Friday, October 31, 2008

The Devil Inside

MAN that Bing Crosby is persuasive.

Yet oddly, in spite of having worked my way through at least 25 Halloween-sized candy bars yesterday, I weigh less today. Gwyneth Paltrow endorses 45 minutes' exercise a day plus 8 hours' sleep in her new issue of GOOP* and maybe that explains it. After a day-long special Halloween-prep episode of Headless Chicken, I ran from my computer and dove into bed a full 7 hours before I was required to be conscious again. Probably not the measured approach she was getting at but still. It's either that or being too busy to eat an actual meal on top of all the candy.

You won't catch me doing that today though. It's Halloween! I'll be buried in my storage room looking for the glow-in-the-dark horns on a headband I stored there last November 1st!

* for the record, I do not read GOOP. I read Jezebel.

* * * * * *

Okay, I can't find those horns anywhere, so I made this hat instead:

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

You are temptation

UGH. The house supply of Halloween candy arrived last night right after I got another story rejection. And it was a stabby one, too.

Bing Crosby has been singing Temptation on a continuous loop in my head ever since, which makes me think about when I was a kid and my sister would play old songs on the piano for my dad and I to sing along to. (He was a gifted singer; she is a talented musician; I am... enthusiastic.)

Remembering that made me think about when I was a kid and my sister and I would spend the Christmas holiday watching old movies while frantically knitting the last of our presents. Movies like, you know, The Road To (insert place name here) starring Bing and Bob and featuring such songs as Temptation.

And that made me think about how much I wish Halloween was over so I could climb into a cave to knit Christmas presents and listen to old music. Then most of the candy would be gone and my hands would be too busy to eat it anyway.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Give that girl a hand!

When my fingertips start catching thread from things like, you know, denim, I know it's time for petroleum jelly and cotton gloves. The Treatment was even more urgent yesterday since my qiviut arrived two days ago (it's so adorable! $32 worth nestles right into my palm!)

Petroleum jelly is the cheapest, most effective, and either the safest or maybe not so much way to soften your hands. Also, you can use it for all kinds of weird things. Luring trout? Who knew?

Since it's made from petroleum, though, it isn't green, and if you're inclined as I am to avoid obvious chemical exposure it does seem less than sensible to put petroleum on your pores. I'm thinking I should try out this recipe next time I find myself using my hands to sand woodworking projects. Or if the writing is going well, I guess I could just buy some of this.

The writing is going well, incidentally: I reread the story I want to submit this week and I really, really don't hate it. It's not a competition winner by any means, but if the judges also deem it not-hateable, I will be a happy girl.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Short Row to Hoe

Kathi and Karen kindly rescued me yesterday by explaining the hat complication as a short row. My non-knitting readers will have to take my word for it that this was comprehensible, or perhaps take photographic evidence* of my 3" progress on the hat last night when I should have been polishing my story submission.

November is national novel writing month!! It's basically the 3-day novel contest stretched over four weeks. I was so excited when I heard. I even have a terrific story idea I could use. But you know what? I'm not gonna do it**.

That's right. I'm gonna turn down a deadline. Me, Queen of Deadlines. Because I am seriously on a roll with my short stories, and because I'd rather be knitting for Christmas than writing a novel that in my rushed hands will be a poor first draft that may never go anywhere anyway, and because I have put writing first for so long the house is falling apart around me. Instead I will take it easy and use my spare time to make shortbread.***

* Sorry, I forgot to take a picture.
** I still have a few days to change my mind though.
*** More on my heartwarming shortbread story in a future post. Ha! Suspense!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pick One

I have two free hours today and so many options! I could

1/ bake the bread dough in the 'frig
2/ find the white shirt I need for Halloween
3/ polish the story I'm submitting on Friday
4/ figure out what "wrap, slip the wrapped stitch, and turn" means
5/ so I can knit my winter hat
6/ work on my horror story
7/ drink hot chocolate and listen to the radio
8/ clean the bathroom
9/ boil eggs for lunch
10/ have a nap
11/ fold laundry
12/ think of some good breakfast menus

Okay, maybe I can pick more than one. I'll go with 7, of course, and... you sitting down? 6! I know, amazing, but it's been writing itself in my head and I can't wait to get it down.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Braaains... Braaains

I stayed up way too late last night reading Dr. Daniel Amen's Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by way of feeding my ongoing obsession with the way our brains work. I first became interested in Dr. Amen when I saw what an awesome public speaker he is. He's dynamic and inspiring and really knows how to work a crowd.

Reading his book, I'm impressed by how effectively he packages his ideas. He is a publisher's dream! Not only does he have a new concept for self-improvement that fits into tidy pockets with easy, concrete tips, he presents them it all a credible and compassionate way. This is definitely another reference book for writers.

It didn't take long to figure out which part of my brain might not be working its best; I bet anybody who reads this blog could figure me out pretty quickly too. But I'm not sure I want to amend my tendency toward serial obsessions because it's how I learn more. If I hadn't allowed myself to be reabsorbed by knitting, I wouldn't have found the Knitter's Almanac, and if I hadn't been so determined to get that, and also the 'bargain' of free shipping, I wouldn't have bought Change Your Brain. Now I know more about how people's minds work and what kinds of character traits go together, and that's got to help my writing, right? ... erm, right?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

If you need me, I'm in the bread box

... and it's a seriously cute bread box: vintage 50s Lustroware in red and cream. But I digress.

Around this time last year, I became completely obsessed with all things kitchen. I replaced just about every cooking pot and tool in there and started asking questions about how ingredients work together to make magic in the oven.

A cooking-expert friend recommended a possible book that led me to a shortlist of three. The very best and most exhaustive one is Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking. It's too scientific for everyday use in my house, though. I liked my friend's recommendation--Regan Daley's In the Sweet Kitchen, which I had to buy for her chocolate recommendations alone. But the one that I chose to help me understand what I want to know is Shirley Corriher's Cookwise.

Today's Cookwise discovery: sugar is not in bread recipes to feed the yeast! In fact, it's got stuff in it that kills yeast. You can only pair about 2 tablespoons of sugar with one cup of flour, and sometimes honey kills yeast outright, depending on the nectar that's gone into it. Which answers my question about substituting honey for sugar in today's batch of bread. (no.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Buried Treasure

It's cold out, and I'm sick of buying hats that warm my eyebrows and the back of my head and leave my ears to freeze. Best not to ask how this led me to Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac.

Best not to ask about whether it's wise to knit up the patterns in it, either; Ms. Zimmerman makes them sound easy, but the knitters on Ravelry frequently rate them otherwise and spend more than a year making them.

Even so, I recommend this book highly because it is poetry. This is not a knitting book, it is a book of everyday philosophy. And it's also about writing (for example, in a canoe on a camping trip) and even about reading, something she did while knitting, which makes me think she favoured well-loved hardcovers because there is no way you can do that with a paperback such as the Knitter's Almanac.

This book is easily the best $8 I ever spent on a book and more inspiring than many a writing guide to boot; I'm thrilled to have it, even though I'm still hunting for the perfect hat.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Before I made writing a priority in my life, I had a lot of terrible, chilling nightmares whose underlying message was that I was forgetting to do something that was very important. And it's telling that the image in many of those dreams was me, at 6 o'clock on Halloween night, with no costume.

Because, you know, I get excited about Halloween. Which isn't to say I'm a serious afficionado. I don't collect memorabilia like my very talented friend Diane Plumley, who uses them to make yummy Halloween (and otherwise-themed) pins. I don't do parties, either.

What I do is the front lawn. I turn leaf bags into monsters marching across it, and stuff a pair of overalls into some intimidating position that involves a pumpkin head that may or may not be on its body, and do a creepy pumpkin tableau. The new landscaping gives me a lot more scope for fiendishness, and I'm hatching ideas now for making the neighbourhood kids laugh.

That's the key, for me: the element of surprise for kids who come to the door. That's why I leave it to the last day to assemble everything and put it out there. Nothing to do with procrastination, I assure you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another Evil Plan Foiled

I got into Ravelry and it's amazing - but time-saving. The place is so efficient! No more will I have an excuse to hunt for a place to buy yarn online, or for patterns I like. They're all organized with big pictures and knitter reviews.

So much for that procrastination idea.

Just as well, since I woke up still dreaming of something that just has to come up in the next scene of my horror story, when I've met my deadlines and can go back to it.

Still, I know whatever I spend on it isn't going to be enough. Come winter, for various reasons, I will have a LOT less time on my hands and a lot more shovel in them. I should be getting a ton of writing done now to tide me over, you know? And at the same time I keep thinking how nice it would be to be a person who doesn't feel the need to pack productivity into every spare segment of the day. Not that I do that. It's just that I feel I have to. I wonder what would happen if I took snow season as vacation time and didn't write at all? Except for, you know, the odd weekend or lazy evening?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Rejection Top Ten

Last night I harvested the first of the rejections I sowed with my post-SummerCamp submissions, and it didn't hurt. I've never been hurt by rejection and once again, I'm wondering why? This time I'm guessing it might be:

10/the addi Click needle set I ordered
9/ the brain book I'm looking forward to reading
8/ the swamp of work I've got this week
7/ the imminence of Halloween
6/ the fresh muffins on the counter
5/ the anticipation of qiviut
4/ the narcotic effect of Ghirardelli hot chocolate
3/ the fact that I finally got my Ravelry invitation and
2/ found the perfect hat pattern there
1/ I have faith in myself.

I'm going with the latter.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Late Blooming

Yesterday while I was, erm, finishing off the yoke of The Sweater, I listened to podcasts from The New Yorker, including this one with Malcolm Gladwell about late blooming. Knitting feels like a guilty pleasure when I have writing to do, so it was comforting to hear there's a guy older than me who came out with his first short story collection, and it's truly inspired, and widely appreciated.

Okay, I've been writing longer than this guy even though he's older. But still. It gave me hope that I'll write a publishable novel someday, and also that if I don't, and I turn out to be a short story writer after all, that's just fine too.

If only my sweater story had such a positive ending. Yes, there is good news: the knitting is done, and the sizing is perfect. The bad: I still have to weave in about 15 tails of yarn, and scrape goo off my iron if I do the quick steam-press blocking method, and I don't seem to have a button that looks right for it, and it's going to rain much of the week so I can't show it off anyway.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Quit it, Qiviut!

I have a busy week of editing coming up, so last night I thought I'd read October 2008 issue of Copy Talk from The Canadian Press.

Well. It seems that the Canadian Oxford Dictionary now rests in the hands of freelancers. This is better than being tossed altogether, since the book is unique in its choice of words. I hope I am not violating copyright when I quote Copy Talk's sample range, which ends with: "less-used terms such as qiviut, inukshuk and seigneury."

That's right, they said QIVIUT. You can't say that word to a newly reawakened knitter without a warning first!! For my non-knitting friends, qiviut is Musk Ox underfurriness, shed in spring. It is very warm, very non-itchy, very rare and consequently expensive, and heaven to knit with. Karen made a scarf from it but I wasn't knitting, so I was only interested. Now I am knitting and I want some.

But I am strong. I will resist qiviut* and finish my stupid cardigan instead.

*until I figure out how much yardage one needs for a non-lacy scarf.
*Wouldja lookit that! I figured it out! and now am somewhat poorer.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Garden Unveiled

Before: an annual border of sunflowers and columbines.

After: a living boxwood vase for lime hydrangeas... not as tall or colourful, but with year-round prettiness potential and minimal watering requirements.

Bringing new meaning to the phrase 'put your money in the pot'. Throw in some roots from a dead tree, call it sculpture, dress it up with some winter-hardy ivy to climb and cover said sculpture, and yer done. At least until the roots rot.

In the spring I'll plant an ivy that changes colour in fall to turn this into a 3-season cover for the eyesore fence. And I might even trim back the flowering shrub on the left (ya think?)

Friday, October 17, 2008

In Which Voicelessness is Explained

Last night I went out for dinner--an event that, unusually, involved two hours' uninterrupted conversation. This combined with the menu led me to the following discoveries:

1/ I am not a capon girl.

2/ Given the choice between artisanal goat cheeses imported from Italy served with tomato chutney and rosemary toast, or dense chocolate cake served with caramel sauce and paper-thin chocolate hazelnut toffee, chocolate still wins. Barely.

3/ I'm writing a horror story.

So today I feel both nicely sugared up, and free to stop whining about not having a really strong character voice for the story I get to work more on today. The fear that envelops my main character is gonna do the talking and the residual sugar is gonna keep my fingers on the keyboard - NOT mousing over to find out how much longer I'm Ravelry-deprived.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hearing Voices (or not)


I have another amazing short story idea unfolding in my head, and time to write today, but no voice talking! I'm spoiled. I've been getting such great voices over the last month or two, and now nada.

And I started putting together my cardi last night and it looks like I messed up a major part of the front pattern pieces, though at least I did that the same way both sides.

AND I want a nap.

I think it's all a sign that I should clean the bathroom sink.

* * * * *

Okay, the bathroom sink is clean and there are still more than 1300 people ahead of me in line to join Ravelry (a place for obsessive knitters, for any diary readers not so afflicted.) And my story is still not flowing properly. I'll have to find something else to clean... at least in that department I'm spoiled for choice.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I've met some very interesting people over the years, not least a woman I worked with for a few years and who, early in our friendship, mentioned that she was in the mood to make chili.

"I think at lunch, I'll get over to the grocery store and pick up some beef and canned tomatoes and spices and some styrofoam bowls and plastic spoons."

Wha? I thought. Turns out my friend didn't have dishes. Not because she couldn't afford them, but because she didn't need them except for chili, which she only made once a year. Otherwise, she'd have been dining out just as she did every night with some man who would be, naturally, picking up the tab. She was unfamiliar with the concept of Dutch Treat and I horrified her by explaining it.

Knowing this woman was like reading a brand new Lorelei Lee novel, with some new, delightful anecdote every day. Today I'm making chili, and I hope it helps me remember more of them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Postcards go Pop

I collect postcards. They make perfect bookmarks - when you pick up a book and a postcard falls out, it reminds you how long ago (or not) you read that book, and you get to think of the person who sent it and the time in your life that you got it. Plus, the images on the front are usually pretty amazing.

So when I spotted a call for entries for a postcard competition, and I happened to have a postcard-length story, it seemed like a perfect fit! Until Binnie asked, what postcard are you sending with it?

Wha? So I did some hunting around online and yes, you are supposed to send a postcard with a postcard story. The postcard is, in fact, meant to inspire said story. So that's a bit panicky, since I now have to drop everything and get to a place that sells story-provoking postcards.

The upside: my online hunting led me to this prizewinning example of the perfect union of story and postcard, written by a fellow SummerCamper. I love this story. I bet you will too.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Keep your toes out of the water!

oh MAN. I knew there was a reason I stopped knitting. I was enjoying my cardi until I noticed it's nearly done. And then I won't have anything to do on long car drives or chatty afternoons.

So I bought a couple of knitting magazines - what's the harm? - and fell in love with a pattern - a quick knit! - and started sourcing the yarn - ooookay, that's a little expensive, and apparently the patterns are notorious for being wrong and also, too small - and got chatting about knitting with Kathi, and then went to the bookstore to pick up a pattern book for the expensive yarn and while I was there, Kathi's felting book I hadn't picked up yet, and WOW, there's a reason it gets such rave reviews, and I want to felt something NOW.

Deep breath. Creep back out of the water. Get perspective. I don't need another sweater or bag. I don't have room for another sweater or bag. I do need a hat, but the hat I want, I'll have to make a pattern for. And wouldn't I rather write? Write the story, for example, that popped into my head last night and doesn't cost anything in materials and doesn't take up any closet space?

yeah yeah yeah. I'm going to block the finished pieces of my cardi now. Call me if you're making hot chocolate.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Moving the Furniture

Saturday nights when she was in her 20s, my mother's friends would creep up and put an ear to the door of her house to listen for moving furniture. If they heard it, they crept away, praying all the while she wouldn't catch them and make them help.

So I guess I come by it naturally, the urge to rearrange the furniture every few months. I've done this so many times inside my house there isn't one more variation to try, and you'd think I'd have been happy to be outside it this morning planting new plants and shifting around the old ones.

And you'd be wrong. You don't get muddy and horrible in a living room. You don't have to find new homes for slugs, either, and you definitely don't have to be friendly with passers-by through a face caked in dirt and hair tugged out of its clips.

I'm still not done. But I will be this weekend (or rather, wherever the garden sits on Monday at 3pm, the garden stays for the winter), and then I will take the camera for a walk along the paths to show it all off and I will remember to post the pictures here, and everything.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Most of my writing has been done inside walls - be they genre rules, time constraints, or scholastic pressure. The gift of SummerCamp is that it was so freeing, even now I'll write anything that pops into my head whenever I get a few minutes.

I'm still a sucker for schedules though, and if I can't find competitions to write for then I set my own artificial deadlines. I found two contests this month, both for short pieces, both with Halloween due dates. The one I hadn't finished was one about the lady and her neighbour's chair. Remember, the other day I took a nap and got a huge way forward with it?

Well, yesterday I took another nap and last night I just couldn't type fast enough and it's finished and I love it. And I don't have to send it in for another three weeks.

So - I'm freee! Free to make elaborate Halloween costumes and dig holes in the garden and move plants around and position pumpkins and knit and bake tons of bread!

And also, oddly enough, free to go back to my novel, from which I ran sobbing last June. I think all my writing since then has given me the perspective I need to make friends with it again.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Have a Biscuit

A few years back I became obsessed with the Judy Bolton mystery series, by Margaret Sutton. And I mean actually by Margaret Sutton, not a series of different writers covering off outlines by a conglomerate (yes, I'm looking at you, Nancy Drew.) Where were these books when I was a kid? I mean, the concept was good for an inquisitive young girl with an interest in roadsters, but Nancy's writers can't hold a candle to Margaret Sutton.

One Judy moment that stands out for me even now is the time she got stranded someplace, found an empty house and went in for shelter, and then put together enough ingredients from the cupboards to make biscuits for herself and her hungry companions.

Never mind the coincidence of there even being still-edible items in an abandoned house. Can you imagine anybody having the recipe for biscuits locked into his or her head? (and yes, I'm still annoyed with myself for forgetting how to make sour cream fudge.)

I never make biscuits now without thinking of Judy Bolton. When I did it today it would have been nice if I was thinking of not forgetting to put in the butter instead, but you can't have everything.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pop Quiz

I know you didn't study, but I'm running on five hours' sleep and I don't see why everybody else shouldn't be miserable too. I'll put my tea together while you get out your pencils and notebooks.

Ready? Okay:

1. Which is bigger:
a/ my headache
b/ my heartache over sour cream fudge

2. How long is it since I could make sour cream fudge without the recipe and therefore lost the recipe?
a/ 3 years
b/ 20 years
c/ 83 years

3. Why did I dream of killing 68 spiders last night?
a/ because I watched Verminators last week
b/ because SOMEBODY keeps humming The Discovery Channel ad and the only line that sticks with me is "I love a-rach-a-nids"
c/ because it might rain today

4. Does tea aggravate a canker sore you got from too much chocolate?
a/ yes
b/ no

5. Then why the heck am I drinking tea?
a/ because there isn't enough caffeine in hot chocolate
b/ because I'm not that bright
c/ both

1. b (I have no headache!)
2. b (what, you think I'm 100?)
3. b (though it really might rain)
4. a
5. c (obviously.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

In Praise of A Nap

There is a reason my nickname used to be The Bat. And I think it had to do with my napping addiction... though maybe I just hope that.

Recently, when I was reading some article or other on how our brains work, I found out that sleep is good for creativity, which explains why I came away from university with an English degree in addition to all the sweaters I knit. I owe a lot to naps. Like this one time, before I'd ever heard of the 3-day novel, I did my own 5-day version--and just before the finish line, I dozed off. I still remember the moment I woke and saw, shimmering before me as on a gilded platter, every single plot point resolving itself behind the perfect closing sentence.

(that novel is beyond horrible, but I did have fun with it.)

I don't nap any more. I am a very happy Morning Person. But yesterday I fell off the wagon and into bed for a snooze, and when I woke up, like magic, I found myself taking my Old Lady Vs. Chair story in a new and exciting direction. Turns out it isn't about a chair after all... but we'll all have to wait to know what it really is about, because today I'm editing. Toodles!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekend Update Top Ten

1. Pumpkins acquired, of great number and size
2. Large fibreglass pot leveled and positioned
3. Trellises in place
4. Many rows of knitting ripped out (of the 2 rows forward, 1 back variety)
5. Concrete slabs in place along boulevard
6. 9 boxwoods planted (yay! they were on sale after all!)
7. Cluster of hydrangeas panting to get into the ground
8. Overall knitting status: back done, both fronts done, 1 sleeve mostly done
9. No additional sleep banked
10. Bonus discovery: Ghirardelli instant hot chocolate is the new black

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Can't Look, Can't Look Away

Yesterday I found myself in unfortunate proximity to either a loudmouthed condescending jerk or a tragically insecure person - depending on your degree of empathy. I was going for empathy until said person put down some little kid's dad, to the little kid.

Anyway when somebody has your skin crawling like that the best thing is to move away. But all I could think was Must... Listen... because I might need to write a character with social problems and need to show them with good examples of plausible dialogue (or in this case, a string of subtle putdowns) instead of telling the reader s/he is looking at a jerk or a walking bundle of insecurity.

Then last night I sat down with a terrific writer's book and ACK, I was three pages in and flipping, trying to find a single sentence that would hold my attention. About three chapters in I finally realized I was sitting through a tell, rather than being engaged by a show.

I always hear that tell doesn't work, and think yeah... unless I'm doing it. Well, no more. And if I have to go on standing near unpleasant people to mentally note the ways they reveal their unpleasantness, I'll do it, because I'm committed. Or should be committed. I always get those two mixed up.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fall is a Great time to Plant!

I quote multiple ads for greenhouses when I say so and will not hold it against them for not adding "wearing mittens and hats and scarves" before the "!".

Fall is a great time to plant because the air is cool or wet and the ground is still warm blah blah everything is on sale. How can you say no to half-price boxwoods, especially if you need ten? Not that boxwoods are on sale this week at my preferred purveyor's. Hydrangeas are. And wooden trellises, which I need badly, and topiary, folks. I do have a weakness for the topiary.

But what's really exciting: it's hide-the-sagging-fence day! I can't repair the fence because it's not mine, and I can't build another that is because my friend and contractor Ray assures me this would be insane, but I can hide it with a massive elegant fibreglass pot (acquired a mere 12 hours ago at 70% off) stuffed with insulation, rocks, dirt, and a honking tall something that stands in front of an even taller half-price trellis.

I promise to post pics when it's done.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Grass is Always Greener

I was kicking myself today for not being better at sewing, because of Clare Beaton whose adorable handstitched art looks so fun. Click for the enlarged image to see what I mean.

And then I opened up a note from Binnie with pictures of art recycled from old, unplayable musical instruments and got a double whammy because I'm not an artist OR a musician.

Then I remembered chatting with one of two musicians who had just blown my socks off (okay, it was hot out and I wasn't wearing socks, but if I had they'd have been over by the door) with a gorgeous performance, and moaning that all my sibs learned to play and there I was, kicked out of piano at age 12 for being lousy, and still only a listener and not an artist. She said, Er, writing is an art, isn't it?

Why yes, it is. And it's so easy for me to forget that, even when I finally managed to put the old lady vs. armchair story going yesterday with, once again, a different voice than before.

Ya gotta be happy with what ya got, I guess. Except when what you've got is a crummy view from your back window. That's something I am totally addressing this weekend.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Name that name

Some writers feel very attached to names; they choose carefully to reflect each character's personality and potential. Others worry about characters sharing names that could be confused, or beginning with the same letter, or they name characters after people they know.

I am so not attached to names, I forget them, even in person, which is terribly embarrassing. I put it down to sleep deprivation, or possibly the spaghetti with meat sauce I ate so much the year I lived in England, before anybody knew about mad cow. I remember details, like whether or not she likes chocolate or he knows how to play badminton, but names? I wish. I have to keep a list as I go along, if I'm writing a novel. If I think of a name I like better, I change.

My opinion: names have little if anything to do with the people who bear them. They reflect the dreams and values of others - their parents, the friends who give them nicknames, the teachers who got them mixed up with somebody else.

All of which is to say that today I will be writing about the old lady coveting her neighbour's armchair, which means I'll be procrastinating with the US government and the phone book. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Yesterday was one of those days that I told myself was going to be fabulous (full-on writing, morning and afternoon, no stress) even though I knew in my gut it would be 100% lousy.

My gut was right. Plus, I ended it at a meeting instead of in bed with a box full of bonbons.

Great discovery of the day:
ketchup potato chips don't taste nearly as good as I remember.
Balanced by:
all-dressed ruffles tasting even better.

I am telling myself that today will be good. Not fabulous, just good. No writing, but some knitting, and not a ton of stress, though some. And this time my gut agrees. Even the part that still feels lousy about all the chips. Bleh.