December 23, 2009

Booklove- back with a vengeance!

*Just a disclaimer: I wrote this post a few days ago, when it actually was booklove day. Unfortunately, we still don't have internet at the house, and first the Boy-Creature got a cold, and then he gave it to me, so we haven't been up for heading out to the library or coffeehouse much. So excuse the lateness.

Oh, booklove. How I've missed you. And there has been so much to report. It's been a busy few weeks, as I'm sure it is for everyone in this fine holiday season.

I think possibly I burned out just the teensiest bit after the NaBloPoMo madness. Like I said, I've learned that I prefer posting only when I really have something to say, and it did take some effort on my part to make myself sit down and blog everyday. So on some level, I was taking a break.

On another level, I actually did get pretty busy. Boy-Creature sort of did, too, so that took up some time as well, since we only have the one car, and we don't know our way around New Orleans that well, so there always had to be a driver (me) and a navigator (him). For the most part. I did have a few solo outings- most notably going to see Rear Window at the historic Prytania Theater in the Garden District. I love Jimmy Stewart, and he only gets better on the big screen. Plus, that's my favorite Hitchcock.

The other bit of busyness is that Mom and I were commissioned to do some paintings for the son of a client of hers. So I spent the better part of a week trolling art stores and stretching canvasses and sketching and painting. It was fun, but it took up a lot of reading (and knitting) time.

However, I've still managed to fly through a few books in the last three weeks. First of all, I finished Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, and it was so much fun. Switters is a fantastic character. I haven't read much Tom Robbins in the past, but there's always been a little voice in my mind telling me I should read more of his stuff. That little voice just got more ammunition.

In lesser news (because I'm saving the best for last), I'm still moseying my way through Happy Alchemy and Reading the OED. I'm enjoying them both, but because they're both non-fiction with shorter formats, I can read a little bit at a time and come back to them two weeks later without losing much. So I'll get through them, just probably not terribly soon, since I've got such fabulous reading going on in other areas.

The first is that I finally started reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. And it's incredible. I'm kicking myself for having put it off this long. Within twenty four hours of starting it, I was already 150 pages in. It's thrilling. The story is great, and the characters are exquisitely drawn, and the way Michael Chabon weaves in WWII history alongside escapist magic and comic book lore is so engaging. If you haven't read it, read it. You can't possibly be disappointed. If you have read it, make somebody else read it.

My last bit of book news is something that's probably not as exciting to anyone else as it is to me, but here it is anyway. Another part of all the busy the last few weeks is that we have finally come back to Texas. We'll be here through Christmas and then spend New Years in Louisiana again, and then we'll come back and really get settled. So most of my week has been spent in getting rid of old stuff and trying to make room for our current stuff. It's a challenge making room for an entire other person and all his things in my little room that was already crammed full of things.

We have moved back into my Mom's house, as she's in Louisiana pretty much full time now, so we're having to deal with all of her stuff as well. And Mom and I are the kind of people who hang onto a lot of stuff. Boy-Creature is not. So since we got here, he's been going around the house picking up stuff like the broken-but-cool-looking antique telephone, or the formerly non-stick pan that is now scratched being being non-stick, or the pile of duplicate books we've culled from our shelves, and saying, "Why don't you get rid of this?" He's a get-rid-of-it kind of guy. We're hang-on-to-it-just-in-case-because-you-never-know kind of people. It makes for an interesting relationship.

But that's all beside the point. The point is that one of the things I was actually looking forward to in coming home was renewing my library card. Because I'm a book dork that way. So yesterday, I dropped the Boy-Creature at the coffee house with my laptop so he could use their wi-fi, and I trotted across the street and got a new card! And two books. I would have gotten more, but there was a cup of chai for me getting cold at the coffeehouse. Also, they didn't have very many of the Betsy-Tacy books, and I've been thinking lately about finally finishing the rest of that series.

I got Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's (aka the Yarn Harlot!) Knitting Rules! (which, incidentally, I have already finished) and Jasper Fforde's Lost in a Good Book. It's been several years since I read the first Thursday Next book, The Eyre Affair, but I remembered liking it enough that I figured this would be good. I really did like the first one, too. Enough that parts of it have really stuck in my mind. I still remember the answer to "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" (read the book to find out! It's actually a pretty clever answer), and I remember loving like crazy the idea of them performing Shakespeare's Richard III like Rocky Horror. Now that is booklove. So I'm looking forward to reading this one, too.

So that's the first step in my getting back into Texas life, especially where the library is concerned. The other step will happen after New Years, when I know we'll be here to stay again. That's when I'll trot right back into the library and sign up as a volunteer! And I'll try and find a job, too, but whatever.

December 11, 2009

8.75 square inches of creative inspiration

My mom is a painter. She makes a living painting fancy things in people's houses. Right now, she's doing some work for a woman with a very young son, and she wanted some paintings to hang in his bedroom. I am helping with this, since I minored in art for a few semesters in college (before changing to dance), and I don't think my mom has ever stretched canvas before. I secretly love stretching canvas.

While I was at the art supply store yesterday, I saw these wee little canvasses for sale. The smallest ones weren't even as big as a matchbox. I immediately wanted some. But I didn't buy any.

Until today. I now have ten wee little canvasses waiting for me to paint wee little paintings on them. I have a few vague ideas, maybe painting little cartoony animals, or symbols, or crazy little messages, but no real plans for them yet. I can't wait to see how they'll turn out.

December 6, 2009

Girlcrush

I think this right here may be my favorite blog post of anywhere. Of EVER. I love her. Can I be her when I grow up? Not that she's grown up, either.

December 4, 2009

Belated birthday wishes

Two days ago, this blog turned one year old. I missed it, which is why I'm guiltily posting about it today. It hasn't been a bad year for the blog, but there are still other things I want done with it. Part of me suspects that me missing it's one-year anniversary is a telling sign. But maybe I'm being overly dramatic about a not-so-monumental day. It is a marvelously blustery day today, though, all gray and cold, and even a little bit rainy, just like I like it, and I am cozy inside our echo-y little house. There has been much reading and knitting, and I've enjoyed it. A lot.

But I'll still be glad to go back to Texas and get a job. I'm very much getting to the point that I've had just about enough of this sitting around waiting business.

November 30, 2009

NaBloPoMo success!

So it's the thirtieth of the month. I have blogged every day this month. And I have come to the conclusion that sometimes I just don't have much to say. Like today.

I liked blogging more often, and having to make myself think more about it and put more effort into it, but I sort of think I should probably only post when there's something to actually post about. And today is not one of those days. So I'm off.

Have a nice day.

November 29, 2009

Kung-fu avoidance skills

I'm afraid I may have a cold coming on. But I don't seem to have a fever, so I'm going to remain in denial and go see "Fantastic Mr. Fox" with the Boy-Creature and best friend.

Denial is more fun than staying home and eating soup. We'll just make sure to sit away from other people, as much as can be done at the seven o'clock showing on the Sunday night of a holiday weekend.

Denial! I has it!

November 28, 2009

Crawling towards the finish line

As fun as this week has been, I am so glad it's almost over, and that I don't really have any big plans for Christmas.

I am exhausted! Good exhausted, because it's been a good month, but still exhausted. We left Austin, and we're back in Arlington for tonight, and probably tomorrow. And for the moment, we're hanging out with friends playing music and talking. I've got my ukulele and our old friend has her guitar, and we're all singing and laughing. It's fun.

So I'm going to get back to it now. Maybe tomorrow, when I find some wi-fi, since there's no internet at the house, I'll have a wee bit more stamina for a longer post. Maybe.

November 27, 2009

The Tour de Grass, 2009

It has been a long, fun day. The whole reason we're in Austin is for the Boy-Creature Thanksgiving tradition, the Tour de Grass. His uncle and his friends started playing back when they were in college about twenty-four years ago, and they all get together again every year.

The kids croquet tournament started at about ten this morning, and then the adults started a couple of hours later. We've been playing ever since, and the game is still going on as I type this. It's down to sixth people, and I just got knocked out, so I came in seventh.

So I'm out, and only lasted about halfway, but the good news is that I don't have to stand out in the cold anymore. It gets awfully hard to see those balls in the dark, too. I've got the feeling back in my fingers, and my toes are getting there. So all in all, a good day.

November 26, 2009

Turkey turkey turkey

Wanna know what I'm thankful for?


Hand-knitted socks.

I started decreasing for the toe while we waited for the THREE turkeys to finish cooking (Seriously. They're not kidding when they say everything's bigger in Texas), and I finished and grafted the toe while fending off my second turkey coma of the week.

It's been a pretty good week.

November 25, 2009

The halfway point

I was thinking that I was too tired to bang out a post, but then I realized that if I put it off until later, that would mean I'd have to go downstairs and be social and whatnot.

Nearly everyone has arrived for the Thanksgiving festivities, so the house is crammed full. I'm right at that halfway point of a big trip where I'm tired of people and just want a nap. But I'm trying to squelch that and stay friendly.

On the upside, part of the reason I'm so knackered is because we've been running all around Austin seeing all sorts of awesome stuff, and it's been great. I'm really loving it.

But now even MORE people have shown up, so now I really do have to go downstairs and be friendly.

November 24, 2009

An admirable goal

I'm really enjoying Austin, and all it's beautiful weirdness. Anyone familiar with their beloved slogan, Keep Austin Weird, will find this as no surprise. But I'm enjoying it.

We went to this great indie bookstore today that I loved. And I was noticing a trend in the things I was picking up and looking at, which got me thinking about my tastes, and the things I want to write. I'm just drawn to strangeness. All the things that are a little bit tilted and tainted and veering away from the norm, if not just all out bizarre. I've been thinking a lot about this today. That I have all that same odd creativity lurking in my head, I just need to work more on getting it out and onto paper. So that will be my goal for awhile, to try to loosen those creative muscles that have been stagnant lately.

In short, I will try to be weirder. That should make the Boy-Creature happy, right?

November 23, 2009

Autumn in Austin

It is a beautiful night in Austin tonight. Boy-Creature and I ran around downtown today, and then came back to hang out at the house. Everyone is cooking and drinking and laughing. The guys keep arguing over who gets to control the stereo, and who has the best collection on his ipod, and who has the best taste in classic music. There's a cool breeze coming off the pond behind the house, and I was listening to that part in "Night moves" where Bob Seger is singing about autumn closing in, and it just seemed like such a perfect moment.

Mom said we should see as much of Austin as we can, and see if we might like to live here. I will be applying to UT for grad school, so it's not out of the question. The couple that owns the house even offered to rent us a room while we find jobs and a place, if we do decide we want to come here. But I'm not making any decisions tonight. We're here until Saturday, so we've got five days to see how we feel.

If it could always be like it is tonight, I might just say yes.

November 22, 2009

Go west, young man

This morning, we're packing up and heading west again. Almost due west, according to my good friend Google Maps. I'm pretty much all packed and ready to go. Just waiting for a couple of podcasts to finish downloading, and for Boy-Creature to get out of the shower and get himself together. And then we're off! Very exciting.

I was told there should be internet at the house where we're staying, so here's hoping that's true, so I can keep up with the blogging. It would suck to make it to the last week of NaBloPoMo and then lose out on making it to the end. So fingers crossed for that, and wish me happy travelling, folks!

November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving, part I

Today we had our big family dinner for Thanksgiving. Over forty people showed up, which is more than we were supposed to have. Luckily, I somehow managed to get first in line for food, so I got plenty. And yet, there are still leftovers. As it should be.

So I ate a lot, and then took a turkey nap with my mom's kitty in her room, and now I'm going back downstairs to hang out with whatever family hasn't left yet. And then I think Boy-Creature and I are going to leave and try to go see "An Education" tonight. And then tomorrow we're off to Austin, for part 2 of our Thanksgiving adventures! Very exciting.

November 20, 2009

Sixty-seven percent!

Hooray for making it two thirds of the way through NaBloPoMo! Very exciting. Anyway.

Today we're at Gram's house, and staying the night. Tomorrow is our big family Thanksgiving dinner. It's a really, REALLY big family, and so many people had other plans last year that they decided to have the family dinner the weekend before. And everybody liked it enough that they decided to do it again this year. So we came across the lake early(ish) this morning, to cook and hang out.

I made two batches of sausage swirls, which are one of my favorite foods in the universe. They're so yummy. I don't have a recipe I can link to, because it's one of those family recipes that's written on index cards or in those cookbooks where you write in your own recipe. I have no idea where it originally came from. Maybe one of those Southern Living cookbooks. But anyway, it's just a layer of dough and a layer of Jimmy Dean sausage (one regular, one hot) rolled out flat, and you roll them up like a jelly roll, then slice and bake. Right now they're cooling in the fridge, and I'll slice and bake tomorrow.

Otherwise, we're mostly just hanging out. We went to the grocery, where Boy-Creature got his contribution to the dinner (four cans of jellied cranberry sauce. He will also do his slicing tomorrow), and now we're mostly just hanging out. We watched "The Office" and "30 Rock" and I knit, and now I guess I'll go back to the kitchen and see if I can help with anything.

November 19, 2009

Knitting update

Another week has gone by, and a lot of knitting has happened. I'm nearly done with the first of three balls of yarn on the super secret Christmas gift project, so it's coming along well. Especially considering it was only a week ago that I had to start over. So thank goodness for that.

The sock is coming along. I turned the heel yesterday, and I'm through the decreases and now I'm just knitting the foot. See?


I'm having a few annoying little doubts about the heel. I think it may be a little too big, but I couldn't decide. So I'm still waffling about whether I want to rip back and redo it or not. I can definitely say that I like the flap heel better than this one. It just feels sturdier to me, like it'll last longer. But then I've never worn hand-knit socks, so I don't have any frame of reference for how well they'll hold up. Other than those little hesitations, it's going well.

There is one other little bit of news. Remember this sweater?


The sweater that I finished back in July? Well, confession: I hadn't actually, entirely finished finished it. I just finished the knitting. But it's cool enough now to wear a sweater, so I decided I want to wear it to the big Thanksgiving dinner we're having this Saturday, with the whole family. So I sat down yesterday to weave in all the ends- and there were a lot of them. So it's actually finished now. Hooray! Finally.

November 18, 2009

A moment of seriousness

I like this internet thing. I really do. I've got the blog, I've got the plurk, and I spend way too much time on Ravelry. And even though I'm normally way behind on all the techie stuff (I have avoided instant messaging like the plague, and my phone can't even get text messages), I really like where web 2.0 has been going. Some really amazing things are happening on the web.

But, and I'm sure this will come as a shock to no one, some really low, frankly disgusting things are happening on the web as well. Boy-Creature has actually learned to shield me from the things I don't want to see, because they are out there. I don't mean pop-up porn ads, either. I mean the disturbing things that people post on YouTube and on blogs and call them news, when really it's just voyeurism at its sickest.

I hate seeing videos of people doing mean things to pets that could be construed as funny, until you stop to look at how freaked out the poor pet is, like when that guy took his cat skydiving by strapping the cat to his chest. I think that guy shouldn't be allowed to have pets, but maybe that's just me. Even when it's an accident, like when the Tour de France bicyclist accidentally hit a dog that had run out into the roadway, I still don't want to see it. Especially then. Because then I fault not the guy who hit the dog. There wasn't much he could have done. I fault the jerk who records it and puts it on the internet. I realize I don't know his intentions in posting it, but by the time the video got to me, it already seemed like yet another stupid video on the web for entertainment. That's not entertainment to me.

But even more than seeing things like that, there was one that Boy-Creature found on the Huffington Post today that just made me sick. I didn't even stick around long enough to read the whole title, because once I saw the gist of it, I left, but it was something about a police car that ran off the road and killed two people. Bad enough as it is, but somehow the video surveillance from inside the cop car ended up on the internet. So people are sitting around today, watching people get killed. And I hate that thought. I really don't understand the people who think things like that need to be strewn across the web for anyone to see, and I never will. I get that it does constitute news, as far as our media is concerned, but there's a difference between reporting the event and sharing the real-time video of it happening. It feels like there are no boundaries anymore. I can't help but wonder how the families of the victims feel, knowing complete strangers can watch that video in between checking out LolCats and updating their Twitter statuses.

I just don't get it. And I try to stay away from that sort of internet.

November 17, 2009

Hold onto your hats, it's way too exciting around here.

Today we learned that I am extremely possessive when it comes to my jigsaw puzzles. I hate when I do two-thirds of a puzzle (including the whole bottom third that was just GRASS), and someone else comes along and decides to help on the last bit. And the closer it gets to the end of the puzzle, the more I want the other person to go away, until I'm hoarding a handful of odd pieces that I'm keeping just so that the other person can't do them.

Luckily, the Boy-Creature is really good at getting me to admit when I'm being thoroughly ridiculous, and with putting up with that ridiculosity. So the Stonehenge puzzle is done now. Maybe tomorrow we'll start on the wacky cow that got tangled in the clothesline!

God, I need a job.

November 16, 2009

Rainstorm

It's pouring down rain tonight in New Orleans. And while it mostly just means it's harder to see and people drive just as crazily as they do when it's not raining, I still like the rain. There wasn't nearly enough of it in San Diego. So I'm enjoying my night so far. It's not much to report, and I'm sure it doesn't make for terribly interesting blog reading, but we can't be thrilling all the time, now can we? So it'll do.

November 15, 2009

Killing time

It's another lazy Sunday around here. We saw "A Serious Man" last night, which was an excellent movie, but it meant we were out pretty late, so I'm all sleepy today. We're still mostly just killing time. Which makes for lots of knitting, and video games (we've moved on from Lego Star Wars to Lego Indiana Jones), and jigsaw puzzles, and of course reading.

I'm still reading Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates and Happy Alchemy, and they're still both really good. The Tom Robbins is just so funny and strange, and Switters is a fabulous character. I get the feeling it's about to get really good, too. I can feel a big plot movement coming on. And Happy Alchemy is fascinating. He's postulating on all this really interesting stuff about Greek culture and society, and how we really can't understand it from our cultural perspective, because there are such enormous differences in our cultures, even though our "democratic" society is somewhat based on theirs. It makes for great reading.

And that's about all I have to report today. Not much, but it's still pretty nice for a lazy Sunday.

November 14, 2009

Jonesing for a bagel fix

I think it's going to be a fun-filled day. There's a weird little art festival in Covington that my mom wants us to go to, plus, Boy-Creature has been foaming at the mouth to go see "A Serious Man" and it's playing in Hammond. So there will be actual things done today! Very exciting. Maybe I'll take pictures or something. As proof that I actually go out and do things sometimes, it's not all just knitting and reading books.

But first, we need bagels.

November 13, 2009

Low caffeine tolerance

So last night I went to a coffeehouse for the wi-fi signal, because I couldn't get a connection at the house. Just another reason I'm looking forward to getting a job and our own place again. But at said coffeehouse, you have to spend at least five dollars to get a passcode for access to the wi-fi. So I got this iced coffee thing, because it's really yummy, and it's overpriced. My usual cup of hot tea will not hit five bucks- probably not even with a biscotti. So I was drinking coffee at ten at night, and I don't eat or drink much of anything with caffeine lately, which means I was up all night last night. On the bright side, I got plenty of knitting and reading and drawing done. On the downside, it's mid-afternoon, and I'm expecting to start crashing soon. So it's going to be a lazy day.

I might start a puzzle later. Fasten your seat belts.

November 12, 2009

Yarny goodness

It's been another week of unemployment, so another week of lots of knitting getting done.

The sooper seekrit Christmas project has suffered yet another setback, hopefully the last. On this last attempt, I was almost to the end of the first of two balls of yarn. That hurt to frog. Hopefully I've finally landed on the right yarn. Fingers crossed, because starting over might actually kill me. Or I might hang myself with a hank of hand-painted. So fingers crossed. And the yarn that I frogged will just become another pair of socks. You can never have too many socks, right?

In more public news, I've started a sock with the FIRST yarn I attempted the gift with. With which I attempted the gift. It's going incredibly quickly. I think I'm gaining confidence on the sock front. Also, I had nothing else to knit in between the times when I decided to frog the second attempt gift and when I acquired new yarn for the third attempt. So here's my progress so far:


That's the progress of two days of knitting. That's a quarter of a sock! That's so much faster than the last pair! So that feels good. The pattern is called Slave to the Plurk, from Terry Ross, and I'm loving it. The yarn still isn't exactly my favorite colors, but it at least looks less like cat yak than the gift did. And if I truly end up hating them, I can always wear them under boots or something. I'll find a silver lining if it kills me!

The other news is that BOY-CREATURE ASKED ME TO TEACH HIM TO KNIT!!! I'm not sure if he wants that announced across the interwebs, but he didn't expressly say not to, so I'll do it anyway.


That was his progress as of this morning, when I took that picture. I taught him to cast on and knit, and he did most of that without supervision! He's doing awesome! He has since learned to purl, and how to switch between purl and knit, and - brace yourselves - how to cable! He wants to learn to make himself cabled hats, and maybe a scarf or something, and maybe even his own sweater someday. How amazing is that?

My boyfriend knits now. Does yours? Try not to be too jealous.

November 11, 2009

Plans and changes

So two days ago I finally told my mom that we're going to Fort Worth instead of staying in New Orleans. We're having a hard time finding jobs, and it doesn't really feel like where we want to be, even if it is just until one or both of us goes to grad school. And considering that I want to start grad school next fall, and one of them is in the DFW area, it kinda makes sense to just head that way.

This was a weird decision for me. The first time the Boy-Creature suggested it, I was caught way off guard, and was not prepared for it, and I got all freaked out and upset. I grew up in Arlington (right next door to Fort Worth), and spent my freshman year at TCU, where I was doing everything I could to transfer to an out-of-state school and get out of there as soon as possible. I never really wanted to go back, and I never even really considered it until now. So after the initial freakout, that's the plan.

It's weird, to be going back while trying to move forward at the same time. A part of me still isn't sure if this is what I want, but it's what we're doing. So wish us luck.

November 10, 2009

Scenes from an Italian coffeehouse

Tonight, the Boy-Creature and I are out at a coffeehouse, as we're growing tired of stealing wireless internet from the innocent neighbors. Plus, there was a near-hurricane that turned out not to be a hurricane yesterday, but it's still very windy, and we're having trouble getting a good enough signal. So we're out.

And as soon as we sat down, I started wishing I had brought something to write with. I only brought the basics: wallet, laptop, book, and lip gloss. So I am without my Moleskine, or my little notebook, or even a pen. It's dreadful. Luckily I've managed to wrest the laptop (MY laptop, I might add) from him. I really like this place. It's an Italian espresso cafe, and it's chock full of students. The Asian kids at the table directly next to us have biochemistry textbooks and little plastic containers of trail mix from Whole Foods to munch with their tea and juice and tiny cups of espresso. The blondes in UNO sweatshirts at the next table are drinking pink, frothy, iced things. The brunettes on the other side have textbooks and notebooks and papers spread all over the table, and there's a nicely-dressed young man drinking a glass of red wine and reading T.S. Eliot at the booth in the corner.

When I was still in college in Santa Fe and I had either a big block of reading or writing to do, I would go to the Starbucks on the Plaza and sit for hours, sipping chai and munching cookies or pumpkin bread or croissants. I've gotten a lot of work done in coffeehouses over the last five or six years. And here I am again, typing at a laptop and sipping some iced coffee thing with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle on top. It was pretty tasty, too

November 9, 2009

Career path inspiration

I've been planning for awhile now to go back to school (hopefully next fall) to get my masters in library sciences, and go be a librarian somewhere. I love libraries, because I love books, and I love being around them, and sharing them with other people. And at this point, that's mostly the extent of what I plan to do with the degree.

But there are people who get library degrees and go on to work as archivists, among other things, and they go work in museums and places like that, that are about preserving not just books and documents, but history as well.

Yesterday I read a post on Neil Gaiman's blog where he put a link to a site called Curious Expeditions, which in itself is pretty amazing (and you should go check it out). But on the sidebar, in the list of reader favorites, is the link to the Librophiliac Love Letter post, there are dozens of photos of breathtaking libraries from all over the world.

I'd be lying if I didn't admit that part of me wants to work somewhere like that. Not just surrounded by the ordinary books that anyone in the world can check out, but to work alongside treasures, in a beautiful place built to honor and preserve them.

November 8, 2009

Attention span required

This morning, I was wondering what I could blog about today, and then I finally remembered it's Sunday. I can't remember what day of the week it is anymore. I need a job again.

Anyway. Sunday means booklove day! It also means I made it through the first week of NaBloPoMo! All good things. So onto business.

I finished Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and it was fantastic. It really does fly by. The story is so good, and it keeps taking all sorts of delicious turns that you think will go one way, and then they go somewhere completely unexpected, and it's all still marvelous. I loved it, and I've already passed it on to my mom for her to read it.

Since then, I also finished David Sedaris' When you are Engulfed in Flames. I like David Sedaris' writing just fine, but his books go by so fast for me, and this time I actually think it's not just because I don't have a job and I can read half the book in a day if I feel like it. I think his kind of writing just slides past me very quickly. So while it's still a really funny book, and I'd still recommend it to anyone looking for something strange and entertaining, it's not my favorite type of writing.

Now I've started reading the other book I bought when I got the David Sedaris. Boy-Creature and I went to this little independent bookstore near Magazine Street called the Maple Street Book Shop. When we got there, it turned out they actually have two shops right next to each other, one for used books, and one for new. We only went in the used side. So I got the David Sedaris for a little over five bucks, and Robertson Davies' Happy Alchemy for five bucks as well. Not bad, for two fairly new books.

I've read Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy, which are some of his more famous works, if I'm not mistaken. I loved Fifth Business, very much, and while I wasn't crazy about The Manticore, it was ok; the last of the three, World of Wonders, was also very good, but not a terribly close second. Davies is a pretty prolific writer, and I can't pretend to be that versed in his books, but I enjoyed those books enough that I bought this just based on it being his writing. Happy Alchemy is a posthumous collection of his essays, speeches, and thoughts on music and theater. I'm not very far into it yet, but I like it so far.

The other thing I started is Tom Robbins' Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates. I've read even less of it than the Davies, because I just started it this morning and I seem to have almost no attention span today, but I think I'll like it. I read Even Cowgirls Get the Blues when I was in high school, and I've heard a lot of his other books are even better than that. Fierce Invalids... came recommended by a friend who lent it to my mom, who has since passed it on to me, so I've got a feeling I'll like it. So far he reminds me a little of Christopher Moore, although no monsters or demons or vampires have shown up yet, and I don't entirely expect them to. But I'm looking forward to reading more of it.

November 7, 2009

At Gram's house

Today I'm blogging at my Grandparents' house, on the computer that has been around since my junior year of high school. Just the fact that it still turns on is a testament to how little my mom likes to spend money on new things, if there's even a slight chance she can just fix the old one. Some of the old stuff doesn't actually get fixed, and it gets turned into something else. Outside, there is a three-legged bathtub holding up racks of plants. In addition to who knows what else.

I'm also typing on one of those old clicky keyboards that I don't even think they make anymore. People seem to prefer much quieter keyboards these days. And I type fast, and the noise is getting annoying, so I'm thinking it'll be a short post today.

It's just interesting hanging around this house, and seeing what has changed, and seeing the things that have never changed for as long as I can remember.

The other bit of news from today is that I can't get my laptop to find the wireless signal here, so I've actually been getting a little bit of writing done.

November 6, 2009

Fear of the dining dead

I know it's not how you're supposed to judge your self, or your relationships, but sometimes I start to think about how other people see Boy-Creature and me. Sometimes I wonder if strangers look at us and try to figure us out, and whether they think we're happy together. It bothers me the most in restaurants.

There are some times when we'll be out, and there are long periods where we just sit there, and don't say anything. Maybe they're not even as long as I think, maybe it's just that I'm self-conscious and they start to seem interminable. It always makes me think of that part in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" when he's talking about the dining dead, those bored couples who just stare off into space because there's something wrong in their relationship. I worry that people might think we're the dining dead, when really it's one of those comfortable silences. Plus, we both had mostly monotonous jobs, and there's very little fodder for conversation from that arena.

Every time we have one of those nights, I wonder if people think that about us, and I want to stand up and announce that really we're ok, and we're happy together. I've thought before about how when we're at home, we make each other laugh all the time. It makes me want to tell people, "You should see us in private! You'd be so envious of how happy and fun we are!"

Last night we had one of those rare nights out when everything was perfect. Boy-Creature was in this hyper, hilarious mood and it was rubbing off on me, which was good, because I'd been really crabby and snapped at him for no reason earlier. But we were laughing outside the restaurant, and then when we went in, we got seated right away, so we didn't have to wait around by the hostess stand. And we kept laughing through the whole meal, and we were sharing food and the waitress was nice. I found myself secretly hoping people saw us like that, even though we were at this tiny table kind of wedged behind this half-wall near the door. The restaurant was kind of crowded. But even if no one saw or cared, we had fun.

And we still do. Earlier today, I did something obnoxious and ridiculous, and the look on his face was so funny I laughed until I started crying. The true sign of a good relationship.

November 5, 2009

A knitter! With actual knitting!

My god, how long has it been since there was some knitting on this blog?!? Way too long. And I've gotten so much done!

Introducing... (wait for it...)


My first socks! They're finally done! And now they get to sit around for two months until Christmas. But still, it's a marvelous feeling, finally conquering something that had so many missed starts. And the second one went so much faster than the first. I think it was because of the combination of feeling more sure that it would turn out right (since the first one did), and because I have very little else to do these days than knit and read and write and send out resumes.

But during the whole driving across the country part of this moving trip, we did stop at one yarn store. There was a new one that opened up in Santa Fe right before graduation, and I never got to go while I was still there. So this time I made sure we went there. And I got my very first KOIGU!


All the knitters out there understand why I'm so excited. It's Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino, which is one of the most beloved yarns out there. I just wish I could have afforded more. But two skeins will have to do for now. It's just so pretty! And my camera kinda washes out colors, so you can only sort of tell from that picture how gorgeous it is. I have no idea what I'll make out of it, but it's gorgeous, and I can't wait to knit with it.


I also got a mini-skein of Opal Harry Potter sock yarn in Draco, because it was only two dollars and the little baby skeins are so cute. I should have put something in the picture for scale, because you can't really tell, but this picture is just about actual size. I figure I'll make a cuff or something out of it.


And finally, I ordered a skein of Cables and Lace yarn. The handsome and oh-so-manly proprietor is a Plurk buddy of mine, and he announced a couple of weeks ago that he would be closing down the shop. So unemployment-enforced yarn diet or no, I scampered over to his site and bought of skein of the Spider's Breath in Seahag (from his Old Man and the Sea line) immediately. It's way less blue than I expected, but just as beautiful as I'd hoped. Again, my camera does weird things to colors, but it's a deep, dark foresty green. I've already decided it's going to be a Whisper Cargidan, from Hannah Fettig's pattern. I had planned to make that sweater out of a different yarn, but the Cables and Lace is so gorgeous, I can already tell I'll get plenty of wear out of it.

As for what I'm actually knitting now, that's a secret. It's a certain Christmas present for a certain someone that doesn't know about it, and I've got a few more presents in the queue, too. So I'll be busy. But not too busy to cast on at least one more something for myself. I think it'll be the Avalon scarf from Susan Pandorf, in my Lime and Violet Intentions yarn. I've been excited to knit with that yarn since the day the nice mailman brought it to me.

One last thing: this is only-quasi knitting-related, in that someone knitted it, but I'm kind of in love with this girl's sweater on the Sartorialist.

Incidentally, if you want to see more of my knitting, you can click over to my Flickr photostream, over there in the sidebar.

November 4, 2009

A few thoughts on moving cross-country (again)

The Boy-Creature and I have been in New Orleans for a little over two weeks now. Sometimes it feels like we just got here, and sometimes it feels more like two months. For some reason, it's only now that I've really started thinking about all this moving business. Maybe it was seeing family the last couple of days, or maybe some of the big-decision-type stuff Boy-Creature and I have been talking about (more on that later). But it's all been on my mind.

This is a different kind of move for me than the ones before. I've only ever moved away, moved out. I went from my home in Texas, to school in Santa Fe, then to California. It was always new. But now I'm moving back. Even though I've never lived in New Orleans, or anywhere in Louisiana, I have so much family here and I've visited here so much, that it feels like going back home. Even though it is new. For the first time it's like moving backwards and forwards at the same time. And even more so, considering the decisions Boy-Creature and I have been making. That has been the real thought-provoker for me. You'll see why soon.

November 3, 2009

The bug has bitten once more

I may have decided not to do NaNoWriMo this year, but as fate would have it - brace yourselves - I've begun writing something anyway.

I only started seriously considering participating this year a week before it started. So I spent much of the last week of October planning. I had decided not to do an actual novel. I've been out of the writing habit so long this last year, that I really didn't think I was up for it. Instead, since there are no real rules to NaNoWriMo, other than don't start until November first and don't stop until you hit 50,000 words, I was thinking about just writing lots and lots of short stories instead.

So throughout the week, I started writing down ideas. Some were brand new. Some were old things that I'd been tinkering with in the back of my brain. Some weren't even fully-formed ideas, just images and thoughts to use as a springboard. I told myself that if I got a good number of ideas down, I would go ahead and do NaNoWriMo. If I came up with only twenty five ideas, that would come out to two thousand words each. And then at the end of the month, not only would I have joined and accomplished in the insane creative explosion that is NaNoWriMo, but I would potentially have twenty five (or so) stories' worth of raw material. That's a lot to work with, after a year of barely writing anything other than some very rough ideas and even rougher drafts. After all, you can edit anything but a blank page.

As the week went on, other things came up, and I didn't get down as many ideas as I'd hoped. Plus, the thoughts of all the stuff I'm up against, what with the move and everything, I had to admit this probably wasn't the year for it. And I was ok with that.

But those ideas were still simmering in my mind. And today I looked over my little list and started to see how similar in tone some of them were. And how this character felt like the beginnings of that one. And how several, if not all of my ideas, could conceivably fit together.

And suddenly I have the beginnings of what could potentially (possibly, maybe, don't say it too loud or you'll scare it away!) be a novel one day.

And I have the first four paragraphs written and the basic framework of an outline.

Wish me luck.

November 2, 2009

Everybody needs an evil plan

Ever since signing up yesterday for NaBloPoMo, the wheels have been turning.

I've been oogling other people's blogs and reading ideas about how people keep up with it, as well as coming up with my own ideas. I've gotten some really good tips, and I've got some stuff planned that I think is going to be fun. Some of it is stuff I've been meaning to do for awhile on this blog. Right now, while it's all starting and I've got the whole month ahead of me, it starts to look like a big, heaping pile of bloggy goodness.

This is going to be a fun month.

November 1, 2009

NaBloPo-FeeFiFoFumEenyMeenyMiney-Mo

Oh my god, it's November.

How did this happen?!? HOW?!?

Crazy. But it's here now. Which means all the NaNo stuff has begun. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers' Month), NaKniSweMo (National Knit a Sweater Month), and so on. There's one for crochet, one for journalling, and one for blogging.

Of which I will be partaking.

The challenge is to blog every day for the month of November. Just like Blogtoberfest, which I forgot about until three days into the month of October. So I'll be doing NaBloPoMo.

I actually did NaNoWriMo in 2006, and I even made it to 50,000 words. But between moving, and job and apartment hunting, AND Christmas knitting (which recently suffered a semi-tragic setback), I don't think piling 50,000 words on top of all that would be the best idea. Even though I did have some really good ideas for what I could write. It kinda sucked having to put my foot down and tell myself not to do it.

But blogging I can do. And this lovely month of November just happens to start on a Sunday, so it's BOOKLOVE DAY!

I'm still just reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and loving it just as much as I was before. It's fantastic, and it's going much faster than I expected, considering it's over 1000 pages long. To anyone who has thought about reading this book, but has been intimidated by the monstrous page-count, read it! It's such a fun read, you'll fly through it.

Granted, it helps that I am still sans job, but still. It's a good read.

October 31, 2009

Jack says hi


Happy Halloween, everybody!

October 25, 2009

A minor (for me) explosion of booklove

There has been so much reading in the last two weeks! In addition to the driving, and the sending out résumés and whatnot. Like I said, unemployment tends to have that effect on things. It also leads to more of me playing those hour-long game trials you can download. I must have played fifty of them last summer while I was killing time before moving to San Diego. And today it started again. I do better with structure in my life. I'm honestly kind of looking forward to finding a job.

But the reading. I finished Unweaving the Rainbow! Finally. It is very good, I can say that. I think it just takes me longer because I'm not used to reading things written the way scientific writing is done. There were parts when I would start comparing it in my mind to how I wrote research papers in high school and college. (Nerd confession: I secretly loved writing research papers. I had a really good system worked out, thanks in large part to my high school junior year English teacher, whom we sometimes referred to as the Burrismonster. It was a term of endearment, I swear. She's one of the much better English teachers I've had over the years. Thanks again, Mrs. Burris, and excellent English teachers everywhere!) There were other parts of Unweaving..., though, where I was racing along because it was all so interesting, and written in a way that was almost thrilling. I'm looking forward to reading a lot more of Dawkins' writing.

I had said that the next book I read would be Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. And then I said it would be The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. But it was neither. We stopped in at my favorite Half Price Books in Dallas (as well as my second favorite Half Price Books in Arlington) and I bought some books. And a Rasputina CD (Ohmygod, why did I not start listening to Rasputina sooner?!). One of the books I got was David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day. I've listened to "This American Life" for ages, so I was already a fan of his work. I even recognized some of the essays in the book that he's read. It's a fantastic book. He's so marvelously strange and funny. I can't imagine anyone that couldn't find something to like in all his writings. He's another one that I want to read more of, and soon.

But I finished the Sedaris in about two days. So now I actually am reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and it's wonderful. I bought this book, I think, last summer (if not even earlier), and now that I'm finally reading it, I've been kicking myself for putting it off so long. I'm racing through it and gobbling up every word. My copy is over 1000 pages long, and I'm already two hundred pages in, after only two days, and I expect to read some more tonight. The story is so engaging, and the language is enchanting and thrilling. I'm getting completely sucked into this book. It's fantastic. I can't wait to read more.

I suppose there is one other booklove-related bit of news, but it's still something I'm mulling over. It's still pretty much just in the planning stages at this point, and I'm not entirely certain I'll go through with it yet (although I'm leaning towards a joyful and resounding YES!). So I'll hold off on announcing that, and see how the brainstorming goes this week.

October 24, 2009

My brain has atrophied in my period of unemployment, and I can't think of a title.

Being unemployed isn't so terrible, although I suspect I only feel that way because I already have an interview set up for this week, and I'm not too close to running out of money yet.

But other than occasionally being a little bored, it's ok. I've gotten a lot of reading and knitting done. And spent a lot of time on the internet. Both finding and applying for jobs, and killing time. I have read a whole lot of blogs the last couple of days.

A bunch of them have been blogs about one thing. Just cookies, or just cute food, or just art, or just soap, or just letters. (It was one of the chocolate blogs that gave me an immense craving for dessert yesterday, and led to us going to Copeland's, which was kind of terrible. The craving lives on.) I always love reading those kind of specialized blogs, and it always makes me think about starting one myself. But I can never manage to pick one thing I would want to blog about. I can't even come close.

Yes, I love chocolate, but do I love it this much? I actually don't think I love chocolate more than I love knitting. But I probably love books more than that. I have too many loves to only write about one in one place. My mind is too scattered to stick to one thing. So I suppose I should just keep reading other people's blogs, and keep blathering about whatever on my own.

Speaking of, sorry about the missed booklove post last week. Moving is exhausting. But like I said, being unemployed makes for a lot of free time for reading. Booklove update tomorrow, my lovelies!

October 13, 2009

Making a list

So there was no booklove post on Sunday because we're mired in the midst of moving cross-country. And we're kind of taking our time about it, seeing friends and going places we've missed. So I was a little busy on Sunday. And then we spent all day Monday in the car, and I didn't feel like it once we got here. And then we've been playing tug-of-war with my laptop since we got here, because Boy-Creature's is packed away somewhere.

Ironically, Sunday was a good day for booklove. Not that I'm reading anything new. Still just Dawkins. I haven't had the mental energy for much else, and some days I don't even have enough just for that. It seems like the majority of the reading I've done for the last two weeks was oogling knitblogs. It still freaks me out that I've gone this long without reading any fiction. I don't think I've gone this long since I learned how to read. It's weird. But I think I'm swinging back that direction, and Sunday helped.

We had breakfast with a good friend of mine who's about to graduate from our alma mater. While I was a creative writing major and dance minor, she's a theater major and an English lit minor, so we have a lot to talk about. And it almost always comes back to books. She mentioned that she had recently finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and that she loved it. Awhile back I started a list of books that I definitely want to read, because it seems like every time I'm actually looking for something new in a bookstore or library, I can't remember what I want. As soon as my friend mentioned it, I knew it needed to go on the list. And the more she talked about it, the more I wanted to read it. So it's on the list.

But later that day, we were in one of my favorite little indie bookstores in Santa Fe. I was looking at the modern firsts, and I found a first edition of Kavalier and Clay. Unfortunately, it was the only copy in that store, and it was a hundred and twenty five bucks. And given that I've been trying not to spend money on books, even when they only cost ten or twelve bucks, I don't think that would be a good idea. Especially since I had already bought yarn that day. (I got my first Koigu! Squee!)

So I expect that while we're back in Texas, we'll be going to my favorite Half Price Books in Dallas. I'll look for it there.

October 4, 2009

Cette fin de semaine

Still only reading Dawkins. I am very happy that I don't have to go back to work tomorrow, I must say. So it's been a nice, relaxing weekend of repacking things, packing more things, and knitting.

I finished my first sock today. Kitchenering the toe and all. And I cast on for the second one. Progress! I also cast on another project this week. A certain project for a certain Christmas present for a certain Someone-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.

The other event of the weekend was that we saw "Coco Before Chanel," which was lovely, and very well done. And it made me want to pick up learning French again. I didn't get very far with it when I took it in college, mostly because I hated the way the teacher taught it. But I've always had it in the back of my mind to try again sometime, and I've been thinking about it more and more lately. So maybe after the move (only a few days now!) will be a good time to start. New town, new language. New-ish, anyway. To both the town and the language.

October 2, 2009

Update!

So as of Wednesday, with a half-day at work and much, much cleaning, we are out of the apartment.

And as of today, the job is no more.

I'm exhausted.

Here is something I was thinking about today at work, instead of thinking about work:

I was listening to a slightly older episode of Lime & Violet, in which there was much talk about Neil Gaiman, and then talk about books, and how much they appreciate the Kindle, which is much lighter than books. Miss Violet was talking about the fact that she finally has shelf space, having gotten rid of some books, and about how happy that made her.

It does not work that way with me.

If I have shelf space, I think, "I must fill that up with more books. I shall go buy some now."

Which made me think of this bit of gloriousness. Ever since I saw that, I have been coveting that library. So I was thinking today about how for now, while I am young, and prone to restlessness and moving about trying to find where I want to plant myself, I try to at least somewhat restrain my book buying.

But once I settle into my life, where I want to be settled, I want my personal library to look something like that.

September 27, 2009

Getting there.

I'm sad to say, there's absolutely nothing new to report this week. Still reading Dawkins. Still not reading any fiction, which is still weird. And now all my books are packed, soon to be followed by the contents of my kitchen. The apartment is slowly but surely starting to look less and less like our apartment. And by the end of the day on Wednesday, it won't be.

September 20, 2009

Ten days to go

I was going to say there's nothing new on the book front this week, but that's not entirely true. I'm still reading Unweaving the Rainbow, but it's going slow because I've been so busy.

The only other thing I'm reading is J.G. Ballard's Vermilion Sands. Re-reading, I should say. I've known for ages that I can't sleep without reading something, but lately I'm learning that fiction works better. So I've been randomly picking short stories out of the book and reading them until I fall asleep. Maybe I'll finish, maybe I won't, but I'm ok either way.

It's been a good weekend, though. Boy-Creature and I drove up to Julian yesterday and went apple-picking.


And then we hung around the town. We ate the best pie I've ever tasted at a little place called Mom's. It was apple cherry crumb, and I actually said "Oh my god," after the first bite. It was incredible. I wish I could have had more. We had cherry sodas at the old-fashioned soda fountain, too. It was a really nice day. And I have to say, there's nothing like eating slices of apple right off the tree that are perfectly sweet and warm from the sun.

Today, I've been knitting and baking. I made gingerbread, which is cooling on the stove right now. I'm hoping it came out ok. We have to be out of the apartment in ten days, so in addition to packing and taking things to Goodwill, I'm trying to use up as much food as I can. So now I'm out of flour, which is good, but I had a little less than the recipe called for. So I tried using some Bisquick as well. Fingers crossed. The batter tasted good, I can say that. And it looks right. I just hope it tastes right, too.

The knitting is most definitely going well, though. I finished my girly sweater this week. I just have to weave in the ends, and soak it in woolwash (Malabrigo smells kinda funny to me), and then that's it! Also, I successfully turned the heel on my first sock, and I've knit enough past the heel now that I was able to try it on. It fits! I think it'll be perfect. Finally! A sock that's going right! And it only took me five months.

September 16, 2009

It's only Wednesday?!?

Ohmahgawd, I'm exhausted and I haven't even truly started packing yet.

Yet another reason I can't wait until we get to New Orleans. Unpacking is so much easier than packing. And at that point, I won't have a pesky job to get in the way of things!

September 13, 2009

Busy day

At least, as busy as it could be after staying in our PJs until past noon.

But I got some knitting done. I've turned my very first heel! I also broke my first knitting needle. Right in the middle of a row. Thank god I managed not to drop any stitches. Luckily it was a set of five double-points, so I finished what I could on the four needles I had left. Michael's didn't have any in that size, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to get more. I did also knit a wee little owl, though. He's blue, with beads for eyes, on a berry-pink clip. He's the fastest knitting project I've ever done. So I'll probably do another sometime soon, maybe in a different color.

Other than that, I went to the grocery store, and forgot to buy rosemary, so I went twice. And then I cooked a nice dinner.

Anyway. Booklove!

In the last couple of weeks, I finished Confederacy of Dunces. I liked it, but not as much as I thought I might. It reminded me of Kingsley Amis' Lucky Jim, which I also only sorta liked. I think if Lucky Jim was the post-WWII modernist view of academia, Dunces was the post-modern view of how the role of the academic was changing. And that's all the big, fancy college talk I'll throw out tonight.

I also read Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris. A short, light book about booklove. My favorite was the essay about compulsive proofreaders. As one of their ranks, I'm one of those people that can't stop myself from thinking "They should have used a hyphen," or "Their, not they're!" When Mom and I first met my brother's girlfriend (or friend who was a girl, or whatever she was. He was vague about it), we liked her because she told us how she went around a grocery store once with a red pen, correcting all the little signs and labels on all the shelves.

Anyway, now I'm only reading Richard Dawkins. Still working on Unweaving the Rainbow. It's been slow going, because I haven't had a ton of time to read. Plus, I like to go a little slower with non-fiction. Especially with science writing, to try to absorb as much of the information as I can. And Dawkins really packs it in, so there's a LOT to absorb.

I probably won't get much time for reading in the next few weeks, either. I've got just over two weeks left at work, and about the same amount of time for us to get packed up and out of the apartment! By this time next month, we should already be in New Orleans! So I'm going through my clothes and things, getting rid of as much as I can, and as with most moves, the books and DVDs will be the first things to get packed. I've been thinking about what to leave unpacked, to read in the meantime. I've been thinking it'll probably be Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. But we'll see. I can never tell what book I'll be in the mood for, until it's actually time to start it.

September 8, 2009

Shiny happy fun stuff!

A selection of fun things I've found on the internet tonight (amidst researching moving stuff and updating my resume):

Monkey Island, in a nutshell
: This game was perhaps a larger part of my childhood than it should have been, but it left its mark. Hence my lingering love of all things pun, and piratical.

Epicute: The Cute Food Blog
: They are so not kidding when they say cute. I wasted way more time on this blog tonight that I should have allowed. My self-discipline is somewhat lagging, post-college. Deep down, I crave structure.

And finally...

The Uptown Soap Co.
: More miniature, tasty-looking, cute things. I've always had this not-so-secret love of hand-made/fancy/pretty soaps, and this blog is a gorgeous chronicle of some amazing soapmakers out there. I realize a blog about soap sounds kind of odd and maybe even boring, but trust me. Take the bait. Click the link. So pretty! And yet somehow, I only use Dove soap. Go figure.

UPDATE!!!
P.S. I'm suddenly very seriously looking at bento blogs and going "Hmm... that looks doable."

September 6, 2009

Adventures!

No booklove post today, although there has been much booklove of late in my world. Boy-Creature and I are taking a labor-day road trip up to Hearst Castle, so I'm spending the morning running about the apartment getting myself together.

Try not to get into too much trouble without me.

September 3, 2009

Things I Should Be Doing

Things have been marvelously busy lately, which makes me feel like a slacker blogger, as I've been spending so much time doing things. But I realize things aren't going to get any less busy for some time now (if ever), so I would do well to include this as one of the things I am Officially Staying On Top Of.

Aside from work, and the library, and dance classes, and reading enough to stay sane, there's all sorts of additional fun things. For one thing, it's been pretty hot out, which means it's even hotter in our apartment. So I've been spending lots of time in coffeehouses. It also makes library time seem even better. Then there's getting ready to move. I've been making all sorts of lists of things to do and take care of and whatnot. I keep thinking I ought to download Evernote again (I had it on my old laptop). Not only to keep track of all the Important Things To Do, but also because I've had a lot of thoughts about writing lately, both about fictiony-type writing, and blogging-writing. I'm even thinking of doing NaNoWriMo again. But then I remind myself that Evernote would just be another technological distraction, to which I am already prone, and that paper lists work just fine. Plus, I can take them with me, since I'm the last person on the planet without a phone that's good for that kind of stuff. One of these days I'll have to go out and get myself a Blackberry. Joining the 21st century in terms of cell phone perks is becoming imminent.

So it is with all this in mind that I rewrite my resume tonight. The job search is also becoming imminent, and in a much more immediate way. So that'll be fun.

Wish me luck.

August 30, 2009

Making progress

No real update on the books this week. I'm still reading A Confederacy of Dunces and Unweaving the Rainbow. I've actually gotten a lot read of Dunces, because it's been too hot to stay in the apartment, so I've spent an enormous amount of time this week sitting in coffeehouses. Which is good, because it was supposed to go back to the library tomorrow. Depending on how today goes, though, I'll probably have to renew it. But it's almost done, so we'll see.

It was a long week, though. I did that thing I was dreading in the last post, and it went much better than I expected. I gave notice at work this week that the Boy-Creature and I are moving in October, to New Orleans. It's been a long time coming, and I couldn't be more excited. I've been counting down the weeks until I leave work.

Even though we decided this some time ago, it didn't really feel real until this week. Now that I've told my manager, and we're making plans for recruiting and training for someone to take my place, everything feels like it's finally moving forward. It helps that we also got the news this week that we have somewhere to stay when we get down there, until we find jobs and get our own place. And I just can't wait to get down there.

August 25, 2009

Tough and unavoidable things

It's only Tuesday, and it's already been a really challenging week. And it's not going to get any easier until I do the dreaded thing that has to be done.

I don't have the energy to expand upon that right now. But I will.

August 22, 2009

Addicted to the busy

Booklove! On time this time. Since I've gotten busier as of late, I've once again become addicted to the feeling of getting things done! Like I used to. It's something I've missed in the last year. Anyone who knew me in high school can tell you, I do very well with a full schedule! Now if I can just get my writing back on track.

Speaking of writing.... Books!

I finished Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and took her back to the library. I'm thinking, though, since I was reading it because of Tim Burton's movie coming out soon, that I should re-read Through the Looking Glass too. I can tell just form the short trailer and the stuff that's come out on the internet that they're pulling from both books for the movie. So I want to get that back in my head, too.

But for now, I'm reading A Confederacy of Dunces. It's one of those books that I've picked up dozens of times, but haven't actually gotten around to reading until now. And it kills me to think how many books I've been meaning to read for so many years. So here's one more off the list! I'm not terribly far in, but it's very funny so far, and I'm excited to get on with it.

August 21, 2009

I really like saying "Plurk"

It's fun. Say it: plurk.

Plurk plurk plurk.

Anyway. I gotta plurk account. It's over there in the sidebar, in case you don't feel like going over to look at it.

Social networking! Welcome to 2009, Kat!

If you want to get your own, go here.

August 18, 2009

Hypocrisy! I has it!

Today on the way home from work, I saw a banner for one of those seasonal stores that are only open for Halloween, and I thought, "Ugh! August is barely half over, that's stupid. Which means the Christmas stuff should start up in about two weeks, which is even worse."

And then I came home to find my 2-disc special edition soundtrack from The Nightmare Before Christmas came from Amazon today! Which I bought partly because I love, love, looooooooove that movie, and partly because I'm crazy about Fiona Apple's cover of "Sally's Song." So I'm currently listening to "What's This?" and I have stopped scoffing at Halloween in August.

I had a dream once about being in rehearsals for a ballet of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and I woke up thinking how amazing that would be. All black and white tutus and creepy sets and makeup. In the back of my mind, I still want to start choreographing.

August 17, 2009

Gravity. She is a harsh mistress.

Some days, I swear I wouldn't make it through the workday without Lime and Violet and Regina Spektor. Most days, though, it's more of a mixed bag of podcasts. Just enough to keep me entertained until it's time to go, in between phone calls.

Today I was listening to one that's come to be one of my favorites, the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. I was only half listening, between working and talking with my office buddy, but after awhile, it very much caught my attention. They were interviewing Michael Goudeau, this guy who's been a professional juggler and clown for years, and now he also writes for Penn Jillette. I didn't hear why they were interviewing him, but it was fascinating. Like a train wreck. Or, more appropriately, like a sideshow act.

Michael Goudeau juggles chainsaws. And if you're interviewing a juggler who juggles chainsaws, how do you not ask how he ended up juggling chainsaws? He said it was like playing chicken with other jugglers. It starts with flaming torches, and then machetes (for which he bled for three days. I probably would have stopped right there), and then axes. And then running chainsaws. Naturally.

The thing is, I love circuses. I've taken static trapeze classes. I loved those classes, and even thought about auditioning for circuses. I have great respect for the circus. People underestimate the art and dedication that goes into it, and they forget the history that goes back centuries. I will always be fascinated with all that stuff.

But as much as I am fascinated by it, and by Michael Goudeau, by extension, I will never understand the impulse to throw several sharp blades ten feet in the air. Much less a running chainsaw.

The world is full of crazy people. Isn't it fantastic?

August 16, 2009

Maybe I should change it to booklove Sundays

Yesterday morning, I baked yumminess:



And I took a nap, while Boy-Creature watched golf (what better time for a nap?). And then I knitted. And today I knitted. And then I took a break to go to the yarn shop, because the #3 needles were too big, and the #1 needles were too small. I'm the proud new owner of a set of #2 needles. So the socks have been cast on yet again.

Luckily, after I got said needles, I took a break and went to my favorite coffee shop for some passionfruit iced tea and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It's the edition with Arthur Rackham's beautiful, iconic illustrations. I'm almost up to the croquet game. I must have looked like a crazy person at the coffeehouse, smiling like a loon. I do love that book.

The best part of it is that it's getting me out of the fiction slump I've been in. Thank god.

And now, back to some knitting. This yarn will become socks if it kills me.

August 12, 2009

Clever titles are overrated.

No package full of fun yet, but it was a very eventful day.

There was a thing at work where we had the option of wearing jeans, so I did just enough to look like I was participating. We had pizza for lunch, courtesy of the company, and then I went with my friend Emy to her sonogram. Our manager wanted to go with her, just because, but she couldn't so I went instead. I got to see the baby's big head (Emy is now even more nervous about the whole pushing out a baby thing), and her heartbeat and stomach, and her little leg. I am still convinced I'm not even remotely interested in having a baby at this point. Just in case you were wondering.

Then more work, which was boring, but luckily didn't last long.

Then to the library! I was a shelving machine today. For which they were very grateful, because Library-Boss-Man (Hi, Bill) said they'd gotten a talking to about being behind on shelving. So I was going as fast as I could, just shelving everything in sight. I like shelving juvenile fiction best. There's just so many of them that I remember reading, and remember fondly. So it makes me happy to go back through them. So many of those books meant so much to me, and a lot of them still do. I checked out Alices's Adventures in Wonderland, because I've been wanting to read it again before Tim Burton's movie comes out. I want to see how faithful he'll be to the original. Plus, I haven't read it in so long, and I've been in the mood for strange stories lately.

Anyway, tomorrow should be good, too. We're going to see "Wicked" tomorrow night, and I'm hugely looking forward to it. All this time and I've still never seen it. Yay!

August 11, 2009

Spoiler alert!!!

Sort of a spoiler alert, anyway. The card from my Christmas in July swap gift came today!!! (Ignore the fact that it's August. July sucked for a lot of people on the Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Ravelry boards.)

My swapper was the lovely and awesome Jillygirl, of the fantastic gummi-bear ravatar. I've meant to tell her for awhile now how much I like her ravatar, but haven't gotten around to it. I'll tell her when I'm posting about the actual package.

Anyway, like I said, I got the card today. I'm hoping the actual package will come tomorrow, although I'm sort of worried they might keep it at the post office, since both Boy-Creature and I will be working in the morning. They've left packages with next-door-neighbor-girl before, so maybe they'll do that again. Fingers crossed.

Especially since she mentioned something that's in the package, which I am now super-hyped up about. She sent me a spindle! I can start learning to spin yarn! And it's totally not my fault! I've fought it for this long without caving in to the desire. Until Jillygirl came along and gave me a little push!

Now I have to go do some roving shopping over on Etsy.

August 8, 2009

The lazy! It has me in its grip.

I had every intention of going to the library to actually get something to read today (and maybe the first disc or two of Doctor Who), but alas, I did not.

So I'll go tomorrow.

I have been monumentally lazy since I finished I Capture the Castle. Haven't read a bit of fiction since, and it's weird. I am still reading, but only non-fiction. I haven't gone this long without any in ages. I did end up sticking with the Peter Mayle, French Lessons, but that didn't last long. So I'm down to only one book, which is equally as weird as not reading any fiction.

What I am reading is Richard Dawkins' Unweaving the Rainbow. For several years now, I've had this passing interest in physics. I hated the math side of it when I actually had to take it in high school. I tend to only like math when I can put it in use. Like with stitch count in a gauge swatch for a sweater, or calculating how much overtime pay I should be getting. I'm great with that kind of math. But the actual science of it fascinates me. What little I know about it does, anyway. For ages, I've wanted to read more about it, so I'd keep buying science books all through college, but I never had the time to read them. So now that I'm out of college, I'm finally getting to them.
There's just so much that's fascinating about it. There's very little that makes me geek out the way quantum mechanics does. And astronomy. I used to leave the television on the NASA channel when they were showing their video files taken from satellites. There were some shots of this one ice shelf in Antarctica (which I naturally can't remember the name of) that was completely mesmerizing. And this book is written to exactly that purpose. We live in an amazing universe, and people tend to forget that when faced with all the theories and complexities and whatnot. People forget that science is crazily interesting. Like Calvin said, there's treasure everywhere.

August 6, 2009

::sigh::

Remember the thing that now looked like this:


Yeah. It doesn't anymore. Yet again, it wouldn't fit. As in, I couldn't even get it close to my heel, much less over it. I'm starting to worry I might be sock cursed.

But I will press on. I've got the next pattern to try all picked out, and I just be way more diligent with the gauge swatches and trying it on as I go.

I will knit some socks.

Eventually.

August 4, 2009

Bloglove, with a hint of encouragement

Saturday slipped past me, and I felt a wee bit guilty for not doing a booklove update (although not as guilty as I feel for not having any other kinds of posts for what has now becomes weeks, instead of just days). And then I was sick most of the day Sunday, so I didn't care that it was slipping past me.

Suddenly it's Tuesday, and I'm beginning to pay more attention to what a lazy blogger I've been lately. Especially if I ever want this blog to be anything special, which I do. I have all these ideas and visions for what I want it to be. It's far from there yet. But I'm working on it. Slowly.

Anyway.

The knitting has been going fabulously lately, what with finishing the aforementioned first sweater and finally getting to cast on new things. I'm working on another sweater, which is almost done. It's much thicker yarn, on much bigger needles, and it's a much smaller sweater, so it has flown past. I wanted to try to finish it tonight, but the summer weather has thwarted me. It's just a wee bit too warm and humid to be knitting with thick, squishy wool. So I shall wait until it cools off some. So in the meantime, I blog. And oogle other people's blogs.

This new one that I love, I found through a fellow knitter's profile page on Ravelry. It's owl in the dark, and she's a knitter and singer (maybe not necessarily in that order, though). I actually already had one of her patterns in my favorites from some time ago, but just now made my way over to her project page. Her stuff (and her blog, with her lovely cats and music) makes me feel all girly and ruffly, which is pretty unlike me, so that's saying something. She seems like something out of fairy tale.

Which is enormously encouraging to me. I like knowing that it is possible in this world to build a life that is full of whimsy and little bits of wonderful. Because that is pretty much all I want from this life. To fill it with all the little bits of wonderful and extraordinariness that I can get my hands on. As someone who is stuck in the 9 to 5 life and only pursuing the things I love in my spare time, for the time being, I'm constantly reminding myself that it doesn't just have to be this way, and that it won't always be this way. I just have to keep working to make sure of it. That's all.

July 25, 2009

Booklove

Oh, it's been a long week. Very, very full of busy, and knitting, and actually not a whole lot of reading.

I finished I Capture the Castle, which was lovely and funny all the way through. I want my mom to read it, too. I probably could have finished it last weekend, right after I started it, if I'd tried. I got a third of the way through it on Saturday, and the about two thirds through on Sunday, if not more. Like I said, it was a busy, busy week, so all the rest of the reading I did was in little spurts of a few pages before I fell asleep (I can't sleep without reading something. Anything. I just need words to sleep). But it stretched through the week.

And now I can't decide what to read next. And the library is already closed today. They close very early on Saturdays. So I'm stuck with all the books I already own. What torture. Just kidding.

I have a feeling it'll end up more Peter Mayle. I bought French Lessons the last time I was back in Texas, and I wandered through the first few pages the other day. It seemed to go pretty well (as has all the Mayle I've ever read), so I'll most likely keep going with it.

Honestly, my mind isn't much on books today, anyway. Because I finally finished my first sweater!


That's where most of my time has gone this week. The only thing left to do is weave in the yarn ends, and that's it! Done! Triumph!

July 18, 2009

Introducing: Booklove Saturdays

While there has been a tremendous lack of blogging lately, I have still been doing a lot of thinking about blogging, and what I want to do with it. I have some ideas. Mainly, to blog more. So I am tearing myself away from the fantastic book I'm reading to type a bit.

One of those ideas I had is that I want to start doing some weekly things, to trick myself into at least doing that much (anyone who struggles with their creative processes will know the value of tricking oneself. Bribes work, too). One for books, and one for knits.

It's been a good weeks for books, so I'll start there.

I finished The Thirteen and a Half Lives of Captain Bluebear, by Walter Moers. And it was ok. I don't think it quite measured up to the critic's quote on the cover comparing it in one go to J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams, and Shel Silverstein. I don't think Mr. Moers is quite in their class, but then again, how many people can be? Those are some big literary shoes to fill.
Anyway, it was largely enjoyable and it went by fast, so I'm mostly happy with it, in all its fluff. I did like the pictures. Especially the one of the dragon that went on for eight or nine pages. That was a good one.

I also finished Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World. And of course I liked it. It was about books. Really nice books, which the two writers, Nancy and Larry Goldstone, collect. As one who is happy with the beat-up old library discards that cost a dollar or less, I don't anticipate ever becoming a serious book collector (never say never, though). My strategy with buying books is to get as many as possible for as little as possible (Yay for Half Price Books, my favorite bookstores yet). Where I found three lovely and well-loved copies of Andrew Lang's Fairy Books (Blue, Red, and Green, the first three in the collection), a boxed set of the Griffin and Sabine trilogy, and once a signed copy of Stardust, which I'm still sort of kicking myself for not getting. So Used and Rare was an interesting look at how people get started down that road of spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a single book at a time. I tend to like my books about books with a little more history, like in Nicholas Basbanes' stuff, but it was a nice read.

I'm almost done with Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time, by Dava Sobel. I have Galileo's Daughter, which is probably her best-known work, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. The giant Half Price Books in Dallas has their cartography books shelved right next to the genetics, and I was looking for Richard Dawkins when I came across Longitude and picked it up on impulse. And it sounded interesting, and it is. I started reading it while I was still visiting in Texas, one night when the time-change had me up later than everyone else. And then I didn't want to go to sleep, because it was so interesting. It's only in recent years that I've started really branching out into more non-fiction, especially into science and history writing, but this has been one of my more successful forays. Who knew men puttering around their workshops, inventing clocks that changed the world would make for such lovely reading?

And finally, the mailman rang my doorbell this morning to hand me my copy of I Capture the Castle, which I've been waiting impatiently for all week. I actually visited four bookstores last weekend without finding it, and then finally came home and ordered it off Amazon, along with the newest B-52s CD, "Funplex", which I still have yet to listen to, because I can't seem to stop listening to the newest Regina Spektor CD, "Far".
Nevertheless, I am already four chapters into it, and adoring every word. I wanted to read it after Brenda Dayne talked about it during her Audible spot on her brilliant podcast, Cast On. She mentioned that she fell in love from the first sentence: "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink." It's about a genteel British family, post WWII, living in a crumbling, centuries-old castle on less and less money every year, and that's about all I know so far. But it's very charming, and I'm dying to get on with it. I fear it'll be another weekend in which I don't even leave the apartment.
I must say, as well (and this should make you happy, Mama), reading about how they get by in a castle that's falling apart around them, only reminds me just a little bit of how it's always been in our house, with one unfinished project or another going on. I still wonder if the wall in living room will ever be finished, or if it'll just be studs and drywall until someone buys it as-is. I'm not even going to mention how many of the self-appointed deadlines have gone by on when the house in Louisiana was supposed to be done.

The other literary thing going on this week, is that I started volunteering at the public library. Since I've not only decided to go to grad school for library sciences, but have started narrowing down which schools I'll apply to I figured I ought to get a little experience. So far I like it. They had me start with re-shelving children's books, which was nice. And then they had me throw a bunch of out-dated reference books in the dumpster, which was a little bit traumatic. I did not expect to start my library career by trashing good books. But such is life, I guess. Out with the old. Although, I now know the combination to the padlock at the library's dumpster, and don't think I didn't seriously consider going back to rescue some of those books.
My triumph for the evening was when I sent The Hundred Dresses home with a little girl, just by telling her how much I loved it when I was her age. I hope she loves it too.
And then that was overshadowed by almost getting myself locked in the library and setting off the alarm. I thought the staff would stay a little while after closing to finish up what they're doing, but it turns out they run for the door at closing time. So while I was in the stacks, straightening books and whatnot, I was forgotten, and I didn't come out until they had almost turned the alarm on.
That's a mistake I'll only make once.