Saturday, November 29, 2008

A novel has been born

My mc (main character) Aggie has gone to camp, gotten lost on a mountain, survived an encounter with a bear, made friends with a lifelong enemy and been rescued. We'll leave her safely at camp contemplating how to accomplish at least one thing on her list - kissing a boy.

All of this in 50,000 words written 30 hours before deadline! :)
Thank you for your encouragement! It really helps to have friends in the cheering section!
I feel like I've climbed the world's tallest mountain - okay, maybe not the tallest one - that would be actually publishing and getting on the NYTs' best seller list - but at least a very tall mountain.

Of course the work isn't over - basically what I have is a roughly formed slab of marble awaiting loads of careful carving and editing to turn it into an engaging, delightful and unforgettable story.

Now, however, it's time to start getting ready for Christmas! A ridiculously long list of knitting projects has been forming in the back of my brain. A couple of hats, a pair of socks, maybe a sweater, a doll or two? And on and on. After all, Christmas is so far away, right? I've learned my lesson in the past - I'm not going to stress. If I have time, great. If not, the shops are open until midnight these days.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Important conversation

A friend of mine who runs a major hospital in Boston has asked me to spread the word about a campaign to encourage dscussions ab--out one of the most difficult topics in the world - How do you want the end of your life to be handled. No one wants to talk about, but it's going to happen and this is a gift you can give to those who will be with you when it does. If they know what you want, then they can feel at peace knowing they are making the right decisions on your behalf. You can read more in the text to the left of this post.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


31,023 words.

Our heroine has hoisted on her backpack and is headed up to the mountians with her fellow campers for four days and three nights to test their survival training.

Among the lessons that the leaders forgot - how to identify poison ivy, what to do in a lightening storm and what to do when you see a bear.

And did you know that water hemlock is the most toxic plant in North America?

On a knitting note - I knitted a baby hat for a friend and the other day she said it's getting too small and couldn't I please make her a new one? I could hardly be more tickled. I've cast on for those moments of the day when I need to be occupied but don't have access to a computer.

I hope all your Thanksgiving preparations are going well. I don't have to host, so I'm off the hook, but my thoughts are with all of you who are furiously cleaning and cooking or planning to cook. May all your efforts be rewarded with a great celebration.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Writer needs inspiration

I'm past the 20,000 word mark on the 50,000 word novel. Although I have more than half to go, I feel I have crossed over the top of the mountain. Still a few peaks to go, however, and I need some help.

I need some inspiration. My story is about a 10 year old girl at typical camp in New Hampshire. Mountains on one side, lake on the other. An out of control fire on the first night consumed the high ropes course so now the campers are going to have survival training and overnight camping trips in the mountains. She also likes a boy who has been hanging around with her arch enemy - a snooty rich girl who never has to wash the toilets like the other campers do.

Anyway, I want to add some realism so I'm looking for memories. If you've ever been to summer camp, please share with me your best or worst memories of it. I'm looking for specific events as well as generalities such as how you were dismissed from the campfire or how the day was structured. I'd also be interested in hearing about any odd personalities you encountered. You can leave them in the message section or email me at In exchange, I will send you a copy of the novel when it has been edited. If it is ever published, I will also send you a signed copy.

On a totally unrelated note - there is a great website called where you can write a note to yourself to be delivered at a later date. I've done it twice. It is wild to hear from yourself about where you hope you will be.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Socks

I received the nicest compliment today. I wore my new stripey socks to a business meeting. My client not only noticed them, she told our designer that my socks made her happy!

I guess it was worth the months that it took me to make them. I could have gotten them done faster, but they were mainly a take along project. I'm very happy with the short row heels - this was my best attempt ever. The method that I used called for using markers rather than relying on counting - much better. I also took the trouble to make sure the stripes match. I totally support knitters who don't need to bother with that step, but for me personally, I'm happier with matching stripes.
I usually like ankle socks, but now that I'm wearing them, I think maybe longer is better for hand knit socks. Next pair - which I will cast on in December.
I'm at 18,651 words on my novel - behind, but still within hope of finishing by the end of November. It is really hard in the evening when I have just a couple of hours before bed and I have to choose writing over knitting. The reality is, this novel will never come to be if I don't and I have some characters who are demanding that their story be told.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Winter Knits

Something happened when the weather started to turn colder - I suddenly felt compelled to knit warm things. All summer I kept thinking I should make some mittens or a couple of thick scarves to get ready, but I couldn't find the motivation. Then suddenly there was this primal urge to cast on wool. First there was the hat with the lace edge and now matching half mittens. I adapted the edging pattern and then turned it into ribbing. The whole time, I kept looking at the dwindling ball of yarn making plans for what I would do if I ran out. I made two at a time using the magic loop method so at least I would run out in the same place. I had just barely enough. I'm sure there is a more scientific way to figure out if there is enough yarn for a certain project, but I haven't figured it out yet.

Next up is the calorimetry from Knitty 2006. I've had my eye on the pattern for many months, but always had something else to do first. I have been wearing my hair up lately and every day for the last month I've grumbled to myself as I pull on my hat that it's time to get to this pattern.

Yesterday, I finally did.

I highly recommend the pattern. It's a fun knit with short rows for shaping. And it's quick - I finished it in a day thanks to the NE Patriots pushing their game into overtime ( it would have been nice if they could also have won, but at least they showed up). I was cutting it close on the yardage for this one as well. I was going to do stripes at one end if I ran out, which I think would have looked nice. As it was, I had enough with about three yards left over. Hmmm... is that enough to at least start a pair of half mits? The yarn is Lamb's pride worsted - a totally dream to knit with.

My gauge is loose however, despite having knit 2 needle sizes down. It could be me, but I choose to blame the yarn.

And finally, I'm sharing my latest kitchen adventure. These are cinnamon rolls using a recipe from the Penzey spice site. I discovered why the directions say to cook them in a muffin pan. Apparently, they are not supposed to spread out into a sort of pancake like shape. Still, they were absolutely delicious due to the vibrant taste of the cinnamon.

The reason I was making cinnamon rolls was to try out the cinnamon, which came in a surprise box of spices from my good friend Bonnie who sews great things and knows I like to think I can cook. She has some great recipes on her site if you're looking for something new to try.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And yet another project

It's November. For thousands of writers that means it is time to write a 50,000 word novel. Not necessarily a good one. Not necessarily one that anyone will ever read. The most important thing is to finish it by the end of the month. Then you can go back and turn it into a masterpiece.

The idea is to blast through writers block, overcome your inner editor and free the story teller.

I really don't have time to do this. And yet here I am for a second year, stuffing writing into the thinnest cracks of time in my hectic life.

I'm a writing about Aggie, a ten-year-old who has left her bustling city life behind for two blissful weeks in the forests of New Hampshire at summer camp. She's planning to finally pass the swim test so she can go to the dock in the middle of the lake, climb to the top of the camp's tall pole and kiss a boy for the first time. She's headed for way more adventure than she expected as her cabin heads up to the mountains for an extended hike.

I thought about having aliens land in the middle of camp but decided that was just a little too far out. I'm a journalist so any sort of fiction writing is a stretch for me. I have a hard time straying away from the things that could actually happen. Maybe next time.

For the record, I did not go back and edit the novel I wrote last year. I still plan to. I don't know if it's good enough to sell or if anyone else would be interested in it. I had fun writing it and I really like my main character.

What I really like about Nanowrimo (National Novel Writers Month) is the challenge to do something beyond the ordinary. It's a chance to push myself in a way that I don't get to do very often. There are times I would rather just watch television, but inevitably, once I start writing I get totally lost in the story and hours pass by.

I'm already behind - to keep the pace, you have to write 1,666 words a day. I'm at 10,591. I think I can catch up, however.

I felt like I needed to declare publically that I've taken up the challenge again. That way, I am more accountable. Hopefully, someone will be watching to see if I make it and that will make me try harder.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Movie Review High School Musical 3

The story is simplistic and completely predictable. The songs sound about the same as the ones in the last High School Musical movies. On the other hand, there is no swearing, the dancers are fully clad and the choreography is fantastic. Another bonus: The movie absolutely mesmerized three 6-year-olds and sent the 3yo dancing in the aisle, which alone was worth the price of admission.

There are, however, few yarn items of interest - a floppy hat made of what looked to be tiny granny squares and a crocheted rainbow skull cap. Not a single scarf or sweater throughout.

Verdict? Okay if you need to entertain someone under 12; best to go with another adult so you can exchange comments a la Mystery Theater 2000 to make it interesting.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Movie Review

Dh and I finally got a chance to sneak away for a movie! With all the kids and all their activities that is a rare occurance.

We were looking for something funny and not too intellectually demanding. Zack and Miri Make a Porno was the closest we could find. There were no worries about it being too intellectualy demanding but it was only so-so funny. At least there were some fabulous hand knit and crocheted items to hold my attention. The characters wore several scarves and hats throughout the movie so it became like a game - is that crocheted or knit? Most of them were made with bulky yarn. They appeared to be handcrafted, but no one in the movie was shown making them. Too bad - that would have made the movie interesting!

As it was, it's disappointingly predictable. Not worth the price of admission.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween Happiness

The costume indecision lasted right up until the night before Halloween! In the end, the 6yo rediscovered her old witches hat and decided that it would be perfect. Due to the earlier costume plans, she ended up being a witch with pink-tipped hair.

The littlest one had multiple parties so she was a

cowgirl, a cheerleader and for the actual day, a butterfly princess - she was supposed to be just a butterfly, but was upset because people kept saying she was such a lovely princess. The easiest remedy was to change the label of her costume and shove a candybar in her mouth! Cause in the end, it doesn't matter what the costume is - the candy tastes the same.

You can only imagine my surprise when I heard said 6yo rummaging in her candy bin the next morning at 6 a.m.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"My homework," she said as if I should have known.

Her assignment was to count all of her Halloween loot, sort it and make patterns. It was amazing how interested she was in school work when it involved candy. She got 72 pieces while trick-or-treating. That doesn't include the stash she grabbed while walking down in the center of town.

She wants to be catwoman next year, she told me today. I'm tempted given the sales, but then again - I'd have to remember where I put it and then there's the fact that she changed her mind 60 times or so this year!