09 April, 2019

proof of life

It's spring, blah blab April cruel months blah blah. But here in SoCal, it's when the Renaissance Festival happens, which seems strange since I grew up with summer Ren Faires, but whatever. I do not miss the summer temperatures when one is laced into a leather bodice.

Here is proof that Nous and I are not, in fact, dead. Or even particularly sunburned, because a) sunscreen, duh, and b) hats!

It was opening weekend, which can be a little chaotic, but also the one cool day for the next five and, probably more important, since it's just the end of the first week of spring quarter (and my HS class is on spring break), there were no assignments requiring commentary over the weekend, so we went. I mean, we can't miss Faire. (I don't think I've missed a Faire since college days, when I used to work at one. That belt in the photo? From those days. And because it's peeling and basically disintegrating, this was its last Faire year.)

Anyway. It was not a year of big purchases, but I did find some fresh roasted coffee in a thoroughly appropriate blend. I AM deviant. And I am a witch* because that is what we call women who will not have it with the patriarchy, and who also might know a few things about herbs or spells or who make things or, you know, whatever. (Like knitting. That greenish bit beside the bag is a tea-cozy that looks like a bubbling-over cauldron from this pattern here.)
*Which is not to say I am a Wiccan--though I was, once, and I was deviant about that, too, which is why I'm not anymore.

Anyway, I will leave you with one more piece of photographic evidence of my witchery, because everyone knows all witches have black cats, and I have TWO.

Sometimes I need visible proof that they actually do like each other, and also just how much bigger Murdercat is than Tinycat, and how much she does not give a shit about that.

18 February, 2019

in case of actual content, pet the cat

I am given to understand that pictures of cats suffice for actual content. I would produce actual content, see, but there are book revisions happening for How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse, which is coming out in October, and which is engaging all of my word-production except for professionally required comments on student writing and letters of recommendation.

So here: Murdercat and Tinycat, enjoying a rare day of sunlight in this otherwise rainy winter (which is fine by me, this rain, except when I have to drive in it. The other drivers are dangerous, and also the engineers who designed street drainage were not especially skilled, and the car is not a goddamned longboat.) There are two complete cats in this photo, I promise.

I am also given to understand that black cats are not as Instagrammable (seriously told this by someone who works in cat adoption) as cats with colorful fur. I wish to argue that, in fact, even black cats have color when sufficient sunlight is applied. Tinycat (there on the right, lying on top of her own head) is turning auburn in her senescence. She turned 11 this month.

For comparison, here she is in 2008, about 3 months into her existence. Note the striping.

Yeah. That's all I got. Break's over. Back to revisions. Enjoy the cats; they're enjoying the sunlight.

26 November, 2018

I am thankful for boxes. And no boxes.

We are moved. We are (mostly) unpacked. The boxes, some of which have moved with us twice now, have been sent to the great recycling dumpster in the sky (really, the parking lot). Books are shelved, art is hung, and only two things broke. One of them, unfortunately, was a light bulb on a lethal collision with a bookshelf on the deep-pile* living room carpet.  I found out there was still glass in the carpet yesterday.

Ask me how I discovered this. I dare you.

*this is the carpet that comes with the place. I would have wood, if left to my own.

07 November, 2018


Right, so remember when I said I was restless because I was between writing projects and waiting for notes on edits? Haha, yes, the universe heard! And the universe did deliver unto us (she says, shifting into Bible-speak) a campus apartment, which is bigger than this one and actually less expensive, but which we need to take possession of... today. Literally, keys in hand today, appliances (hopefully) delivered tomorrow. (We knew about this apartment two weeks ago. It's not like they sprang it on us overnight, but we had, like, 48 hours to accept and get the paperwork in motion.) The truck to move the heavy things comes in a week and a half (because we are too old to haul shit up and down flights of stairs anymore. I mean, we could, but good lord, why?) ...other than all the things we will hand-move, like guitars and framed art and fragile objects and the plants and the entirety of the kitchen. Plenty to carry, yes, let someone else carry the couch and chairs.

So for the near future, I am grateful to circumstances that I don't have a writing deadline, other than those student-related, because this apartment is transmuting into cardboard boxes and chaos.

And lest y'all think I pay no attention to politics, today I have guarded hope, although I am bitter as week-old grounds that we didn't flip CA 45 blue.

30 September, 2018

yes sir yes sir one bag full

So that bagful of related fibers I started spinning last entry is, well, spun. I've got roughly 750 yards of worsted in a BFL/silk/I dunno, something woolly blend. I was expecting more purple and blue; I am a little surprised by the prevalence of the golds and greens. I think the greyish cast is mostly from variations of lavenders plus the light in the room, and that, when it's knit into whatever it becomes, the overall effect will be more purple-y. 

This is my contribution of beauty to what has otherwise been an ugly couple of weeks.

15 September, 2018

now is the autumn of your discontent

I am feeling cranky and at odds with... everything? Not really combative, more restless. Like I should be doing something but I'm not, and whatever I've forgotten/am neglecting is going to bite me in the ass. This is what happens when Type A personalities have nothing on the immediate agenda. I'm like a border collie without sheep. Pretty soon I'm gonna start chewing on the furniture and digging in the garden and okay, letting this metaphor go now.

Part of it's the university teaching quarter starts in 2 weeks, but the HS class already started, like, a month ago, and I'm in that limbo between working my ass off and having something to do one day a week for 3 hours. My just-finished novel (RORY TWO)  is off at my agent, and I haven't gotten the editorial notes on the first book (formerly SRP, now How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse, aka RORY ONE). I'm not writing anything at the moment. Not that I don't have ideas. It's just I don't want to go launching into a new project when I know revisions are coming.

Instead, I'm spinning a lot of fiber (like that bagful on the right. It's, like, 4-5 hanks of compatible colorways all mixed up to be spun out at random).  I'm making Christmas socks (2.5 pairs of 5, or halfway done!) and bingeing Netflix and Prime series. (The Good Place has to be one of the best things in a long time.) We've gone hiking a couple of times, now that things have mostly stopped burning. But the last couple of weeks I haven't had anything I had to do except the HS class.

Maybe that's it. I'm freaking out because I'm not under any deadlines. I'm...taking a vacation. It feels weird.

20 August, 2018

the spiral rug

Or, that time I successfully felted BFL blend handspun. BFL is, IME, a PITA to felt. Merino, Icelandic... look at it crossways and it felts. My last rug, even with a merino strand, required two rounds of agitation in hot water and throwing it at a floor (that works. It's magic.).

So. Before felting:

 Note the stitch definition and the large gaps between threads; I deliberately used a bigger needle than the yarn weight called for in hopes that the extra room would allow for extra agitation in the felting process.

Also note that amazing blaze of color in the center. I think all four skeins were the same colorway, but the first and last were definitely a different dye lot. (The first might be a different colorway; the orange is pretty distinctive. I don't know because I get fiber from M's excess stash and it's not labeled.) Anyway, also note the grey striping makes it seem wavy and wrinkled, but I assure you, it's flat.

I was so damned happy to be done with this rug that I forgot all about bagging the project and sticking a towel into the cycle to give it something to felt against. I just threw it in hot with a drop of Soak and let it go. Maybe that's the secret, although everything going through the washer for the next few days is going to sport tufts of wool.

I wish I'd remembered to measure it... unfelted, it was about 36 inches in diameter, I think. Here's a before and after with Murdercat for scale.