The Bear Hat

I have to get some pictures! It’s delightful, just as it is, in pieces. But tomorrow, my goal–after I get my oil changed–is to find a tapestry needle with an eye big enough for the yarn. Otherwise, I’m not sure how I’m going to get it together. But I’m kind of delighted with the problem! And I’m going to pick out buttons for the eyes.

And take pictures, because you all are going to laugh! It’s just really delightful. The ears, even now, are the greatest thing ever. But man, it’s going to be hot as all get out. In both senses of the word. Ha ha ha. Okay, mostly just in the “heavy wool” sense.

Many Kinds of News

Bad news–I’m sick. My eyeball hurts and won’t stop watering. I am at home waiting for the cold medicine to kick in so that I can sleep.

Good news–I sold a story. I think that’s two this month, by my counting, and three in the last three months? Which is lovely and also weird as all get out because I hadn’t sold a story in a long, long time before that.

Quandary news–I try to have three or four stories out on submission at any given time. I am down to two. One of which I think I’m going to stop shopping, because I have something else to do with it. I have nothing that feels quite ready to take their places in the “pieces I’m shopping” category. So, I wonder if I have to take some time away from the book to get some short fiction in the hopper.

WTF news–my dad is, as we speak, having surgery. A surgery none of the three of us kids knew anything about until my mom texted us to tell us that he was getting ready to go in. BUT THEN she tried to throw my niece’s mother under the bus by saying that she’d told her about the surgery. As if it’s the responsibility of some girl who’s not related to us and only known us for a couple of years to assume that she’s the only one who knows something and that she needs to tell the people who should have been told in the first place!

Talking Shop

This morning I read a post by an agent where she advised that writers not write about writing, because who cares? I found that a little vexing because I care. I like process posts. Not just writing them, but reading how other people have figured out how to do the work.

In that vein, you should check out Kat Howard’s piece on rejection.

I get rejected all the time. I can’t find homes for stories I know are good. I keep writing anyway, because it makes me happy.

But it seems weird to me to not talk about it. How can anyone know if what’s happening to them is typical or not if they have nothing else to compare it to?

WTF?

–The glass on the oven door exploded while the Butcher was laying on the couch, sick. So, we’ll have to figure out how to deal with that and do so.

–I saw an old friend at lunch, someone I hadn’t seen for ages, and it was good, but also a little sad.

–I finished the bear hat for my niece except for the eyes, which I’m hoping to do a little different than I did for the first hat. I’d really like to find buttons with big enough eyes that I can use yarn, not thread, to connect them.

–Last night, the dog got a potato out of the bag and carried it around in his mouth all evening. Occasionally, he set it down on me, but mostly, he just carried it around. Eventually, I threw it out.

–And this morning, on our walk, he found a cup of apple sauce. I’m not sure where. I was just thinking my own thoughts when I looked down and there he was, carrying a cup of apple sauce.

How Pleasant It is to Touch a Boob

This is a search term that brought someone to Tiny Cat Pants this morning. I can’t decide if this is a question–a person who has never touched a boob wondering about its general pleasantness or perhaps a poet, wondering if anyone else has ever started a poem “How pleasant it is to touch a boob.”

I am curious about how such a poem might go.

How pleasant it is to touch a boob.

I would know, of course.

I’m not a n00b.

A long time ago I liked a guy who liked me back but nothing ever really came of it except that he gave me a poem about awesome boobs, written, of course, by Lord Byron. Writing it down like that makes it sound tacky, but I found it charming and funny.

He has a wife now, and some adorable kids. Sometimes, I see their photos and I wonder if I should have tried harder to… I don’t even know, really… I’ve become someone since then that wouldn’t be a good fit for him. It’s hard to imagine the person I am now making the person he is now happy. But he made me happy once-upon-a-time and I hope the feeling is mutual.

Bear Hats a Go Go

I need to sew together my new baby hat, but I have to do that in strong light, so I was waiting until this weekend. Meanwhile, I’ve started on the hat for Sam (or, if I put it on the Butcher and it’s a little small, the hat for my mom!) It appears I was right and buying bulky yarn and going up a few hook sizes are going to let me pretty much use the pattern as written and get an adult hat. The biggest challenge with the hat is going to be finding a tapestry needle with a hole big enough to take the yarn and then finding buttons with the holes big enough to fit the needle. I’m going to end up at Joann’s with a long strand of this yarn.

I’ll take some pictures as I get further along. I really love the color of the yarn. It’d be a nice hat even if it wasn’t a bear.

Oh, I do have a picture of that, though.

bear hat early stages

I would have liked a hook one size bigger than what I have here, but I don’t own one. The only thing I have bigger is the enormous. I’d be worried about how dense it is, except that both people who are getting one live in the Midwest.

Anyway, that’s the main color (thought it might look a little more pink in the photo than it does in real life) and the color under it is the ear, nose, and border color.

Friday?

I have no idea what days it is, really. I’m depressed about this state and what it means to be a woman in it. But I don’t see any easy fixes. The Democrats don’t really exist. There’s no legitimate opposition. No reason for them to temper their actions.

Two things made me feel incredibly old this week. One is Kim Kardashian, in that I see everyone having opinions on her in her various states of nakedness and I thought she looked cute and like she was having fun. You know when you feel like a grandma? It’s when you see a shiny, naked lady being all sexy and your first thought is, “Oh, she looks so cute.”

And the other is that I listened to the new Azalea Banks album and I liked it. I found it a little strange sounding and I couldn’t quite understand half of what she was saying, but my feet tapped. I don’t know exactly how to explain it. But it was the first piece of music I heard that was obviously marketed to adults which I found just felt weird about listening to because she sounds so young.

I still listened to it a bunch. But it was weird. I mean, I’m glad there’s youth culture and I’m also really glad I don’t have to keep up with it. I can just be interested in what I’m interested in and ignore the rest.

A Moment

I’m sorry to be vague about this, but I don’t like to blog about work. Still, yesterday, I was standing over someone sitting at a table trying to figure out what a regular person puts in a note to President Obama. It was my job to advise said person on the creation of that note. As if I have any experience writing personal notes to the President.

And there was this moment when we both kind of looked at each other in wide-eyed confusion and then burst out laughing.

It makes me laugh to think about it.

Anyway, dear Reader, life is weird.

“Sorrows”

On the way in to work this morning, the radio was playing that new Jenny Lewis song where she announces that she’s been the only sister to her own sorrows. It’s not the best lyric in the song (that would be the bit about talking to child brides on their summer vacations–ouch and ha ha), but it’s the one I like the best.

We have this church in town, the oldest Catholic church in town and possibly the oldest church building in town (an older one isn’t coming to mind), named St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows. It’s usually just called St. Mary’s, because most of the Catholic churches in town are named for saints–St. Henry’s, St. Patrick’s, St. Lawrence’s. etc.

But holy shit, St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows is the most beautiful name for a church. I think you could build a whole religious belief system just around that name. It’s a very short poem–all the recurring “s”es and the way the vowels work–that long a, followed by the short a that almost sounds like an e, into those ees, and then down into the os, like you’re descending into something dark, and calm, and sad. That one T that stands out because all of the other sounds muddle together. The Sisters of St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows would be even more perfect.

It’s just such an aesthetically pleasing phrase.

The Curious Case of the Roasted Chicken in the Night

We had a roasted chicken for dinner Monday. I told the Butcher to put the carcass in the outside garbage or in the fridge.

Obviously, he did neither, or we wouldn’t be having this post. Yesterday morning, half the carcass was missing. Bones and all. I blamed the dog. I still do put some of the blame on the dog. And I worried all yesterday that the dog might die from eating those chicken bones. And I also figured, well, he would die doing what he loved–living inside and eating garbage.

But, dear Reader, when the Butcher and I got home from his celebratory senate-campaign dinner, there was a pile of poop between the toilet and the wall so enormous that you could have seen it from space. I have no doubt that some of you probably saw it in your peripheral vision, and just mistook it for another hill in the landscape. It was almost like a pooping horse amount of poop.

It was the kind of poop–when you look at the butts in our house who were present: the dog, the cats, however many mice–you would assume could only come out of a dog. But the dog cannot fit his butt between the toilet and the wall. The dog was also not the one languishing on the bathroom sink.

No, that was new kitty who apparently ate her weight in chicken and then, when her body was done with it, left it in the bathroom, because she didn’t want 8 lbs of poop in her litter box. (In fairness, I have no idea how, if she had pooped it in the litter box, she would have ever been able to cover it. She’d have been in their all day trying to bury it.)

I was disgusted. But, man, I laughed, too, because that cat has always been kind of a ridiculous bad ass. This just seems like par for the course. Of course she’s not going to let some silly dog have all the chicken. She’ll eat chicken until she can’t eat chicken no more and then she’ll leave the rest to the dog. And the dog, though ten times her size (if not more) will respect that.

Bear Hats for Everyone!

My brother sent me a picture of a crocheted bear hat and asked me if I could make one for my niece. Over the weekend, I worked it up. Then the Butcher laughed at me because it was so big. So, I’m now making another one, in a smaller size, for the niece.

But my mom wants one and FOB (friend-of-blog) HFM (hunky-fireman) Sam wants one, so I’m trying to figure out how to take a pattern for a toddler and up it to an adult.

On my walk this morning, I had a thought. Couldn’t I just get some really chunky wool yarn and my big hood and follow the pattern pretty exactly otherwise? I mean, I might have to add a couple of rows, but nothing like trying to go from baby head to adult head.

I think that’s what I’m going to do. Plus, a wool hat for Midwesterners? They’ll love it.

The Temptation of the Trolls

Since instituting my “I don’t read the comments on my own Pith posts and I don’t want to hear about them from people who do,” I’ve noticed something unpleasant. I kind of miss it. Not in a good way. But I had a story rejected, again, today. It’s been rejected so many times that I now just assume it’s going to be rejected. I kind of assume everything I do is going to be rejected, over and over again. Not quite good enough. So, just hurry up and send it back to me so that I can send it out again.

You get kind of numb to it. At first, it sucks so much to be rejected and then, genuinely, you stop feeling like your guts are going to come out. You really do start to believe that it just wasn’t the right fit. Not for them.

But the thing is that, even though the terrible feeling of rejection is terrible and does suck, it’s a real, intense feeling. It’s a feeling you have to get over, I think, in order to keep sending stories out. Otherwise how would you survive? But there’s a certain satisfaction in having really intense feelings, even if they’re negative.

And I’ve had some really awesome stuff happen to my writing. Obviously. Just look at this weekend. But I’m  not really hardwired to be able to feel happiness intensely for long periods of time. I’m trying to practice being different than that–to actually be happy and to take pleasure in it. And to find ways of sustaining it internally.

But man, the thing about the Pith commenters is that it’s like being nit picked to death. I feel every single bad comment like it’s some indictment of my soul. I burn with fiery passion while I try to think up comebacks so devastating they will reduce the person they’re directed to to ash. I carry those mean comments with me like battle scars. Like I’m proud–to myself–of having the barrage inflicted on me and of surviving.

My feelings are intense. And the callous seems never to completely form.

So, I really want to read my comments and I really want to feel angry and mean back at my commenters.

I don’t, because it costs me too much, but I want to.

I’m having a problem that I don’t really want to talk about. I’m not handling it well, though, because it reminds me too much, in some ways, of a very bad thing that happened to me when I was younger. I feel the ghost of that bad thing with me whenever I try to figure out the current stupid situation.

And I want to be kind and generous and open-hearted, even though it’s not my nature. But the temptation to deal with this stupid situation, where the stakes are so low–just a matter of my own mild discomfort–as if it were that old bad thing, and to say all the things I wished I’d said, to be as mean as I maybe should have been back then… I don’t know. It’s really tempting.

But I want to be a better person. Not for others’ sakes. But for my own. And giving in to your worst impulses can’t make you a better person.

But man, sometimes I envy the people who act like it does.

The Wolf’s Bane Pre-Order Party

It went really well. A ton of people came and I was really delighted to just see face after face of people I know. It was also cool to see a bunch of people I didn’t know. There was mingling and talking and then I read some from the book and then they showed the book trailer. People bought copies of “Allendale,” which pleased me. And it was just really exciting to see people excited about the book.

Plus, Tom Wood, who so generously agreed to be the last werewolf in the book (I guess spoiler alert!), or to at least have it insinuated that he was, came with fangs! And offered to bite everyone. You know, just in case you wanted to be a werewolf. It made me so happy that he is enthusiastic about his part and willing to play along.

The leather-bound edition looks amazing. It just looks so much like an artifact, like something you might carry around in your pocket, an ancient thing for consulting.

So, that was cool. People high-fived me multiple times, which made me happy. I mean, people liked it (score) and they clearly felt invested in it (double score) so that makes me really happy.

It also clarifies for me that, as much as I like being recognized as a good writer, that’s not really what I want. I want to write good things. I want those things to be of value to people because they love them, not because they love me. Don’t get me wrong. It means a lot to me that my friends like what I do. But I really want my stories to have a life beyond me, to be entertaining to people without me.

I want my friends to love it and tell me I did good, too, don’t get me wrong. I just want that and for the stories to find a life without me. And shouldn’t I have it? Shouldn’t I have it? Shouldn’t I have all of this and passionate kisses. Woo-ooh-ooo.

Ha ha ha.

Anyway, here is the awesome book trailer.

Tonight

Here are some details.

Some further details are as follows: There will be light snacks. It’s an open-house type deal. Come any time between six and nine. But I will be reading and a video will be shown at 7. So, probably, come for that? Or not. It’s cool. You can pick up a copy of Allendale if you like.

“I mingled with them, and distinctly remember hearing one lady say she had a good-bye kiss from the General, and she should not wash it off for a month. Oh! what a noise there was! A parrot, which had been brought up a democrat, was hurraing for Jackson, and the clapping, shouting, and waving of handkerchiefs have seldom been equaled.”–Life of Andrew Jackson by James Parton

Didn’t I Used to be Not Busy?

On our walk this morning, I worked some things out about the chapter I’m working on now. And I’m starting to wonder, just for marketing purposes, if I shouldn’t call the book “Nashvillains” instead.

I’m also wondering if I should have a little section at the end of each chapter with where to go to see anything of the people I’m talking about, if there’s anything left to see. Kind of like a tour guide piggybacked on a history book?

But I have not really been writing for a few days. I’ve had some nice evenings to myself, but I’ve been so stressed I’ve spent them playing Civilization instead.

Still, also, on our walk this morning, the dog tried to sneak a hot dog bun out of the garbage back by the fire. It somehow ended up stuck to his foot. So much for sneaking. I laughed so hard. But he’s good-natured, so he wasn’t embarrassed or anything. Sometimes you get a hotdog bun stuck to your foot. You just have to roll with it.

Life is Funny

The Butcher ran for Senate. I don’t remember if I mentioned that or not, but he did. I wrote about it for Pith. I invite you to read the comments.

Then I invite you to listen quietly. That noise is me rolling my eyes so far out of my head that they fall on the ground. Plop, plop. That’s the noise I make.

It’s unfair to hate the mother of a kid you love. Unfair to that kid, who loves his mother and who doesn’t need his aunt publicly fighting her or listing out her multitude of sins. The things she’s done to my nephew, I will never forgive, though I will keep them private for his sake.

But she threatened to kill my dog. And she knows I hate her. So, why she’s kissing my ass in public, I just don’t know. I half suspect it’s to be a giant bitch to my brother’s girlfriend, to try to insinuate that she’s close to the Butcher and me. Bwah ha ha ha ha.

But, you know, it’s hard to be close to people who don’t allow anyone to tell you where they live.

Mice

There was another dead mouse in the bathroom this morning. That’s four. Certainly the most mice the cats have ever bothered to catch in the house. More than we’ve ever caught in one bout.

I have many questions. Are there more mice in the house than usual? Do we always have this many mice in the house?! Are the cats bringing the mice into the house?

Well, yes, this is not great

I really fucked myself yesterday. I couldn’t sleep and I was dizzy and lightheaded all this morning. But I’ve gotten some stuff done and I’m feeling calmer.

Getting old is so weird. I mean, I’ve been angry before. Probably madder than I was yesterday, when I thought I was going to have a rage-stroke. But man, I felt this.

I Did Not Have a Good Day

I had a very stressful morning. And then I had my yearly physical. Which I kind of flunked while they waited around to see if I was having a heart attack.

Turns out my heart is fine and, if you leave me in a quiet room to breathe deeply for a half an hour, my blood pressure will go back down into the range people can live with.

I wanted to come home to vent to the Butcher, but he’s not here. So I guess I’m going to have some dinner and cry quietly on the couch.

Hot Spot

This morning, out on my walk, I went through an incredibly hot spot. I was walking along Lloyd and it was cold. Then, there was a spot just where the trees start, where there was no breeze and it was really hot. If it’s 50 out, that spot was 80. Sometimes it’s warmer near the creeks, but not that warm.

I was trying to decide what could leave a hot spot in the air like that and I settled on maybe someone had been parked there and left just before I got there.

Either that or I was standing in the ghost of someone’s grandpa. Which, you know, is a little awkward.

Complaints

I was so busy this weekend. It was good, though. Fun busy. Not bad busy. But on Saturday, one of my friends went all “You never complain about work. That’s weird.” I don’t know. I feel like I complain all the time. Or that I have enough complaints to fill up a lot of time.

But mostly I feel really lucky. I like my job a lot. I genuinely don’t have that many things to complain about.

But the point is really this–I perceive myself as a pretty constant complainer and it annoys me about myself. I’m all for venting and then doing something about it. Or venting in order to work up the guts to do something about it. But complaints that go nowhere? I get annoyed at those. Annoyed at my own tendency to complain, just to pick at the scab and see if there’s anything under it that still bleeds.

So, I found it pretty funny that there’s anyone who thinks I’m not a big complainer. That’s not how I perceive myself.