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6 posts from October 2012

Kindle Daily Deal! October 25, 2012

Just a drive-by to say that today (Thursday) and today only, my memoir, A LIFE IN STITCHES, is the Kindle Daily Deal, available for just $1.99. 

Lifeinstitches

Woo! 

Sunday RewardsOctober 21, 2012

Winners of the raffle have been drawn, and we made almost a thousand dollars for the George Mark House! Thank you, friends, with all my heart. (Emails are going out now, more will go out as people pick their favorite of my sweaters.) 

Now, for your rewards! 

IMG_3508

This is a whole pile of ridiculous cute. I don't know how we work under these conditions. 

IMG_3512

Lala bought a cat hammock. (It's stated aim is to "reduce clutter." How? By putting away our cats?) I bet her five bucks we wouldn't get a cat in it. Within four minutes of its installation, I'd lost that money. 

And rather than give you the sloths or kittens I promised you, I give you something better. If you haven't seen this, enjoy. If you have, watch it again. Your heartrate will go down and your hopes for the world will rise, I promise.

Isn't that just the heart-happiest video? I swear it's my favorite of all the millionty-billionty videos I've watched in the wee hours of the night. 

What's your heart-happiest video? Wanna share it in a Sunday come-together meetin' here at Yarnagogo? 

I Have Lost My Damn MindOctober 15, 2012

Again. (I'm aware this might not be a surprise to you.) 

I had almost completely decided not to do NaNoWriMo this year (a lark during which you write a novel in November, as fast as you can). I was pretty okay with that. I didn't know what I wanted to write next (I'm between novels right now), and I didn't have a plan. 

And then my sister said, "Let's do it." Convincing, isn't she? That's all it took. I'm in again, and I actually have an idea I'm trying to wrangle to the ground using yarn instead of rope. 

Again, we'll be going to the Night of Writing Dangerously. If I raise $250, I get to go to the Julia Morgan Ballroom and eat candy and drink booze and write all night with a couple hundred other crazies dressed in noir costumes. It's AMAZING. If I raise $350, I get to take Beth. My fundraising link HERE. And thank you. 

NOWD

(I realize I asked for donations for something else in my last post, and I'm a bit red-faced about doing it twice in a row (or it could be the rosacea. But I don't think so). I promise to put an amazing FREE kitten video in my next post. Maybe kittens and dolphins. And sloths! Playing in yarn!)

Edited to add: We are now funded to go, thanks again to our Fairy Godmother. (Really, I have one! It makes me feel wonderful and magical and like I can really do this thing.) I actually thanked her in the acknowledgements of my second book, her support means that much. Thank you, Fairy Godmother. xoxo

::off to google animal videos::

Janine's Herbed Roasted ChickenOctober 10, 2012

Hey, y'all! Entries are low on the below post, so if you donate to the George Mark House (hospice + children = need), you have a good shot at winning a sweater. I'm just sayin'. And THANK YOU! 

As a perk (don't you need a pick-me-up on Wednesday? Even though I work a truly weird schedule that shifts every six days, Wednesdays can still be rough for me), I thought I'd give you a treat. Actually,  it's a treat from FeralKnitter Janine (who will be here soon! Yay for friend dates!) who said I could share it with you. 

This is the BEST CHICKEN I've ever made. Seriously. And it's so easy. No one can screw this up. The secret is buying bone-in chicken breast. I didn't even know that existed till I looked more closely at my butcher's selection. At my butcher, both breasts come together, which is huge, so I have them cut them apart for me so I don't have to. 

This is crispy and flavored and moist and one hundred percent delicious. Serve on a bed of lettuce and cuke and onion, drizzle the pan drippings and a little lemon over it all? Unreal. (Also, for those of you on the special diets, this is anti-inflammation diet and Paleo approved). 

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Janine's Herbed Roasted Chicken (adapted from SF Chron recipe)

1/4 c  olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp red chile flakes
1 tbsp thyme
salt & pepper
2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 450°.
In a small dish that holds the chicken neatly (say, an 8x8" pan) mix the oil and herbs.
Roll the chicken in the oil until it is coated. Place it skin-side up in the pan.
Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve with juices.
Serves 2. Usually there are leftovers!

 

The George Mark HouseOctober 5, 2012

First off, the winner of the Happier at Home drawing is jdrbel -- you've been emailed! Thanks for subscribing! I love doing random giveaways to people on my list

You guys, I loved this book. I actually liked it better than Rubin's original Happiness Project. (I'm all about home. I love home.) It got me off my ass to do a couple of things that I'd been putting off because they were difficult to do. 

Rubin quoted Mother Teresa at one point (that sounds sanctimonious, but I promise, it wasn't). Mother Teresa said, when asked how people could help her with her mission, "Find your own Calcutta." 

This struck me SO hard. Now, I'm not drawn to assisting a leper colony. 

You know what I am drawn to? Hospice. And specifically, children's end of life hospice.

Years ago, I learned of the existence of the George Mark House, the country's first freestanding palliative care center for dying children in the United States, and I've been unable to stop thinking about them. It's been helping children and their families since 2004 (and is still only one of four children's palliative care homes in the nation). 

In 2010, they had to close due to lack of funds. See, they provide care to children who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. It's a non-profit. They ran out of money to care for children at the end of their lives. They were closed for six months (I thought erroneously they'd shuttered forever and had been broken-hearted about it). 

But they're open again, and they need money.

Okay. I'll give you a minute. Here's a Kleenex.

Last night I put in application to be a volunteer there. I can't tell you how much I want that. But no matter what happens with my app, I want to help in some way. Thus, what follows:

Another thing that Rubin's book helped me to do was to get rid of stuff (oh, how I love to do that). 

I went through my sweaters and found a bunch that I don't wear, that don't suit me (or that are honestly just strangely patterned and/or knitted). I was going to donate them, but I thought that was weird for handknits. I was going to sell them, but I thought that was kind of odd, too.

But this? This is perfect. I'm holding a fundraising drawing for George Mark. 

Every $10 donation gets you an entry (therefore, $50 gets you five entries). At the end of the drawing, I'll pick the eleven winners. Winner number one can have her first pick of the sweaters. Winner number two can have the pick of what's left, et cetera. 

I'd love it if you sent the money to my paypal so I can make one nice donation from The Knitters and Writers.   It's been pointed out to me that Paypal might shut this down as they don't like raffles, so let's just go this simpler route:

Send your donation to the George Mark House directly -- just send me your receipt (to yarnagogo at gmail dot com) so I mark down your entries. 

And thank you, dear hearts. I know money's hard to find these days. So thank you, for anything you can give. Many ten dollar donations add up to very real money that HELPS. YOU are helping. 

With no further ado, here are the eleven sweaters available (click each sweater's pic for Rav/yarnagogo link, etc.). 

Sweater1

Ruby's Bookstore Sweater, from How to Knit a Heart Back Home, Noro Shirakaba. A bit too big for me. 

Sweater2

Drops 110-23, in Paton's Classic Wool. A little rounded shape, esp. in the back. But I do love the knitting of it. 

Leve

Levenwick, Cascade 220. Never worn, never blocked. I didn't even put fasteners on it -- I was victim of the photo fallacy, forgetting that I had boobs. Sigh. 

Sweater3

Cabled chickami, Rowan Calmer. Cute. I just don't wear it. 

Sweater4

Lace Wrap Sweaterbabe #112, Brooks Farm Mas-Acero. I have NEVER been able to make this wrap around me the right way. Someone's body style is perfect for this. Not mine. 

Sweater5

February Lady, Lion Brand Cotton Ease. I love this, but it's too big on me now. 

Sweater6

Spring Forward Fall Back, Knit one Crochet two Cotton. This is also great, but just a wee bit short on my long-waisted torso. 

Sweater7

Coachella, Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. Cute, never wear it (requires racer-back bra). 

Sweater8

Artfibes cardie, Artfibers alpaca. I've wornt the hell out of this, a little nubby. Still a good sweater, just rarely wear it. 

Sweater9

Shapely Tank, Soy silk. Just fine, rarely worn. 

Sweater10

Back in the DAY (bonus points if you were reading me then) - Noro Kureyon Raglan, now with buttons, rather worn out of shape, but still fun. Rarely wear. 

I'll draw winners in two weeks, on October 19th. I'd love your tweets and FB links to this -- let's spread it far and wide, my darlings. Thank you so much for considering donating to this amazing cause. I kiss you on both cheeks, mwah! mwah! 

Really. Thank you, from my heart. 

Red Cowboy Boots (and a giveaway!)October 2, 2012

You know what? Saying nice things really matters. 

Ariat

I often wear this pair of red cowboy boots (Ariats from Zappos, for the curious). I wear them with everything: jeans, skirts, dresses. I wear them while writing, dancing, hiking, and camping. And I get SO MANY compliments on them. I swear to God, those boots break down some kind of social barrier. Perfect strangers catch up to me in airports to say they love my boots. Grumpy old men love them. Teen girls (and their mothers) adore them. 

I feel special every time I wear them, because when I do, people say nice things to me. That's odd, isn't it? That wearing something as simple as boots can make you feel good? The boots aren't me, and I had nothing to do with their construction. I just gave a company my debit card and then I pulled them onto my feet. But I still grin like an idiot when a man playing a trumpet in a mariachi bands shoots me a thumbs-up. 

I think it's true of all kinds of compliments, right? I just opened my email to find a treat of a message, and I feel three feet taller. It's better than using good shampoo, I tell you. Opening your email to find that someone took the time to reach out and say hello is just like being handed a mug of steaming hot cocoa on a rainy morning. Only warmer, and sweeter. 

And what stops us from telling each other when we think nice things? I've had great service from waitresses, and I leave them a big tip, but I rarely flag them down to thank them for being attentive and sweet. The guy at my oil changer place, Roosevelt, has the nicest smile you've ever seen, like sunrise come an hour early, and I've never told him that.

I'm going to start complimenting people more, not only the ones I love, but the people I meet in passing.

To every single person who's ever left a comment here, thank you. To the girl in my teen class who just sent me the most amazing story opening, thank you. To the people who leave Amazon reviews, thank you. 

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Boots in the wild, summer at Bodega Bay 

Everyone loves to be praised. Everyone wants to know they're special. Everyone wants to be seen and heard and appreciated. 

May you all feel today as if you're wearing red cowboy boots. 

* Because I'm in the mood, I'm going to give away a book! I'm really enjoying Gretchen Rubin's new book, Happier at Home, and I'll send a copy (either print or e-version) to some lucky gal or fella. Just be on my mailing list, and you're automatically entered! (I never sell names or spam.) I'll draw the winner at the end of the week. MWAH!