Saturday, March 23, 2013

Do not read this while eating

Can of soup.  My Mom always said the stuff floating at the top is the fat (gross) and I should scoop it out before cooking.  I've been doing this for YEARS, but today, I dunno if I believe it anymore.  Anyone want to weigh in?Seriously. If you are eating, or thinking of eating, or even if you're fine on the food front but are easily grossed out, then stop reading now and come back another day when I have some knitting or pretty spring flowers to show you.

Are you sure? You've been warned!

Ok, then, here we go.

Like lots of work-at-home folks, quite often I'll make myself a nice little lunch and eat it at my desk while catching up on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Especially on a day where I can't go for a walk because of the weather, it's a good time to catch up with my friends, to see what's going on in their lives.

So last week I'm happily eating my delicious homemade cream of spinach soup, which, unfortunately, had a slightly bilious appearance, when what should appear in my feed but a rather lengthy description of ... dog vomit. Yes, my friend carefully (and colorfully) described the contents, the texture, and even provided the weight and length (because the dog had eaten a blanket and a leash the week before, and the friend had carefully cleaned off the items and gotten their post-stomach acid stats). And wasn't it all rather a miracle, that the blanket and leash had lasted that long inside the poor dog's stomach?

Uh, no, it was disgusting is what it was. My stomach went, "Sorry, Di. Lunch over. I'm outta here." And I was hungry before that!

The "friend" gave me no warning, no "please read with your discretion," nothing.

I pushed my delicious, but now stomach-curdling, soup aside. Did I learn any kind of lesson?

Nope. I continued to read my Facebook feed, my appetite much diminished.

Next up: a friend who says she hopes she works out hard enough so that she "vomits." O-o-o-okay then. Maybe this is a new kind of "going for the burn" I haven't heard about. Next was an update about a baby diaper explosion and that was it. Game over. Time to move over to Ravelry and look at pretty pictures of yarn.

Weirdly enough, all three updates came from writers. Professional writers. People who can wield English with some skill and who are revered for knowing exactly the right words to say at exactly the right moment. I used to think the nerds my husband works with in Cambridge were the most tone-deaf human beings on the planet, but their only crime is they like to talk about stuff like the Higgs particle or what gene sequencing means for the future of healthcare. Sure, they natter on for hours about these subjects, but the only physiological reaction I have to them is the need to go to sleep, not nausea.

Writers have nerds outnumbered. Not only do they pick subjects that are often inappropriate and disgusting, they have zero sense about when and where to share them. My friend Gwen calls it "diarrhea of the mouth." (Gwen's a writer. See?) The vomit-inducing and lovingly described dog vomit story? Not appropriate to post on Facebook, especially at lunch time. This is observational data you share with your dog's veterinarian, who cares. You want to work out so hard you vomit? I still don't get that one, but maybe look for something less hackneyed than "feel the burn" and go for something clever like, "I wan't to work out so hard that I don't remember it afterwards." That's not so clever, but whatever. I've never felt the need to announce on Facebook how hard I'm going to work out at lunch, so there's that.

And the diaper explosion? About the only person who wants to hear that is ... exactly nobody, I'm afraid.




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fidelity Issues

I've been working on this sweater since December, and while I do enjoy the knitting, especially now that I know how to do cables without a cable hook, all I do is fantasize about other projects. Yes, I'm having some big-time fidelity issues with this sweater. I want to start up something new, something exciting! But I feel like I've made a promise to this sweater, to get it done by St. Patrick's Day, which I, uh, obviously did not honor. Now my goal is April ...ish. And I don't want to get distracted by some other pretty project, which will keep me from making slow and steady project on my cardigan. So I spend my evenings lusting at pattern porn on Ravelry and thinking, "Someday, Di. Someday."

What's left: I'm just starting decreases for the sleeve cap on my second sleeve (got there last night at Knit Night ... hi S if you're reading this!) Then I just have the two front cardigan panels, button bands, neck band, and seaming. I'm feeling more confident about seaming now that I've found some good YouTube videos on seaming moss stitch. Really, the only tricky part left is the picking up of stitches for the button bands and neck band.

So yes, that photo above ... I showed this to S last night and I'm tiny bit concerned. The yarn is all from the same dye lot, but there's definitely a color difference between the sleeves and the back panel. The sleeves are much more yellowish. Here's why I'm trying not to freak. The back panel has already been blocked; the sleeves haven't. If there was something wonky with one of the skeins, it would have showed up in the back panel because I used nearly two skeins of yarn there and you can't tell where one skein ends and the other begins. So I'm hoping when I block the rest of the pieces, the yellowish tint of the yarn will wash away. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The puberty talk

chicks :DA couple weeks ago the school sent a form home asking for my permission to talk about puberty with my son. Of course I signed it. The more sex ed he receives from knowledgable sources, the better.

I have always been open with O about things like sex and puberty. When he was three or four, I remember walking him through the childbirth exhibit at the Museum of Science in Boston, where he got to see, soup to nuts (no pun intended), how babies are made. We refer to our genitals by their proper names: there's no cutesy "weiners" and "va-jay-jays" or the vague "down there" I grew up with. We try to be scientific without being too clinical. I've noticed in the last year or so, O gets a little embarrassed talking about certain aspects of sex, which is completely normal for his age, but oddly, he'd still rather talk to me about it than his father.

O was telling me his gym teacher last week was explaining how the talk would work and he said, "I'll be talking to the girls and Mrs. S will be talking to the boys." When the proper amount of outrage and shrieking registered, the gym teacher held up his hands and said, "Just kidding, kids. I'll be talking to the boys." O said he leaned over to his friend and whispered loudly, "Perv!"

That's my boy.

How times have changed. I remember when I was in fifth grade (1975?), the whole talk was sprung upon me with no warning. I had to be led out of the darkened basement cafeteria, sobbing, when I learned that soon I'd be bleeding every month "down there," and that there were three holes, not two, and that babies didn't come from wishing really hard for one, which explained why motherhood wasn't really working out for me, and that someday a boy would be sticking THAT into me. And not just to make babies!

My mother had to come over to school and pick me up, and I sensed that the school was not happy with her as she led me out of the principal's office. I found out later that the school had mailed a little package home a couple weeks before, complete with a flowered booklet -- written by the friendly folks at Tampax -- my parents were supposed to give me and talk to me about. That evening I could hear my parents, who had just filed for divorce, fighting about it, my father arguing that my mother should have been the one to sit down with me and my mother saying, "But I didn't think she was old enough!"

The result was I became the resident fifth grade sexpert. I had to. Kids were brutal in those days, so I had to fight back with solid information they could use, information I picked up wherever I could. I remember telling some girl that her mother was having twins because her father had sex with her ... twice. Then there was this thing called a "blow job" and it worked by just blowing air on a boy's you-know-what. And that if you looked at too many pictures of naked ladies in the stack of dirty mags your older brother kept in the secret fort down in the woods, you'd turn "gay." Whatever gay was.

Sex education. It's a good thing.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing

I loved Kenneth Branagh's version in the 90s, but Josh Whedon's b&w version looks like it could top it. My favorite Shakespeare comedy, set in modern times ... can't wait till June!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Yes, that's Thank God It's March.

If I had to go another month without being able to walk or ride my bike, I might be tempted to throw in the towel on my car-less in suburbia experiment. I think I can make it, however. Today I'm going to take the first bike ride of the season to the post office so I can get a package in the mail and renew my p.o. box.

I've been super busy with work, sometimes putting in 14 hour days. My coauthor and I got the rights back to our Renegade Writer books last year, so we've been working to build our brand. In the last month, I've edited and formatted one of the books so we could release it electronically through and I also wrote an eBook of my own and released it.

On top of this, I've started writing fiction again and released my first title under a pseudonym a couple weeks ago. This spring, I'm releasing a novella that's part of a trilogy, and I'm super excited about it. I've worked with big publishers and small publishers; I've been lucky enough to work with some terrific literary agents, too. But I have to say, working independently is far more fulfilling. I love everything about it: hiring my own editors, proofreaders, and graphic artists, getting to pick what I want on my book cover, and, of course, pocketing more money per book than I would ever get with a traditional publisher. Of course I love the creative side of writing, but I'm also very left-brained and enjoy marketing and the business side of writing. I'm not sure I ever want to publish a book with a traditional publisher again.

At any rate, all this is making me a terrible blogger and I'm sorry. I haven't even knit very much. Obviously my Aran sweater won't be ready for St. Patrick's Day. Oh well, it's not a race. It'll get done when it gets done.

How are you doing? Is anyone still reading my blog?