October 4, 2013
Here’s what I’m currently knitting:
Definitely the most complex project I’ve taken on. The white is a wool/silk blend I handspun myself. I ran in to the eternal handspinning problem: There isn’t enough of it to do a big project. But this stuff is super soft and cozy and I really wanted to make something wearable out of it. I got to the end of the white, thought I could either cast off and make a bolero thingy out of it. Or, rather than trying to find a white that matched exactly (a daunting prospect), I could find another, complementary color and make a 2-color shirt. I think it’s going to turn out well. I love the lacey off the shoulder straps, and I can’t wait to finish and try it on. I think it’ll go with some of my steampunk outfits.
September 30, 2013
I’ve lived in the area 15 years and I finally made it to the Butterfly Pavilion.
We came up with a brilliant project: butterfly wings, spread out, are shaped like shawls. We should knit shawls based on butterfly colors.
(I will never run out of projects.)
September 20, 2013
So many zoo babies! I even spotted the baby snow leopard, peering out from his ledge.
Emmy’s favorite animals were the elephants. Every time we tried to leave the elephant habitat, she said, “More!” If you ask her what an elephant says, she holds her arm over her head (like a trunk, see) and squeaks.
She really wanted to see monkeys, but seemed a bit nonplussed by them. That’s when I suddenly realized (though I should have realized this a long time ago) that our standard accepted stylized monkey form, the kind you see in storybooks and cartoons, doesn’t look anything at all like any real life monkey. Cartoon monkeys are brown with big ears and big smiles and long tails. Like baby chimps, except for the tail. Real monkeys are pretty much any color but brown, and when you get right down to it they look like shriveled little nightmare homonculi. They’re not actually all that cute. (Well, the pygmy marmoset was cute. Mostly because it’s the size of a freaking teacup.) So yeah, we got some really good looks at the zoo’s monkeys and lemurs, and Emmy sort of had this look on her face like, “Yeah, right — where are the real monkeys?” I can’t really blame her. (She conked out for a nap in her stroller just as we got to the great apes, so we didn’t get to see if maybe the gorillas matched her idea of monkeys better.)
But the elephants were a hit.
Today, I’m offline as I go in to have my wisdom teeth out. I’m a bit freaked out about it. Wish me luck. In the meantime, I’m just going to look at this picture of a month-old baby zebra for awhile. That’ll make me feel better.
OMG baby zebra!!!!!!!!!
September 18, 2013
I’ve got a million things going on and I have nothing of import to put in the blog. Maybe next week?
As for today, my niece is in town, and we are going to the zoo. It was one of the things I thought about when she was born: “Someday, I will take her to the zoo.” Today is that day. I’m very excited.
September 4, 2013
I had a great time. I managed to keep busy, even with the light programming. Turns out, many people got caught up in the same programming snafu. I feel much better now.
I met a lot of really great people, some of whom I’ve only ever admired from afar or interacted with online. Too many to list. (I don’t do the list thing because I’ll leave someone out and feel really bad about it.)
“Astrophilia” missed the Hugo ballot by two nominating votes. BWAH! That’s great. The story is also up for a WSFA Small Press Award. Go, little story, go!
Handed out a ton of postcards for Dreams of the Golden Age. I’ve never done postcards for a book before, but it seemed like a good way to say, “Hey, there’s a sequel!”
There was an Artemis rig in the exhibit hall. But I just suddenly realized that there was also a mock-up of the original Star Trek bridge, and that these two things really should have gone together and it’s a frakking crime that they were not.
I made it to the Women Airforce Service Pilots Museum.
Just a selection of things I brought home:
1. The book that’s going to help me write more stories about Rick. I think I’ve mentioned that researching Rick’s early life in colonial Mexico has been a challenge because there’s this 100-year gap in easily accessible history. Seriously, even the history timeline at the Alamo starts at 1721. I toured part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and they had a great book section in the gift store, where I found this. I can’t wait.
2. I scored an ARC of Paolo Bacigalupi’s new middle grade book. Woooooooo!
3. Buttons by Lillian. Seriously, buttons! Cool copper enameled steampunk-themed buttons! I can’t wait to use them.
August 26, 2013
One of the things keeping me busy this year: I started taking riding lessons again. I had an opportunity to do some pretty serious riding on a retired FEI dressage horse named Thomas:
Isn’t he beautiful?
Riding an FEI horse (one who has competed at the upper levels, Grand Prix and Prix St. George and so on), even a retired one, is sort of like driving a Ferrari after spending years in a Honda Civic. You have to pay attention. He listens to everything, every little muscle twitch or change in posture you make. If he does something wrong, it’s because I told him to, whether I meant to or not. This was great for me — I had to be right, or Thomas wouldn’t do what I wanted him to do. This was exactly the practice I needed. Unfortunately, Thomas headed off to a new home last week. Sigh. I have to figure out what I want to do next on the riding front.
Some things I’ve learned: 1) “Real” dressage is different than eventing dressage, which is the dressage I’d mostly been doing. 2) I’d picked up some very bad habits in my years of cowgirling around on Rosie, and of not riding much at all after that. 3) And best of all, I still pretty much have my horse sense. Or as my friend calls it, my 18 ranks in Animal Control with a +5 for horses. I still get along with horses, and that makes me happy.
June 5, 2013
When I first moved here two years ago and did my first round of weeding in the garden, I spotted this weird little plant with palm-like leaves. It didn’t look like a weed, but it didn’t look like anyone had planted it on purpose, either. I let it stay, because I was curious. It grew, but didn’t flower. The next year, it grew some more, still didn’t flower, and I started to wonder if it really was a weed after all, and maybe I should pull it. But it grew, and grew, and it still looked kind of cool, with those wild fan-like leaves.
This year, after all the late snows and freezes and a wildly short spring, the weird plant finally flowered, and boy was it worth waiting for:
I’ve also been able to ID it: Lupine, which seems somehow appropriate.
May 8, 2013
Goes with anything.
Pay attention to what you like. I remember drinking cabernet and chardonnay because that’s what everyone drank, until one day I realized they don’t taste good. Zinfindel and pinot grigio for me! Also, merlot, riesling, malbec, shiraz…
If you order a bottle at a restaurant that you really like, take a picture of the label so you’ll remember it.
Ordering wine off a menu takes practice. But if you can do it with confidence, you’ll impress everyone at the table.
When the waiter pours you a taste from the bottle you ordered, you don’t have to stare at it and sniff it and swirl it around and pretend like that’s telling you anything. Just take a taste to make sure the bottle isn’t off.
Learn to use a waiter’s corkscrew. Not just because it’s a good skill to have, but because it also impresses the heck out of people.
Discriminating against a certain region makes you look like an ass. However, promoting a favorite region makes you look educated and cosmopolitan. For example: you can’t go wrong with Oregon whites or Australian reds.
Plastic corks: okay. Screw-tops: also okay. It’s a brave new world out there. (Though it can be embarrassing when you try to open a bottle with a corkscrew and then realize it’s a screw top.)
More as I think of them…
January 11, 2013
Remember last year when I was so excited about getting a real bed after sleeping on a futon for fifteen years? Well, I did it again. A couple of months ago I was eating dinner, and I looked at my plate and noticed it was pretty badly chipped. All my dishes — dinner plates, salad plates, bowls — were pretty badly chipped. Which is to be expected, since they’ve been in constant use for something like 25 years. That’s when it hit me: I’ve been eating on these plates since I was a teenager. These are the hand-me-downs I got from my parents when I moved out after college. They got new dishes, I got half of the old ones, and my brother got the other half. When Rob got married, he and Deb got new ones as part of their wedding registry and he gave the other half back to me. And I kept using them because they’re functional and quite nice looking.
And I’ve been using them since I was a teenager.
(There’s some debate with my parents about whether we got this set when we lived in Maryland, ’85-’88, or when we moved to Colorado in ’88. But the fact remains: I was a teenager.)
I decided I wanted new dishes. My very own new dishes that I picked out my very own self. It feels a lot like buying a real bed did, and it feels like I’m finally fully graduated from the dorm-room hand-me-down lifestyle I had right out of college.
Confession: I narrowed my choices down to about four that I liked, and finally decided on this one by asking myself, “What would the Elves in Rivendell choose?”
So pretty, I’m almost afraid to use them. But not really. They arrived Wednesday, and packing up the old ones so I can use these has been so very satisfying. Happy early birthday to me!
December 21, 2012
I think all the presents are acquired and wrapped. (Niece Emmy’s birthday is in a couple of weeks, and I’m making something for her. I’m trying to get it done so I can give it to her now, before she goes back to Oregon, but no worries if I don’t.)
The cookies are baked. (No Colorado pot jokes, please.)
Holiday cards mailed. (Except for a couple the need to go overseas.)
White Christmas watched. (I heart Danny Kaye.)
Muppet Christmas Carol watched. (This is the very best version, I think. Michael Caine is a genuinely intimidating Scrooge, and it’s got all the wonder, humor, and language of the Dickens original. What do you mean, you haven’t read the original? Go read it, now! It’s short! You’ll like it!)
I haven’t been to the mall yet. I like going to the mall at Christmas, not to actually do any shopping, but just to look around and take in the atmosphere. Maybe Sunday.
Revised Kitty in the Underworld turned in. Yeeeha!
So, I think I’m just about ready. I’ve got two parties to go to over the weekend. I plan to enjoy myself immensely.
Oh, and also, for no particular reason: dear Ancient Aliens, I don’t think ancient peoples were quite as stupid as you seem to think they were.