Time To Unwind

For most of you, today is part of the weekend. As I’ve mentioned, though, publishing is a 24/7/365 business, so it’s rare to have any real downtime, but I turned in an edit yesterday, a day early. While I have to remain “on call” and monitor email for potential dumpster fires that need extinguishing, this is as close to a day off as I get.

Tom and I have a couple of big household chores we plan to tag-team tomorrow, but I’m more or less caught up for today. While I could get a head start on those tasks, I’ve decided to savor an afternoon with far fewer demands than usual.

Which means knitting and Doctor Who.

Since I’ve been knitting only a few weeks, this is my first official scarf, and only my second real project aside from practice swatches. It definitely has mistakes, but as I know from crochet, part of the learning curve is making mistakes and learning how to fix or minimize them. Overall, I’m happy with the progress.

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This is a feather and fan lace style knit scarf, and you can find this pattern HERE. I’m using Chroma Worsted Superwash Yarn by Knit Picks (70% wool, 30% nylon) in “Vermont.” I’m really loving this yarn!

Whatever you’re doing today, remember to take a little time to take care of yourself! We all need a little time to relax and indulge.

Good Things Lost In Transition

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I want to talk about a book series I used to love and recently rediscovered, but first, some background…

Back in the pre-Kindle, little internet days, the book world was dominated by a few large, New York-based publishing companies. Their process was rigid and slow-moving, though, meaning even if you were a fast writer, you’d have one, or possibly two releases per year.

For avid readers, this was problematic, especially due to no internet. Back then, I kept a book journal, divided by month, and recorded author, title, and a one-line summary of everything I read, which could be anywhere from 10-20 books per month. I would periodically review the journal, note which favorite authors hadn’t released anything lately, make a list, trek to the library, look up to see if they had a new book in or on order, place a reserve, and wait for it to come in.

Yawn. Carving hieroglyphs in stone tablets and floating it down the Nile would be faster.

Then, yahoo and yee-haw, along came the internet in all its literary glory, and the world changed.

Authors had websites and newsletters and libraries were online. Perhaps most significantly, publishing itself changed. More and more small presses appeared, giving authors options they never had before.

I abandoned print books for my beloved Kindle (always named George, and I’m on George IV right now), which meant I could now be reading the second book in a series seconds after finishing the first one. Perfect for an impatient, immediate-gratification person like me.

Near the end of the pre-Kindle days, I came across an urban fantasy series–a favorite genre–at the library. The Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman. It was dark and gritty, but threaded with a fabulous dry, sarcastic, witty humor I loved. The world-building, mythology, and lore are second to none, and the powerful, complicated relationship between brothers Cal and Niko Leandros is indescribably wonderful. If you love the depth and breadth of the Supernatural universe and brothers Sam and Dean, this is right up your alley.

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I devoured the first five or six books as they came hot off the presses. In 2011, I got my first Kindle, how I followed the book world changed, and I lost track of Rob and Cal and Niko for a while. Around that time, Rob was in a serious car accident, which is when I learned she’s actually Robyn, which surprised me. The brother relationship was so profoundly rendered I totally accepted the author must be male. Nope. Maybe this caused a hitch in her big-NY-publisher schedule. But for whatever reason, the series sort of fell off my radar.

Recently, I think due to a feature in Book Bub, I remembered the series. I was ecstatic to discover there were three books I’d not yet read, so I downloaded them all. I read Slashback last week, am currently reading DownFall, and Nevermore is up next. I’m loving getting reacquainted with Cal and Niko and Robin and Promise and the Auphe. (Okay, maybe not the Auphe so much…)

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The hitch is Nevermore, the most recent release, came out in 2015. That’s an eternity in today’s publishing world. I was also disturbed to discover on the series Wikipedia page that book 11, Everwar, is shown as “uncertain” with a notation it was canceled by the publisher, and the author’s website doesn’t appear to have been updated in some time.

Why? Maybe the author is retired or semi-retired from writing, and that’s fine, though I’d love more books. But as someone who works in publishing and is an author myself, I think it has to do with the shift in the publishing industry.

It used to be okay to release a book a year. But now, with so many busy small presses who can work with an author and release books much faster, readers expect that. Those lumbering dinosaurs that are the “big” NY publishing houses have failed to adjust to this, plodding along the path that worked for so many decades. It hasn’t hurt mega-authors like Stephen King, but the lesser-known but still solid authors like Rob Thurman suffer.

Was book 11, Everwar, canceled because it wasn’t good? Highly doubtful. Was it canceled because interest and sales had dropped off? Much more likely. But whose fault is that? In this case, not the author’s. Reading the last books in the series, I know they’re as strong and compelling as they ever were.

One of my all-time favorite series is the Arly Hanks (“Maggody, Arkansas”) series by Joan Hess, which came out from 1987 to 2010. Several years ago I looked for these in e-book format so I could read them again–they are quirkily hilarious–and found only a couple of them. I was heartened to see when I checked today that they were all released in e-book in 2016 and 2017. But they’re not selling well because publishing now demands a constant stream of new material. Readers have short memories these days. Hess also doesn’t appear to have a website (the horror!), only a minimal listing on her publisher’s website.

I’ve been thinking about Robyn and her Cal Leandros series a lot over the past week. I wonder how much of her MIA situation is personal choice (publishing is exhausting!) and how much lack of vision and support by her publisher.

If it’s the latter, I wonder what the future is for Everwar and any potential future volumes in the series. I have no idea what her contract terms are, of course, but if we’re just “done” with a series and decline to sign the latest volume, we will often return the rights to the full series, so the author can re-brand and market it themselves.

It appears a couple of years ago the author attempted to gather support to self-publish, but for reasons that boggle the mind, the fans didn’t come through. I was unaware of this campaign at the time, but would happily support one now.

Whether it’s lack of support from her publisher in the changing publishing climate, fans who have “moved on,” or a change of priorities in the author’s own personal and writing life, I just know I’d like to see more of Cal and Niko and the gang, and I hope, if she’s still on board, she’ll continue to explore ways to keep telling their stories.

Hell, if Rob Thurman wants to stage a comeback, I’ll edit the first book for her for free.

Yarn O’Clock Update

I have fifteen more pages to edit, and need to check email again, but the UPS guy just came. My first clue was the Direwolves barking hysterically. Tom wants to get a security camera for the front door, but we already have the Canine Emergency Broadcast System. But I guess a camera would let me know if it’s UPS, a random neighbor, or a SWAT team at the door without getting off the couch, so we shall see.

But look what arrived!

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Oops. I seem to have accidentally acquired more yarn. Well, not totally true, as this was the first “cake” style yarn I bought, but it was back ordered, so I found and ordered the luscious Chroma Worsted Yarn by Knit Picks I talked about HERE earlier today.

It’s Lion Brand Mandala yarn, and the color is “gnome.” I’d have bought it for the color name itself. Seriously, look at it. If you love yarn even a little bit, you’d have done the same. Even if you don’t love yarn, you want someone to make you something with this yarn. Don’t lie; I know you do.

It appears the color sequence only repeats once per ball, though, which means I should make something that takes at least 590 yards (5.3 ounces) of yarn, like a baby blanket or shawl, if I want to have all the colors represented, and I do.

Okay, time to clock back in, metaphorically speaking, so I can get to yarn o’clock!

Is It Yarn O’Clock Yet?

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Working at home is wonderful. Keep my own schedule as long as I get the job done, have my canine sidekicks/entourage with me all the time, no business casual or makeup, no commute.

There are some drawbacks, though, such as never really being “off,” the interruptions to do things like tend to the dogs–who are rather high-maintenance–Netflix, snacks, and Facebook.

Lately, my biggest distraction is…

Yarn.

If you’ve followed the blog, you know I’m a lifelong crocheter. (That word looks wrong. Trust me…I’m an editor and words are my business. But it’s not wrong. A person who crochets.) Then a couple of weeks ago, I began teaching myself to knit, first with some ragged, misshapen swatches, then a pretty decent-looking dishcloth which shall never see a dish because I spent hours on the thing, dammit.

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I’m a yarn hoarder. For crochet, though, I tended to stick to more basic brands, with Caron Simply Soft and Deborah Norville Everyday Print Yarn being a couple of favorites. I like to make big crochet projects, and balancing quality and cost is essential. But I always coveted some of the lovely boutique yarns many of my knitting friends used.

As I slowly build my knitting skills, I look for patterns that are very clearly knitted and don’t resemble any crochet style. If it looks like crochet, I can crochet something similar a hell of a lot faster than I can knit. It will be a long time before I knit consistently and quickly enough to justify doing an afghan.

Which means I’m doing small projects–again, sloooooowly–and I can justify buying more expensive, indulgent yarn.

Last week, I found Chroma Worsted Yarn by Knit Picks. It’s 70% wool, 30% nylon, and super soft and not at all itchy-woolly. And here’s the kicker…so many beautiful colors!

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More expensive than I’d usually buy, but as slowly as I currently knit, it will take me several decades to finish a scarf, so I decided to indulge. I bought five balls each of Vermont and Drawing Room.

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Vermont on the left has soft tones of pumpkin, teal, rose, and a heathery purple. Drawing room is grays and sage and lavender and aqua and cream. OMGGorgeous!

I needed a pattern that would work up not too slowly and wouldn’t look too much like crochet, and I chose a fan-and-feather scarf. I don’t wear scarves, but whatever. I might make an exception for this.

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Not blocked, of course, until it’s done (some time in 2056, I estimate). Experienced knitters will see the error where instead of two rows of knit followed by a row of purl I did a row of knit and two rows of purl, but I decided to leave it and keep going. 99.9% of people would never notice. This is in the Vermont yarn.

But that’s my dilemma. I have an edit I must finish today, and the work emails continue to flow, but this yarn is calling to me. I needed a new challenge, and knitting is challenging and satisfying. So is editing, but editing doesn’t involve oh-so-lovely yarn.

Now I have to be a grownup and put on my editing tiara, finish the edit, return it to the author for review…and then I can play with the beautiful yarn.

Direwolf Grooming Day

Oliver is a standard poodle, which means a trip to the groomer every 6-8 weeks. Mozzie is a golden retriever, which would usually mean grooming also, because I’m old and brittle and out of shape and lazy and happily pay someone to blow out all that dense golden undercoat, but Mozzie has a very light coat for a golden. I take him for a nail trim and bathe and brush him at home. Which is good, because he’s an anxious, twitchy dog, and being left for 5-6 hours in a busy pet resort would freak him out.

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Not Mozzie, obviously, because my bathroom is purple, not pink, and my tub is much bigger. Also, Mozzie would probably be afraid of the rubber ducky.

All I want is to get Nutball 1 and Nutball 2 into the car and to Jill’s Pet Resort with a minimum of chaos, but it never works out that way. The moment I begin laying out my clothes, they know. Bra, jeans, shoes. All things they never see unless there’s an outing in my immediate future.

I get the leashes out while they’re outside, but they still know. I get my purse out of the kitchen drawer…dead giveaway. Putting a harness and leash on two panting, whirling, over-excited, highly suspicious 60ish-pound puppies is challenging, to say the least.

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A couple of groomings ago, I didn’t realize I’d hooked Oliver’s leash through his tag ring instead of the leash ring on his collar. Trying to get two insane dogs from the car to the groomer resulted in ring-failure. I had to grab his collar, while Mozzie was in full fight-or-flight mode, trying to slip his collar and depart for the nearest horizon at speed. Luckily, the staff at Jill’s saw what was happening and came to our rescue.

Which is why they now always wear their harnesses when we go out, and why I schedule grooming for Tom’s day off so he can assist with dog-wrangling. Even with his help today, though, while I was bent over putting on Oliver’s harness, Mozzie came cannonballing through the kitchen and head-butted me at full speed. I don’t know how neither of us is unconscious.

As you know if you’ve followed my dog posts, Oliver and Mozzie are great brothers. They get along better than any two dogs I’ve ever had, and have been raised together since they were four and six months old. They very rarely fight. With one exception. When Oliver comes home from grooming, he’s either over-stimulated or annoyed, and he immediately wants to fight. We’ve been working on sorting this out. Today, Oliver started growling the second he came in the door. They’ll keep their distance for a while, and I’m trying to keep things low-key.

Tom and I disagree about Oliver’s grooming. Neither of us wants a “fussy looking” poodle with poms and rosettes and topknots. But I still want him to clearly be a poodle. So he gets a moderate head-puff, short-trimmed feet and face, natural tail, and short clip on the body.

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This will never happen. EVER.

Tom sort of likes Oliver right before grooming, when he looks like a homeless Muppet. He’s cute, regardless, but eventually you have to clip them back into poodle-shape. Never fear, he’ll be Muppety again in no time.

But what you really want to see is before and after photos, right? Yeah, me too.

Okay, Oliver before. Still mind-bogglingly cute, but getting a bit disheveled-looking, and starting to want to tangle.

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And now after. I’m not totally nuts about the full-on, freshly-groomed poodle clip, but you have to reset the poodlemeter from time to time. I’ll like his look best in about two weeks. I’ll like that for a couple of weeks, then start whining that he needs to be groomed again.

Mozzie got a nail trim and a good brushing, which was all he needed. So no before…but when I was taking pictures of Oliver, he didn’t want to be left out. That golden smile!

Freshly groomed or shaggy and rumply, they’re adorable and totally our boys. Just don’t tell Oliver that Mozzie got to go for a walk in the park and play ball with Dad in the back yard while he was gone.

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Promise To My Dogs

I wrote this last year, when Mozzie was a puppy and just before we adopted Oliver. Now, Mozzie is 18 1/2 months old, and Oliver is 16 1/2 months, and these words are truer than ever.

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I will teach you all you need to know to be able to enjoy the world around you but still allow you to be a dog. We will work on the specifics of obedience, but you will always have fun.
I will never touch you in anger. If I ever handle you harshly, it will only be to keep you from harm.
I will never allow anyone, human or animal, to cause you physical or emotional discomfort.
You will never be cold, hungry, or lonely a day in your life if it is within my power. I will always have time for you.
I will maintain your grooming so you are always comfortable and presentable.
I will make sure you have the veterinary care you need, but I will educate myself and not blindly follow protocols. I won’t over-vaccinate or over-medicate you, ever.
I will feed you natural, species-appropriate food in the appropriate amount, and safe, healthy treats.
You are my love, my life, my heart. You are not an accessory or a notion. You are a vital part of my family and my world, and I will make sure you know that every day of your life.

Classic: Risky Research

The following is a post from my old blog, Fermented Fur, written in February of 2009 when I was doing research for my first book. Some of my fellow authors have been discussing research, and–as usual–I have a unique, slightly warped view of things, so I decided to find and share this post. Authors, is this how you feel when you research?

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(Note: The scenario below took place only in my own imagination. So far. Really, this couldn’t happen. Right???)

Heading out to the garage, I am, as usual, blissfully unaware of my surroundings. I know this isn’t very street-smart. Experts are always saying people should be especially alert while going to and from their cars, whether at home or in a public lot. But there’s way too much going on in my head, so I’m generally busy up there pondering imponderables and composing future blogs, which is also one of the primary reasons I fall down so much. That, and the drinking, which isn’t a factor at this particular moment.

Approaching the corner of the garage, the lid of one of the trash cans raises up a few inches, and I see a pair of shifty eyes and hear, “Psssssst. Hey, over here.”

Realizing that it’s unlikely that Oscar the Grouch has taken up residence in my trash can, I am somewhat suspicious. Most people I know don’t lurk about in trash cans.

Clutching my keys, which experts also claim can be an effective self-defense weapon, I ask, “Who are you, and what do you want?” Because if there’s somebody hiding in your trash can, these are things you need to know.

“I’m Blaster625, from the Anarchist website. I hear you have some questions about incendiary devices.”

“Wait, how do you know that?”

“I have my sources.”

“I was doing a lot of research yesterday, and visited a lot of websites. Some of which, I must say, were more than a little disturbing. Are you from one of them?”

“Maybe. So, I hear you need to blow up a bus.”

“No, Blaster, I most certainly do not need to blow up a bus. I’m doing research for a book I’m writing, and my bad guy is going to try to kill someone by blowing up his bunk in a tour bus.”

“Yeah, sure, right, whatever. About blowing up this bus, though…”

“I do not want to blow up a bus. It’s for a book.”Ballot Box Bunny melon bomb

“Look, if you’re going to keep saying ridiculous shit like that, I can’t help you.”

“Fine! I don’t want help from some wacko anarchist who hides in trash cans and says corny stuff like ‘psssst.'” And what are you, about 15? Shouldn’t you be in school or at the dermatologist or something?”

“No school today. It’s an in-service day for the teachers. I mean, the establishment.”

With that, I stalk back into the house, telling Mr. Blaster he’d better be gone when I come back. I’m thinking I need to get the mat-splitter from the dogs’ grooming utensil basket, as it is the closest thing to a deadly weapon I own. I haven’t read any expert opinions on the viability of a mat-splitter being used in this manner, but it seems like a safe bet.

Making my way back to the garage, mat-splitter tucked in my coat pocket, I’m much more aware of my surroundings than I had been earlier. I notice a brief flash of movement by the garage.

“Look, Blaster, I thought I told you to get lost.”

Suddenly, I am blindsided and find myself sprawled on my back in the icy driveway, a large, masculine figure pinning my arms to the ground. Ordinarily, being pinned under a large, masculine figure has the potential to be of significant interest, but in this case the black body armor is spoiling the mood.

A second riot-gear-clad form steps from behind the garage and says, “Good work, Corporal. Search her for weapons.”

Hauling me to my feet, the Corporal quickly locates my mat-splitter and confiscates it. “What’s this?” he asks. “Some sort of torture device?”

“My dogs think so,” I reply.

“Should’ve known. You anarchists are all sick and twisted individuals.”

“It’s for getting mats out of the dogs’ undercoat, you moron.”

“A likely story. Should I bag it as evidence, Captain?”

The Captain considers this for a moment and says, “Sure. Can never have too much evidence against anarchists and terrorists, I always say.”

I snatch my purse off the ground and whip out my cell phone. The Corporal slams me back against the garage and grabs it from my hand. “Won’t do you any good, sister. We froze your service.”

“What the hell??? Are you people out of your fucking minds? I’m trying to go to work, here.”

The Captain stomps over to me and leans way too far into my personal space. “We know what you’re up to, lady, and you’re not going to get away with it.” He hasn’t actually pulled the assault rifle from the holster over his shoulder, but he looks like he’s thinking about it.

“What I’m up to? Trying to get in my car and go to work?”

“Do you deny that you just met with a member of an anarchist group known as Blaster625?”

“That kid? Well, he was hiding in my trash can when I came out here a few minutes ago. I told him to get lost.”

“Was that before or after he gave you the instructions for building a pipe bomb to blow up a tour bus?”

“He didn’t give me any plans. I don’t want any plans!”

“Uh huh. Then why were you visiting all those bomb-building websites yesterday?”

“As I explained to Blaster-Boy, I am writing a book, and my bad guy is going to try to off my lead male character using an explosive device planted in a tour bus.”

“That’s what all the terrorists say.”

“I think I’m going to have to ask to contact a lawyer.”

“Suspected terrorists don’t get lawyers. We just send you to Gitmo.”

“No, you don’t. George isn’t president anymore. They’re shutting that place down.”

“Well, I haven’t gotten a memo about that yet, so I’m still going with ‘lock ’em up and throw away the key’ till I hear different.”

“This is ridiculous! I swear, if Ashton Kutcher climbs out of my trunk and even whispers the word ‘Punk’d,’ we’re going to discover just how effective mat-splitters are as an instrument of torture. I can’t stand him anyway, except for when he’s playing Kelso. All I did was Google some sites so I could make the bomb part of my plot sound plausible.”

“You did do that, and you also wrote to a couple of bomb squads and asked them about jurisdictions and investigative process, as well as how to blow up a bus.”

“I never asked how to blow up a bus!”

“Did too.”

“Did not.”

“Did too.”

“Jesus H. Fucking Roosevelt Christ on a Crutch, what is wrong with you people??? I never asked how to blow up a bus.”

“Did too.”

“Arrrrrggggh. Look, do you want to search my house? You will find nothing there even remotely incriminating.”wile-e-coyote-tnt

“Already did.”

“You did? When? How? How did you get past the dogs?”

“Last night, and your dogs are real nice. Probably not terrorists. They like cookies.”

“Might’ve been the last cookies they ever see. So if you didn’t find anything, why are you here?”

“Can’t be too careful.”

“Look, do you want to see the novel I’m writing? Would that help at all?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. What’s it about?”

“What difference does that make?” Sigh. Blank looks from the Corporal and the Captain. “Fine. The male lead is a musician, and someone is trying to do away with him, and so the male and female leads have to figure out who it is so they can live happily ever after.”

“Sounds like a romance. I don’t read them girly-books.” This, from the Captain.

“Oh, for crying out loud! You don’t have to read it, you asshat! I’m just trying to prove to you that I am really writing a book.”

“Well, okay. Are we going inside so I can visit with the doggies again? That little gold one is real cute. He drools kind of a lot, though.”

“No, I am going to get my laptop out of the car and show it to you.”

“I kinda wanted to go inside. It’s cold, and I have a couple more cookies for the dogs.”

“We are not going inside.”

“Fine.”

I approach the car, with the Corporal hovering over my shoulder, and retrieve my laptop from the back seat.

The Captain says, “Corporal, I want you to open up the computer. Don’t want to give her any chances to try something funny.”

The Corporal looks worried. “What if it blows up? I don’t want to get exploded.”

“That’s the kind of funny stuff I’m talking about. Not that it’d be funny. No, not funny at all, blowing up a federal officer.”

“I really don’t want to open it.”

“Oh, just open it, you big baby. You’re wearing body armor and that Darth Vader mask thing. You’ll probably be fine.”

The Corporal doesn’t look reassured, but does as the Captain ordered.

Nobody gets exploded, and in a few minutes, they are perusing my novel-in-progress.

“I was right,” says the Captain. “This is a girly-book.”

“Yes, it is. I am a girl,” I point out.

“Kinda hard to tell in that coat.”

“Go to hell.”

“Now, that’s not nice. We’re just protecting America, you know.”

The Corporal has been reading avidly, scrolling down at considerable velocity. “Are they going to have sex? ‘Cause it sure sounds like they want to.”

“Yes, they are,” I say. “But I’m not up to that part yet. I’m still working on the bomb thing.”

“When you get to the sex part, can I read it?”

“No, not unless it’s published and you fork over full retail price. Now, are you two going to go away? I’m going to be late for work. And give me back my mat-splitter. Darwin’s been running in the mud, and his britches are becoming a mess.”

The Captain gives this some thought, reluctantly hands back my canine torture device, then says, “I guess we’re done here. You don’t seem to be an imminent threat. But we’re watching you.”

I sigh. I’m free to go about my business, but now I’m on some sort of Federal Watch List or something. I’m disconcerted to learn that my home, cell phone, computer, and – apparently – my dogs can be compromised so easily just because I clicked on a few web links and sent a couple of emails.

I’m starting to think I should just write porn and leave the suspense/thriller genre to the terrorists.

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Kicking Knitting’s Keister

Last night, just as this week’s episode of The Walking Dead was about to start, I finished my first official knitting project since began teaching myself a couple of weeks ago. It was a close call, nearly cutting into my customary adult beverages and the moderation of my live chat with fellow Dead-fans to discuss the goings-on in fictional Alexandria and environs.

Until this project, which is theoretically a dishcloth but will never touch detergent or greasy food residue, I’d been doing swatches in various stitch combinations until I felt I had enough of a grasp of basic skills to try something else. I chose this because it’s simple stitches that would show me if I am being consistent in technique and tension, and it made me focus on the pattern that changed row to row. I’m a total pro at reading crochet patterns, but knitting is still new to me.

I also chose it because, of course…dogs.

I got through it without significant screw-ups, which is fortunate because I’m still iffy about how to fix things. Casting off is still cumbersome, which it shouldn’t be. It’s an easy technique. I think I knit too tightly.

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So, what do you think? Maybe I’ll make a couple more and work up some sort of wall hanging. I’m waiting for some fun new yarn to be delivered, as well as my first set of circular needles.

Now, I have to get caught up on the edits I have on the calendar this week so I can add some other new technique to my knitting skill set.

Dinner Bites Back

Sometimes, even though you’ve caught up on work and have no legitimate reason, you simply don’t feel like cooking. Yesterday was one such day.

We’re normally pretty frugal, cooking at home and eating leftovers until they’re gone, even if it takes four days. But I looked at the fridge yesterday, found a whole lot of “meh,” and decided we needed something else. Something not currently in the house, made by someone who was not me.

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There was at least one other option…but takeout seemed to be the way to go.

Next, we had to figure out where this dinner would come from. Wanting something non-pizza-related, it also needed to be somewhere convenient for Tom to stop on the way home from work, and where I could order and pay online, because if I had to talk to a humanoid on the phone, I’d probably decide a baked potato and steamed veggies was an acceptable meal after all.

Applebee’s it is, then.

I decided on the caprese mozzarella chicken, which is grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, grilled onion and tomato, served over garlic mashed potatoes.

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Because I was paying (since it was my idea to get takeout), I also splurged on an order of chicken wonton tacos, because the crispy-crunchy wrap amuses me.

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I’m a gastric bypass patient (November 2001), so any restaurant meal is two to three meals for me. Besides enjoying leftovers later in the evening or for lunch the next day, it helps me justify the cost of ordering out.

Tom arrived with dinner, and it was delicious. I ate two of the tacos and half the caprese mozzarella chicken. I expected to feel really full, because it was a considerable amount of food for my modified tummy.

What I did not expect was the pain.

A few times over the last couple of years, I’ve had some kind of idiopathic gastroenteritis, when my intestines are inflamed and feel like they’re full of ground glass and rusty barbed wire, but this wasn’t it. General Thanksgiving-level fullness was combined with bouts of stabbing pain.

Even now, fifteen or so hours later, it’s not completely resolved. There is a lingering fullness and occasional flashes of “ouch,” but nothing is spewing out either end, so I guess this is progress.

At the height of last night’s gastrointestinal crisis, I almost threw the leftovers in the trash, but I didn’t. Why not? Well, there’s no way in hell I’m eating it, that’s for sure. But I figure if my guts rupture and kill me with caprese-induced peritonitis, Tom will have evidence for his wrongful death lawsuit.

I probably should’ve just scrambled some eggs.

Dogs And Books And Yarn

I haven’t missed a day of posting since I started Furwood Forest a little over a month ago, but I was stumped what to write about today. I have over 500 posts archived from the old Fermented Fur blog, but nothing was catching my attention as something I wanted to post.

Mozzie and Oliver, AKA The Direwolves, weren’t cooperating, which was downright inconsiderate. They’re made of cuteness and shenanigans, and the least they can do is provide blog fodder. I’m their mama, nurse, activity director, chef, concierge, stylist, entertainment committee, teacher, referee, jungle gym, therapist, and maid. All I ask is for them to pull their weight.

Fine. I guess their snuggles are payment enough.

In desperation, I went outside and captured some video of them playing with their Romp-N-Roll Jolly Ball. Luckily for all of us, they’re adorable no matter what they’re doing.

 

While many of you are enjoying something I’m told is called a “weekend,” Tom is at work, and I am about to do the same. If you weren’t aware, I’m the managing editor for Limitless Publishing–and our new imprint, Crave–so I work at home with my Direwolf assistants.

I’ve already conquered Mount Email, and will continue to do so, but aside from managing the editing and proofreading staff, working with designers to assign our book covers, overseeing the creation of cover blurbs, overseeing all stages of production of our horror and romance anthologies, and a bunch of other publishing-related chainsaw juggling, I also edit, both for Limitless and select independent (indie) authors, and that’s what’s on the agenda today. I need to finish a first round of an edit and get it to the author for revisions.

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True story.

Once I achieve the day’s work goals, it’s on to the reward portion of the day, doing what I want. Currently, this means watching Doctor Who–which I’ve never watched before–and working on my knitting.

I’ve crocheted since I was a kid, but knitting is a new challenge. I’ve only been at it about two weeks, and have only worked on swatches of different stitch combinations so far. This is the most recent swatch, a “seersucker” diamond pattern, which came out fairly well.

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I still have a hell of a time casting off at the end of a piece, which makes no sense, because it’s insanely easy. Do two stitches, pull the first loop over the second and off the needle. Yet I can’t get that first loop off in one piece without losing the second one. I resorted to just sliding both stitches off the needle and using a crochet hook to pull the second stitch through the first, then putting it back on the needle. I’ve concluded I knit too tightly, and am trying to adjust my technique.

Last night, I started what might be my first “real” project, though it’s still just practice of basic skills before I move on to more complex stitches. Technically, it will be a dishcloth with a dog on it, though I am still befuddled why anyone would spend time making something pretty and then use it to scrub barbecue sauce off a plate. I have no idea what I’ll do with it, but washing dishes isn’t on the list of options.

It should look something like this:

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And this is what I have so far:

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See? The bottoms of the little puppy paws are beginning to appear.

Thrilling day? Maybe not, but I like quiet and peaceful creativity. Yes, I have some household chores to do, and puppy interaction, dinner to make, and tonight I’ll have my customary bedtime adult beverages because the brain-train has to be derailed at least a little or I’ll never get to sleep.

Some people pack their (for me, theoretical) weekends with activities, but that’s not my life. I like it calm and tranquil and quietly satisfying.

Having said that, The Direwolves will probably stage an insurrection this afternoon or commit some other act of chaos. But until then, I have a steamy mafia princess story to edit.

And probably a snack.