Thursday, November 29, 2007

Save a Bookstore, Buy a Gift

To book lovers, feminists, Austin peeps, and anyone with a heart of gold:

Book Woman has run into troubled waters. The store requires $50,000 on top of normal sales by mid-December to renew its lease.

Why should you care? Book Woman is an independent bookstore. Book Woman is part of what makes Austin unique. Book Woman welcomes everybody; you can be a man and visit unscathed. In fact, you can be pretty much anything at all, and walk right on in to buy a book and enjoy some lovely conversation.

If you're in Austin, think about doing a little shopping there in the next few weeks. Don't let yet another indie Austin business succumb to the encroaching tide of franchises and strip malls.

Monday, November 26, 2007

FO, begone!

Before I make my announcement, go read the Yarn Harlot's latest post. I laughed so hard I cried.

Now, the announcement: I have finished those &*$% Goth Gloves.

As of yet, they get no pic. They are still in Blockingsville. I hope to get a decent picture of them with their new owner Superbecks, and then never look on them again.

Not to worry, Superbecks. They look just fine.

It's just... okay, Real World Friends. I know I've been forcing my knitting upon you for a little over a year now, some of it with admittedly dubious results. And I now get super-excited when somebody asks me to make them something. But I've reached a turning point.

I will never knit in black, ever again.

Sure, it looks pretty! But you try finding a mistake in the black yarn of your third cable on the left as you ride through the backroads of West Texas in a dirty 12-passenger van as your all-too-heavy aluminum #6 dpn just slides right out of the knitting, because you chose a slick and splitty cotton blend that refuses to let you put the needle back where it belongs and you therefore have to start over for the Nth time.

Okay, I suppose that's not a shared experience.

But no more black. And no more fingerless gloves with cables (those are the twisty bits, for all you Muggles). It's a fine pattern; I've just grown weary after my fourth pair.

End of ranty mope.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Count

This was a historical Thanksgiving for my family. For the first time, a non-relative joined our family feast. That's right: my fellah came up to Dallas for the long weekend and chowed down with us.

It went nicely, I think. Here's a blog-appropriate summary of our accomplishments:

6 Pounds of turkey consumed on Thanksgiving Day
5 Number of uneasy tummies the day after
1 Actual hours of work completed on the laptop I brought home with me
187 Number of words of my novel written (I know, I know...)
2.5 Inches of Thermal I managed to knit
1 Inches of Those D*** Goth Gloves I managed to knit
7 Inches of Montego knit (traffic jams on I-35 have to be good for something)
20 Number of combined hours working a Van Gogh jigsaw puzzle
0 Number of Van Gogh jigsaw puzzles completed
7 Hours spent playing Super Mario Kart on the fellah's Nintendo Wii
2 Hours wasted dealing with the interrupted downtown DART Rail service
1 Number of enjoyable holidays enjoyed by everyone there


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Indians are drugging my food.

It's the only explanation.

Situation: There's an Indian restaurant down the street from where I live. They have an all-you-can-eat buffet. We're talking a dang good buffet here, too -- not just some samosas and rice. They've got all number of things I don't remember the name of, so let's call it korma paneer gobi aloo curry.

There are many days when my mouth waters at the thought of korma paneer gobi aloo curry.

Complication one: My fellah can't eat Indian food without getting a sick tummy.

Complication two: All my close gal-pals who live nearby are dieting. The one who isn't lives on the other side of Austin.

Complication three: The restaurant has an endless supply of 2-for-1 buffet coupons, but I am not two people.

The result: I wait and wait and wait for some non-dieting friend with an iron tummy to come along and agree to meet me for Indian food not later but now. They are all wary.

So every once in a while, I give in and walk, no, run to the restaurant and eat three times my normal amount of korma paneer gobi aloo curry, and then polish it off with some mango lhassi.

And I am telling you, those people have put some narcotics* in their food or something, because every time I binge, I can just barely make it home before I'm in bed and asleep by 9:30 and don't know nothin' till dawn the next day.

Whatever it is... I hope they keep doing it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Turtle Lust and Montego Bay

Two weekends ago, the fellah and I enjoyed some fabulous weather and explored one of Austin's greenbelts. There was a trail that led down to a small wooden pier by Town Lake (or Lady Bird Lake, or Lake Austin, or whatever the thing is now called). We sat for a bit, watching the river.

A little head popped up from the water. A round shell followed.

"Turtle!" I exclaimed in rather adult fashion, flapping my arms and hopping around the pier. "Turtle, turtle!"

"Well," my fellah says after watching me for a bit. "That's Christmas."

A few more turtles followed, and since then, I've been obsessing just a bit over the idea of owning a pet turtle.

On Sunday, we went to an exotic pet store and asked about the turtles. They pointed me to the box turtles, which are supposed to be low-maintenance. I picked up an active one; he looked at me. He blinked. "Turtle!" I said, a bit softer this time. He blinked and smacked his lips. I was in love.


"Yup," said the salesman. "That one's about five years old. They typically live until they're about 50 or 55."

I put the turtle back down.

I mean, I wanted to buy a pet. I didn't want to marry one.

I chose to do a bit more research, checking out not just one but two library books about box turtles. I learn that they require heat lamps, regular soaking, UV light, and the occasional live food such as earthworms or crickets, which are themselves fed a premium diet for 24 hours.

They also explain that turtles are not very interactive. If you take very good care of your turtle, he may someday creep over and stand on your shoe when he's hungry. (I have known some adult men with similar characteristics.)

That's all fine, but with 50 years ahead of you, you should also put Mr. Turtle in your will.

Fortunately, the books say that you should buy a turtle in the spring or early summer, when it has woken up from hibernation and will better adjust to its new home. So we'll both have a chance to really consider where our relationship is heading.

And for my knitting readers... Ta-da! Montego Bay Scarf, about 16" so far, in that hand-dyed merino. In the overcast sunlight, the pink is quite pretty. The pattern is also terrifically fun -- and fast.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Waterloo sale and an Onion peel

I'm so pleased to have finished my second stash-busting skinny scarf; it looks just like the first. I have now allowed myself to cast on for the Montego Bay Scarf. (No pics yet.)

I dyed that yarn myself, and the color continues to baffle me. I had thought it was deep coral, then I cut the strands for the fringe, and it turned out the exact shade of Dubble Bubble Bubble Gum, before you chew it. Then I began knitting the scarf, and in certain light, it's a rather pretty pastel mauve. The gal who gets it will just have to tell me if she wants an overdye or not.

Saturday was both the Texas Book Festival and a 20% off sale at Waterloo Records. My fellah and I attended both. The Onion is publishing a book, and the two authors gave a little talk -- in the sanctuary of our church, of all places. I'm pretty open-minded, as is my church, but I gotta admit, amusing as it was, they were pushing it.

At Waterloo, my fellah brought me lots of CDs to listen to. At 17, I was a musical fanatic. At 28, I like music a lot, but I'm blissfully out of the loop. I don't know what's hip; I know nothing of the indie scene. I enter Waterloo Records and I go stand in the corner and stare at the wall, because I don't know where to begin.

This is a bit awkward, as my fellah is starting a record label. He does a good job of disguising his disappointment when I ask questions like, "Amy Winehouse?" But I am slowly learning how to walk again.

I purchased only one CD: Tilly and the Wall's Wild Like Children, and I like it. My favorite track is "You and I Misbehaving": playful but flirting with something darker. On almost all their songs, the band uses a tap dancer instead of a drummer. Nice beat, and it does kind of make you want to do a jig.

What music are you listening to these days?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The guy did die after 26 miles, you know...

I foolishly signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), mostly to take advantage of a motivational tool and in the slender hopes that I can finish this novel of mine pronto.

The concept of NaNoWriMo is that during the month of November one writers 50,000 words. They don't have to be good, they just have to be words.

Regardless, this still breaks down to roughly 1,666 words per night.

I recall the feeling I had at the beginning of every high school cross-country race I ever ran: "Why on earth did I sign up for this punishment?"

I have written over 800 words tonight and desperately want to go to bed. But not tonight, not the first day. I must keep running! And I must stop writing blog posts instead of running.

On another night, this blog will feature a tract on why anything becomes more desireable than writing once the subject becomes required. ("Gosh, wouldn't it be fun to scrub the toilet?")