Green's Hill-Amy Lane's Home - News

Wednesday, February 28, 2007



Thanks a million-trillion-googoolplex, Sora--I'm totally warmed... by spiral and penquinpants as well! (And ALWAYS Roxie!!! ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS!!!)

But this brings me to 2 things--maybe 3--

1. How many people are reading my blogs because of the books? I had no idea...I thought it was all knitting!

2. Do you realize that penquinpants got her book before I did--and I'm like, the author? I'm really really REALLY grateful for the lovely compliments...but, uhm...I sort of want my books!

3. And now I'm feeling really REALLY guilty about saying bad things about my 6th period...this much good will should NOT follow something as mean as the things I said about them. Of course, that doesn't stop me from wishing they'd not trash room.

But, really, SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ooh...that wasn't promising...

(Zoo pictures from last week--I did promise and all...)

Okay, just to warn you, first of all, I'm going on a blue rant here--I mean, I just read my 3rd paragraph and it gives Cory a run for her money, so if you're not comfy with that sort of thing, I'll forgive you for not reading...I'm pissed, and I just had my 1st glass of wine in five years--no, I'm not an alcoholic off the wagon, I've just been pregnant and nursing and mostly I just never drink and so when I opened a bottle to marinate a steak a part of me said, what the hell? I mean, don't people actually DRINK this shit instead of use it for London Broil rescue? Anyway, it relaxed my inhibitions and...well, I have an F-word and know how to use it.

So, back to the subject of my rant. I logged on to blogger tonight and the time lag was, well, reminiscent of my computer this whole last week at work. Not promising... in fact nothing about this week was promising...I've spent 3 days (I count Friday) scheduling a freaking movie right before progress reports so I can add shit in and what happens?

Well, the fucking maching DIDN'T stand up, walk out of my class rooom and shout "I'm all right, Jack, screw you all!" But it did laugh at me as it timed out every time I switched classes and the internet broke twice and...okay, the list of ways our fucking computers barfed cubits all over us is almost as long as my yarn inventory...and so I gave up. I mean...I just said, "Fuck this machine, fuck this place, fuck it all...I'll teach my lessons but grading their work? Fuck that." I sat up in front of the class and knit while they did seat work or watched their movie or trashed my room. (What is that? What in the fuck is up with leaving shit all over my room because, hello, I'm too busy keeping the little bas-turds from killing each other to worry about paper wads...btw? This last part? Is almost all my 6th period. My 12th grade AP class. I hope 1/2 the little shits flunk out of college--I'm pulling no karma punches w/these losers...I mean, you want to succeed? Learn some fucking manners and kiss my fat white ass.) Anyway, I'm starting to think maybe I should have had a lot more wine before I made my career decision...I could have written copy for diaper companies, I could have written copy for soda companies...hell, I probably could have written copy for the Berringer Wine company (since they've given me this moment of zen and all...) I could have spent my time with adults who know how not to litter the bottom of their floor like stoned parrots in a toxic-mold trapping cage. I could have made as much money as my husband. (Don't, wait,do laugh--he's an engineer and I can't add 2+2 to get 6...) At the very least I could have worked in a profession that knew how to party when the goddamned computers went down.

Well, I guess the week at work wasn't a total wash...that sock that got stolen by the identity-theiving crackheaded asshole is now partially replaced.

Knitting--it CAN save the world. Or at least make moderately priced wine look like a bottle of something really expensive that I don't know the name of.

(btw? Waiting for that first review to appear for BOUND is almost the end of my fingernails, my cuticles, and that little rough patch on the back of my 3rd knuckle. My author copies still haven't arrived, so I can't even fob it off on friends and family and beg them to read it overnight and give me a courtesy review...Please let it not suck, please let it not suck, please let it not suck, please let it not suck, it costs a fucking fortune, I'd feel really guilty if it sucked...)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

You're sick, I'll humor you...

Julie asked for pictures of my shopping trip of shame...we all remember our Princes Bride, right? Anyway, I thought I'd try to mask the sheer amount with pictures of the toddler, but since it's 11:30 in the morning and he's still wearing pajamas, well, maybe not such a stellar idea...
The devil ducky knitting needles are Chicken's... as is the basket with the al-paca and the gratis bamboozle that we got from the goodie bags on the train (those were great, by the way...yarn, an entire book, a craft magazine...not bad for jumping on a train!) But I especially like the one picture of him with two itty bitty skeins of yarn...that between them carry about 3200 yards of fiber. That, my yarn-drugging friends, is what is known as good shit. (And, okay, looking at the preview, that picture has gone bye bye in the ether and it's not letting me download again... c'est la vie...)
I finally just caved and took a picture of the full box and now I'm going to go hide, shame faced, and cook something in penance.

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So...If I told you all that I woke up from a dream in which my dad was about to bust me necking with my boyfriend after blowing all my college money on yarn, would you have some idea of how much money I dumped yesterday?


It was embarrassing--on the train home (the train was another story--I'll get there...) where complete strangers were showing off their purchases, I would wait until I caught that spark of shocked disbelief in someone's eyes and then stop showing them yarn, pretending that what they'd seen was all I had. I mean, I thought Chicken would keep me honest (while making me spend more money on her, of course...) but I dropped her in a class for beginners (which apparently she didn't need--she said she knew than all the other kids there already) and then did my best impersonation of a junkie in a crack factory all on my own.

But how could I help myself?

This person was there, and all of her work was really just as gorgeous as it looks on the net. These people were there too--but they were picked through already--on Saturday, no less! Serves me right for not taking a day off work to indulge my obsession, really. And then, when I thought I'd seen it all, I discovered a quiet miracle, these people right here. You had to see this yarn...subtle color gradations, bags packed of complimentary variegations...

Seriously--I came home and had a fibergasm on the train. Oh, yeah--about the train...

The muggles underestimated us again... the morning train was STANDING ROOM ONLY...they had another train, just SITTING THERE in Sacramento, but after packing four cars in Sacramento, they didn't count on the other knitters boarding in the OTHER SIX STOPS on the way down to Santa Clara. It was kind of fun though...yes, I too have done my part to freak out the muggles. The train home was much less crowded, but the shuttle from the convention center got us to the open air train station about 45 minutes before the train got there. It was 45 degrees outside...which is not cold by, say Midwestern standards, but since we were all dressed in sweaters because, really, we were planning to spend most of our day inside, it made for a rather blue fingered 45 minutes.

That didn't keep me from working on the sock to replace the one I got stolen (since it was a present for someone and all...) but it did mean I spent an extra 5 minutes in the ittle-wittle bathroom with the hand-dryer on , trying to get rid of the ache.

I missed the little ones all day--I called up Mate on the way home and asked him how they were--he fessed up right away. "They're fine. Great. Had a good day. Ladybug fell out of the basket and got a bloody nose, but she's fine."

Chicken, who was watching me have this conversation asked me later, "What made your eyes get all big like that and your face squinch up?"

"Nothing." I said brightly. A woman lugging a shoulder bag and a wheeled cart full of new yarn can not quibble over a little of her offspring's shed blood. It's written in the marriage vows somewhere, I'm sure of it.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Thanks, Julie!!!!

I'm sorry-- I thought it the whole time I was writing last night's post, but I forgot to SAY it...Thanks Julie!!!! And thanks for permission to use your info, too!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

As Promised...

In addition to being an obsessive narcissist, you may also have noticed that I have the attention span of a mosquito flying through a meth cloud, so I'm only going to mention BOUND for a nanosecond, then I'm moving on to bitching about and then, as promised, a little bit of Top Sheep...

So, when my purse got stolen, we had to cancel our credit cards--these were the only cards we had still running on our account, and when we canceled them, amazon cancelled me. The fun part was, that when it was asking me to log in, it was asking me to log in with my credit cards, and none of the ones it was asking for were live anymore--I mean, I haven't had some of them for was like asking for a thumb print when I'd cut that thumb off because it kept getting in the way of my knitting and dropping my stitches (#$%^ing thumb!) and I couldn't seem to convice the freaking thing that I didn't have another goddamned thumb to give it. Anyway, with a little bit of creative thinking I got into my account and added another credit card and then transferred all of my pending orders (there's a lot!) to the new card. And cancelled me anyway. There's 2 reasons they may have done this.

Reason A: My stupid work computer which will let me get e-mail featuring a scantily topped (t)It-Girl straddling a 6' wooden phallus (thanks Dad--stop sending those to us, they could get us fired!) and will let me find a website featuring non-monogamous Christian nudists (I was LOOKING for an Erma Bombeck article...!@#$ING SURPRISE!!!!) decided that was spam, and, frankly, amazon was getting no love so it decided to cut me off. (Considering their shipping rates often involve the phrase 'Bend Over' in them, this analogy is not that far off.)

Reason B: They're morons.

I'm not really banking on either reason--it's sort of like flipping a coin, actually, because, even if it is reason A, this is a district policy thing and our DO is 5000 years behind our long suffering technical staff which means that morons are still involved.

So I can't log onto amazon. Which means I can't make any more lists, or reply to anyone and even if I hadn't already decided not to review my own book, I couldn't anyway.(Thanks haylo, btw--I had already decided to have a little faith and let things be, but your reply did give me enough confidence to make it official! Roxie--you're a dear and a love, and I know that should this bone-headed idea bonk me on the noggin, you will give me a big cyber-hug and not rub it in that you were totally right and I was a moron--which also, btw, gave me enough faith to let things be.) Which, on the one hand is totally frustrating, but on the other hand is...

Strangely liberating.

I obsessively check my sales, which, considering what they actually are, you may imagine might be a sort of pathetic obsession. ('Hey, someone bought a book today! Cool. I hope they like it. Do you think they'll like it, Mate? Would they tell me if they didn't? Would they be nice about it? Hey, I got a comment! They liked it! Cool. Do you think they're just saying that? What did they like best about it? Did they like that one scene where my heroine says #$%% @##$$ @#$%&* @@###$? Do you think they think she swears too much, just like my parents?' Anyway,you get the picture...) This way, I can check my sales, but I can't do much else, so I can stop haunting like the ghost of dreams-gone-by... I'm sure amazon is relieved. Oh, wait...I can't spend any money this way--I'm sure they're trying like mad to fix the problem, which, given that I'm in need of something to read this month, may also be a good thing... but not quite yet. Hopefully my equillibrium will reestablish itself before I fully reintegrate into my usual obsessive behavior. It would be a sign the Universe loves me after all.

And now for some Top Sheep: (hee hee...I'm wondering if I show up on anybody's deviant blog searches--either that or farm life...that would crack me up...)

(Susie Sockyarn) Welcome to this week's episode of Top Sheep--last week, our contestents were issued an elimination challenge that elicted the following response...

(Montage featuring the following things: Willa Woolford and Organa Cotton weeping uncontrollably, Christine Cable gnawing worriedly on her lower lip, an orgasmic shudder from Al Paca, a high five between Intarsia Strand and Farrah Ayle, Mo O'Hare looking at everybody like they'd lost their minds, and Katie Acryllic looking cat-eyed and licking her lips in anticipation, with the word "microfiber" dropping from her mouth like lanolin-spun sex)

(Susie, resuming commentary) And today, we get to see what all of that excitement was about. For that, we bring you our Top Sheep judge, Proximate Gauge--Proximate, they sure looked happy to hear about this week's challenge, didn't they?

(Proxy Gauge) They sure did, Susie. (He looks at a vid-screen with wide eyes at the contestants as they band together and do the cocker-spaniel pee pee dance of excitement.) Almost disturbingly so.

(Susie Sockyarn) I can see that, Prox--can you tell us what caused such an uproar?

(Proxy Gauge) Well, the challenge we issued last week involves knitting something that displays or celebrates the history of knitting.

(Susie) Was that all?

(Proxy) Well, I do remember uttering the words "Using the materials of your choice."

(Susie--in dawning comprehension.) I see....

(Montage of reactions: Willa-- "Wool?" Organa--"Cotton?" Al Paca--"Anything natural at all?" Katie--"Mmmmmmm...microspun..." Mo O'Hare--"What the hell is wrong with you people--you'd think you were knitting with electrical tape and toe jam or something!" Montage fade out...)

(Susie) Now we will return to our contestants to see what they've done with this fascinating historical challenge...what is that noise?

(They open the door to the contestant room and are dismayed by the chaos that greets them. Willa Woolford is facing off with Organa Cotton, Farrah Ayle is on her side facing off against Intarsia Strand, Al Paca is toe to toe with Mo O'Hare and Christine Cable and Katie Acryllic are between them, trying to keep the peace.)

(Willa) Everybody knows knitting was started in Europe--what have you forgotten the Indus sock? Where do you think the idea of "Indus-try" came from if not from that good old fashioned European sock.

(Organa) "Indus-" came from the old Latin, meaning 'dilligent'--not everything comes from knitting you know!


(Katie, in a conciliatory way) Now calm down, Willa--you know that that fragment was actually 'nal-binding', right?

(Intarsia Strand) Nalbinding? Aren't you tired of bragging about your sex life, you 'darning dandy'!

(Katie, confused.) No--nalbinding--that thing they did with one needle that wasn't knitting but everybody thought really was?

(The chaos stops for a second. Then, Farrah Ayle says) Crochet?

(Intarsia, recalling that she is usually the 'easygoing' one.) No, no...that would be a hook...

(Al Paca) Crochet originated in France in the 1500's--everyone knows that-- knitting has been around since 1000 BC in Egypt...

(Mo O'hare) The hell it has--knitting originated in Spain in the 1400ds...

(Al Paca) No, no--that obviously post-dates the coptic sock that was found by the Nile with the word 'Allah' knit into it...

(Mo O'hare) Knitting is a European Christian event as hundreds of dead white men have documented through the years and don't you forget it!

(Al Paca) Yeah, you can suck my coptic sock you nalbinding neanderthal, your research stinks like lama spit!

(Christine Cable, still trying to make peace) People...we've lost focus here--don't we have projects to present tonight?

(Sudden silence. Al Paca suddenly whines into the silence.) Well, shit. I've left my knitting back in the hotel. (Half to himself) I'm so mad at myself I could just spit!

(A chorus of 'me too', 'yeah, so did I' and 'Hell's bells, what was I thinking?)

(Christine, rather smugly) So I guess Katie and I are the only ones with projects to be judged.

(Proximate Gauge, trying belatedly to take charge) Well, Christine--as much as I enjoy the cable representing the Nile on a tapestry of linen along with relief pictures of the coptic sock and a theoretical first knitter, I think we need to reconvene tomorrow and give the other contestants a chance--this has obviously hit a nerve.

(Katie Acryllic) Don't worry about my project, Proximate--I used microfiber acryllic--that puppy's going to be around a long time after we're dead and buried. You can judge me any time.

(Willa to Organa, making an uneasy peace.) Well we'd better get our projects...they'll disintegrate in five hundred years or so.

(Organa, with a sigh) Less if it's organic.

(Susie Sockyarn, a little bewildered) Well, ladies and gentlemen, I guess we'll reconvene tomorrow and see what you've produced for us... in the meantime everybody, we'll see you next episode for Top Sheep!

***btw--I got most of my information from Julie's article on Knitting 101, found in the Knitty archives--or you can just go here. The rest of the info I got from one of Julie's sources, Folk Socks by Nancy Bush:-)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Not the post I had planned...

Okay--I was in the middle of a Top Sheep episode last night when our internet went down and the whole thing was lost. Fucking blogger.

I WILL get you that Top Sheep sometime this week, but for now, two quick things, and then the bell rings and the kids come in and the shouting and the blood and the humanity... you know--work! So here's my two things--

is out on (yay!!!) but you may want to notice the lag time between ordering and receiving!!! Part of that is that the book isn't even at MY doorstep, and part of that is...well, I don't know... iUniverse is pissing me off...the damn book says it was published in December--which is when we initiated the process, certainly, but in the past it has always been when they RELEASED the book--not when we submitted it... they also didn't put my real name on the inside front cover. I don't know why. I think it's sort of legal that they have to--but at this point I'm just so damned happy to see it in print I'm going to ignore the small stuff!!

And this leads me to

B. A question. In the past, because, well, I figured nobody else would, I always reviewed my own book first. I have a small (but fiercely loyal, love you all) following now, and I was wondering if doing this is still necessary--or even if it's a little narcissistic, even for me. Now, part of the reason I do it is to add to the plot synopsis on the back cover--it's taken me three books to get to the point where that summary doesn't leave me cold. But the other part was to, well, make my own book look legit. I mean, it's no secret on the amazon pages that Teron Angel and Amy Lane are the same person... but that people are reading the books it feels a little...I dunno...fraudulent somehow.

So should I still review my own book this time? Do you think enough people will review it for me? Seriously--what do you think?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Not Quite Live...

Okay--we've just returned from the zoo, and tomorrow I will probably post some photos along with a long-neglected episode of Top Sheep. (My work problems sort of took precedence for a while, but I've attained perspective and Top Sheep will have out.) Anyway, all I wanted to say for this very itty bitty teeny tiny post is this:


Well, almost--it is available from its publisher at the moment--if you'd rather order it from (and, frankly, I check the stats more regularly, so your purchase there gives me a total thrill, but I'll by-pass the thrill in favor of any book sale I can get) you have to wait--it probably won't be live on amazon for at least a week. But if you want a 12 page preview and a look at the chapter headings, you can. For those who know me in person, I probably have another week to get copies to show off... But anyway, here's the link--and now it's the bite-my-nails, drive-my-mate-crazy phase where I keep wondering, "Will they like it? Is it good enough? Is anybody disappointed? Is it as good as the first? Worse? Better?" And then Mate jumps up and down on my head and says FOR CRAP'S SAKE STOP IT YOU'RE MAKING ME CRAZY and then the reviews start showing up--you've seen that part. Really, none of it is pretty. Welcome to the madness--I'm so terribly glad you're here. And now, introducing,

BOUND by amy lane

Saturday, February 17, 2007

5 Random Things

* Thank You, Kitty--I don't know this person, or even if she reads the blog, but she logged on to Barnes and Nobles and totally raised my cyberstreet cred by writing two great reviews for VULNERABLE and WOUNDED--between Kitty and Robin, I don't feel like such a total loser anymore, and that's a good thing!

* I had two kids who I was sure hated me come in and talk during lunch on Friday--they appeared not to hate me by the time they left. They're in my AP class, and I must admit, I missed such occurances.

* Just when I thought I ignored the media, I had a total West-NIle virus panic attack when I took the little ones outside and we got besieged by mosquitos. Nobody ever told me that OFF, instead of warding the little bastards off, is actually like cilantro sauce to the blood-sucking virus-fuckers. (I need to watch who I say that about--someone might think I was talking about my District Office.)

* My publishing company--the one I PAY, btw--has conveniently forgotten about my books. That's my only explanation for a book that was supposed to come on line in 2-3 weeks 4 weeks ago not arriving at my door or on I want my fucking book copies, I want them now, and I want someone to give me an ice cream sundae and a pat on the head for making me wait. I also want the 2 (count 'em) agents I sent to over six months ago to reject me like grown ups instead of using my manuscript exerpt as lining for their hamster cages and then sending me a courtesy note sometime in the next three years. I also want world peace. I'm not holding my breath.

* Mother of Chaos and Rae are having REALLY BAD WEEKS. Good bloggy thoughts for them--better ones than what we sent to the wacko with the punctuation fixation, please, we LIKE these people!!!

*Robin said something about "I need to get a book or something" about knitting--
I would recomend (sic?) one of the DVD's (you can find them at Michael's, Joanne's, Beverly's etc.), that one whose name I've forgotten which is a full color step by step photo layout, one page per step, and the Yarn Harlot's KNITTING RULES, for starters. Follow it up (over the course of a year or so, a little bit at a time, after you're drunk with your own power and expertise...)with Vogue's 3 Stitchionaries and Nicky Epstein's Knitting Over the Edge, and then the Big Book of Stitch patterns. What do you think? What are your favorite knitting books?

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Quick 10 Minutes

Hmmm...on the amy lane front:
* Work was barely redeemable today. I may live.

* I thank you all so much for your warm wishes from my last post--it was really wonderful and you all confirmed my faith in mankind, period the end. I love you all.

* Is anybody having visions of some transient identity thieving crackhead asshole running around in 1 handpainted merino yarn sock? Yeah, me too.

On the Cave Troll front:

* The Cave Troll is on the mend--I'm at work, he's at day care, all is right with the world.

* He's thinking about potty training now. This is good.

* He's grasping his potty training tool in his fist until it turns purple and screaming because nothing's coming out. This is bad, looks terribly uncomfortable, and is completely beyond his mother's ken. Dad needs to help, there is no other way.

* The Cave Troll now says the same thing every time I belt him into his car seat. "Be careful of my nuts." This is from dad, who both squashed his nuts accidentally, and then used that word to explain what he had done. Must say, it cracks me up like a pecan, that.

* Wednesday, when he was sick, he came running in with an unopened package of toilet paper, screaming 'Open open open'-curious, because we have several OPENED packages of said item, I did as he asked. The took a roll, carefully unraveled two exact squares, and blew his nose, then threw away the used tissue. Love that kid.

On the Big T front:

*Big T asked a girl to go to the dance with him this week. He's the only kid in the communication handicapped class to do so--all his buddies were egging him on. We told him to go for it, if he thought his heart was strong enough to deal with an answer of 'No.'

* She said 'No.' (I pumped his sister for information--she told me the girl was nice about it...'I don't feel the same way about you, but it's okay if you like me like that'--pretty classy for an 8th grader, actually. Good, I was all prepared to go rip her heart out if she was a total girlshit about the big, bear-shaped CH kid asking her out, but she wasn't.) T told me he was 'taking it like a man'.

*'Taking it like a man' apparently involves eating ice cream and watching Top Gun. I didn't want to point out that this was actually taking it like a woman, because I didn't want him to go out and shoot small animals instead.

On the 'Chicken' front:

* She keeps asking for a new addition to the rodent graveyard in front of our house. Of course, that's not how SHE'S phrasing it, but we all know how these things end.

On the 'Ladybug' front (also known as the Adorable Infant front):

*She was so cute she inspired an "I don't want to go to work" crying jag of epic proportions this morning. Her little cheeks are just so squishy, I want to kiss them all day.

*The Cave Troll insists on beating the snot out of her. Her response to this is to give him a non-verbal equivalent of 'get off me you Neanderthal, the alligator piano is for everyone!' This is not what we hear, but her big blue eyes are very eloquent.

On the blog front:

Julie's dying fabulous yarn--you must see.

poor kitty is now hobbling around on three legs. I feel dreadful for him, however, I was expecting worse news and it makes me happy to know he'll be whining at Roxie and feeling sorry for himself for a little while to come. This really sucks because I can't comment on Roxie's blog from work (where I comment on many of your blogs...I don't know why it picks on her blog but it kills me!) and I just want to give her a big bloggy hug... poor kitty, I really feel for both of you!

Louiz's little girl has the chickenpox--and I got a good and thorough grounding on the word bollocks! I love that word. I may use it a lot in the coming months.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cave Troll Down!

Okay--here's the reason I was home today with time to surf everybody's blogs (which I really enjoyed by the way!)

The Cave Troll is SICK! That's why he had his meltdown yesterday! (Flat of hand to forehead!) He's had a fever since last night, and I've been home in the rubble, remembering why I made a shitty stay-at-home mom all those years ago. (Why bother to clean the house if we're just going to crap it up again...)

Anyway...that didn't stop me from going to the the grocery story and getting my purse stolen, complete with credit cards *sniff*, new i-pod *sob* and (only me) two balls of irreplacable sock yarn, one completed and one 1/4 of the way completed sock complete with three sets of short straight dpns, one set of long dpns and two circulars (in the working sock). If the i-pod hadn't been new, I'd say the sock yarn was the biggest grief...wait--yeah, I've run my fingers through my stash in an amazing go of's still the i-pod. But it was damn close.

So I'm home again tomorrow with the poor little guy... I hate it when they're sick, but I've got to say, The Cave Troll is a lovely patient--when his fever breaks, he's cheeful, cuddly but not too cuddly, and asks nicely for juice. When his fever comes back, he wants only his binkit, his movie (Open Season--glad I don't have to watch it with him, it's run about 600 times today) and for me to (in his words) LEAVE ME ALONE, MOM.

So I'll be haunting everybody's blog and hopefully he'll be up and going bonkers tomorrow...I really do hate it when they're sick...that fish-eyed stare from across my bed just breaks my heart.

(Louiz has a sick little-un too--chicken pox, but in the pictures, all you can see are sweet faced little girl:-)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Score 2 for the new girl...

Okay, once again Robin asked a good question and I'd like to hear EVERYBODY'S answer, so I'm going to put it to the rest of you. Then I'm going to tell you why the Lady In Red is either A. Laughing her ass off at me or B. Quietly resolving never to go anywhere with me ever ever again.

As for Robin's question--how long did it take before you got anything you were proud of?

Me? I'm a narcissist--I'm proud of everything. I made shit 9 years ago (whereupon the dream and the following madness occurred) that I wouldn't admit to knowing today--but at the time, the entire freaking world was going to know that I was a #$%%ing fiber genius. So, the very first thing I made was a misshapen swatch--it took me 3 hours of a precious Saturday afternoon, and when I was done I apologized to Mate and the 2 children for our delayed trip to the park, and in order to make it up to Chicken (who was the Cave Troll's age at the time) I gave her the swatch and called it a doll blanket. She still has it. Until last year, I never knew when I'd come into the living room and find a stuffed animal with that damned acryllic yarn nightmare pulled up to it's chin, stretched out on the couch. Since then I've made sweaters, scarves, shawls, socks, hats, stuffed animals, mittens, purses and full-sized and baby-sized afghans--who wants to place bets on what's going to get handed down to the grandchildren?

I just finished the cardigan for Arwyn--the rose is sort of subtle and these shots were taken with flash, but I'm very pleased. I'm sure the purists can spot the flawed cable and the fact that I finished it 2 rows too soon... the vote's still out on whether or not I can ignore that (for those of you who've read my books, you know that ignoring small details is practically a specialty of mine) or whether it's going to haunt me forever. I'm never sure when my inner perfectionist is going to kick out the beer drinking slob who usually rules my brain. Anyway, it's not blocked, I can find three places I f$%^ed up, and it's the most beautiful, complex thing I've ever made. So, to answer your question, Robin? Nine years--and I'm still waiting to decide if I've made something I'm not embarrassed about. But I'm still proud--isn't life weird?

Anyway, I probably won't be able to post for a bit (read, 3 days) so I'm going to jump in about the reason LIR is probably vowing never to be seen in public with me again...

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. We had the day off, the little'uns and I, and why not go to the railroad museum--we could, once again, see the trains. ('Trains, mama...go see trains!') At the last possible moment I think I may call up LIR, since she might want to get out of the house (she's on uterus party leave at the moment) and her preternaturally wise little man, Mr. Mature we shall call him, would also get a tickle out of the trains. So, I'm on my way, she calls up and says she can be there in an hour or so, and I'm thinking, "Great! 2 hours was not enough for the cave troll last time--I'll take him walking along Old Sac, get him some milk and a lollipop, and he'll be on his second wind when they get here." I had not counted on two things. One, he's the Cave Troll. I am his Troll Mama--he does not share his Troll Mama with anyone but his other Trolls, and that, very unwillingly. Mr. Mature got there, I was enjoying talking to him, and the Cave Troll was very unhappy that Troll Mama would want to talk to (as he saw it) another Cave Troll. The other thing that happened was nap time. Now, I may have mentioned before that I am a slave to my physical person. When I'm tired, everybody else and the world at large sucks and should get out of my way to please me. When I am hungry, I will eat my children's clothing in order to satisfy my voracious appetites. Oddly enough, I weigh X Hundred pounds and don't spend a lot of time on my hair in order to sleep extra time in the mornings--go figure. I seem to have passed these unadmirable traits to my Cave Troll. The upshot was, LIR got to the RR museum (and the new baby? damned cute. very tranquil. slept a lot. two thumbs way up--accidental penis and all!) and the Cave Troll had a naptime/my mama meltdown that could have pwoered one of the super-engines on display. It was...seizmic in proportion. Now, me, being me, turned around, said, "We're going over here. If you don't follow us, I'll see you maybe." (For those of you freaking out, believe me, I could have tracked that Cave Troll Howl from four blocks away.) And it worked--he was screaming, but he was following us, and, really, that's a start because eventually the meltdown will wear itself out and he'll either A. fall asleep on me or B. get distracted, and all will be well.

Except, there was this poor little old lady who hated to see the little tyke suffer, and she tried to pick him up, and I had to go back and get him, and, that was it. He had me by the shorthairs--mama was not going to take off and leave him and that's the end. I had to chase the little Troll down through the railroad museum, throw his protesting body over my shoulder (we're both big people) and haul him out of the museum that way while pushing the stroller (with the perfectly behaved adorable infant about whom nothing can be written because all she did was kick back and observe) in front of me.

Ditching LIR and her non-melting down children at the RR museum after a scant 15 minutes of co-visiting time.

Sorry, LIR--that wasn't what I had in mind at all. And as for the Cave Troll? I'm going to go get him ready for bed right now. It's about an hour before his usual time. He slept in the car--they both did actually. In fact, they slept long enough for me to park the car in front of my Local Yarn Store (directly in front) and hurtle through the store to buy a skein of yarn I'd been dreaming of since my big 'I'm stressing about school' yarn buy on Saturday, when I regretted not getting it then.

Anyway, Robin, that's the real benefit of knitting. It's not the finished product, it's the fact that it can still your heartrate after a Cave Troll meltdown, and transform his little ugly-troll visage to the sleeping angel you'd thought you'd brought with you in the first place.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

New big question...

Okay--now that I'm done fawning all over Robin (and Sora and Roxie and Catie if she's done w/Vulnerable and not too disappointed!) I've got to admit that she brought up a good question--she asked where she would go to learn how to knit...

Now, the main character of my 1st three books (oh, Goddess, hurry up BOUND, hurry up hurry up hurry up!), Cory Kirkpatrick, learned how to knit after almost dying from a multiple supernatural entity attack and exhaustion brought on by grief. Knitting was therapy for her, and without giving too much up from BOUND, knitting and the Local Yarn Store play a nice sized role in the action. (I can't wait for Roxie to read it--there's a scene with a sweater No spoilers, I can't give spoilers now when it's probably less than 2 weeks from release. I can't.) Anyway, a vampire who used to be a homemaker taught her how to knit while she was recovering--Cory's not the best patient in the world, and the knitting kept her sane.

Personally, I taught myself to knit. I know I've replied to a couple of other people's post with this story (Julie, was that you're question?) so bear with me if this is repetetive, but I first dreamt crocheting. I mean, I'd watched a couple of grandmothers knit and crochet when I was a child, and one night I went to bed as a perfectly sane adult, and dreamt about the hook and the yarn and woke up and thought "AHA!" I went out and bought myself a 'how to' book and taught myself how to crochet and how to read the instructions. I asked on veteran one question (what does it mean 'in the space' as opposed to 'in the stitch') and have been crocheting happily ever since. I had a coupld of books (not to mention the heavily mourned Family Circle Easy Knitting magazine) that featured knitting with the crochet patterns, and, well, I hate to be left out of anything, so I taught myself knitting. Then I realized that Michael's didn't have all the yarn out there, so I found a couple of LYS including Babetta's, and I taught myself some freakin' yarn-buying discretion and the rest is history.

I have a list of shit I've made--some of it literally shit, and some of it I'm rather quietly proud of--but the list, including some 140 blankets, is about 10 pages long--it usually features who I made it from, what it's made out of, and where (sort of) the pattern came from...

So now that your eyes are glazed over with details and the baby's crying to be put to bed (two completely unrelated incidents, I assure you...) I'm just curious--and I bet so is Robin if she is still with us...

Where did you learn to knit? What would you change? What was your motivation...

I'm just freakin' nosy and you've all been so good to me in the last couple weeks, and I wanted to know!

(Knitech gave me this:-O

Your Linguistic Profile:
50% General American English
20% Yankee
15% Upper Midwestern
10% Dixie
0% Midwestern

Friday, February 9, 2007

Wow, I hit a nerve...

Okay--I just checked my site on Barnes and Nobles to see if I sold any books there (have I mentioned just how narcissistic I really am? no? well, let me tell you...) Okay--that same critic that panned me on hated me enough to copy her review on to Barnes and Nobles--I mean, LIR and I both copied our GOOD reviews on Barnes and Nobles--but SERIOUSLY--how badly did I offend this chic with my blatant comma abuse? Was her uncle a comma? Did she have a family member in publishing fired because of a comma misprint? I'm totally cracking up over this--it's like she's been siezed by a religious zeal to punish me for daring to publish a book rife with comma problems... I mean, I thought I had problems, but this woman has taken grammar nazi-dom to heretofore unreached levels--no more whining for me! Anyone with THAT much time and anger on her hands needs the good graces of the universe at large much more than I do...everybody in blogdom send a happy thought her way!!!!!

Some Fiber Content...

Okay...I love you all even more now--and although the wierdness continues, I'm not talking about it anymore right now because, mostly, I want to pretend it doesn't exist...and because I want to talk about my children and knitting, and about interpreting the signs of the universe wisely...well, maybe that last one can wait on another post...

First of all--I need to tell everybody that my work computer is REALLY incompatible with blogger--it's not like I spend all my time blogging (really, my lunch hour and the time their working on their grammar, mostly...)--but I can't comment on ANYBODY'S's killing me--I want to talk, dammit I do I do I do... (I mean, have any of you guys SEEN Roxie's Farseeing hat? It's pretty much kept me sane all week because it's the best fiber-arts jest of all time... and Rae and Needletart and I all need to meet to get ripped and Louiz needs a hullo out in Merry old England and Coach Susan and Knittech and Catie... and you guys get the point. I'm digging the blogosphere and it's inhabitants and it sucks that I can only tell you hi sometimies...) But other than that...

I thought you all would appreciate a list of my 4 a.m. heartbreak calls--remember, I told you that The Cave Troll keeps waking up and saying heartbreaking things in his sleep? I told you about 'Trains, mama, go see trains...'--but that's not the only one... following is a list of the things he's said in the middle of my sleep that have left me with my eyes wide open wondering what he's going to tell his shrink when he's thirty:

"Batteries, mama...i' needs batteries..." (%^&$ing Elmo doll--that fucker eats batteries like I eat chocolate.)
"Gone...mama...gone...all gone..." (He says this a lot. We have no idea what's gone.)
"Fries...where's my fries!" (He lisps too, so it comes out 'Fwies, whe' my fwieeeeeessss...")
"C'mere...mama...Keeewiiiin C'mere..." (He said this about five times before I woke up enough to realize that, whereas he usually crawls up BETWEEN Mate and I, this time he was on Mate's other side...he wanted me to say "Come here" so he could sleep between us.)
"Open Season. Ooooooopeeeennn Seeeeeaaassssooonnnnnn." (The movie? We bought it and made him go to sleep in the middle of the second repeat one night...obviously this was high trauma.)
"Book, mama...wead book..." This one actually got me super-mom of the year honorable mention because in order to get him to calm down, I had to recite an entire Sandra Boyton book by heart at 4 a.m. on a goddamned Saturday morning. Mate was most impressed--he told me this at 9 a.m.--when HE actually woke up.

So between the hearbreak wake-up calls, the baby wanting to nurse at 5 a.m., and some sort of pre-verbal bedtime rebellion in which everybody in the house under 4 feet tall insists on staying up until our last freaking' nerve fails and we lock them in a dark room until they cry themselves to sleep... except we can't do that because it just freakin' kills us...well, essentially, I've gotten no sleep at all. Am I babbling? Yeah...I thought so...I've been doing that a lot...

So, about knitting... I actually (ptl) memorized the damn Arwyn cable, which means (drum roll please...) I'm still not done. But I will be very soon. And it's prettier than I imagined--except the hood's too shallow, but I'm not going to let that dampen my pure joy. BTW? Have you guys seen the Harlot's post about her color choices? I looked through my stash boxes, and I'm still a color slut... anybody else going to psychadelic rainbow nirvana with me, or are do we have some Colorway Conservatives (and damn proud of it, that's fine!) in our midst? Post your colors... or just brag about them... I'm just curious!

So my 4 a.m. heartbreak-up? "Cashmerino, Mate... cashmerinnnnnooooooooo....."

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Act III, s. 2

There will be rain tonight...

So let it come down!


So, the AP class was going to check out MacBeth (I was hoping to do the Crucible, but too many of them did it in middle school--too bad, it would have been SOOOOOOO apropos!) Anyway--I'm doing my 'thang'--

My 'thang' is when I make the story personal--so I start talking about the Valedictorian, and how he's a good an honorable man, and then I pick on one of the self-professed 'slackers' and I make up a scenario in which the slacker wants to be the Valedictorian--and all he has to do, is steal one paper while the Valedictorian is at his house...what's to stop him?

'Ethics?' Says one person. 'Morals?' Says another. 'Another person?' Says a third.

"Another person?" I say. "Like say his girlfriend...who wants to be his girlfriend in this scenario?" And the girl who is teasing the slacker volunteers. "So, Freda--(not her real name:-) you REALLY want to be the Valedictorian's girlfriend...which means your guy has to be Valedictorian, right? And you play with his hair and smile into his eyes and say 'please please pleeeeeeaaaaasssseeeeee steal that paper' and he says?...."

"No?" Supplies the slacker.

And right here--I have them--they are paying attention, they want to know what happens next, and I have them all set up and my next line is the kill line. And it is (for those of you who know the play and are understanding the analogy) borderline inappropriate. But it is also VERY VERY analogous to MacBeth--because her line in the play is "From this moment forth, such I account thy love." It's usually staged where she turns her back on her husband and grows very cold--and it is essentially the wife's throw down--turn your back on your morals, kill your kinsman, become king, or you don't love me any more and you will get no more loving period the end. So what do I say? I have the students--I can risk my job, or I can accept that if I am going to teach at all, I need to teach true to myself. I can slink away and go with the easy.. 'No more kissy face for you!'... or I can go with the real kill line--Lady MacBeth's real implication in this scene, and the thing that has MacBeth by the testicles and forces him into action.

"Please steal that paper... please please pretty pleassssseeeee......"

"No." Says our slacker.

"Well then I won't put out." I do the hair flip, the attitude, the back turning...

And most of the class roars.

My cronies? The ones who are out to get me? They exchanged glances, "Talk about inappropriate!" One of them gasps.

But I'm done. I will not live my life or teach my class in fear of their censure. If there is rain, let it come down.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Roundabout explanation...

Okay, it's going to take a while to explain how we ended up here in the new digs--I hope you bear with me, but first, "Welcome! So nice to see you! I'm so glad you found the place! And thanks for the lovely gifts! Pear liqueur? I'd love some...housewarming plants, a nice throw? You guys rock--you can come to my house any day! Yeah--it's a bit plain, I know, I'll try to dress the place up a bit--I'm still talking Mate into moving the links from the old digs to the new...I might finally pull up that knitting mouse thing I love so dearly... you know, that sort of thing. But for now, sit down, take a load off--I'll tell you how we got here."

Let's start with shit I've said in the classroom that could get me fired.

For the record, I'm not the only teacher with this mental file on hand--in fact, as I was trying to hold it together yesterday, a couple of teachers commiserated with me using that exact line--"Wow...some of the shit I'VE said in the classroom could get me fired." Well, this post is sort of about my specific shit.

I've got this one story--I first told it in the following context, but I have no idea why I told it THIS semester. THIS semester, I was so desperate for a connection with my classes I might have said any fool thing to let them feel I was an approachable human being (I'm perpetually exhausted, so the odds of me saying any damn fool thing are considerably higher this year than when I've got a full 6 1/2 hours a night under my belt) but USUALLY I tell this story like this:

12th graders usually get to the point in their literature where they recognize that suddenly sexual themes are, uhm, popping out all over the place. "Why does it all have to lead to sex?" They ask, feeling a little like they've been offered their first beer in public. But it's okay, because I've got a good answer to this one.

Literature is about the human experience (I tell them) and the human experience boils down to the four basic human relationships. There's the filial--mom, dad, sisters, brothers--that sort of thing, the platonic--that's where you are in middle school with your friends, the divine--your deity of choice, whomever you pray to when you get that pop-quiz and don't know the answers, and finally, the sexual relationship. This last one is the only relationship we have with age taboos--grown ups (at least in this country) are highly uncomfortable talking about sex with younger people, so, when you encounter it in age-appropriate literature, it seems out of place. (Brave New World? 1984? Hell--MacBeth and Hamlet? If they're not doing the nasty, they're talking about why they shouldn't do the nasty--but I digress.)

"But we KNOW about sex!" They tell me, and I nod. Of course they do. How could they not?

"I know." I tell them, "But culturally, it's one of those things that freaks us out. For example, my oldest son. When I was pregnant with the cave troll, the 'sex talk' was inevitable, and for the big T, it was a revelation! Oh my god... adults were DOING IT!! So one day, we're watching a harmless PG comedy, (I think it was Maid to Order--J-Lo, Ralph Fiennes--I'd give it a C- at best) and the 'lights go down' and, T says 'I know what THEY'RE doing--they're having SEX!' 'Yes.' Says my husband through his teeth, 'Adults have sex. Your parents have had sex three times that you know of.' 'Four!' Says T--'Remember I caught you once!' (Pause for laughter here!) 'Remember--we're not talking about that ever again.' says my beloved mate.

Now the thing is, Mate knows that this is unreasonable--this story is going to be told at weddings, it's going to be told to grandchildren, it's going to be told at our funerals after we've passed--but we are desperate to make this one relationship off-limits to the young. Your parents have done it to you, and so have your teachers--and so often, the passages alluding to sex have been overlooked or cut from your literature. But you guys are old enough now to read those passages and to discuss them maturely, because the thing is, that after it looks like all roads lead to sex in your literature, you start learning that they don't just stop there--there is usually a higher destination beyond sex that's making an important point about the human experience."

NOw see, even here, it leaps right over the fine line between appropriate into the inappropriate... but in the classroom, for three years at least, it worked.

Now let's talk about the blog--you may remember that, for a month, I had a student visiting the blog, and I cleaned it up, got it sanitized and tidy, and kept things toned down for the student, and when she stopped visiting I gave a big sigh of relief--giving out my blog address hadn't been one of my better ideas and I was glad it died down. But during that time, I posted the excerpt from BOUND--I was excited about the excerpt and mentioned it to the kids. It wasn't particularly risque-- it did use swear words, but considering one of their Junior texts is FALLEN ANGELS (which apparently uses the F-word almost as much as I do...) I figured it was no big deal--it wasn't like any of them visited my blog really anyway.

Well, none of them have visited the blog--I'm not worried about them every visiting the blog--I'm not worried about them seeing anything I've written, and I'm certainly not worried about venting under my pen name.

But the skanky heifer I was venting about yesterday and her *ugh* mother, upon hearing my obvious reluctance to change the grade, brought in a complaint about my inappropriateness in the classroom with her cronies, using that story I just cited as an example. The blog was mentioned--for the reason I just gave and no other, and so I changed my address so I could tell my administration that 'yes--THAT blog has been closed down.' Could anyone follow me? Well, yeah. But they won't, because that wasn't the point, was it? The point was to pressure me and embarrass me, and it worked--sort of.

I e-mailed Mate about it immediately. His response was, "Well--you've been waiting for that complaint for years. Maybe they'll fire you, and you can spend the year on unemployment getting established as a freelancer." Now for the record? We're not big fans of unemployment or living off the government, and at one time I loved this job with a pure and undefiled passion and I would like, I think, to renew that emotion and that zeal when there's a little bit left of me to do so-- but as far as supportive goes, it could have been a lot worse.

I am not an...appropriate person. I never have been. I wasn't joking in my profile when I said I'm terribly weird. I knew that bringing that personality mix into a classroom was a risk--and usually that gamble pays off, because I've had students tell me I've made a profound difference in their lives. Someone once said about students--especially AP students--'They're not just innocent kids. They're precocious adults. If a group of adults wants to fuck you, they can fuck you, and just like when the action hero is tied down by twenty bad guys and he takes a beating, you can take a beating.' (Well, I added that last part.) It's my year to take a beating. If I'm still standing at the end of the year, maybe I was meant to come back.

If I'm not, maybe it's time that this profession and I part company--there are so many painful, heartsick things about my job right now that I don't even want to discuss--so many ways you can be hurt when you do what I do for an administration/state/culture that doesn't give a flying fuck, and maybe, like Green discovers, there comes a time when just fading away is the least painful thing to do. Or maybe, like Green, I can find a way to fight and a reason to stay. I'm not sure which right now.

But thank you all so much--I really appreciate your visiting my new house, and the housewarming gifts made it all worthwhile. I look forward to visiting you guys for the next couple of days--it's one of my favorite things to do.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The New Digs

I don't even want to go into it, but subsequent to my last post at the old digs, I have moved my address here now. I hate to abandon my old, hard to remember address for this newer, sleeker version--and someday (not today) I may have to tell why I did this odd and fruitless thing... but in the meantime, I'm still me, I'm still here, and now I'm crankier than ever.