Thursday, December 30, 2004



What's kept me so busy that I haven't had a chance to post since the beginning of December? Knitting! I knitted my first project in March of this year. Supposed to be a scarf, it turned out to be a misshapen mass of knitted material. Too short, too wide, and too oddly shaped to be a scarf or anything useful. Consequently, I didn't feel confident about trying another knitting project, but a friend was getting rid of some of her yarn stash and passed along some bits and pieces to me so that I would be encouraged to try again. Indeed, necessity - flavored by the conviction that making Christmas presents can be way cooler than straining an already tight budget to spend heaps of money on stuff friends and family may not want, need, or like - is the mother of invention.

I ended up knitting several scarves as Christmas presents: a "boa" yarn in teals and blues for my mother; a red cotton worsted complete with tassels for my dad; a lime green and robin's egg blue "eyelash" yarn for a friend; an orange, pink, and purple "eyelash" yarn conjoined with an orange acrylic worsted for another friend. And I received some yarn, knitting needles, knitting books, and so on as presents, so I want to continue putting together scarves (and maybe try to make sense of patterns and try some other kinds of projects). Actually, I have a couple scarves in process - one in a tricolor (gray, black, chocolate brown) soft and fuzzy merino wool for myself and one in "boa" yarn the colors of autumn leaves for a friend - that require finishing. And sooner or later, I should earnestly try to figure out how to purl, too. The textures you can put into the project are a little more interesting when you can work with both the purl and knit stitches.

I made it out of the midwest and home to Virginia just ahead of the snowstorm that dumped 18+ inches of snow here. That got me an extra day at home for the holidays, but it still feels like I was barely there, like I hardly had time to visit with family. I think part of that just comes from staying busy -- since my grandmother died, my mom has taken on hosting duties for holiday family dinners. There's a lot of work involved in getting things ready for a group that can range from 20 to 50, depending on everyone's schedules!

I drove back on Monday. In Kentucky (somewhere around Lexington, I believe) in the afternoon sun, the trees sparkled like they had diamonds on them. Eventually, as I traveled further west, I could see thicker layers of ice on the trees and grass, but catching that first bit of sparkle was magical.

The snow created some problems, as well. The one which most directly affected me involved frozen gutters, runoff, and collapsed acoustic ceiling tile. Fortunately, that's in my office at work, not in my apartment. Unfortunately, this is a terrible week to try to get anything done simply because so many folks are able to take this week off. I've been temporarily relocated to a very pleasant faculty member's exceedingly well appointed office. I could feel the tiniest bit spoiled. I just wish I'd backed up my computer files on the network before I dashed out of town... especially since the story I was working on (and thought I had saved on a floppy) apparently is only on the work computer's hard drive. Another technology lesson learned the hard way...!

It's really, really, really nice being home.

Friday, December 03, 2004


Drumroll, please....

"Alla Petrovna" sold to the ezine Leafing Through.

Look for it in the January 2005 issue.

Thanks to Ralan's for the tip on Leafing Through.


On Holidays, Blogs, and [gasp!] even Writing

Thanksgiving was nice, although I got a little homesick. When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was a day spent with family and friends -- and we didn't always know who the friends would be as it always kind of depended on circumstance. The day was about family and community and sharing and warmth - and it was fun. Missing out on spending that time with my family is more difficult than it might seem. Fortunately, I was "adopted" into a family for the day, and then I spent the rest of the weekend in Ohio with some of my closest friends. What great reminders that folks hold me in their hearts as closely as I hold them in mine.

I finished knitting two scarves and started a third. Christmas presents, don't ya know.

I also ended up at the doctor's, where I was diagnosed with a sinus infection. After that, I was feeling OK until Tuesday afternoon. All I could think about was how much I wanted to go home and curl up in bed under the blankets.

Elaine Cunningham has replaced her first blog with a new one, Elven Bard. An excellent post about "reading up" caused me to cringe a little bit at what's on my current reading list. There's nothing like an advanced degree in literature to suck the enjoyment right out of the act of reading. After years - even, one could say, decades - of splitting my reading time between the two diametrically opposed camps of Great Works of Literature and Literary Theory and Criticism and genre fiction, these days I sometimes find it difficult to pick up something to read that isn't... well, mostly schlocky genre fiction. The stuff of guilty pleasures. I appreciate Elaine's recommendation of Robin McKinley's Sunshine. I like this author's work a lot. Maybe this will be a good book to read to start adding a little more richness to my reading diet.

In the last post she made in the now defunct blog, Elaine addressed professionalism. She said it much more eloquently, but the basic idea was about thinking of yourself as a professional, treating yourself as a professional, and managing your work time as a professional are key habits to develop in order to be professional. Yet as a writer working from the home (or working full-time at a job that pays the bills and part-time at writing), it can be easy to treat one's self, one's writing, and one's time less than professionally because so many other things and other people (and other cats, of course) demand your attention. That really spoke to me. I sense a New Year's resolution coming on....

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