Wednesday, December 24, 2008

To All of You

I just wanted to wish all of you the best and merriest of holidays - whichever form you choose to celebrate - and a new year filled with all the good things that were missing from the old. May you prosper, laugh, love, and grow; may your new year be free from whatever ills and woes befell you through the old; may the good far outweigh the bad.

And to all, a good night ...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hey Baby, Let the Good Times Roll...

... but it doesn't look like they're going to roll any time soon.

As I type, there sits in my garage a brand-new, purple/blue Harley with gleaming chrome, a deep throaty engine, and a seat big enough to fit my big ass. But can I take it out and play with it? Can I practice on it, learning how to balance? Can I polish it with a diaper? Nope. Why? Because I have more news for you, really bad news... and this time, it's me.

We'll wait on that little tidbit, though. This house is so fucking small that I can't even go into the garage and walk around Buffalo Goddess (that's her name, the purple/blue shiny death machine). I had to tilt her up just to get by her and out of the garage. You try tilting up a 700-lb. bike by one handgrip and see how simple it is.

I can tell this is going to be a disjointed post, so please forgive me. I have a lot to say, so I'll try to say it as succinctly as possible. Please bear with me.

First of all, the answer to the SP13 questions are... no, I'm not doing any holiday knitting. That sort of takes care of the second part of the question. There just isn't anybody in my family who would like something like that other than Grandma, and I just don't have the energy or time. I am making a few things for two friends, but they'll be mailed after Christmas. WAY after Christmas.

Let's move on to news about Mom. The surgeon came out to talk to me and Hubster and told us that everything looked good, that he didn't see any errant cells, that he sent out 25 specimens just to be sure, and that he thinks Mom is out of the woods. We should find out the lab results next week, so that will finalize everything. We're all so relieved. This is the best Christmas gift we could have received. She isn't in any real pain - just some soreness - so she's out and about driving and doing stuff (no lifting, though). I have to take her to UCSF on the 9th, so our moving date will be pushed back a few days. Not a problem - we still haven't begun to pack.

Speaking of packing, we hired a mover who gave us a really good price. If our estimated weight goes over what he guessed, we don't pay any additional money. If it's below what he estimated, we get money back. We both liked him, and his bid came in $300 cheaper than the other estimate. Now I just have to call and get the bike scheduled for pick-up.

Right now, we're trying to work out all the logistics. The dates are funky, since the day we want to be there is on a Sunday. I think we're going to have to rent a cabin for two nights, dash to the realtors on Monday to get the key (that's the day the movers are coming), and go home (I love the sound of that) to await the arrival of our possessions. We're leaving the day after Mom goes to San Francisco, so that means a tiring weekend. A lot of stuff is going with us in the truck, things like pottery and anything else which is breakable. I'm not taking all the stuff which could break - there's far too much of that - but the antique stuff isn't going with anybody but us. I don't know what to do about Emma. We'll have to figure that one out. Then we turn around the following week and come back up here for two doctor appointments. That's the last time, though. Why two? In a minute, my dears.

My class for learning how to ride the bike was a huge flop in more ways than one. The first two class sessions went really well. My range riding on Saturday went pretty well (I was scared and tense, so that affected things... then I relaxed and it all fell into place) until we reached the last exercise of the day. I was in the lead and was told to do a California stop at two cones placed in the middle of the range; then I had to ride diagonally to the opposite corner, turn slowly in a tight little turn, and stop when my bike was facing forward in preparation for a fast run and even faster stop at the end of the line. No problem, right?

Big problem.

Everything went fine until I turned the bike around at the corner. Then I don't know what happened. I panicked and was suddenly flapping like a sheet drying in the breeze, hanging on to the handlebars for dear life. At some point, I must have opened the throttle because I was going about 40 mph when I finally went down. The bike fell on top of me (covering me from hip to toe), dragging me along the ground for about 30 feet, and my leg got tangled up in the rear wheel. What was even more unfortunate is that my upper body went in the opposite direction of my lower body, so I wrenched my back. When it was all over, I just laid there on the asphalt until the instructors came running. They wanted to call an ambulance (apparently, I flipped over the handlebars and made quite a spectacular scene), but I told them I was fine. My clothing wasn't even ripped (now I know why they're so damned expensive - they save your skin). The instructors asked me if I was done for the day (duh), so I limped over to a chair to watch everyone else do their exercises. One other gal dumped her bike earlier in the day, but she went on riding. She took a chunk out of her chin and had considerable road rash (she didn't have on riding gear), but she didn't hurt her back. Then they told me I couldn't ride on Sunday, so not to even bother showing up. I did, however, go to the classroom after the day's fun and games to finish up the classroom portion of the class. That way, I wouldn't have to repeat all that. However, I kept falling asleep in class (I finally had to take my meds around noon because I felt so lousy), and they had kicked in. I was taken out of class by the instructors and told that they wanted Hubster to come to the final class on Monday night because they were worried that something bad would happen to me (yeah, listening to what Hubster had to say about all that all the way home was the worst thing that would happen). I kept trying to tell them I was fine, but no go. So I pretty much said okey dokey and didn't go to class on Monday. It was too bad, too - one of the students was the West Coast rep for H-D (he was in town from Wisconsin) and was taking everyone out to dinner. I just couldn't sit there watching everyone else graduating and getting their certificates. It all turned out okay, though - I could barely move for a few days. So now I've got the Iron Horse in the box called a garage just waiting for me to play with it. Today is one of the few sunny days this week, so I was really hoping to take it out and begin playing with it. Oh well - everything happens for a reason.

Now for the bad stuff.

You all know that I've been really, really tired of late. I figured I was out of remission (which I may well be), but I wasn't quite prepared for what just happened. When I went to the prison last Monday, I was given the paper for my annual TB test (when you get your badge renewed, that's one of the things you have to submit). I called my doctor when we got home Monday afternoon and made an appointment for Tuesday. Carol (one of his nurses) shot me up with the stuff they use and told me to come back Friday morning. Around Wednesday night, I began looking at the thing. It was raised and hard, as well as bright red. Hubster did some research and found that the color has nothing to do with it - it was the raised and hard part they were concerned with. It didn't get any smaller on Thursday, but when I went in on Friday, I fully expected it to be okay. Wrong.

The diameter of the thing was way over acceptable guidelines.

The doctor immediately sent me over to the hospital for a chest X-ray (that's how they find out if you have it or not). After the X-ray, the technician told me to wait in the waiting room while the radiologist read the film. About five minutes later, he came back out and told me that the film was normal. Whew.


"Normal" means that I don't have infectious TB. I can't make people sick by being around them. However (and make no mistake about this)...

I have TB.

Are you shitting me? Of all the stupid diseases I had to get next - that one?

The doctor figures I got it at the prison, and I think he's right. It's highly infectious, so all you have to do is walk through the air right after someone who's infected coughs. Normally, your immune system does it's thing and fights it off, but since we all know what kind of a dandy immune system I have... well... I didn't. Apparently, I have just enough of one left to keep me from becoming infectious - at the moment. The doctor told me that had I waited a couple of weeks, I would have been infectious. That would have meant I'd have been thrown into the hospital immediately, which would mean no move. Period. Hubster was joking and calling me Typhoid Pam. He found it funny. I didn't. This shit is in my lungs, and I'm beginning to cough. So get this: I have to take antibiotics for SIX months along with vitamin B-6 (the antibiotic wipes out all your B-6). Not only that, I have to have a blood test now and every three months after that. This is really serious. I'm really, really sick. Today, I can barely walk and everything is spinning around me. I'm supposed to rest as much as possible and not put myself in a stressful situation - things like that exacerbate the disease. I'm moving - that ranks right up there with death and divorce on the high stress meter. I also get sick from antibiotics, so I don't know how much of the shit I'm feeling today is from which corner. This could also be why I dumped the bike - it affects your balance. I asked the doc if I could still ride, and he told me yes - as long as I just practiced and made sure I rested well before I undertook any fun and games. (insert very heavy sigh here) I just looked at my arm, and the damn thing is still there, large and hard and telling me that I'm fucked. Merry Fucking Christmas. I don't even get to open anything from Hubster on Christmas Day because we're moving and I've got a new bike. Now I'm wondering if I should have waited on the bike. Probably. But it makes me happy just to see it, so maybe I'll be able to ride it soon. I hope so. Please realize that I'm NOT infectious - you can't get the disease from talking to me, or touching me, or even being around me if I cough. I don't need to be isolated from anybody. I can work on the shop. I can mail things to you. You are perfectly safe around me (unless you decide to ride on the bike with me). I'm NOT going to get you sick.

So there it is. That's all the fun stuff I can think of to tell you. After I proof and post this, it's back to the chair. I have a long list of things I can and can't eat, so we're having fish and chips tonight. I'm supposed to eat protein, but a portion no larger than a deck of cards. Are you shitting me? I can stick that much up my nose.

Sometimes, I hate being me.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm Totally Overwhelmed

I want to thank each and every one of you who left me comments and/or sent letters, both for my not being well and for sending prayers and hugs and good thoughts for Mom. I know that I'm remiss in answering all your emails, but I'm so overwhelmed with things that I can't get caught up. I'll get to them, but it may not be for a few days.

Anyway, I thought I'd let you all know what's going on.

Mom's doctor called and informed her that she's having surgery on Monday. Of course, I'll be at the prison, so we're leaving from there and hightailing it to the hospital. I want to talk to the doctor because I know that if it's bad news, she may not tell me the full extent. I also want to see her, to make sure that she's still with us. Because of the fast surgery time, I had to take her over to San Mateo (across San Francisco Bay) for an MRI. She saw her doctor again yesterday and will see her GP today. I tried to joke around with her, argue with her, anything to keep her mind off what's looming in the immediate future, but she's scared. It's the first time in my life that I've seen her frightened and vulnerable.

Of course, I'm not only contending with all that. I started my motorcycle class last night. Out of a class of 10, there are three women, none of us ever having ridden before. Trying to study the material is difficult. I ride all weekend, so I'm hoping there's some stress release there. On Monday, after going to the prison and the hospital, I go for my last class. Of course, that's the one where I'm tested for my driver's license. Could the timing be worse? Maybe it will take my mind off of things, but if the news isn't good, I'm going to be shattered. I guess I'll have to deal with that when I come to it.

I'm still not well, and Hubster sounds like he's coming down with something. On top of all that, today is our 17th wedding anniversary. We're both so bummed that we didn't even want to celebrate tonight. I guess we'll go out to dinner next week in San Francisco, but that's all we're doing for that.

We had a mover come over to the house and give us an estimate. It was nowhere as bad as I thought it would be, so I can have my bike shipped with no problem. We have one more estimate to go, and then I think we'll begin packing up all this shit. I can't even see daylight right now, let alone try to pack anything. It has to get done, though, so do it we will.

Sheryl, if you're reading this, I tried sending you two letters which bounced back. Please let me know how to get in touch with you.

Needless to say, all work on the shop has come to a grinding halt. It will resume next week after we hear what the doctor has to say. I apologize deeply to the artists who are waiting to have their work listed, but I can't right now. I'm so sorry.

All the love and support you've all shown to me and Hubster has been a true lifesaver. I really feel that if I fall, you'll be there to catch me. Right now, you're helping me to breathe. There's not much I can say except thank you. Thank you.

And on that note, I'm going to go to sleep. I'm tired, and being awake means I listen for the phone to ring. When it does, my heart stops. When it's not Mom, it starts beating again. So either I'm awake and doing that all day, or I sleep for a few hours and have nightmares. What a choice.

If anybody needs me for anything, don't hesitate to drop me a note. As I said, it might take a few days to get back to you (I'm SO behind on my email), but I will.

One way or another ... I will.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

There's Nothing Like Having all the Air Knocked Out of You

As you all know, I've been doing nothing but sleeping. That trend has been going on for the entire week, including today. However, I only had a few errands to run today and figured I'd work on the shop later tonight. The best laid plans ...

After reading this post, you'll probably think this is out of place, but I have to say it. Yarny Goodness is having a 15% off sale on everything beginning Monday and running through Wednesday. Okay ...

We went over to the Harley store this afternoon to pick up my goggles (I look too cool for words - read: like a fucking dork - in them), and then decided to go visit the grands at Mom's. We got there, went into the family room, sat down, and the kids began crawling all over Hubster. They do adore their Grandpa. I was busy chatting with Mom and Grandma when my mother looked at Hubster and said, "Now, I've got something to tell you.". Uh oh. When she utters those words (and especially when she can't look at me), someone has died or gotten into an accident. I immediately began running through my remaining family members to come up with who was dead and/or in an accident when she uttered the three words that have knocked all the air out of me:

"I've got cancer."


All I could do was stare at her while she explained. She had had a partial hysterectomy a few months ago, and everything appeared to be fine. For some reason, the tests on the tissue were run three times, and the third time came up with the cancer cells. The other two were false negatives. Now she has to have surgery again from a gynecological surgeon from UCSF; he wants to remove the tubes, ovaries, and a bunch of lymph nodes. First, though, she has to have an MRI to see if the cancer has spread.


At this point, I realized that my ciggie was no longer lit because the stream of tears flowing down my face had landed on it and extinguished it. Then I realized that I was angry. I don't react well to news like this (not that anybody else does, either); one of the things that happen is that I get really, really angry. I asked her how long she had known, and when she said three weeks, I came unglued. When she said that she had told Amber (my daughter) a few weeks ago, I went right over the edge and began yelling. Hubster told me to stop screaming, but I couldn't, so I did the only thing I could do.

I yelled at him to shut the fuck up.

The rest of the visit is a blur. I'm going to take her for her MRI, and then I'll come back up for her surgery in January. I wish we could have found a house here, but it just wasn't in the cards. Besides, I think I'm going to need a place to escape to. Hubster keeps telling me that everything will work out okay and she'll be fine. I'm not so sure. In fact, I'm not even remotely optimistic right now. All I am is tired, and defeated, and everything coming up - the bike, the move, Christmas - have suddenly lost all their luster and seem absolutely pointless. For the first time in my life, I'm staring at losing my mother right in the face.

I know that a lot of the women who write the blogs I read have recently (or within the past year) lost their mothers. I cried when I read those posts and felt horrible for them and their families. But now that it might be my turn, I'm numb. I'm in a vacuum. It's like everything is underwater and I'm trying to hear what's being said. It's too surreal.


But it is. And I literally have to think to take a breath. The tears roll without warning. We went out to dinner afterwards, and I sat at the table eating a breadstick and crying while I was talking to Hubster. He keeps saying she'll be fine, that the cancer hasn't spread, blah blah blah. I can't hear him. I can't hear anything.

I'm gong to curl up and pretend that this isn't real. Maybe, if I fall asleep, I won't have nightmares.

But I know I will.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Still Alive ...

... but I sure as shit don't feel like it. Think I was kidding about sleeping? Here's proof - and proof that friends don't let friends sleep alone.


Yes, those are all ciggie holes. This is why the Monster isn't coming with us - that and the fact that the armrest is shot. This is the last time I buy furniture from Laz-E-Boy (or however the hell you spell it). The last couch we bought from them? It took six months to arrive and broke down in a couple of years. They make lovely recliners, but even they get shot pretty quickly. Don't you also love what a classy broad I am? That is the best duct tape money can buy on my ultra-expensive Scandia Down pillow. Hey... I paid a fortune for that thing. I'm not going to trash it after all these years when duct tape fixes little holes that let the down go floating out (especially when you lay your head on it and the pillow goes "POOF!").

That is the position I've been in of late, both with and without Emma. She loves to sleep with one or both of us. I think it makes her feel secure, although there are days I would like to strangle her (like when she eats my DPN's). I did, however, order some square DPN's from the Knitting Software people, as well as a set of Signature (I think that's who it is) 6", stiletto-tipped beasts. I don't usually like to knit with metal, but I saw them at Stitches last year and thought the straights were kind of neat. I'm sure Emma can still crush them with her mammoth jaws, though.

Here's another shot of the "M" alone, basking in her queenly glory.


That should also give you a close-up of the results of my trying to set myself and the house on fire.

I want to thank everybody who sent me well-wishes for a speedy recovery. I'm so very blessed to have you all as my family, whether you're a customer, a friend, an artist I represent ... it doesn't matter. I've received letters from all of you, and I'll be answering each one as soon as I can. Tonight, though, I'm sleeping again. This is just another symptom of the lovely disease I have and shows that I am, indeed, out of remission. With any luck, the blood work will show something simple can be done to make me stop sleeping so much and begin functioning like a real person, like my meds needing to be adjusted (especially for the thyroid). With any luck.

We have movers invading our house tomorrow to give us estimates on how much scratch it will cost to move our boxes and what little furniture we have left. As usual, I've procrastinated and still don't have anything done in the way of packing. Since I've been sleeping, Hubster has been working on either the shop or his real job. We're just going to have to white-knuckle it and begin stuffing shit in boxes. God, I hate moving. It's worse than divorce. At least with divorce, you get money to go along with your loneliness. With moving, you just get a lot of work to do on both ends.

What else is going on? Not much, really. I start my motorcycle classes next Thursday, so my theory is that if I sleep a lot now, then I can stay awake in class and during a 10-hour day (both on Saturday and Sunday) on the back of a bike. At least we'll be outdoors, so I can probably smoke during class if I'm not on the bike. Smoking on the back of a moving bike is worse than trying to smoke in the T-Bird with the top down. I still haven't listed the car, nor have we taken pictures of the thing. With this economy, though, I don't hold out a lot of hope for a quick sale. It would be nice, but you know how these things go. I would like to get it listed before Christmas so people still have some money left.

I have to tell you that I have the most incredible pal for SP13. She sent me a box chock-full of goodies the other day (pictures to follow as soon as Hubster gets the camera out). Included were a lavender-scented candle which is going in one of my new bathrooms, some yarn she dyed herself (blue and black - I think she might have been matching colors to my bike), a purple tote bag, a stuffie for Emma, some yummy treats for Emma, a bottle of patchouli essential oil - just incredible things. I can't remember if I'm missing something (I'm sorry, WK!), but you'll see it all for yourselves when I get a picture up on the blog.

I guess I really don't have a lot to say tonight. I'm just tired and want to curl up on the chair, watch some gory movie on TV, and knit. That new sock is coming along great, and I'm really happy with both the yarn and pattern. I might actually get a pair done. I'm so overwhelmed by the move and all the work we have to do that I'm sort of paralyzed. I get that way - instead of just attacking the problem, I tend to hide and pretend that we have lots of time to do whatever it is. What's going to happen is the same thing that happens whenever we have something large to do. We'll do it at the last minute, and I won't get everything done which I wanted to do. I desperately want (well, need ... who in the hell wants to go through all the hassle) to have a garage sale so we can make some extra dough and get rid of a lot of shit which we won't be taking with us. As for the stash, it remains to be photographed. Will we get it done before we leave? I'd like to think so, but I don't hold out much hope. At least we have until January 10th to get out of this shithole, but I want to be gone before then and in our new house. So many things I want to do ... so many things which I won't have time for. I want to go to San Francisco and have a last, glorious, seafood dinner on the Bay. I want to spend a lot of time with my grandma, but when I'm over there, I can't wait to leave. I know that Hubster wants to spend time with the grands (as do I, but they only have eyes for him if he's within 50 miles of them), so maybe we can do that this coming weekend. Sigh.

Time to go doze. I can work on everything tomorrow.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sleeping, Knitting, Sleeping, Sleeping, and ... Did I Say Sleeping?

Yep. That's been my life for the past few days. I have taken some potty breaks, eaten my obligatory meal a day (no, I'm not dieting; it's just how we eat ... although after seeing what size jeans I had to buy, maybe I should diet), bought more shit I probably don't need from the Harley store (see: size of jeans comment), read ... and that's really about it. We had some issues with the server going down and Hubster was working on the shop, so I really couldn't work on it even if I wanted to (which I didn't). So I've taken a little vacation and am much happier for it. Tomorrow, however ...

Sometimes having a shop is really nice. I get first pick out of anything that comes in. Normally, I put everything up for sale to give you guys first chance, but I just couldn't with the Woolly Boully order. I snatched the color I didn't have, and since this is a new base, well ... I had to complete my collection. This stuff knits like a dream and is gorgeous. I've only got six skeins of it to list, so if you're a fan, then you might want to keep an eye on the shop late tomorrow or Sunday. It'll be there, along with new artists like Misfit Yarns and several others. Hubster has the shop running like a well-oiled machine (until we get a report from an irate customer that something is fucked up), so now it's up to me to finish listing what I've got. Really, there's not that much left. I just have to stay awake long enough to finish it.

As for the rest of my life, I've got movers coming next week to give me an estimate. I'm really hoping we can afford this, because I neither want to nor can help Hubster load/unload a U-Haul. I especially can't help him with that damned TV because it has to go down stairs, and there's a nasty little landing where you have to hang a hairpin turn. Once it's downstairs, it'll be fantastic, but since there's likely to be snow on the ground, it goes in the front door and not around the back of the house through the back door (and there's still a nasty turn to make there). I hate moving. I truly hate it. We haven't packed a single thing, but fortunately, I didn't unpack a lot of the boxes we moved with (mainly because there was no room to put away their contents). We also saved all the boxes from the things we did unpack, so we don't have to buy any more of those. Hubster has to take pictures of the stash so I can get those skeins listed in the shop (I'm selling each one for $10 regardless of what it is) and hopefully sold (less to take with us), and I still have to list the damn car. I had to wait until after the 9th to even think about listing it because we didn't want to sell it and then find out that we weren't moving, and then the weather turned cloudy and/or rainy. Tomorrow is supposed to be sort of sunny, though, so he'll take pictures of it (we can list up to 18), and I'll get the listing taken care of. It would be lovely if that sold immediately, and we're fortunate to live near several very wealthy communities where people haven't been affected by the foreclosures or the economy in general. Buying a car for a Christmas present and forking over $27K in cash won't even make these people bat an eye. We'll see how it goes. A lot of stuff will get packed in our truck (especially things like my collection of Red Wing stoneware and pottery from the 1930's) to ensure they arrive in one piece. I've had too many things broken over the years from movers being asswipes and not paying attention to what they're doing. Those items are irreplaceable; even if I could replace them, I couldn't afford it. I don't know if any of these movers offer total coverage insurance, but we're going for economy here. We're not taking our couch, the Monster, or the recliner (they're full of ciggie burns and Emma tooth holes), so we'll sell them at a giant garage sale I'm planning. Somebody who is into upholstery or slip covers can do something with them. That will help with the moving bill. The only reason I'd take them is if they cost next to nothing to move (hahahaha!). Those fuckers charge you by the Kleenex, just like hospitals.

As for the bike, I'm contacting a carrier service which does nothing but move bikes around the country. I can't ride it down - I don't have the experience to undertake a ride of that length, let alone one that may involve snow and definitely involves a large mountain with very windy roads and no guard rails (not to mention the Grapevine which frequently sees snow in the winter and is not only a pain the ass, but very long). I'll save that little journey for the spring when I've got some miles under my ass. I'm also having it delivered rather than ride it home after my last class. After talking to the good service people at Eagle's Nest, the consensus is that for the maiden voyage, I should take it around the block during the day, not on the freeway at night. My classes start in two weeks, so that means the bike will be here in less than three. Yay!

In the bad news department, I went to turn my Kindle on and got a screenful of zebra lines, even when I turned the thing off. After calling Amazon, they said they'd send one out immediately to replace it. We called on Wednesday; it arrived today. I'm impressed with their service. They even sent me a label to send the broken one back. I assume they'll fix it, recondition it, and resell it as a used unit. Fine by me. My new one is charged, loaded with books and a subscription to the LA Times, and ready to roll. I missed it and am glad to have a new one. I'm so looking forward to sitting on one of my decks with my morning coffee and reading the paper or a book. Life should always be that horrible.

As for Thanksgiving, well ... I guess I'm a Commie. I've never liked the holiday and rarely have had much to be thankful for. Even during the good years, something always came up that soured the whole thing. This year, though, is different. Even though we didn't go to Mom's, I roasted us a chicken, made some parmesan pasta and corn, and thought about all the things which have happened this year. All in all, it's been a pretty good one. The best thing, though, is that we're changing our lives completely, and I think we both really need it. Hubster is really excited about the move and even happier that we'll be near LA, but not living IN it. We're also close to San Diego and all the oceanside communities, as well as the ocean itself. Then we can come home to sanity. I'm giving up a car for a bike. We're leaving everything I've ever known and moving somewhere I swore I'd never move to. And before anybody asks, no ... I'm not telling our daughter where we're going. I don't even know that I'll tell her we're moving. I have half a mind to just snatch the kids and take them with us. That would put her tits in a knot. I haven't spoken to her in a while, but I understand that she spent T-Day with mom and grandma and even cooked dinner. That fries my ass. She does all this shit over many years, and they just act like nothing has happened and welcome her back. Not me ... not this time. I can't. My shields have gone up because I have to protect myself from her. She's hurt me too often in the past, and I won't let her do it to me again. So anyway, yes ... we have a lot to be thankful for this year. That doesn't mean I have to eat turkey. Don't like it, never have, never will, unless it's slathered with mayo in a sandwich. Even so, I still prefer ham.

Heh ... ZZTop is on TV. I still like them. They're singing "Pearl Necklace". Not my favorite, but it's still a good driving song.

I mentioned about the jeans up above, so I guess I should explain that fiasco. Harley seems to realize that a lot of the broads who ride (or are hog whores) have BIG asses, so they make their clothing up to size 3X. I had to get a leather jacket and chaps (you know, for that memorable time I'll blog about in the future when I dump the bike and turn into a giant road rash), so I started looking for a matched set. I have to pretend I look good. Anyway, I found this very cool fringed jacket, and they had the chaps to match. The even better part is that they had both of them in my size. Then I found a pair of jeans in the sales section, so I grabbed what I thought was my size and one size larger, grabbed Sylvia (my lovely salesgirl), and headed for the dressing room.

You have to understand something about me. When I say I hate clothes, I mean it. I HATE them. I hate everything about the clothes-buying ritual: the selection, the guessing of sizes, the trying-on of said garments, the deep depression which comes from realizing just how horrible you really look and how big said clothing is. Anyway, I tried on the first pair of jeans - the ones in the size I've worn for years. Uh ... nope. Not a chance. I couldn't even bring the two ends of the waist together in order to button them. Shit. I knew it ... I knew they wouldn't fit ... but I had deluded myself into thinking that I was still a cow, not a heifer. Heavy sigh. So I peeled them off (when they were tight on my thighs as I was pulling them up, I realized this wasn't going to happen), and put the next pair on. Whew. I'm still a mini-heifer, so I buttoned them up and looked. Not bad. They held my gut in and made me look semi-presentable. As for the jacket, it fit perfectly, even with the boobage factor. The chaps fit like a dream. They're not the easiest things in the world to put on (it's a rather involved process, but I'm sure I'll get it in no time), and that's where Sylvia came in. She fitted them on me, showed me how to get the length right, where the part that goes around your waist should sit, blah blah blah. Long story short, decked out in my leathers, I felt good. Natural. This is how the big dude meant for it to be - me decked out in glorious black cowhide with fringe. Yep. So I plunked them on the counter and forked over the credit card. Uh ... shit. The bill came to over $700. Oh well. One must pay the price to be safely dressed and stylish at the same time. What it boils down to is that the other jackets were fugly. Give me fringe any day. Combine that with my leather fetish (I love the way biker leathers smell - they're that really heavy cowhide to take the punishment of the road instead of your skin), and you've got the makings of a very expensive little hobby. At least I only buy clothes once a year, and that's under protest. I've got underwear so old that the elastic in the body of them gave out a decade ago, so when I inhale, they shoot straight up my ass.

The really horrible thing which happened this week is that I was knitting and fell asleep. No big deal, right? Not normally. But this time, Hubster didn't rescue my work from my hands (see the next paragraph). Emma jumped up on the chair to lay next to me, and we snoozed together. However, at some point during the night, she woke up and saw what I was holding. She removed it from my hands (she's a sneaky little thief), and when I woke up, she was merrily chomping away on a pile of kinked yarn with little sticks imbedded in it. I looked at it (it was out of focus because I'm getting blind as a bat and had just awakened, but I could make out what it was), snatched it away from her, and saw that she had not only ruined the yarn but broken all three DPN's into matchsticks. Then I freaked out even more because I realized that the fourth one was missing. It was bad enough that she destroyed them - they're the ones I can't get anymore, the ones made by Golding - but if she had eaten that fourth needle, there was a high probability of it piercing her esophagus or some other internal organ and doing a LOT of damage, possibly fatal. So I woke up Hubster, chewed his ass out for not taking my work away from me, and then we embarked on a search for the missing needle. I slid the chair away from the wall and there it was, lying unharmed on the floor. So then I had to tear the house apart looking for another set (I knew I had more than what was out on the table) and finally found a brand-new set tucked away in my knitting bag. WHEW. I've now got about three spares and the good set. I keep thinking that I have more of them, but I don't know how many I've purchased over the past several months. If there are more, they're in my studio, and I'll find them when we get all the boxes and bins out of there as the truck is being loaded. I'm guarding this set like the crown jewels. As for the ruined yarn, I've got more than enough to make the pair of socks, so I just cut away the ruined part and started over. It's a good thing I like doing ribbing because I have 2" of it on these socks and had almost finished it when Emma began eating everything. I hate when shit like that happens.

So that's been my week. Now I'm going to plunk down in the Monster, have Emma jump up there with me, and watch TV while I knit my latest pair of socks out of that glorious Wooly Boully. I'm sure that at some point, I'll fall asleep with my work in my hands. Hubster will gently remove it and put it away, and then I'll wake up in a few hours, pick it up again, and we'll repeat this little ritual throughout the night.

It don't get any better than that, dudes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Shopfront is Up and Running

Take a look at the shop - we're finally making progress! I'll be working all day putting new artists up on the site. I had hoped to have this all done by last Saturday, but you know how that goes. Then we lost our server for a total of three days, including yesterday, and it had to be reconfigured again early this morning. We're golden now, though.

Have fun... and let me know what you think. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wow... Mondays are Getting Weirder... and Sunday News, Too

Let's start with this weekend, shall we?

I got my voice back just enough so I didn't sound like a croaking frog when I spoke, so off we went to our appointment at the Harley dealer (the one I spoke of in my last post). Our trusty salesman, Louie, was waiting for us and took us to see the model I had in mind. I had enough money to pay cash for it, so I took a good look to make sure it was what I wanted. Something told me to look at the other models in that particular color (it turns out that the color I wanted was available from October through December of the year, and that's it), so we wandered into the dealership to look at the five models they had painted like that (it's a custom, and the dealerships only got one of each style in it). Anyway, I immediately gravitated towards the Softail Deluxe - a retro-looking bike with wide whitewalls, full fenders, and all kinds of other cool doodads on it. I heard Hubster groan when he realized that was most likely the bike we were going to go home with. After sitting on it, drooling over it, and telling Hubster how much I loved it, we heard a roar behind us. We turned around and saw Louie riding that very bike into the showroom in that gorgeous purple (which really isn't purple at all - the color is called Blue Ice/Black Ice). That did it. I sat on it and didn't get back off until Hubster said to get the loan application papers.

Now, you all know my credit woes. The likelihood of our getting a bike/auto loan, especially in today's financial environment, was nil to you're full of shit. But being the idiots we are, we filled everything out and sent Louie into Finance with it. After a 20-minute wait and many ciggies, we got the news that if all the info on the application was correct (meaning Hubster's salary), we were approved. All we had to do was bring in a pay stub (and we also had to make a really hefty down payment). So I said good-night to my sweet ride, we had dinner, and came home. Hubster printed out three pay stubs, including one for last year, one for last month, and one for his last pay period. We had told the dealership that we would bring all the paperwork in on Sunday. Now came a horrifying wait, especially since what Hubster said he made every two weeks wasn't what his pay stubs said. Fortunately for me, I slept through the entire evening - this damn flu thing is holding on, and any activity during the day wipes me out.

Fast-forward to Sunday. Louie was again waiting for us when we arrived, so we took our paperwork to the powers that be and waited for their verdict. It turns out that there wasn't any problem at all, so we added a Lo-Jack to the bike (I have it on my T-Bird) and took out a full protection plan (not something we normally do, but we felt it would be a good idea for a bike). After signing the papers (and marveling that WE had gotten a LOAN!), the bike was all mine!! Then the nice lady who was our finance person, Julie, told me to go upstairs and pick out a helmet - the store would buy it for me as a thank-you. Since I was going to change helmets anyway, I went upstairs and chose a more suitable brain bucket. Then it was on to the Parts Department, where my bike was sitting with a "SOLD" sign taped to the gas tank (heh) to order some engine bars (they protect you and the bike if you dump it). That done, I got my Harley Christmas special - five large pewter bikes of the 90's (special editions, I think), all mounted in a lovely shadow box. Whew. I hauled all my loot to the truck, sat my happy ass down, we went to dinner, and I promptly fell asleep as soon as we got home. Too much excitement for one day. I had to be up at 4:00 a.m., though, in order to get ready in time to leave for the prison.

This time, we didn't sleep through the alarm, so we had a cuppa and got ready to go. No problems getting there, but when I got to the guard station, no Bill. The guard told me that he said he would be right back and to wait. After waiting 45 minutes, he still hadn't shown up, so I decided to take the taxi to the sally port and then walk the rest of the way, hoping Bill would get the message I had left him and pick me up along the way. Nope. I got checked in and walked onto the yard, but it looked and felt different. My boys weren't there, and a lot of the inmates were new. First, I got approached by one guy who said that I looked like a lot of fun. I made a smart-ass remark, and he told me that he wanted a taste of me. Holy shit... definitely not people who knew I belonged to a group. Then, as I passed a picnic table full of younger inmates (in their 20's, I would say), they began smirking while one of them put his hand to his crotch and made a jacking-off motion. What? I just stared him down and kept walking, hearing them all chortle as I passed. Then I opened the chapel door and ran right into one of my boys. He had been on the yard; however, he thought I wasn't coming (I was really late because of Bill), so he had gone into the chapel to tell everyone I wasn't there and was just leaving. It turns out that all my boys were waiting for me but seemed a bit peeved.

After talking things over with them (we had more of a meeting than a class), it became apparent they had been lied to. I won't mention any names, but they hadn't been told I was there when I showed up and couldn't see them, the group was being slowly dismantled (two of them were missing, one never to return), and another was being fired from his position as clerk. When I initially walked into the chapel, Bill was sitting there with his new clerks passing the time of day. I tore into him while he backpedaled and said that my message said I'd be there in five minutes. From the main gate? Huh? I don't think so.

Class over, I asked Bill if he was driving me back; he told me he had to get the cart. The yard was cleared because there had been a stabbing right in front of it while we were inside, so my boys couldn't hang out with me; they had to have an escort come get them and take them back to their cells. I told the guard that two of them were walking me back to the entry door, so off we went, not bothering to wait for Bill. I didn't even bother to say good-bye to him. I think I'll walk the last two visits rather than depend on him; I'm so angry with him that I could strangle him myself. One of my boys had, in fact, gone into his office that morning and ripped him a new one because they found out about a bunch of other lies Bill had told. Things aren't good there. I'll be attending the annual Christmas party (it's conveniently on a Monday), and I think that will be the last time I see my boys for quite a while. I'm keeping my brown card, though, so I can come visit when I'm in town.

I slept all the way home, not even realizing that we had made a few stops (including at my mom's to pick up Emma). Hubster woke me up when we got home, and it took about 15 minutes for me to wake up enough to get out of the truck and into the house. I sat down in the Monster and promptly fell asleep again, waking up around midnight. After taking my pills, I was awake for another hour and that ended my evening.

Today has been spent sleeping and trying to get insurance quotes for the bike (our company quoted $8K/year). I don't think so. The dealership is working on that because the payments would be around $700/month with the other quote. We can't afford that, and we have to carry full coverage because of the loan. I'm hoping this doesn't turn into a cluster fuck, which would mean Hubster would get really uh... difficult to live with. I know it won't be cheap, but that's ridiculous. It was partly because of the accident I had last year in the truck, but they already raised our rates for that. Now they're trying to penalize us twice. Sigh. Nothing is ever easy. Even if I could give back the bike (there's a paper you have to sign which says that California doesn't have a second-thought option), I wouldn't. Our monthly payment on the bike plus our new house payment is less than what we're paying now for rent, but we just can't add any more to that number. Shit.

So now I'm working on getting orders out and the shop finished. I haven't seen hide nor hair of the magazine, so I don't know who (if anybody) has received their copies of it. I do know that it will be out any day now, so I'm working as fast as I can to finish this up. Hubster was putting the finishing touches on the new shopfront when he began having trouble with our server, so he's on the phone right now to try and figure the problem out. I won't ask what else can go wrong because, sure as shit, something will.

If you hear screaming from the Bay Area, you know that I was stupid enough to ask that question and yet another thing has gone wrong at Chez Goddess.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

All Hard Work Does is Make You Sick

Hubster and I have been working like fiends all week, trying to get everybody listed and the new storefront operational before later today when IK hits the stands. So other than feeling like a total failure, what happened?

A few things, not the least of which was the flu.

Yes, the good old-fashioned, barf until your guts are heaving and you wish you were dead, bodily fluids running out of both ends so fast that all you can do is shit every time you barf into the bucket between your feet, a body so sore that it hurts to blink, gotta love it flu. And I was the proud recipient of this lovely illness all week. Sigh. The other things that happened were minor compared to that: a computer that wouldn't work for a while, too many vendors to list in the amount of time I had left (I always overestimate how much I can get done in a given amount of time), and other assorted and sundry problems which were easy enough to fix but took up precious time.

Today, I finally felt pretty good. I was able to drive over to KaratStix's house to pick up new stock for the store. It was a great day to drive across the San Mateo Bridge (it sits right on the water for the vast majority of the span - it's a weird feeling, but I've grown up with it and love it) with the top down on the Bird, the sun beating down on my head and shoulders (it was 86 - holy shit), smelling that salt air as I raced along doing 80 mph (I swear, I didn't know I was going that fast), the radio churning out Led Zepplin and other classic rock tunes. The drive back was just as much fun. I got home, put the new stock in the house, and we decided to go out to dinner. On the way, Hubster jokingly remarked that he was looking forward to sleeping for four hours when we got home. I jokingly said that I was looking forward to sitting down and knitting. Heh.

You know what happened, right?

Let's just say there was no knitting involved. Let's also take this a step further and say that when I cracked my beady little eyes open, it was midnight, I was sitting in the same position I sat down in when we got home, and my feet and ankles were swollen to the size of weather balloons. Ohhh SHIT.

So here I sit at 1:00 a.m., nothing done yet, tired to the bone and, worse yet, feeling like shit again. I have two choices at this juncture: I can work all night getting what stock I can up on the site and get really sick all over again, or I can pack it in and sleep for the rest of the night, get up at a decent hour and work until its time to leave for my 3 p.m. appointment. Where am I going that's so damned important? More on that in a minute. For the time being, suffice it to say that I don't think I'm going to try and get more stock listed tonight. I think the wise thing to do is to stop pushing myself so hard and rest. I think the best thing for everyone concerned is to go blow my nose AGAIN and curl up in my chair. If I get really sick again, I'll be of no use to anybody. I can get a whole lot more done in a shorter amount of time when I feel good than I can when I'm running to worship at the porcelain god every 15 minutes. So to those of you who are still waiting to see your work listed, take heart: I'm on the home stretch. Hubster is at this very minute putting the finishing touches on his masterpiece and then doing beta testing. All will be well, everything will get done, and I'll be well enough to go see my boys on Monday and try to explain to them why I'll only be seeing them three more times. I don't have a clue how I'll be able to tell them that. Sigh.

So the all-important appointment. Hubster and I will climb in the truck at 2 p.m. and head down the freeway until we get to Lathrop. Once we get there, I'll be walking through the doors of a lovely shop I visited a week or so ago and selecting one of five...


No, I haven't sold my car yet. My mother loaned me the money so I could get the bike I wanted before they sold out (yeah, right... all they can sell right now are helmets if they're not the really good ones). Anyway, I did want to be sure that I got the bike I could handle, the one that made my heart go pitter-pat, the one that... oh hell, I'm buying the bike I want without having to settle for what's left. That's why she gave me the money before my car sold. This purple is wicked, too - it turns into a cobalt blue depending on what angle you're looking at it from. I just have to be sure that I can pick it up if I dump it and it isn't too big to fit between my legs (that'll be the first time in history that something has the potential to be too big to fit between MY legs). Ahem.

I'm signed up for their class in December (I think I told you how the Harley class - "Rider's Edge" - is so much better than the one I was signed up for), so once I'm finished with the final night of classroom work and test-taking, I'll ride my new toy home from the dealership. They'll keep it there for me until I'm able to ride it (they also have free home delivery, but I have nowhere to store it in our dinky one-car garage). I want a few things done to it - maybe a sissy bar for my passenger (looking at Sheryl across the pond and waving - I have a helmet for you, darlin'!), maybe a set of bars that keep the bike from sliding across the pavement on the gas tank if you dump it, definitely saddlebags, maybe a new instrument cluster. It all depends on which one I buy and what comes with it. I'm looking hard at the Sportster - easy enough for me to handle, but not too good on the comfort level for longer trips - and the Heritage Softtail Classic (the bike I've always wanted - they have this ultra-cool retro one with big fenders and wide white-walled tires), which is a much heavier bike but is designed for touring. I think what I may wind up will be between those two. I just need something that I can ride on the freeway if necessary; the majority of my trips will be around town. They were right at the dealership, though, and it wasn't selling you the most expensive bike they could bullshit - the bigger bikes are much safer than scooters. As cute as the scooters are, you can't see or hear them when you're in a car with the radio blasting. You can always hear a Harley coming. Thank goodness for American-made iron horses. Besides, my boys would shit a major brick if I bought an Italian scooter when I could have bought a Harley. I still expect to find some tricked-out custom bike sitting in my driveway one morning when I go outside to get the paper, courtesy of one of my motley crew who's getting out next year.

So it's to the chair for the duration. I'll get up around 9 a.m., work until we have to leave, and then stop at Borders to see if the magazine is on their stands yet. Even though I subscribe to it, I want a copy I can keep pristine. It IS my first ad in a major rag, after all. Besides, I refuse to be sick all weekend. It would screw up my Harley-buying trip. It would fuck up my prison visit. It would make me a very unhappy broad for the entire weekend.

'Scuse me while I go worship.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Questionnaire for SP13

I'm sick. I'm so sick that the hair on my arms hurts. I suppose I should be glad I've got hair somewhere, but not right now. So if I'm even slower than usual getting artists up on the shop site, please bear with me. You'll all be there before the ad comes out next Saturday.

Since I'm wearing out fast, I figured I would put up the SP13 questionnaire. How difficult can this be? Hm... I better not ask that question. I might actually have to think, and I know if I do that, my brain will hurt, too.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I only use indie yarns, such as those found in my shop or on Etsy. I'm a sock knitter, so I pretty much only use fingering weight. My favorite fibers are natural - wool (especially merino), silk (blended with merino), cashmere, alpaca, angora (blended with merino), etc. I'm not a huge fan of Tencel, rayon blends, cotton, or mohair, and I absolutely despise acrylic.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have an organizer thing for my crochet hooks, and my DPN's are kept in a wooden case which I stick in my knitting bag. Needles not in use are kept in a bin in my studio.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been knitting for 48 years and learned from my Auntie Marge and mother. I would consider myself to be advanced (I'd better be, after all these years).

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? No.

5. What's your favorite scent? Patchouli and lavender.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I don't eat candy.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I do just about anything fiber related, but only one thing at a time. Right now, it's knitting. I do spin, but I don't have the time to do it now.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I don't really listen to music when I'm on the computer. In fact, the only time I have music playing is when I'm driving. My favorite music is classic rock, especially bands like Led Zeppelin and Cream.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I love all colors.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? As far as people go, it's me and Hubster. As for pets (if you can call them that), I have an English Bulldog who sheds like a tree in autumn, and a macaw who likes to throw nuts at me when I'm ignoring her.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? I'm going to have to. We're moving in January to a place where it snows (you have to remember that I'm a Bay Area native - California - so I've only seen snow a few times in my life). I'm ill-equipped for weather that cold, so I've purchased a pair of mittens and a long scarf. I need more, though. Ponchos... nah. I'll be riding a Harley. It's just not cool.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Socks.

13. What are you knitting right now? Socks.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes!!!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I'm using DPN's right now and prefer a type which aren't being made anymore (figures). They're black walnut and ultra-slick. I don't like bamboo. I need to find another artist who makes hardwood DPN's in sizes 1, 2, and 3. I don't use aluminum or plastic unless I'm using circs; then I use Addi Lace Turbos.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes... a couple of each.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? I don't have any.

18. What is your favorite holiday? What winter holiday do you observe? My birthday. Hubster and I observe Yule between ourselves; we do the Christmas thing for our grands and the rest of my family, though.

19. Is there anything that you collect? I would love to collect classic 'Vettes and large diamonds, but so far, nobody has stepped up to the plate (well, Hubster did, but he gave one of each, not a collection). No Matchbox 'Vettes, please (someone did that to me once - I'm afraid that Emma would get ahold of it and eat it). Anyway, the answer to the question is no.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I'm afraid not. I subscribe to all the magazines, so that's out. I love anything, though, so please don't let my rampant consumerism scare you.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I haven't heard of any.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I wear a size 10; my foot is 10.5" long; the ball circumference is 10.25".

23. When is your birthday? June 23, 1958 (but I keep celebrating it year after year).

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID? Yes. My ID is pjyarngoddess.

I was right. I had to think. My brain now hurts. So I think I'll add a new artist to the shop and flop on the Monster. I realize that you left-coasters are already on your way to work by now, but it's 4:00 a.m. here. I'm not sleepy - I tend to sleep more during the day now. As usual, my schedule is turned upside-down.

With my throat hurting this bad, one thing is for sure: no playing Swallow the Stick tonight.

(for my new SP... don't let me scare you... my bark is much worse than my bite... ask the Hubster)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

More Shop News... and a Decision

I wanted to lay a few things on you, my dear friends.

First, the decision between a Vespa and a Harley has been made. I'm buying the purple Sportster. :) Thanks for the comment, Bez - I think it's really cool, too. :)

The other thing is that I've received the most incredible work from all my new artists. Hubster is sleeping right now - he's as tired as I am - but he'll be taking pictures tonight. Today, I received some beautiful work from another new vendor who not only sent yarn, but little kits in holiday tins. That's all I'm saying about that. Then there was another box...

Woolly Boully is in the house! It's a merino/silk blend in the most gorgeous colors; if I manage to actually part with it, it will be a miracle (of course it will be listed, but it's fun to think about keeping it all). Since I put artists' work up in the order received, it will be a week or so before it hits the shop, but for you fans of her work, I've have it in the shop very shortly.

Back to reading. I can't even knit because I can't see the stitches.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tired? Who, Me?

Tired doesn't even begin to convey the deep, bone-weariness I'm experiencing right now. It's been a hell of a week so far. However, because I'm a whiny sort of bitch, I felt the need to moan and snarl to everyone out there. Warning: this has the potential to be a snarky post.

Let's start with Monday, shall we?

Hubster, Emma, and I left the house at 5:15 a.m. to head to Mom's house first (to drop off Emma for the day - she's too big for her pen, and our furniture would be turned into matchsticks if we left her running around without us here), and then hit the road to go to the prison. I had called ahead to make sure the block was on regular operation (no lockdowns, riots, escapes, or pissed-off CO's), so I was sure everything would go as planned. We got there on time, saw Bill waiting for me, and I was about to get out of the truck when Hubster asked if I knew his new phone number (since we got the BlackBerries, we also got new numbers). I told him I didn't know it or need it, but he insisted and wrote it on a piece of paper. I stuck it in my pocket and headed into the prison.

Things went just fine - Bill dropped me off at C Facility, telling me that he was going to be working in another part of the prison for most of the morning. He gave me the phone number where he could be reached, and I headed into the block. After getting my siren and keys, I entered the yard. Hm. Something was wrong.

There were NO INMATES. NONE. NADA. Shit.

There were, however, a bunch of CO's wandering around the yard, with a group of them standing in front of the chapel. Great, I thought - maybe there was a stabbing or disturbance of some kind, and they'll be letting the guys go in a few minutes. I walked up to the chapel doors and was about to open them when I asked one of the CO's what was going on. Then I heard the dreaded words - RIOT TRAINING. I asked when the inmates would be released and was told in two or three hours. Then, as I was unlocking the door so I could phone Bill for a ride back out of the prison and call Hubster (thank goodness I took the phone number), another CO with a lollipop in his mouth came up and told me that I'd have to leave - that they were using live grenades and loaded AK-47's. I just stared at him, told him I'd leave when I was done making my phone calls, and slammed the door in his face. I bet GI Joe doesn't walk around the inmates with a lollipop sticking out of his mouth. Think jokes - prison jokes - about a man with a hard stick-like thing in his mouth.

I tried Hubster first and got his voice mail. Huh? He told me he would have his phone on and would listen for a call. Then I tried Bill. I got his voice mail, too. What the fuck? After about 15 minutes of frantic phoning, I finally got ahold of both of them. It turns out that Hubster was already in the parking lot waiting for me, and Bill... well, who knows where he was. I hung up the phone, looked around, and burst into tears. I hadn't realized how badly I wanted to see my boys, and once again, I wasn't being allowed to. It wasn't the long drive, or the uselessness of it all - I wanted to spend time with them. So I locked up and trudged back out to the front of the block to await Bill.

Since I had to drive back to Sacramento today for a doctor's appointment, I asked Bill if we could hold the class this morning. He said he would check to see if there were any conflicts and to call him after 4:00 p.m. I called him - several times. I've yet to hear from him, and now he's gone on vacation until the 14th. Then I called the office to see if a ducket had been filed. My boys were doing a sweat this morning at 8:00 a.m. I know if they heard that I wanted to have the class this morning, they would have scheduled their sweat for another time. Shit. Double shit. Now I have to wait for two weeks, and that marks the beginning of my last four classes with them. It's horribly depressing.

Yesterday, as usual, I was wiped out from the drive. I slept for a good portion of the day. Fast forward to today.

Our drive to the doctor's was uneventful. I told Hubster that on the way home, I wanted to stop at the Harley Davidson store in Livermore to get the stuff I needed for my class. We got to Lathrop, and he noticed a really large HD store on the side of the freeway. "Want to stop there instead?", he asked me. I told him to pull off the freeway, and we parked in front of a gleaming store with a shitload of new bikes in front and even more inside. Heaven. What's more, the name of the dealership is "Eagle's Nest". That's the name of our new home. Tell me that isn't a sign.

After entering the store, I was directed upstairs for the clothing. The gentleman helping me was extremely knowledgeable and fitted me with boots, gloves, and a helmet in record time. Then I found out that if you buy a new bike, they give you their riding course free. It's something pretty new - used to be if you bought a Harley, you'd better know how to ride. This course is more comprehensive than the one I'm signed up for, with two days of class and more riding time. You also take your DMV test at the end of class and get your license right then and there. Of course, I had to look at the bikes.

I'm sure you all know I was going to buy a Vespa, but the Sportster wasn't that much more than a Vespa. I took one look at a deep purple one, sat on it, stood it up, and fell in love. I think I'll be going back to buy that bad boy and take their course instead. I can see it now - I'm turning into a leather biker babe (well, the leather and biker parts are accurate). Wait until one of my boys hears this. He builds custom bikes and will be thrilled all to shit. Even Hubster is excited about it. I think he wants to learn how to ride it himself. Fine. He can learn how to ride, but he's going to have to buy his own bike. Harley even has a few models which offer his and hers bikes. The Sportster is one of them.

So now we're home, and I'm so tired that I can barely see straight. Even though I'm sure I'll get rotten produce hurled at me for saying this, I have to tell you that I'm one of the few who didn't vote because I never do. In fact, I've voted only once in my life, and that was when I first became old enough to do so. All the same, I'm really disappointed that Prop 8 passed. I just don't understand the mindset of people who fear gay and lesbian couples being granted the same benefits and privileges all people in love who marry are given. It's stupid, and I'm ashamed that in this state, the state that's supposed to be the bellwether for everyone else, the state where The Summer of Love happened, the state that everybody else around the country makes fun of for our colorful residents and open lifestyles, would quash such a basic right. I'm also sorry that prostitution wasn't decriminalized (San Francisco only, but it's a start). I say, make it legal and check the girls often for HIV and other STD's. It would cut down on the number of johns who become sick, would protect the girls, and might get them away from pimps who beat and otherwise mistreat them. I am glad, however, that the one about animal mistreatment (was that Prop 2?) passed. I couldn't even watch the commercials - they were so heartbreaking that I sobbed when they came on.

One thing I'm VERY happy about - my shows are back to normal, and there are no more boring political commercials to suffer through. I'm always a realist. Take off People's Court for election coverage? What the hell is wrong with the people who do programming?

So now, I'm going to go curl up on the Monster (Emma is passed out for the evening - the grands wear her out), read a little, knit a little, and most likely fall asleep. Then I'll wake up at some ungodly hour, eat something for dinner, and go back to sleep. I really need more sleep - my body is beginning to scream from all the abusive treatment I'm doling out to it.

Oh... I'm receiving a shipment of a new base yarn from Jenny Boully (of Woolly Boully) dyed in the most delicious colorways. It should be here by Saturday. Tomorrow is a heavy work day, and we have a ton of stuff to get listed. To all of you who ordered during the sale, your packages go out tomorrow. I've barely been home and awake long enough to get your orders packaged up. Thank you for being patient. I've got a shitload of new artists' work to photograph, and the website has to be finished (wait until you see it!) before the ad hits on the 15th. It's not that far away.

One last bit of bitchery: Hubster will be gone all next week on a business trip. He's going to Raleigh, North Carolina. It's the first time in all the years we've been married that he'll be gone, and I'm barely able to keep myself together. I'm so used to him being with me that I don't know what I'll do with myself. The days will be long; the nights, longer. I hate it when he leaves for the day; now he'll be gone a week. I'm already in mourning. I'm sure that sounds silly to those of you who have normal lives and go off to work each day, or who are used to a spouse leaving for work while you stay home. I'm not used to that. I'm not happy about it. I burst into tears last night when I was talking to him about it, and I know I'll blubber like a total ass when I drop him off at the airport. Sigh.

So off to sleepyland I go. I'm barely able to see the screen now.

That's after I have a ciggie and a cuppa, though. Can't go to sleep without having had those two bastions of healthy living.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm Actually Working

Just thought you'd like to know - Hide and Sheep has been updated.

New vendors will be added throughout the afternoon and evening, as well as tomorrow.

Should you place an order on Saturday for vendors which I listed on Friday, I will extend the discount to you. The sale will officially be turned off Saturday night (even though it technically ends tomorrow night).

Is that clear as mud? Good. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

You'd Think I Had More to Say

But I don't.

I wanted to thank all my fantastic friends who left congratulatory comments and sent me notes about getting our house. Both Hubster and I really appreciate them. :)

I also want to thank my lovely SP12 pal, Heather, for the incredible package she put together for me. She put all kinds of goodies in there, including a hand-knitted pair of socks and knitting bag/purse. I'll be posting pictures of the loot as soon as Hubster gets the camera set up again.

Speaking of cameras, here is tonight's gratuitous shot of the pot roast.


Emma thinks she's human.

Mrs. Q, this little story is just for you. When I went cross-country skiing with my ex, we went to Yosemite to accomplish this feat. John had also grown up in Colorado, had climbed every peak in the Rockies, and also taught skiing at Copper Mountain. I figured he would be the ideal person to teach me how to do the old cross-country. He started out by getting me to layer my clothes. Then he got me the proper boots and skis. Finally, he brought along a bota bag of wine and a bunch of cheese. Good thing we brought those last two items - a snow-clearing machine had skidded and gotten stuck - sideways - in a snowbank. Since it stretched across the road, there was nothing we could do but wait for it to be towed out. After draining the bota bag of wine and eating all the cheese, we snuggled under a couple of blankets to wait it out. Finally, the beast was extracted and we were on our way.

After we arrived at the place he wanted to ski at, I saw all this pristine snow on the ground. Flinging my car door open, I was already in mid-flight as he yelled, "Don't jump in ... ". Too late. As gracefully as a hippo, I soared through the air, fully expecting to land on the snow and run around like an idiot. Nope. Since you, Mrs. Q, were raised in the Rockies, you know what happened.

I sunk down to my waist in powder.

Hm. Snow didn't act in real life like it did on TV.

After getting me pulled out of my snow grave, John sat me back in the car and got my skis on. Of course, I was three sheets to the wind from all the wine I had consumed, so I didn't feel a thing. Off we went, John carving out a path for me to ski in. Then I toppled over to the side (it felt like it was all in slow motion) and landed flat on my back in a POOF! of snow. It was also actively snowing, so little snowflakes were dancing off my face. I remember thinking how lovely it all was. John told me to plant my ski pole in the snow and use it as a lever to push myself out of my new snow grave. No problem. I pushed so hard that I not only catapulted out of the hole, I shot straight upwards and fell on the other side. Now I was laying there laughing so hard that I wasn't capable of doing anything other than getting buried in my new snow grave.

We finally got back on our way, and I understood why he had me layer my clothes. This was hard work! Apparently, cross-country skiing wasn't like it was on TV, either. People on TV glided across the snow with their snowflake and reindeer-decorated sweaters, hats, and mittens with nary a bead of sweat on their brows. I was huffing and puffing like an ox pulling two laden carts. He saw that I was in distress, showed me how to do some maneuver which I've forgotten the name for (it's turning on your skis), had me jump down a mini-hill (it was about 5" high), and we headed for the car.

I think you know what happened next. He got my boots off and snow spilled out of them. The dude at the store hadn't fitted them properly. My feet were frozen to the point of being absolutely numb. He turned the heater on high, wrapped my feet in a blanket, and frantically looked for something for me to drink. I didn't understand what the fuss was all about until my feet began to thaw out. OW OW OW OW OW. At least when I was potted, it didn't matter that my feet were about to turn a hideous shade of black and blue and fall off.

Thus ends my one major experience with snow. The other times, I saw it falling on our car as we tried to get to Reno before I-80 closed down or we lost traction and flew off the side of the mountain.

Think I need some practice in both driving and walking around in the stuff?

The only other thing I wanted to tell you is that I've posted a new vendor, "Fuzzy Fiber", and added acrylic needle cases to Craftiness. Tomorrow, I'll be adding a lot of items to Hide and Sheep, as well as adding the rest of the vendors Hubster has photographed. Check back in the late afternoon to see what's going on. Remember that the sale ends Wednesday at midnight.

I guess I had more to say than I thought. If I get another artist listed in the shop tonight, great. But I'm getting tired and think I might sit down to knit for a while. Maybe I won't break another DPN like I did last night. At least I didn't drop any stitches.

Now that I've said that, you all know what's going to happen tonight.

I'm going to wake up drooling all over my sock which will be dangling from the stump of a previously 6" DPN.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just a Quickie (Not a Nooner)

As you all know, Hubster and I have been trying to get a house in Idyllwild since we were last there. Many people, including ourselves, believed that I wasn't really meant to cut a CD or even play in the concert; rather, we were put there to find our dream home, the home that we would grow old in. As you also know, we found that house and have been waiting and negotiating to get it. We got the phone call yesterday from the realtor:


(sorry about yelling - I'm a little excited)

I've never seen Hubster so happy about moving. He's usually blase about houses, but he loves this one and loves the area. We're looking forward to it, but I'll miss San Francisco and my family (I'm a born and bred Bay Arean - Northern California is my home, and if you told me that I would be living in SoCal, I would have said you were full of shit). At least we're not all that far away and can fly up here in an hour or drive up in eight hours. Besides, Disneyland is less than two hours from our new home. I can deal with that.

In order to celebrate, I'm having another sale - a "We Got The House!" sale. Everything in the shop will be 20% off, and the sale will run from next Monday through Wednesday (October 27th - 29th). This time, I'm playing it smart - all orders will be filled the following week.

Anyway, that's all I wanted to say. Now I'm going to continue doing the happy dance. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Still Waiting... and Waiting... and Waiting...

Don't you hate it when you think something is yours, only to find out that there is more involved than you thought?

Such is the case with our new home.

When we accepted the sellers' terms to rent for the first year and then enter into a "lease to own" agreement, we thought it was over and done with. We were just waiting to hear how much they wanted for first, last, and deposit, or if they were going to waive some or all of that because we were buying the house at the end of the year. When our real estate agent called, we though that was what he was going to tell us. Instead, he told us we had to fill out a form giving them permission to run our credit (along with sending a $35 check for the privilege of doing so); a few days later, he emailed me a form to fill out which was essentially an application to rent. What the fuck? Then he told us we would get an answer today. It turns out that the sellers are on vacation and, while they are in contact with their agent, we haven't heard a word. We called our agent, and he said that we would definitely hear by tomorrow. It sure as hell won't be later today - it's after 5:00 p.m., and the office is now closed. I barely made it through the weekend; now I have to wait until tomorrow. My anxiety level has gone through the roof, and I have to get through tonight somehow. Thank you to everyone who is keeping us in their prayers. Pray extra hard tonight, will ya?

Then there's Emma. We took the pot roast to the vet on Wednesday morning to get spayed. She is the only dog I know who loves going to the vet, even though by now she knows that the vet isn't a fun place. She just loves all the people there - and I think she knows that she gets yummies from everybody in sight. We handed her over to the assistant, kissed her goodbye, and went home to wait and worry. When the call came later that afternoon saying she was just fine and had come through it with flying colors, we were VERY relieved. I went to pick her up because Hubster was busy with work and dragged my mother along (I never know when I can't drive, so I wanted her with me in case I went weird). Mom uses the same vet, so all the people there know her. We were sitting in the waiting room when one of the ladies came up to us carrying a velvet bag and an envelope. She sat down beside me and said, "Cheyenne has come home". I didn't hear much of the rest of what she was saying because she opened the bag and slid it down to reveal a box which had Cheyenne's name on it; both Mom and I burst into tears and were too busy making a scene to hear much of anything. Another of the staff promptly brought over a box of Kleenex for us. It turns out that they did the same thing they did for Monkey - there was the box with Cheyenne's cremains, a certificate stating that she was cremated alone so there was no chance of mixing ashes, and a plaster cast of her paw print with her name embossed on the side. It was just too much, so I handed everything over to Mom. Mom hugged the box to her chest and rocked back and forth while she wept. If I could have walked out of there, I would have, but Emma was about to make her grand entrance.

And what an entrance it was! She came bounding into the room, wiggling all over the place and wanting love from everyone in the waiting room (there were two other women who were looking at me like I was an alien and staring with that imperious look that says "you're a piece of trash"), but the poor thing had one of those lampshades around her neck that kept getting caught on the floor (while I didn't have a lampshade around my neck when I got spayed, it HURT - I wasn't bounding anywhere). Emma isn't that high, and she usually walks with her head down and swinging (unless she's scored something good, in which case she holds her head high and prances). I was given instructions on how to care for her, pain killers, tranquilizers, and a bunch of paperwork; then I held up the cone so Emma could walk to the door. Even so, it caught on the doorframe, causing her to stop in fear. The assistant picked up Emma and put her in the carrier in the truck. Emma promptly laid down and began to whimper. Was the day going to get any worse?

I had to think that. We got home and cut off the cone (Emma can't fold that solid body enough to get at the incision), after which she began running all over the place, jumping off the couch, and doing everything she wasn't supposed to do. We gave her a tranquilizer (which didn't do a damned thing), and tried to keep her quiet. It was like trying to keep a bear from shitting in the woods. So I called the vet the next day and found out that I could give her up to three tranks at a time. We gave her two, and it knocked her out. However, I had to be sitting in my chair so she could cuddle up next to me (she manages to wrap her body around my hip). While I've gotten a lot of knitting done, I haven't got much else completed. She's asleep in her carrier right now because when she comes off the tranks, she turns into Cujo's first cousin. We ran out of them this morning, but the vet refilled them. After I shower and get ready, we have to go to Mom's and pick them up. Then it's over to Mervyn's to buy some clothes. After all these years, they're going out of business (they opened their first store in 1945 right up the street from where I live). It's truly sad - my family knew Mervyn Morris, the man who started the chain. In fact, he wanted my grandpa to be head of security for all his stores. Grandpa turned him down - after all, he was a cop, not a door shaker. Anyway, Emma is doing fine - she just needs to calm down. A LOT.

I also have signed up for a motorcycle instruction class. It's a two-part deal: the first night, I go to a five-hour class where I learn all about riding one of the beasts. I think I take a test at the end of the class, too - we're given a workbook when we arrive. Then that weekend, I actually ride for five hours each day, rain or shine. That part of the class is on the blacktop of the school which is right next door to my junior high school. It'll be weird to see it - in fact, I'll be able to see my old locker from where we'll be riding. If I'm able to complete that part of the course to the instructors' satisfaction, I get a certificate which waives the riding portion of the DMV test. I just have to take the written test in order to get the designation on my license which allows me to ride them on the street. All this for a scooter. But it's approved by the CHP, and I felt it was necessary to learn how to ride correctly, especially since Idyllwild has changeable weather conditions. Besides, I'll ride the scooter for a few years and then get a motorcycle. Those Victorys are awfully wicked. ;)

Both Hubster and I went through illness last week, the above-mentioned items, and a number of other things which ate up all our time. The sale was a huge success, and we got a bunch of orders which we're still filling. They'll all go out tomorrow for those of you who haven't received them yet. I'm hoping the business really takes off after the IK ad; if it does that, then I'll hire someone to come in and help me with it. That way, orders will go out immediately and Hubster won't have to interrupt his work in order to help me.

So now it's off to get ready, slide on some nice warm sweats, and go get the tranks from Mom. We're going to need them tonight, especially since Emma will be charged up and ready to roll when we get home. I hate to dope her up, but she has to rest. It hasn't even been a week. I will admit that it's funny to watch the back of the couch from where I sit and see toys go flying into the air from one end to the next as she races up and down, gleefully grabbing everything in her path and demolishing them. She's got to lay down, though, or she runs the risk of popping her internal stitches. Besides, neither one of us can work if she's running all over the house.

I think I'll ask the vet if they also prescribe human tranks.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sale Continuing Throughout the Evening

I just wanted to remind everybody that the 15% off sale is continuing throughout the evening with new vendors (and updates to existing vendors) being added at intervals. I thought it would be more fun to do it this way instead of listing everyone at once. Where's the fun in seeing everything at one time?

I also just found out that we have to submit a credit application for the house which we thought was a sure thing. We should hopefully have an answer by the end of the week. If it's a yes, then I'll be having a "We Got The House!!" sale!

Thank you to everybody who has made purchases or come to look. Your patronage is greatly appreciated by both myself and the artists I represent.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bad News, Good News, and General Chit-Chat

What a couple of weeks. I can't believe that it's been so long since I last blogged. But boy... do I have dish for you.

First of all, Yarny Goodness will be having a one-day, 15% off sale on Monday, October 13th from 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. Everything in the shop is on sale, and we have a LOT of new artists and items to show you. I won't list anything - you have to go see for yourself. :)

Our vacation was wonderful - except for one thing. I'm no longer going to be putting out a CD or even participating in the concert. The man I was recording with had a shitfit over who knows what last night (he says it was because I didn't remit my half of the money due immediately; I don't believe a word of it) and sent me a really nasty letter, telling me that the whole thing was off, not to bother contacting him (even if I had a really good excuse, read: begging), and that he was through with me and both projects. Personally, I think he didn't want to share the limelight or display his shitty playing. That's okay. I'm over the tears and anger. He'll get his, and a lot sooner than he thinks.

That's a nice segue into my next bit of news. We just got the word that we're moving in January to Idyllwild (yes, that's the place we vacationed at and where that fucktard lives). He doesn't know we're moving, nor are we telling him. We'll wait until we run into him in town. It's not that big a place; we're sure to meet up sooner or later. Anyway, the house we're getting is incredible. It's three times the size of this one and sits on a half-acre. It's a tri-level (although it's listed as three stories, the stairs are short). There's an entertainment room downstairs with a fire pit, three decks which are tiered down the back of the house to the backyard (which is fully fenced so Emma can run around; one of the decks also has a carved wooden eagle sitting on it), a rock fireplace which goes from floor to ceiling (it's HUGE), a kitchen with all new appliances (again, it's HUGE) and two greenhouse windows, five bedrooms, up to four bathrooms (the one downstairs is unfinished, so that's something for us to work on), an incredible master suite, new hardwood and carpeting, some furniture (including two really nice couches - we need those - all the beds except for the master, and a dining room table with six chairs), skylights galore with shades that draw across them should you not want sunshine, built-ins in the two largest bedrooms (an office for Hubster and a studio for me), a wooden driveway (too cool!), a garage with a workshop area for Hubster's woodworking tools, a mudroom which you enter through the first front door with a stained glass door that leads into the house (it has an eagle soaring over the local mountains depicted on it, and the entire door is stained glass, not just an insert), blah blah blah. Houses up there seem to be named; the name of ours is "Eagle's Nest". And the best part? We've been negotiating on this house since we were up there the last time, even going so far as to put in an offer. We've been dealing with counters and re-counters since before we left for home. What we're doing is renting it for a year and then entering into a lease with the option to buy. Considering that we have a foreclosure on our credit, the owners have bent over backwards to accommodate us. Our rent is $600 a month less than what we're paying here. There is indeed a higher power who has guided us to this paradise. It will be the first time in almost 20 years that Hubster and I have truly been alone together with no family or friends nearby. We so need a change, and this is it. I think we're going to love it. As for the business, this doesn't affect it one bit. All that will happen is that the shop will be closed for about a week while we move and get settled, and then my mailing address will change. That's it, and that's part of the beauty of having a home-based business. We can do things like this, not being tied down to a brick and mortar. Whew!

Aside from leaving my family (even so, it's only an hour by plane out of Palm Springs to get home), I'll miss my boys at the prison. I must have finished my work with them, though, because I've been going less and less. I'll always remember them and love them, but it's time to move on. It's time to think of me and Hubster. It's time to concentrate on my marriage, my business, my life. This is definitely the place to do it. Hubster will telecommute like he does now, but if he does have to go in to the office, he'll fly there for a week and then come home. I'll be fine - I just have to learn to lay in enough groceries to last, since it does snow up there (and I've seen more snow on TV than I have in person). I also have to decide whether I want a scooter (like a Vespa) or a golf cart (they're legal to drive on the city streets as long as they're modified and are tricked out like a car). The cool thing about a golf cart is that this guy in town will customize it to look like any car you want, including a Vette. I may get my Vette yet. :) The T-Bird is for sale as we don't need two cars. The truck is far more practical because it has four-wheel drive.

Enough blathering about the house. As the time to move nears (January 1st), I'll be talking about it more, but we're two months away from it. Let's see... what else has been going on...

Emma is in heat. I found this out in a rather unpleasant way. There I was, sitting in the Monster, and she was wanting to lay next to me. Fine. So I let her up. She began licking my leg (nothing new), got a bit wound up, and began sucking the back of my knee. The next thing I knew, she was humping my thigh. ARGH!! NO NO NO NO NO!!! I had NO idea that female dogs did that kind of thing. Hubster was in hysterics; in fact, he had to leave the room because he was crying from laughing so hard. A couple of nights later, I extended my hand down to her to scratch her on the head. What I didn't realize was that she had raised herself on her back legs so I could scratch her tummy. Next thing I know, she was humping my arm. ICK ICK ICK!!!!! Not only is she doing those lovely things, she's barking a lot, having to pee like a racehorse, doesn't feel too good, and is a bit aggressive. Oh.. let's not forget her also humping my foot. Sigh.

She's getting spayed next Wednesday. If I live that long.

I've been working on a couple of pairs of new socks (now I'm going to need them - this is the first time I won't be able to wear sandals in the winter), and doing a lot of sleeping again. At night, I've been working on the shop. Hubster is Mr. Photographer; I'm Mrs. Fill In The Forms and Upload His Pictures. I don't mind it, even though I like to bitch about it (but then again, I like to bitch about everything). I might even knit a... a... (I can barely speak the word)... SWEATER. Holy shit. I haven't made one of those in ages.

I'm also selling the vast majority of my stash. It's all indie, all top-name labels. I'm going to list them in the shop rather than use the "destash" pages. They'll be cheap, too. I'm trying to unload as much as possible so we can use a U-Haul rather than a moving company. I still have to list that Creatively Dyed yarn - the ones I'm selling for $12 a skein. I know I said I was going to list them a few months ago, but... well, you know. I seriously doubt I can list everything before we go, but I can make a dent in it, anyway.

I also broke my Kindle. For those of you who don't know what it is, it's an electronic reader which you can download books onto from Amazon. Anyway, I kept falling asleep on the deck during this last vacation, and I dropped it just right on my ashtray. The screen got dented, the print on the screen went all wonky, and I couldn't turn it off. So I had to spend another $350 for a new one. I'm being a lot more careful with this one - Hubster won't buy me a third, and rightly so. He loves his, too, and since I don't think there's a bookstore in town (all the shops are small and funky - my kind of place), they'll really come in handy.

I think that's enough for one post. I'm exhausted and need to sleep before tonight's marathon shop-posting session. I'm not releasing any new work until the sale on Monday. I was going to do it on Sunday, but that sort of defeats the purpose of having it all be a surprise.

Besides, I'm a lazy bitch at heart.

Friday, September 26, 2008

For Cheyenne

I got the dreaded phone call at 10:45 a.m. while Hubster was at work in a meeting.

Our beloved puppy - well, our beloved 20-year old puppy - hasn't eaten in three days and has ceased drinking water. She's falling a lot more. My mother, who was on the other end of the phone and sobbing, told me that she thought it was time. According to what our vet said, we think it's time, too.

So right now, Hubster is driving over to Mom's house to pick up Cheyenne for one last car ride. He'll take her to our vet for a 2:30 p.m. appointment, sit on the couch with her head in his lap, and stroke it gently while the vet administers the shots which will end any suffering she's undergoing and allow her to pass gently to the next world. She'll leave us knowing that she's loved and not alone. He wouldn't let me come because a) he didn't want me to see her looking like she does; he'd rather I remember her the way she was when she was well, and b) because I simply can't handle it. So here I sit, pouring out my grief and smoking like a chimney. Needless to say, all work has stopped for the next several hours.

I remember the first time I saw her. We were at the pound looking for a dog. I walked by her several times because she blended in with the wall she was leaning against. I walked up to the chain link fence and stuck my fingers through it; she walked over, sat down, laid her head against my fingers, and closed her eyes. We adopted her on the spot. Hubster had to pick her up and put her in the car because she was terrified. Her previous owners had stated they couldn't afford to keep her. What they didn't say is that they abused her horribly.

When we got her home, she walked into our bedroom and promptly peed on the carpet. We told her "no" and she hit the floor on her belly, trembling. She spent the next two weeks on the couch with her head in my lap. When she finally realized that she had a yard to play in, people who loved her, and that she would never be beaten again, she got off the couch and began to act like the sweet creature she was. She never again peed in the house; she always went to the door, no matter where we were.

She loved to ride in the car. She'd jump in, sit up for about five minutes, and then lay down and go to sleep.

She loved to run - for about five minutes. Then she would sit and look at you like you were an idiot.

I heard her bark perhaps three times in all the years we had her. If she heard something that wasn't right, she got up and went to the door with her head cocked. The only time she barked was when there were cats on the fence. It was her duty to chase them away. She protected us with the fierceness of a lion and with no thought to her own safety.

When the grands came along, she took them under her wing and protected them the same way she did us. If she heard something in their nursery - like them stirring - she would immediately get up and go into their room to check on them. If they required our attention, she came and stood in front of us until one of us got the hint and followed her into their room.

She had a huge bed in the family room. There were two niches, one on each side of the fireplace. One held our 64" projection TV; the other held her bed. I only mentioned the size of the TV so you would know the size of her bed. My mom gave it to her for Christmas one year, and it filled up that entire niche from side to side. She loved to sleep in there and watch everything that was going on. My kitchen shared the great room where the family room was, and if I was making something like hamburgers, I always made her a little one. If I made hot dogs, she got one. If it was something she could eat, she got her own made just for her and just the way I thought she liked it.

As her sight began to grow a little dim, she fell into the pool one day. I went outside to go swimming and walked right past her. She was standing on her hind legs with her front paws on the deck and her head resting on her paws. Hubster had to come out and pick up her.

She never varied from her 43-pound weight all her life - until now. She was a pound puppy through and through; I suspect she had some sort of hound, perhaps Rhodesian Ridgeback, in her. She was lean, a beautiful golden color which bleached to a shimmering gold in the summer, and the worst breath I've ever smelled. I adored her.

She was adopted in Arizona and went through four moves with us. When we lost our home in Sacramento, she had to stay with my mother because we lived in a residence hotel for three months. In those three months, she suddenly grew ill, grew old, and all in the blink of an eye. Then she couldn't hold her potty anymore, so my mother spread newspapers all over the floor for her. She couldn't make it outside. By the time we rented this house, we couldn't bring her home. She was in retirement with Mom, and Mom and Grandma took excellent care of her.

Mom said that this past week, Cheyenne had been toddling to the front door and cocking her head to the side, just like she used to do when we came home. Mom thinks she was looking for us. Maybe she was. Maybe she was trying to tell us that she wanted to ride in the car again, to lay on the back seat, to be with us for one last time.

Hubster will grieve in his own way. I'm more vocal; I've been sobbing since this morning. At 2:30 p.m., I'll fall apart. Her ashes will be put into a lovely box with her name engraved on the front, and her paw print will be cast in plaster for us. She'll rest next to her friend Monkey, the little kitty we rescued.

May you rest in peace, my sweet baby. May your passage be swift and painless; may you have all the chewy bones you can gnaw on and all the cats you can chase.

I loved you then, I love you now, and I'll love you always.