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January 2009
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March 2009

one down + easy garter stitch squares

The Diva is up with Grandma for her President's Day week break. My mind still reels at how much easier it is when there is one less kid to deal with. It's probably best that I don't have a time machine because I would use it for wacky crap like going back to one of the days when I was feeling harried with having just the one child so that I could point my finger and laugh at the mom-to-one me.

And if you can follow that sentence, good on ya. Coherency is an option that I am choosing to not exercise today.

In other news, I took all of 20 minutes on Friday to knit a square for the Dizzy Sheep's Blanket for Change.


For a full explanation of why the square looks like it looks, click on the picture below so that you can make it big enough to read:


In other other news, I discovered on Friday that Lisa Horstman has a blog. Who is Lisa Horstman, you ask? Lisa is the former art director for Metro Pulse, the newspaper of my former employ. More importantly, she's a children's book writer/illustrator who is currently doing neat stuff with stuffed monkeys.

I find myself itching to knit some little monkey chapeaux or scarves or socks or something, once I get through my current unpleasantness. And speaking of, I think one of the cooler things about being a visual artist is that you can point to something at the end of the day that you did, even if you can't stand it. At the end of the day, all I can point to a file on my computer desktop and say, "No. It's bigger. I swear!"

It would be nice to have some sort of graphic representation, is all I'm saying.

Right. Back to it.

bird by bird

Thanks for all of the "you go, grrl"s yesterday. Every little bit helps. And, for the record, I'm not on the ledge or anything. Just really frackin' tired of this stupid, stupid book that has become my albatross.

The general grump is that I'm now in the vast and dreaded middle. Beginnings are fun, because there's such a sense of uncharted territory and a certain joy at discovery. Endings are awesome because you know you're almost done. But middles? Middles are hard. You know where you're going but you still have to write all of the damn words that will get you there.

With middles, the voices in your head start to get loud because they are getting bored and tired. They start to suggest that you suck. They start to suggest that it would be best to take a break, even though you know in your rational mind that if you stop, the inertia will be so great that you'll never start again. Feh. Middles.

So, here I am. Still in the middle, which is where I will be for the next couple of weeks, and loathing it. The only thing worse than being here is, frankly, not being here, because I'd still need to through here and would be putting it off.

And that's probably more than you could ever hope to know about my writing process.

We carry on.

i should have been a plumber

I have always been writing this book. I will always be writing this book. This endless writing will never end. Hence the word "endless." Put words in row. Add punctuation. Wonder when world will realize you are an idiot. Realize that world has already caught on and is humoring you, which is appreciated. Put more words in row. Become certain you will never hit word count, because this was a stupid, one-note idea. Make mental note to stop starting sentences with, "wouldn't it be cool if..." You will be writing this book forever. Wonder what made you think this whole writer career boondoggle was a good idea. Also wonder about sanity of editor. Also wonder if editor will still have job in two weeks, given how industry is cratering. If editor doesn't have job, can stop writing? Realize that this is a sad commentary on selfishness and silver linings. Put words in row. Delete words in row. Put new words in row. Delete words in row. Sigh heavily. Wonder if local construction company needs ditch digger. Ditches are very straightforward. Remember how much you hate mud and physical labor. Wonder if you'd make a good coder. Computer code seems straightforward. And no mud. Will risk eyestrain. Put words in row. I have always been writing this book. I will always be writing this book. Add punctuation.

many things make a post

* This is sure to irritate lots of people but Slate's Explainer thinks that sharing a bed with an infant is a bad idea.

* Burn Notice's Fiona is a feminist hero for a postfeminist age.

* Tina Brown explains why it's so hard for me to explain to strangers what I do for a living. I do need to point out, tho, that I enjoy "Gigonomics" and would rather not have a 9-5 job.

* This is mostly for the Featureless Saint, who doesn't understand the relationship I have with my computer.

* Will someone come over and eat Brussels Sprouts with me? No one who lives in this house will touch them -- but I lurves 'em. And, really, 2 lbs of sprouts is far too much for one person to eat in a reasonable amount of time, no matter how much that person loves them.

* Someone stumbled onto my blog with the search string "martini made with ranch dressing." To which I say, ew.

* James Norton at tastes "Thanksgiving in a jar" so that you (and your baby) don't have to. (Also, I always visit on Mondays to get Norton's columns/videos. Love him.)

* Two timely stories from the NYT's Health section: Why you should never blow your nose;  Dr.  Perri Klass, a pediatrician who is also a working mom, weighs in on sending a marginally sick kid to school.

* These are the sorts of thank you notes that I'm going to start writing. Consider this fair warning.

Call me Spink

Yesterday, I took M to see Coraline. * (**)

I was concerned that it might be too creepy for her. I had parental apprehensions.

She loved it, as did I. It's hard to say who loved it more, frankly.  I was completely charmed by the craftsmanship that went into the animations. I loved Mr Bobinski, Ms Spink and Forcible and am wondering how the animators managed to capture the images that I'd built in my head despite the end result looking nothing like them at all. It is a small piece of magic, Coraline is.***

In other news, Locus has started a Slate-esque Writer's Roundtable blog-like object. My installment about end-of-year wrap ups is here.


* Word of warning on that site. If you should click on the link then wander off to the kitchen to warm up some lunch, you will wander back to your computer and wonder why it has become possessed by a vaguely menacing children's choir. It will take you longer to get over this than you might think.

** My wee little town just installed a 3-D screen -- so we even got the full experience. And while I enjoyed the 3-D, it still makes my eyeballs hurt. I think I must stop blinking or something.

*** I'd tell you what M thought but I couldn't get her to articulate it in any detail and didn't want to ruin her enjoyment -- because she clearly did enjoy it -- by peppering her with questions. I'll save that for her teenage years.

writing neepery

1) There is a trade paperback version of Hillbilly Gothic now available. Please buy it. You know, if you'd like.

2) Dan Renzi wants people to post pictures of their desks. I'll go one better, since my desk is a big fat mess. This is what my laptop looks like after three years of use:


The smeary keys aren't dirty. I've actually worn the paint off and you can see the plastic below. And my spacebar has a giant crack in it. I accidentally dropped a weighty metal stapler on it from a high shelf about six months after buying this machine. Yes, I was bitter.

3) Up to 6300 words. Look at me. I'm en fuego.

many things make a post

The Featureless Saint did the math on how much work is left on Sweater Quest. I warned him that math is for sissies. He is skeptical.

But for the curious - I am currently ~4000 words into a 50,000ish word manuscript. It is due March 1. FWIW, I have a pretty good idea what those words will be (and they are scattered about in various notebooks/word files), they just need arranging. Or so I keep telling myself.

If the blog goes quiet all of a sudden, know that I'm working hard or, um, face down on my keyboard with my brain leaking out of my ears.

So, a quickie list:

* I gave very similar writing advice to a college friend not overly long ago. Greg van Eekhout says it better.

* Giant Squid Cake!

* Must get a slice of jelly donut bread pudding. Cost is no object.

* It appears that doctors are overdiagnosing food allergies because the blood tests are unreliable. This changes the Diva's life not at all because she doesn't have an allergy but it is interesting nonetheless.

* Dear Pres. Obama: If you want something done, give it to a very pregnant woman.

* More evidence that the Federal School Lunch program needs to be scrapped and rebuilt.

* Tidbit from Harper's Weekly:

A man in Somerset, England, spent two days trapped beneath his sofa, subsisting on whiskey from a bottle that had rolled within reach. "I thought, Well this isn't too bad," he said.

* Another reason to go to Iowa: artisanal prosciutto.

* Bookshelves of Doom rereads Flowers in the Attic so that you don't have to. (Stolen from Gwenda.)

* I'm linking to these mostly as bait for Trish, who has a weakness for Persian rugs in cross stitch.