shawl fashionably. (It's not easy. But I've seen it done. I will attempt it.)

I apologize for the green and brown on a green shirt -- I don't think I own a white shirt. Odd, that. Lots and LOTS of black ones, but no white.

The over-the-shoulder traditional:




And the way I've seen the kids wearing their shawls (HA! that's just a funny phrase!):


Or more styled:


It's actually this big:


Lots of room for movin' in.(Bonus Digit view!)

Huzzah! Of course, I want to immediately cast on for another one!

Reading this SundayNovember 3, 2010

and a little spinning thrown in. I'll be at RabbitEARS, giving a spinning demo and gabbing about books. I might even read a little from the as-yet-unpublished memoir. You should come!

Details here.  It is POSSIBLE I'll have an ARC of the next book to give away....

A Little Mad World with AmyNovember 2, 2010

Amy Singer ( was in town from Toronto and came over for dinner tonight!.Nathania Apple brought her, and we had a GREAT time. I realized as they were almost at the house that I could have used the dinner as an excuse to invite all the local knittas to hang at Chez Hehu, but I didn't think of it in time, so I got Amy and her uke-magic all to myself. (Selfish and lucky at the same time.)

After dinner, we broke out the ukes for a little music. My fingers hurt now, but this is what we got (with a couple of outtakes -- I like the one at the end the best -- it cracks me up HARD every time):

Mad World.


So you wanna play the uke? Dude, it's easy. Really. It's so EASY and super cheap to try out.

1. Get a ukulele. It's fun to start with a Mahalo -- buy one HERE for $21, fun colors. It's an inexpensive little uke, and you can beat it up and it still holds it tuning really well. Great starter uke.

2. When you get it, tune it. How? OH SO EASY: Go here for an online tuner. Don't be scared of all that stuff on the page, just hit the buttons under each string (where it says G C E A) and just turn the pegs until each string makes the same sound.

3. Learn some basic chords -- good, simple video HERE. With C, G, A, and F you can play about a million songs, and with some more simple chords, you can play EVERYTHING.

4. Or don't learn the basics, just start learning songs! Sit with your uke and search around on Youtube, watching tutorials, playing along. I like this one to start out with.

It's Tuesday now -- you could be playing by Friday night! Or today, if you live in a place with a store that sells ukes! (Guitar Center often carries the Mahalo, too.)