Month: September 2008

I am bo-ring

Snaotheus tells me this morning that he’ll call me later today, so I can complain to him about my mother and tell him stories about my dog. This is all I have to talk about. He probably doesn’t want to hear about the mold on my sweet basil plants, either. I am so embarrassed. I have become a boring old woman. 🙁

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Impending dictatorship?

So, will this financial collapse be the thing that the neo-con fascists use as an excuse to take over the country and institute a dictatorship (the historical fate of democracies)?

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Magic afghan project

None of y’all is a knitter, AFAIR, so let me explain. An online knitting umbrella organization,, has carved out a niche as a sort of Knitting Central, with databases of yarns, patterns, projects, etc., etc., etc. It also allows members to start groups—forums that any member can join. You can start a group based on anything—Ravelers for the Assyrian Frog, for instance, or (in this case) the Ankh-Morpork Knitters Guild.

Obviously, this is a group of paramount importance.

This is a delightful bunch of wackos, among whom I proudly count myself, who chat about the Discworld novels of which I am an equally vociferous fan. One of them suggested opting into a lengthy project: reading a DW book a month, and designing / knitting a book-based afghan square, beginning with The Colour of Magic and progressing to the end (about three years out).

This appeals both to the designer and the geek girl in me. Because I tend to be slow and have several other projects going, I started a bit early (official start date is October). Now, one of the vital things to understand about Discworld, other than that it’s flat, rests on four elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle, and progresses slowly as the giant turtle swims through space, is that the presence of magic provides an eighth color, octarine—but it’s the kind of color that you catch from the corner of your eye, and when you turn to look at it, it’s not there.

For my first square, I wanted a background of octarine. Of course, I have to make it up from the colors I have access to and my own imaginings (which I’m sure are very different from sage author Terry Pratchett’s). I kicked it around and around and finally decided that I wanted a deep, vibrant purple with rich, rich blues, and some iridescent, rainbow-colored bits that sparkle subtly and randomly throughout.

Naturally, no such yarn exists. At least not in my town. So I found an acceptable purple and a blue, and tracked down some serging thread that contains all seven earthly colors in tiny-tiny bits on a black field. First, I had to wind off half the serging thread onto a second spool so I could put one sparkly thread with each color of yarn. Then, I wanted to ply the yarns together (four strands: purple, blue, and two of the serging thread) so they’d be twisted together rather than four discrete strands.

Not having a spinning wheel, this meant that I had to do the twisting and plying by hand. Which is tedious. Very, very tedious. Like watching grass grow, paint dry, and spider eggs mature and hatch, all at the same time. After about three hours and maybe 40 yards, I gave up on this and just wound the strands together on the ball. Maybe I’ll try plying again later; maybe not. Anyway, I’m reasonably pleased with the results, though I’d prefer still more intense colors. Unfortunately, color choices depend on whatever palette the Powers That Be have decided are The Colors for This Season. And the PTB, as we all know, are morons.
Since I will probably “embroider” the design I’m thinking of on this fabric, I want a fairly solid texture, and one that evokes what spacetime might look like. Ideally, I’d like an octagonal stitch, but despite having looked through all my Barbara Walker, Mary Thomas and other books, the closest I can find is a hexagon. And those aren’t small enough to allow for easy embroidery.

Anyway, here’s the yarn (although untwisted, so you can’t really tell what it looks like, and the colored sparkly bits show up only as white reflections):


And here are a couple of the stitches I may use: first, plain purl, then sand stitch (front, then back). Unfortunately, the sparkly bits just don’t work with a flash, and without one I have bad illumination so you can’t see them atall, atall. You can see a little nice camera shake in the last one, too. 🙂

Sand stitch, front:


Sand stitch back:


You guys are SO lucky to have a mom who’s both creative and ingenious, I’m tellin’ ya. You should spoil her better. Yeah!

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I think I will live . . .

. . . but I’m not betting the farm on it just yet.

Despite not having any little people around, I came down with a nasty, nasty virus this week. Probably some little snot-gobbler hacked all over the handle of a grocery cart I was unfortunate enough to use last week. Evil little disease vectors, they are.

Anyway, by Wednesday, Tuesday’s sore throat had morphed into a temp and a weather-balloon head. I even had to call work and ask them to take over something I couldn’t possibly do—I’ve never done that before. Thursday I started coughing, and though I haven’t yet had Asthma Day (during which I breathe very carefully and determine from breath to breath whether I need to go to ER), I do sound like I’m about to cough out my lungs.

Today it appeared that I’d likely live, so I foolishly did a bunch of housework (in lieu of a workout, which I’ve not done all week, so I’m twitchy). The house is kinda cleaner, but that was too much. I’m exhausted.

I’ve also seen WAY too many bad movies, and a couple of good ones: “Fido” (spoiler alert: I think the “Fido” link has the full plot; this is very black and terribly funny) and “Fierce People.” Both are worth watching. And read about half of one of a friend’s theology books, which she is allowing me to peruse after she’s finished with the pertinent class (she’s working toward an M.Div.).

Now I feel like I imagine I would had I been run over by six Mack trucks and a herd of rhinoceroses. Rhinoceri? Dunno whether it’s Latin or Greek based.

:cough: :hack: :gurgle: :cack:

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My arms and hands are covered with mosquito bites from the elbow down. I suspect this occurred yesterday when I inadvertently walked through a cloud of the little buggers by the lake. Why they were swarming at noon (they’re supposed to be out early a.m. and dusk), I don’t know.

I also have a sore throat. Maybe I’m coming down with West Vile Nirus (sic)! Yes or no, I itch like a you-know-what.


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Handful o’ heaven

It’s been a crappy couple of weeks, work-wise-speaking, and today didn’t break the streak. Stressful. Overpowering. Obnoxious. Annoying. So here’s what I do to make it go away:


To make it even better, this afternoon the Otises are sproinging about on the railing. I have a shot of one of them lying on my porch swing, drowsing in the sun. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for a better place to live. Whether the house falls into the coulee and I wind up having to pitch a tent is another story. 😉

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. . . p.s. . . .

The undirected-writing ‘speriment last week was a rousing success! I got a couple pages of usable stuff and realized where my thinking had skipped over some things. Best of all it was unspeakably wonderful to actually craft language and attend to lyricism, rhythm, flow, alliteration, elegance and beauty. Never get to do that for pay these days. 😀

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Success! Peaches!

Well, actually it was “Success! Fetch!”, but I couldn’t resist. 😉

My shelter-rescue goggie Blue has been with me for a little over four years. Her previous owner, I’m quite confident, never had her around other dogs or played with her. Despite frequent trips to the fenced-in, three-acre dog park down the street, she has not yet comprehended the concept of “play” as regards either people or dogs. She’s always on duty: vetting the newcomers to be sure they’re not wolves, guarding the perimeter against intruders, herding straying dogs back into the group and breaking up what appear to her to be fights (read: happy dogs wrestling and growling and rolling around on the ground).

She’s finally decided it’s probably OK if she chases the other dogs who are chasing a ball, but wants to be sure she has my permission (I guess she’s figured out who the Big Bitch in the Pack really is!), and has no clue that the ball is the object of the game. Since I started hollering “Good dog!” at her when she runs, she’s getting better about joining in.

Yesterday, several dogs about her size were there and a couple of gangly adolescent puppies. She kinda sorta ran with Shiva, a shaggy shepherd who was totally focused on the ball, and his housemate Guile, a puppy who gamboled happily about. But she kinda sorta didn’t want to run that far away from me, so I walked over to the owner (a slender fellow about 25 or 30, with thick dreads, a scarf on top, and a tiny Van Dyke beard) and said, “I’m sorry to intrude, but apparently my dog thinks I need to be close to the thrower before she’ll run.”

He chuckled and threw the ball. “No problem,” he said. All the dogs raced after it. We started chatting and I told him of Blue’s sad background, that despite encouragement and trying to teach her to play, she steadfastly refused to chase anything.

“Watch this,” I said as the dogs rushed back en masse, panting like a steam engine in distress. I picked up a thick stick, called Blue’s name, and threw it as hard as I could (which wasn’t very hard; I throw like a little girl, only worse).

Blue’s ears perked up, she got this expression of delirious joy on her fuzzy face, and she sprang off after the stick. And picked it up! And carried it around, running all over the place with it!

The young man laughed out loud. “They’ll make a liar out of you.”

I was so tickled that everybody probably thought I was nuts (nothing new there). Yelling encouragement and praise, I threw another stick, and another, and she raced off and picked them all up. She carried them around and taunted me and other dogs with them, but who cares? It was a big step.

Soon she was distracted by two more dogs joining the pack (Peggy and Jack) and they all raced across the three acres until they should have dropped from exhaustion, then ran some more. I’ve never seen her run so much, or have so much fun doing it. She was absolutely joyful, and it was amazingly joyful for me, watching her just be a dog. Success, peaches!

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Stand by. . .

I am trying something today I have never done before, not even (as far as I recall) as a kid: Completely undirected writing. Always, in everything I’ve ever written, I’ve had a goal (plot, point, or article structure) in mind, fiction and nonfiction alike. Today, I am just going to throw characters together and see what happens. This will be either productive and a lot of fun, or a good excuse to take the dog to the park and eat bugs. Stand by for breaking news!

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