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3 posts from December 2012

AdviceDecember 28, 2012

I have all the machines running (dishwasher, laundry, Roomba, kitty litter robot) and I thought I'd drop in real quick-like to tell you the amazing things I've learned this year. 

1. If you need to leave the house in a cat-haired sweatshirt, no makeup, and hair that was washed three days ago, wear the reddest lipstick you own. You'll look like you planned it. 

Photo on 12-28-12 at 2.11 PM

2. A good bra is worth every single fucking penny you spend on it, even if that is eight thousand pennies. 

3. If you have a day you want to spend doing All The Things (as I so frequently do), do yourself a favor and break it down in hour blocks. One hour to write, one hour to clean, one hour to sew. Honor this agreement. At the end of the day (I just did this today for the first time, and it worked so well I can't stand it), you will have actually done all the things. Maybe you didn't complete all the things, but then again maybe you didn't go all A.D.H.D. organizing your pens during the time you could have been sewing had you not lost your damn mind. 

4. When you need help, get it. (When in doubt, reread number 4.) There are people who just live to help, who are waiting for you to ask (this may not be your mother/husband/coworker. You might have to hire someone. That's okay. That's actually preferable in many cases). If you get a lemon, try someone else.

5. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE. I don't know how we don't all know this. Hire a skywriter. The Californians don't know this, people. This is practically life-or-death out here in Oakland.
     When your avocado is ripe on the table (when you squeeze it with your thumbs it says, "Oooh!" not "OW!"), put it in the fridge. It will last for, like, forever. And when you cut into it, it will be perfectly green inside, not all brown and mushy like they are when you've missed The Day You Should Have Cut It. I learned this from the woman at the avocado stand on Highway 46, and I was gobsmacked. So obvious. Come back and thank me. I'm sure you will. (And I'm sure you already how to ripen things faster, esp. avocados: put them in a closed brown paper bag.) 

What did you learn this year that you should have already known? 

The Lucky OneDecember 15, 2012

Yesterday morning, I got off work after having a terrible 48-hour tour in which I barely slept. I think I got about four hours of sleep, total, on my nap breaks. I was a zombie, and I was fighting a migraine because of it. 

But I refused to cancel my Debauched Sewing Circle that was coming to our house at 11:30. I got a tiny nap and got up and made coffee (sweet, sweet coffee -- I'm only drinking it every once in a while now, when I'm headachey, and it's so GOOD it hurts). 

Veronica Wolff, Sophie Littlefield, and Nicole Peeler (in a guest appearance from Pittsburgh!) arrived on the doorstep, and the clatch began. Veronica had never used a sewing machine and wanted to learn. And while I know my way around a bobbin (despite learning the other night on Twitter that I had been putting it in UPSIDE DOWN for thirty years, thus my constant frustration with the jacked-up bobbin thread), what you might not know is Sophie is a triple-black-belt in all things domestic. 

At show-and-tell: 


The quilt top she made before we got our Wonder-Woman topped tree, but which would look SO GOOD on our walls. I'm just saying. 

Look! Vero sewing her first seam! She was awesome! 


Nicole, well, she doesn't sew, and she'd just gotten off the plane. Luckily, we had things for her do, too. 


Advanced Adah-wrangling

And as I flitted from the front porch sewing room back through to the kitchen, I was filled with such joy. This, perhaps, was what my ideal life looked like: Casually hosting friends in the home I've made with the person I love. 

(THIS is why I'm happy to be on the anti-depressants (if you haven't read that post, it's here). THIS is why I'm so glad that I can feel joy again, can connect again, can sit around and really talk and not feel as if I don't belong, which was such a terrible part of the depression.) 

As we sewed though, my exhaustion migraine got worse and worse. By the time we were leaving the house to go to our next adventure, I was barely holding it together, so when we got to Sophie's, I took more pills and she put me to bed in her dark bedroom. 

And the day got even better. I know that's weird, but as I dug my fingers into acupressure points and did the breathing that helps, I could hear laughter from the other room. Juliet Blackwell had arrived by then, and I could hear her infectious giggle, and I could hear Sophie chopping things, and the Dog's whapping tail, and Nikki's Chicago accent, and I felt safe and warm and happy and loved, so much so that the pain abated within 90 minutes, and the real honest-to-God-kill-me-now migraine never landed.

It has always been one of my favorite things in life, being by myself in another room, listening to people I love talk and laugh. Soemtimes I sneak away from parties just to do that. I love being the one washing the dishes  in the kitchen after a dinner party. I try to refuse help. I just want to stand there, barefoot, doing the cutlery by hand, listening to people laugh. There aren't words to describe how happy that makes me. 

By the time our significant others arrived for dinner at Sophie's, I was at the table with everyone, pounding Coca-colas (more sweet, sweet caffeine!).

When I was a little girl and looked ahead to my fabulous imaginary life, it looked like this, I think. As I grew up, I didn't think that fantasy existed. I thought I'd just been silly and naive. But it does happen, and honestly, it regularly happens, in part because I'm lucky, and in part because I've gone out and made it happen. I've surrounded myself with intelligent, driven, kind people who for some reason love the authentic self I reveal to them. We take care of each other. 

That's a really great feeling. I'm not sure what's better than that. 


A Knitting PostDecember 7, 2012


Digit - You know what I wanna do? Check it out. Wait for it...



Digit - Wut. 


Knitting News

I'm in the knitting doldrums. 

I'm not sure how I got here. I've been here before, of course, and the knitting wind eventually picked up and blew me to the right merino shore, but I'm not enjoying it. I'm working on a blue cabled cardigan which I'm already predicting won't be right. I'm already mad at it (and myself) because I majorly screwed up and had to rip two weeks of work (you know what that is in writing-a-novel terms? A hot minute. Don't know why it's bothering me so much.)

I don't know why I think it's not going to be right, except I fear it might end up too big. But I've been around this particular block enough times to know that I never really know. The sweater I thought would never fit me because I was making it too small ended up being the one sweater I've worn most this year. Sweaters I'm sure I'll love the whole time I'm knitting them end up wrong, and I never see it coming. (I do love this year's Mischke -- I like to put the top down at night in the cold, foggy air, and wear it while I run the seatwarmer.) 

But mostly, I've been just . . . reluctant to knit. I look at my knitting bag and I sigh. I don't WANT to knit on that blue cardigan. I want to START something, something else, right now. 


I've assuaged the startitis by making a few small things (socks*! Did you remember how satisfying it is to finish something in a few evenings? I didn't!). I find that every year around the 6th of December, I decide to make all the things for everyone. It's ridiculous. And I always fail. But yesterday I literally used my break at work to make an emergency run to the yarn store for hat yarn. And I have a gajillion sewing projects I want to make. 


I did make a purse. It's no great shakes, but it's a good prototype, and I know what I want to do differently next time. Based on the Phoebe free pattern/tutorial

And I still don't know what I actually want to be knitting. I would love to be deep into a complex shawl that I've mostly memorized. You know that time? When you don't need the chart, and you think you'll be knitting it for years? I love that part. (Funny, when I trained for that marathon, I liked the mid-distances best. Of a 20 mile run, I love miles 12-15. I love being in the middle of a novel, too, stuck in the thick of it.) 

What I don't want to do is start something that requires great concentration to begin (like a shawl). I don't want to be in the beginning of a sweater. What I should do is pick up that damned blue sweater (THIS pattern for the curious) and finish it because just maybe it will be all right. I have to remember that during every book, I'm sure I'm the worst writer in the world. I know I'll never pull it off. Everyone will know I'm a fake. 

Then I just keep writing. 

I guess I'll just keep knitting. (I honestly thought I was going to write this blog-post to give myself permission to start something new and awesome. I didn't know I was going to lecture myself. Way to go, me?) 

HEY, SCREW THAT! A couple of you just reminded me what's important -- that I love what I'm doing. I'm going to start something else. Just as soon as I figure out what that is. 

*That sock up there is Amy Klimt's self-striping sock yarn. Her yarn is FABULOUS, and the stripes are to die for, and she can dye any colorway for you. She would have to, because [ahem] I just bought the last skein of it on her Etsy shop