November 8, 2011

A NaNoWriMo-themed text conversation

Me: I am 1000 words short for the day, and I have lost all interest.

Tamara: I assume this is Kat... My new phone is blind to friendship.

Me: I do not know this Kat of which you speak. She sounds ravishing. Tell me more.

Tamara: Oh yes, quite ravishing. A thousand words behind her goal, though... So good with bad, you know?

Me: Touche.

November 7, 2011

Excited Kat is excited.

It's snowing, and it seems to be sticking this time. And earlier I heard "Last Christmas" on the radio for the first time.

The holiday season is definitely on the way.

November 1, 2011

It's today!

Twizzlers at my side, it begins.

October 31, 2011

Before I miss it completely...

One thing I really like about working at a college is that fall still feels like a time of year when things start picking up. Fresh starts and new projects - all that fun stuff I've always loved. And it's certainly been that way this year. I moved into my new apartment (which I'm loving more and more all the time) two weeks before the semester started, and the last two months have felt like one exciting thing after another.

This weekend has been no exception.

Friday I had my friends over for the first time since I moved in. A couple of them had already seen it, but this was the first time I'd really had people over, other than just looking in, or helping me move in in the first place. And it was a great night. We carved pumpkins, I made shepherds' pie for the first time (which turned out wonderfully, and which I completely plan to make again), and all around had a really nice night.

Saturday we went in costume to see a few cover bands at the local brewery, where among other things, we saw the worst band in the world. Not just the worst cover band, the worst band. Ever. It was painful to watch, and baffling, as the Ramones really aren't particularly musically challenging. But they made it all sound much, much worse. Than anything else I've ever heard. I'm going to stop myself now, because I feel like I could just go on and on. Luckily, the rest of the night was pretty good.

Sunday I got a couch, and christened it by curling up and watching Stardust and eating leftover shepherd's pie. It may sound boring, but I certainly enjoyed myself. I do love me some Neil Gaiman. And Robert de Niro as Captain Shakespeare will always be my favorite role of his. He's charming.

And today was all about final preparations for NaNoWriMo, which starts tomorrow. I've got my novel sketched out, I spent the evening making lists and notes and whatnot, and I made an incredibly enormous grocery store run. I bought a big haul, and shouldn't need to go back for at least two weeks. Which is good, because I spent a bit more than I intended. But it's all in the name of NaNoWriMo, and at least I managed to make myself buy some healthy stuff. So hopefully by this time tomorrow, I'll be at least 1667 words in.

I still haven't decided if I'm going to attempt both NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo, like I did last year (not that it lasted). I think I'll just wait and see how insane I'm feeling tomorrow. For now, I think I just need to go to bed. Literary abandon awaits!

Happy Halloween, everybody.

October 6, 2011

News and events

I am blogging right now while wearing sunglasses around my apartment. Because I'm so awesome!

Just kidding. Actually, I just got my eyes dilated. They look all weird, and it's hard to focus on things up close. I felt very dorky puttering around my apartment in sunglasses while I made myself yet another cup of peppermint hot chocolate. But at least they're my own, and not those weird roll-up ones they give you. My plan is to hide in my bedroom, the darker of the two rooms in my apartment. Not counting the closet and bathroom, of course. But I don't want to sit in either of those. So I'll hang out and probably watch "Sex and the Single Girl" on Netflix, because sitting in the eye doctor's office and letting my eyes adjust reminded me of that scene where Tony Curtis keeps insisting "It's very bright" while he gets Natalie Wood very, very drunk. And then when the sun goes down, I'll go do some laundry. And then I'll go pack for the second of the three weddings. It's fun times around here, let me tell you!

I do really like my new brainy specs, though. It's been ages since I got a new pair of glasses, so that was my own nerdy brand of excitement.

In other news, fall has most definitely come to Santa Fe. I had not two but three blankets on my bed last night, it's been gray and rainy all week, and there's already snow on the mountains. I love it like this, in spite of the fact that I had to go to the grocery store in the pouring rain the other day. Fall has become my favorite season since coming to Santa Fe, and I think it's mostly because I never had it before. There really isn't a real fall in Texas, and San Diego was more or less the same year round. But it's lovely here. I've already started making big pots of comfort food- red beans and rice, ratatouille, and potato leek soup. I'm baking and knitting more- two things I never feel very inclined to do when it's hot, in spite of how much I love them. Now I'm looking forward to the first snowfall, because I've decided to celebrate it by building the first fire in my woodburning stove. Which I suppose means I should be looking for a cast iron kettle to put on it as a humidifier. Three people have now told me I should do that, so I shall.

The first of the three weddings was this last weekend, and it was way too much fun. Plus, it was on the same day that I went to Taos Sheep and Wool Fest, so it was a lovely day all around. I bought lovely yarn, which I can't wait to make into stuff (a sweater and a cowl or two is what I have planned so far), and then I got all dolled up and headed out. Apparently I did a really good job dolling myself up, because the bride didn't recognize me at first, having met me only once at a baseball game. So I guess it's good that I looked really different from that time I was in a tank top and jeans that I almost immediately dropped ketchup on.

The wedding was at a lovely hotel/resort place in Taos. It was an outdoor ceremony, and we got very lucky. Not only did we narrowly avoid getting rained on, but the bagpiper at the other wedding, elsewhere in the grounds of the resort, stopped just in time for our ceremony to start. But my friend Jeremy and I still couldn't here the woman officiating over the nearby waterfall, so we made up our own dialogue. It was mostly self-explanatory, so it was ok. Once he steps on the glass and they kiss, there's not much else to it. And then we all ate dinner and fought over the cookies on the tables and laughed a lot. My friend, the groom, said I was being seated at the fun table, and he definitely wasn't kidding. I discovered that the gay couple sitting next to me are both in rehearsals for The Nutcracker right now, and I threatened them with a dance-off. I can Sugarplum with the best of them!

And the best part is that I'm even more excited for the two weddings I still have to go to! And for Halloween, and NaNoWriMo, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It's going to be a very good fall, I can tell.

September 27, 2011

I can't stop myself

I made this baked crab macaroni and cheese tonight, with roasted asparagus. And the rest of the mac and cheese is sitting on the stove, and it's still warm and cheesy and gooey, and I can't stop eating it. It's so freaking delicious.

Make this stuff, you guys. Just do it.

September 23, 2011

Chicken or beef?

I know, I know. It's been over a month - again - since I posted. Sorry, Mom.

Honestly, it's mostly been because there hasn't been much to post about. Things have been pretty low-key lately. But it seems they're picking up.

Today I got invited to my third wedding for this year.

It'll be the first one I go to, but the third I'm invited to.

My friends are getting expensive. Luckily, I was invited to this one really last minute (it's next weekend. Luckily, I have a rack full of cute dresses to pick from), so I probably won't be expected to get them a gift, especially since I've already kicked in for the gift we're getting them from everyone at the office. This is a work friend's wedding, if I didn't make that clear.

It's weird getting older. Everyone is getting married all the time, and I already have friends that are having babies. I can't put my finger on what's weird about it, it just sort of is.

August 11, 2011

In case you didn't believe me when I said I was twee...

Yes, that's right.

There are gnomes on the woodburning stove in my new apartment.

I'm probably more excited about this than I should be.

I'm going to give them all names (or gnames, if you will- thanks, Humpback) and backstories.

Because I'm a dork like that. And I love it.

August 5, 2011

I couldn't help it

I said I wasn't going to, but then I did.

I was going to be patient and wait for October. But then Tamara got in to Pottermore. And then people kept posting links to the site to register on plurk. And then I couldn't resist clicking on it.

So I registered this morning.

And I have to say, while I am excited about that, the name I picked has been on my mind all day.

Unlike other web communities, this one doesn't give you free reign to pick whatever name you want. It gives you a choice of five, all of which are some kind of reference to the Potterverse, whether it's mythical creatures, or spells, or potions ingredients, or some mix of those sorts of things.

And the one I picked is very twee.

PixieGlow, with some numbers at the end that I don't remember off the top of my head. As an aside, I wonder how many other PixieGlow-numbers are out there as well. Anyway. I'm PixieGlow-something-or-other. I could just go double check the validation email I got, but I won't bother, as it doesn't matter that much. It's the PixieGlow part I've been thinking about. At the time I wasn't sure why I was drawn to it, but I was, as soon as the screen loaded giving me my options. The others were FlightSpell, something to do with Snidgets, and two that had Cat in them, which I seriously considered. But I picked PixieGlow. And then spent the next hour or two wondering if it was a bit too twee for me.

And then I remembered. I'm a girl who does things like register early for Pottermore. I knit tiny sweaters out of candy-colored yarn. I write fantasy short stories, and I have waist-length fairy tale hair. I've dressed up as fairies and can-can dancers and fictional characters for Halloween. I sing and dance around my apartment all the time, and play the ukulele.

I myself am rather inescapably twee.

So PixieGlow it is.

July 21, 2011


My best friend's little sister (which feels funny to say sometimes, because all three of those sisters are basically my sisters) is getting married in December.

Today she called me and asked me to be her maid of dishonor.

The oldest of them is going to be matron of honor, my best friend will be maid of honor, and I get to be maid of dishonor.

I don't know what that means yet, but it's hilarious that she thought of asking me, and I'm excited either way.

July 16, 2011

Of possibly idle threats, and the affection concealed within them

I find myself today, once again, at work with nothing to do. It has been so, so very slow lately, and it’s sort of exhausting. It really doesn’t help that I’m running on about two hours of pretty restless, not at all deep sleep, and my coffee from this morning has officially worn off. So both in an attempt to entertain myself, and to keep myself from falling asleep at my desk, regardless of the fact that my boss is out today, I am writing this blog post at work. Which is good, because it makes it look like I’m focusing on work things, what with all the typing and stuff.

But I’m not. At all. Every ten minutes or so, I check to see if anything has turned up to do, but usually nothing has, so I go back to trying to entertain myself. As I’m running on the aforementioned very little sleep, I was having more trouble than usual thinking of something to blog about. So I texted my good friend, asking her to give me something to blog about. She said breakfast cereal. Which didn’t thrill me. To which she responded by accusing me of just not being creative enough, which I knew she was going to do as soon as I said it. Or texted it. Or whatever. I’m sleepy. Anyway, after her extremely rude and harsh accusation, she at least amended her suggestion and told me to write about what happens when you sexualize breakfast cereal mascots. And maybe I’m really just that tired, but I just don’t know what to do with that. I have never considered such a thing. Call me vanilla, but cereal boxes just don’t do it for me.

My friends are weird. I like that, honestly. Even when it’s disarming, or threatening some part of my person. Like last night. My cereal-sexualizer (not serial, but cereal) friend’s boyfriend recently got a drastic haircut. He had fairly long, impressively curly hair, as she illustrated on her own blog here. Now he has very short, just discernibly curly hair, as illustrated here. It’s that short, that you almost can’t tell what his hair is like. So last night I saw him for the first time since he was shorn, and he looks very good. He looked good before, but he looks very good now. And I could tell he was thrilled with not having to deal with it, in the summer heat, no less. He was so thrilled that he offered to immediately shave off my own waist-length hair. Quite seriously. When I refused, because it’s taken me seven years to get it back to this length (Since my senior year of high school. Crazy.), he warned me to never fall asleep at their apartment. I believe him.

While most people might be alarmed by that, deep down I found it charming. Mostly because he was so enthusiastic about how great it would be for both of us to shave my head. Apparently I have a nicely shaped head. I spent a good chunk of time later last night thinking how much I enjoy the fact that my friends are all fascinating individuals. Like last week, when another friend and I had an incredibly snarky text conversation that started with him sending me a picture of his sandwich. To be fair, I did bring it on myself, but still. To an outside viewer, I’m certain it would look like a weird conversation, and I enjoy that. I have a lot of those in my life. And I like it that way. They fit well in my world, and certainly keep things interesting.

July 2, 2011

Sheepishly slinking back into the room

Let me just start by saying that I’m completely aware that it has (as of today) been two months since I posted. I was aware of that even before my mom called me and subtly pointed it out. I know. Sorry. There’s been some stuff going on. Namely, the Boy Creature is no more. He’s not dead or anything- he still exists. But he’s no longer my Boy Creature, just an untethered one out there in the world now, and I shall go on existing ridiculously on my own, and that’s come with some adjustments that I’ve been busy adjusting to instead of blogging.

So far, I actually kinda like it, this living alone thing.

I’m getting better and better at keeping myself busy, and I’ve seriously been enjoying cooking for myself. It’s nice when all the healthy fruits and vegetables you buy for yourself don’t immediately get eaten. Plus, now I can buy the frozen pizza with the kind of crust I love that he didn’t like.

I have been thinking a lot about all this blogging, while not blogging. I think that’s part of why I waited so long to post again. I thought of so much stuff to blog about that I didn’t know where to start. The booklove that’s gone on in the past two months – that alone will make for quite a post. I might have to break that up into a few posts. There’s been that much of it.

So long story short, I guess, I’m not gone. I haven’t abandoned you. There might even be more and more of this. I certainly hope so.

May 2, 2011

Booklove: now with arts and crafts

I think all the extra-strange dreams I've had in the last week are because of the book I've been reading. I have strange dreams all the time. Pretty much every time I dream. I've decided it's because there's just a lot going on in my head all the time, because I tend to free associate and skip from one thing to another to another, until I have to backtrack just to figure out how I got to the thought that's currently rattling around in there. But this last week, they've been even weirder than normal.

Last night I finished Patrick Somerville's short story collection, The Universe in Miniature in Miniature, and every single story in it was very odd, and very sad. There was so much sadness inherent in every story that it took me longer to read than I expected, just because I couldn't take it all at once. But they were very good. Especially the last one. While a lot of the stories did have some note of hope buried in there somewhere, the last one, entitled The Machine of Understanding Other People, was wonderful. Thank god they put it last, or I'd have been even sadder. And I loved Confused Aliens. It was very Douglas Adams.

Plus, the book cover (inside and out) had this fantastic design that included instructions for making the book into a mobile, with little planets you could cut out and tie on and then hang the whole thing from your ceiling. The best part was that the last step of the instructions said to call the publishers and demand a refund when you're done making a mobile, since these instructions will have thus rendered the book impossible to actually read. It's a good think I was three-quarters of the way through the book before I noticed those instructions. Other than all the sadness, which wasn't really so bad, since it was all written so well, I had no trouble reading it at all. Not that I'm the kind of person that would cut up one of my books, anyway.

April 25, 2011

Moving on...


Spending plenty of time this weekend in airports, waiting to board two planes that were both delayed, meant I zoomed through those last fifty pages. Plus, I had my car worked on, and spent some time in that waiting room, too.

It's been a long week.

April 11, 2011

Yeah, I know, it's still not Sunday.

Oy. It has been a crazy couple of weeks. But the good news is that I actually got a good bit of reading done.

I finished the Michael Chabon, and it was very good. Plus, I was right about who the main character was. He never says in the book, but there are some pretty clear clues, and I was right! I love being right. But that aside, it was a good book. Which is why I'm looking forward to reading the other Chabon I bought recently, even if that one isn't fiction.

So last weekend we were in Taos, and there's a little, independent bookstore there that I love. Partly because it's a really good store, and partly because they keep cats there. I love a bookstore with cats. So, because I like to support little, independent bookstores that I love, I bought yet another book. It's called Light Boxes, written by Shane Jones. And it was strange, and wonderful, and I liked it a lot. I love strange books. It was like an Aimee Bender short story, but novella-length.

And otherwise, I'm still working my way through the Bryson. Last night, I read myself to sleep to the tune of all the microbes and viruses that should have killed us all by now. It's amazing I didn't have scary dreams. But I just had weird ones. Like usual.

April 9, 2011

I swear, I do eat real food, too

For a bunch of different reasons, I have been doing a lot of baking lately. Sadly, I have not been doing any more exercising than usual, so I expect soon I'll be jiggling right alongside the Pioneer Woman. But everything I've baked has been so good, I feel like I should share it all.

So first I had some bananas that were turning awfully brown. The Boy Creature only eats them when they're practically still green, and while I do like mine with a few spots, there's a limit. If they're so squishy there's no need to chew, then I think there's really nothing to do but bake them into something. So I made this Heavenly Nutella Banana Bread. Normal banana bread is pretty good, but I'm not a big fan of nuts, and it almost always has nuts in it. I like Nutella much better. So while I did like this bread a lot (it was very tasty, and moist), I think next time I'll use a little more of the Nutella. More Nutella, I think, is generally a good idea anyway.

Then one Saturday, I just felt like baking. I've been in that mood a lot the last month or so. So I made the Warm Chocolate Desserts from this cookbook I love, Easy Comfort Food. It's a great book. I love recipe for their mac & cheese, and the chicken pot pie. I think this was the first dessert I made out of the book, and it was wonderful. I hate to admit it, but there was a shameful period when I was standing at the stove eating the leftover chocolate sauce with a spoon. It was so delicious, I couldn't stop myself. I kept thinking of one of my favorite blogs I've discovered lately, the Shameful Baker. I imagine she's had similar experiences. Eventually I managed to make myself stop, and we had some of the chocolate sauce over Blue Bell Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream the next day.

Anyway, then it was St. Patrick's Day, and I just felt like baking these Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. Technically, mine weren't quite Irish Car Bombs. I left out the whiskey ganache. For one thing, I don't own a cupcake corer, or anything that could conveniently be used in its place. And for another, I was taking these to the office, and I thought three kinds of booze might be a bit inappropriate. Also, I was making these on a Wednesday night, and there's only so much time I'm willing to put into baking in my tiny kitchen, where I only own so many bowls to mix things in. Just the batter and icing was enough for me. Everyone in the office seemed to enjoy them, too.

After that was my friend's baby shower. It was thrown by the dinner club that we're both part of. Everyone in the club either works at the school where I work now, or used to work there. So once a month somebody picks a theme, and we all bring something. For the baby shower, it was sort of a tea party, even though I think only one person ended up drinking tea, since our hostess also made a champagne punch that had strawberries in it. So mostly the day was an excuse to eat a couple of tiny sandwiches, and then a bunch of desserts. I brought Madeleines, and most of the women there were surprised that not only did I know what they were, but that I own a Madeleine pan at twenty-four. What can I say? I like baking, and French things. So I went with Madeleines, and came home with half the plate left, plus a big chunk of chocolate bundt cake, a red velvet cupcake, and nearly an entire linzer tart. Like I said, there were a bunch of desserts.

The week after that was the Boy Creature's birthday, and I knew he liked cupcakes, so I made him some of these Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes. They were also delicious. One of our friends at the office called them crackcakes, and wouldn't let himself go near my office so he wouldn't eat them all. Another coworker called me a regular Betty Crocker. I told them I just find recipes on the internet, and then come up with excuses to make them.

Those cupcakes called for buttermilk, and there's only one other recipe I know and love that uses buttermilk, so I made that next. I have no idea where the recipe originally came from, because Mom just sent it to me written in a greeting card, which I keep tucked in my copy of The Joy of Cooking. They're these little upside-down cake sort of things, where you put fruit, butter and brown sugar in the bottom of ramekins and then pour the buttermilk cake batter over the top. The original recipe called for peaches, but I've used different kinds of berries nearly every time I made them. This time I used raspberries, which was good, but then I smeared Nutella over the top of the cake, and it was ten time better. Again, Nutella is always a good idea.

So that brings us up to this week. When my good friend and I had a discussion of how much we like cake. I mentioned that I was thinking of making more Guinness cake, since I had plenty of it left, and the Bailey's for the icing, too. So I did. This time I made this recipe in a bundt pan, instead of more cupcakes. There is, somehow, still almost half the cake sitting on my counter. I don't know how it's lasting so long, because it's great.

Of course, it might be because there are already more baked things around. I had more bananas about to dissolve in their peels this morning, so I made these banana scones with vanilla glaze. And they're wonderful as well! It was the first time I've made my own scones, and it probably won't be the last.

And after actually putting all that in writing, I think I'll be going to the gym tomorrow. And maybe I'll thrown in a salad.

March 29, 2011

I can't help myself

If I keep up this habit, booklove Sunday is eventually going to move through the whole week and wind up back at Sunday again. But I'm still here, and still reading. I'm just really busy again in the times I'm not reading. There was a weekend trip, which is why Sunday passed by, and then today is the Boy-Creature's birthday, so I was making cupcakes last night. The good news is that the busy should really only last for about another week. So here goes booklove Tuesday morning.

Still meandering my way through the Bill Bryson, and surprisingly, still reading The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite as well. I get distracted easily. That's my only excuse.

Plus, I've added a third book. I can't help myself. It's a sickness.

Because of that weekend trip I mentioned, I grabbed one of the new books I'd bought recently. And since said trip consisted of twelve of us crammed in a van, I was trying to pack light, so I literally just grabbed the smallest of the stack. Which, luckily, turned out to be marvelous reading. It's Michael Chabon's The Final Solution, and even though I only started on Friday night, I'm already about six pages from the end. Really, I should have just finished it last night, but my eyes kept dropping shut, and I wasn't retaining anything. Plus, this book is good enough that I really want to actually read what I'm reading. It really is wonderful. I've said before that The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, his most well-known book, is one of the best I've ever read, and this one is just as enjoyable. If you haven't read any of his books, go do it. They're some of the best, most interesting books I've read in ages, and the language is completely lovely.

So after tonight it'll be back down to two. Of course, after that, who knows.

March 21, 2011

More to add to the pile

The entire last week has been nuts, so sadly there has not been a lot of time for reading.

The high point was the Irish car bomb cupcakes I made for Saint Patrick's Day and brought to the office. They were incredibly delicious.

The low point is how awful my allergies have been. The only slight consolation is that everyone is suffering through them alongside me, even the Boy Creature, who tried to claim that he didn't have allergies, and his itchy eyes were just because they were dry. He stopped saying that when his nose started running as badly as mine has been.

So I've been a little bit crabby lately, cupcakes aside. Although the allergies actually have led to a bit more reading, since my sinuses seem to calm down a bit if I'm lying flat on my back. And there's not much else I can do in that position but read. So I have been. Which is good because I went back to that Borders that's closing and bought six more books and three CDs, all for less than the first trip.

I'm still meandering my way through the Bryson, which is still just as enjoyable. But the other thing I'm reading is called The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins.

I tend to love books like this, that are either lists of interesting things, or sort of faux-anthropological studies, like Laren Stover's Bohemian Manifesto and The Bombshell Manual of Style. Those are two of my very favorite books, and always will be. These sorts of books make for pretty light reading, but they're so enjoyable. So far with The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, I've read about the history of fanfares, and elephant-shaped buildings, and the one-time trend in Asia of keeping crickets in tiny, baroque cages as pets, among other things.

I started the book yesterday, and I'll probably be done with it by tomorrow or the next day, but at the moment, I am liking it very much.

March 17, 2011

Just not my thing

For the first time in my life, I am working in an office where women are not in the majority by a huge margin. For some reason, I just kept ending up surrounded by women in offices. But now there are guys around. And apparently it's basketball time.

March madness started this morning, and every guy on our hall is in on it, and they were talking about it all day. Apparently there was an upset. Or something. I didn't care.

I didn't care to the point that when my friend asked me if I wanted to fill in a bracket, I just gave him a blank stare until he slowly backed out of my office.

I so don't care about sports. Any of them.

March 14, 2011

The other ones

I do realize that I didn't do my booklove post. I pretty much counted the whole day as a loss. It was lost to daylight savings time, and the birthday party the night before, where we suddenly realized that it was two thirty in the morning, and we were still playing cards. Which was actually three thirty in the morning. So when I woke up at ten something, it was actually eleven something. So we called it a lazy day and spent it in our PJs, watching Doctor Who and whatnot.

But I did have books to talk about. Last week I mentioned that I managed to limit it to two- sort of. I didn't get around to explaining the sort of.

I'm still working my way through the Bryson. It's fascinating, even though I'm up the part where he's telling all about how easily we could all die when a huge volcano explodes, or when a massive meteor smashes into the planet, or something else dramatic and unpreventable like that. I'm really enjoying it. And I have since finished The Lost Art of Reading, so now it's actually down to one- sort of.

So here are two that I'm sort of reading now, plus some bonus tangentially related booklove.

I did start reading A Novel in a Year, and Heather Sellers' Chapter After Chapter. Heather Sellers' other related book, Page After Page, is probably my favorite book on creative writing that I own. It's the one I always go back to when I'm feeling stuck, or when I feel like I need to kick my own butt to get back to writing. Chapter After Chapter is focused on novel writing.

See the pattern?

I say I'm sort of reading them, because I'm reading them each one little section at a time. While I work on my own little bits of fiction, which I hope will add up to a novel. I doubt that'll happen in a year. Novels take lots of time, especially when you've never really written one. But I hope that at the end of a year, I'll at least have a pile of raw material that could be worked into a novel.

Wish me luck.

March 6, 2011

Adventures in nonfiction

There were years and years when I had a really hard time getting interested in non-fiction. Those days are most definitely gone, as I seem to be in yet another stretch where it's all I'm reading. At the moment, I've managed to limit it to just two. Sort of.

The two I'm reading fit into my plan for the sorts of things I wanted to read after I finished school. I figured the books I'd read would be my way of continuing my own education. So far I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job of it.

First of all, I'm finally reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. I bought it nearly three years ago, right after we graduated college, and I was in San Diego for a short visit with the Boy Creature. Somehow, even though I was the one that had just bought the book, he convinced me to leave it in San Diego with him, so he could read it.

That took him a year. He's not even that slow of a reader, he just only reads every so often. Not every single night, and for several more hours on the weekends (usually), like me. So he finally finished it and gave it back, and for some reason I'm only getting around to it now.

And it's great. Go read it. It's full of really fascinating science and history, and not remotely boring, ever, because Bryson is such a great writer.

The other book I started is not Views from the Loft, like I expected. Although it'll probably be next up. Instead, I'm reading The Lost Art of Reading, and I'll be done with it in no time. It's a very slender volume, as they say, and I zoomed through about a quarter of it today, before I fell asleep. Afternoon reading naps are my favorite kind of naps. Still, I'll probably already be done with it by tomorrow. And then on to the Loft! I think. We'll see how I feel when it's actually time. I never know if I feel like starting a new book until it's just time to start. But it's worked so far.

March 5, 2011

Someday, I hope

I've started a writing project this week, and it's been the main thing on my mind. In lots of different ways.

Now I want one of these to use as one of these.

I just have to figure out where to put it. I don't think it would fit in very well in our apartment complex.

February 27, 2011

Their loss is my gain

The Borders in my neighborhood is closing. Of course, I say "the Borders" like there isn't another one on the south side of town. It's just that the south side one isn't as big, is in a crowded shopping center, and isn't right next to a World Market.

At least I will still have the one Borders. But still, the big one is closing, which means there are lots and lots of discounted books to be had. And after today, I do have several of them.

I'd been thinking a lot this week about how infrequently I'd been blogging lately, and what I could do about that. So I decided I'd bring back booklove Sundays. And dropping over a hundred dollars at Borders seems like a good way to go about that. I could talk about the book I'm actually reading right now, but as it's going a little bit slowly, there's a very good chance I'll still be reading it next weekend. So I'll talk about that then. For now, lookit all the stuff I got!

I did get a couple of non-book things. A cute apron with cupcakes on it, which just happens to match the cute pencil bag with cupcakes on it, which I plan to use as a notions bag for knitting things. Stitch markers and a tape measure and stuff like that. And four knitting magazines. And a journal with typewriters on it. I like all those things. I've already broken in the apron, while I was making some of these.

But all the rest was books. And mostly books about books. Either writing them, or loving them, because I can't seem to get enough of both of those kinds of books. Looking at the stack on the floor by my feet (because my bookshelves are already crammed, and I'm not sure where I'm going to put them), at the top of the stack is The Lost Art of Reading, by David Ulin. It's subtitled "Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time." As someone who both recently signed up for Netflix, and is knitting a stripey cashmere sweater with a really interesting construction that I can't seem to put down, I am certainly distracted. And as it's a short book, I figured it couldn't hurt for easing myself back into reading more. I'd kill to get my attention span back to where it used to be, when I could lie still for hours just reading one book after another.

Next is The 4 A.M Breakthrough from Brian Kitely. I already had the book that came before it, The 3 A.M. Epiphany. Both are about writing, which is the other thing I'd like to be doing a lot more of these days. They're both a collection of prompts and ideas to (hopefully) jump-start writing. This has been on my mind a lot lately. I have one friend who's doing a Master's program in creative writing, and she just turned in her novel to her advisor. I have another friend who is currently editing her novel, and plans to start sending it out to publishers this year. And I have yet another friend enjoying her full ride to Emerson's fantastic Master's program, also in creative writing. I'm feeling lazy. So it's time to get back to work. And more creative writing books won't necessarily help, but they certainly can't hurt.

So I got that one, and another called A Novel in a Year, which is a writing book that's pretty much what it sounds like, and one called Views From the Loft, which I kind of can't wait to start reading. It's essays and interviews and observations and advice from a slew of writers from the famed writers' workshop, the Loft. This ties for the book I bought today that I'm most excited about.

The other I'm thrilled with is Melissa Clark's In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite. I've only glanced through it, but I can't wait both to read it and start cooking lots of recipes that sound amazing. I made myself stop looking at it, because I didn't have any post-its handy, and I refuse to dog-ear the pages. There are a lot of things I'm going to want to cook. But I like that there's a lot of her just writing about food, and eating food, and loving food. I already love the part where she talks about how her parents tricked her into eating so many strange foods as a kid by telling her it was chicken. Rabbit, horse steak, frog, squid. Stuff like that, which any kid would have second thoughts about trying. It was hilarious.

It's enough to make me wish the Oscars weren't on tonight, because a big part of me would like to be reading. But instead, I'm going to go back to knitting and watching. It's time for more stripes on my sweater.

February 23, 2011


I do realize yet another month has gone by without me posting.

It's been a busy month.

There was a school ski trip that I chaperoned. There was lots of knitting, and reading. There was me going to a dinner party, like a grown up or something. There was a group effort from pretty much all of my friends here to get me to start playing Dungeons and Dragons. And finally, there was me getting sick and spending almost a whole week in bed.

I really should be blogging more, for how eventful things have been.

I don't even think I mentioned everything.

January 20, 2011

I probably should have asked permission for this first

I feel the need to share with you all, my mama's reaction to my last post. Here, I present to you an excerpt from her email to me:

I WANT TINY SWEATERS!! I WANT TINY SWEATERS IN EVERY COLOR!!!!!! I want tiny sweaters that color coordinate to what they match! yellow for yellow house,,,red for red brick house,,,grey for silver truck,,, white for white van,,,,blue for something blue,,,,green for something else!!! I don't know yet but I'll get something green and blue and pink and orange and purple and and and aaannnd maybe I should try to calm down and go to bed now. I'll let you know if I still want tiny sweaters tomorrow. By the way sweaters is a really weird word to type. love you mama

I don't feel there's anything else to say.


Classes started on Tuesday, so the campus is full again. It's been a busy, busy couple of weeks. So it was especially nice to go to the new pilates class at the gym. The school I work for is run by a company that runs schools worldwide, and we have over a hundred visiting students from other schools in other countries, mostly Central and South America. The pilates class tonight consisted of me, the teacher, and a flock of girls all chattering in Spanish.

It was a strange class. Partly because the teacher used it as time to practice her own Spanish, so I was trying to follow along based on her gestures towards her abs or back or butt, and partly because even though it was the first class, she did not take it easy on us (my abs and butt are going to be feeling it tomorrow), so it was a constant chorus of "Ay, dios mio!" and "Que?!" If nothing else, it was all kind of funny, and maybe a little bit surreal. But it's really nice having students on campus again.

January 18, 2011

Knitting explosion

My Mama has expressed displeasure at the fact that it's been over a month since I posted. And even longer since I posted pictures. Of anything other than my little Christmas tree, which she got to see in person anyway.

And so it's time for a knitting update! Huzzah!

Up first (these are in no particular order) is my Citron shawl:

It's knit in incredibly fine, soft yarn that's a blend of silk and mohair. It's very light, but still really warm. Not that I'm speaking from real experience. I haven't worn it yet. I love it, but it's not the sort of scarf I'd normally wear, and I haven't been able to figure out what to wear it with. But I will. It's too lovely to waste.

Then there are my mittens, which unlike the shawl, I have worn almost daily since I finished them.

They're a merino-cashmere blend, so they're warm and comfy, and I love them. I showed them to my coworker, and he called me the knitting sensei. I didn't argue, because they are easily the most complicated think I've knit yet. Lots of cables, and bobbles, and slipped stitches, and I had to modify it a bit to make them fit right. But they're fantastic.

And my thermis cowl:

I'm in love with the buttons. That's all I have to say.

And finally, my favorite thing I've knit recently:

The keys under those tiny sweaters look almost exactly alike. So I fixed that. Don't you wish all your keys had tiny sweaters?

Ok, Mama. I hope you're happy now. Maybe soon I'll finish the shawl I'm currently working on (and in love with), and you can see that, too.