Archive for November, 2012

  • The Problem of Gifts

    Seeing as we’re nearing December, the month of outrageous gift-giving, it’s only natural I’ve been crafting my ass off making gifts. As usual, the knitting needles are clicking away at a rate that is beyond human, and yet still somehow not fast enough. And with the dreadful problem of not actually being able to talk about what I’m making without RUINING ALL THE OF THE SURPRISES!!!!!!11!!!!!

    I’ve made 4/10 (or 2/5ths, math nerds) hats for the school crowd. These are the least secretive of all the gifts as I’d be shocked to learn my 10-year-old students are reading my blog. But hey, weirder things have happened. Unfortunately, too lazy to pull up pictures of my progress.

    The current bane of my existence is The Scarf. I’ve officially been knitting it for a week. It’s 100% garter stitch (this means hella boring to you non-knitting folk). Granted, it’s got some fancy color blocks and some modular construction. But it’s still garter stitch. And it’s kicking my ass. Though somehow during this week, it’s grown to almost six feet long and nearly a foot wide. At this point, I feel like the dreaded Doctor Who Scarf would be totes easy. This damn scarf has colors blacks anywhere from 2 to 120 rows big. With as few as 24 and as many as 400 stitches per row. It’s dreadful. And even watching 10 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (shut up, I’ll watch what I want) was not enough to get the damn thing finished.

    More frustrating? I can’t even post pictures of my progress because there is a slim slim slim chance the recipient could read this infernal blog and spoil the magic of a surprise gift. All I can say is my sister better be serious when she says she’s in love. Otherwise I’ll want this stupid thing back. Maybe. Probably not, actually. My guess is I’ll never want to look at the thing ever again once it’s done. Which is a shame, because it really is sharp.

  • The Dreadening

    It’s no secret that I’ve returned to my first true love of writing. I’ve been having weekly appointments at the library for the past month or so to just Get. It. Done. We all know that the most important part of writing is actually writing. I’ve been making those visits daily since I have the week off.

    I’ve written over 6000 words in the past three days. I’m pleased with this number, though it is nowhere near my peak productivity. I wrote my first full screenplay in two weeks, all 120+ pages. And it wasn’t actually half-bad. Well, for being 16, anyway. The kicker? I hand-set all the formatting in Word. Ouch. The idea of ever doing that again is painful and makes me want to gouge out my own eyes.

    I’ve been experiencing what I call The Dreadening lately. After I finished yesterday’s pages I had this sinking feeling down in my guts and this absolute terror of returning to the library to write again today. This feeling persisted all of last night and was still there when I woke up this morning. Usually I’m thrilled to get myself to the library (of which I am so lucky to have two at my disposal). This morning? Not so much.

    I didn’t want to write today. I was very whiney about this fact all through my morning tea. I tried everything under the sun to delay the inevitable and avoid writing. It’s funny how that seems to be common for plenty of writers, this avoidance of work. Work that one presumes we love. Yet here ya go.

    This story ends with me wrestling myself into my car and forcing myself to get into the library. As some sort of punishment, I went to my lesser favorite. That and I had a book on hold I needed to pick up. But I’m going to stick with this being some sort of self-flagellation. It sounds better.

    So yes, I forced myself into the lesser of two library’s and I sat myself down and forced myself to write my 2000 words. At which point, it became very clear what The Dreadening was all about. Some part of my subconscious knew it was coming, and part of me really didn’t want it to happen. One of my characters went into a full-out destructive manic meltdown. I can see where my job is influencing my writing these days.

    A small taste:

    “Please, you’re just making a mess.” When she was younger, Lily would have cried over this outburst. But now that she was sixteen, it was hard for her to care much. The thing she was most angry about was that she’d be the one left cleaning up the mess. With her luck, Dad would come home in the middle, see the destruction, and turn right around and leave. Lily wondered where he went when he didn’t come home.

    At this point, her mother began picking things up and throwing them at her. It didn’t take long before the key went sailing past her head. She heard it hit the wall, and she wondered if it had dented the wall. Now wasn’t the time to check. There would be plenty of time later. Mom was still throwing stuff, though the pace was slowing down.

    Yikes, that’s rough. Just copying it out of my google doc into here made me notice about 3 things that need to change, and that I used the word ‘wondered’ twice in a not-so-good fashion. But I’m not in editing mode yet, so I’m just going to have to ignore it.

  • Playing with Saffron

    About a year ago, maybe a year and a half, Daniil and I came across a recipe for Spanish Rice that we tried and fell in love with. The only problem with it was it called for saffron, of which we never had any. Being geniuses, we just dumped copious amounts of pre-blended Italian seasoning into it. We’re klassy like that.
    Well, on an adventure over a month ago, we wound up at Whole Foods buying a gigantic tart for Daniil’s 30th birthday. And being that we are good friends with one of the pastry girl’s, we got some sweet-ass for-truth Cyrillic on our tart in pink icing. But also on this last-minute birthday dash, we finally found some saffron on the spice shelf. And would you believe it or not, but I actually shelled out $10 for a teaspoon of something?

    Truth be told, we’ve been lazy in our cooking. It wasn’t until last night that we actually made our Spanish Rice again. Daniil was immediately freaked out because it turned the whole thing yellow.  “No, it’s supposed to do that. That’s what saffron does.” I don’t think he fully believed me.

    Anyway, I thought the saffron was an excellent change, though perhaps not worth the high price for it every time. For the record? I dumped in half the saffron we bought. I think it could have used the whole thing, but c’est la vie. Daniil on the other hand was very unhappy and complained the whole night about how something was off about the dish. Well duh. We changed the seasoning!

    I don’t know, I swear, it feels like they didn’t even have salt in the Soviet Union. He keeps insisting that they did, but considering how unrefined his palate it, I really have to wonder. They also apparently had garlic. And nothing else. Or at least if I’m to draw any conclusions from the traditional Russian/Soviet food he makes. Oi.

    He’s pretty insistant that I only like the saffron because it’s expensive. I think that’s silly. It just tastes different. And I like it. But I’m okay with the ghetto seasoning as well. I’m really not that picky.

  • Victory! And Defeat

    So Barack Obama won a second term. Obamacare is safe and will go into effect unless Hell freezes over before 2014.

    I’m thrilled. I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately about how healthcare has been the single most determining factor of my life for the past five years. I’m underemployed in my not-first-choice career field because of healthcare. If healthcare weren’t an issue, I’d much rather be unemployed in my first-choice career path if I have to be underemployed. I would be a lot happier, anyway.

    So if things go well, it may seem that my life will suddenly have a lot more options. I’ve been on this weird not-writing detour in my life because of something that really shouldn’t be an issue. I’ve been continually waiting for my life to begin while at the same time kicking that can further and further down the line.

    It’s time for that to stop. And thankfully it will start to stop in June. I’ll be taking the summer off to write. And actually, it’s already starting to stop. Now that the craziness of the beginning-of-the-school-year has passed, I’ve been finding the energy to do more than sleep-eat-work. I’ve been carving out the time I need to get my butt to the library to work on my stuff. And man are those writing muscles weak after so many years of neglect. But I’m finding them. That’s the important part.

    I do have to say, though, that this election is somewhat bittersweet for me. A continued Obama presidency means more choice for me, more options, and a higher likelihood of success. But part of me mourns the rage-opportunities lost from a Romney-Ryan presidency. I always write more, and harder, when I’m angry. And Romney surely would have made me rage like no other.

    Luckily I’m starting (have long been?) to get angry over my work/life situation and the second-career that is going nowhere fast. I’ll just have to stay angry about that.