I'm back after struggling through the hardest NaNoWriMo I've ever done. I had some intestinal problems which led me to urgent care. That in turn led to an abdominal ultrasound which found nothing. Great. So why does it hurt, doc? sigh
After surviving the stomach cramps and et cetera, I came down with a cold. I fought like heck and managed to get over the actual cold pretty fast but I'm still dealing with asthma symptoms (always happens when I have a cold!) and an intermittent cough.
Still, in the end, I reached my 50,000 word mark. Barely. Towards the end, I was writing sections of chapters about any scene I knew I wanted to have happen. A wedding. An adoption. An initiation. The beginning of the novel (on November first) is now somewhere down around chapter ten or so.
I think this year's NaNo was challenging because it's the first one I've participated in since we sold the house. In the house, I had my own office. It was purple and one whole wall was covered with whiteboards -- great for working out ideas and keeping a larger-than-life To Do list on. But most of all, it had a door I could close and shut out what everyone else was doing.
To be fair, this was also in 2002 and 2003 -- if YouTube and other such sites existed, I think we were still on dial-up at the time, so I surely couldn't have spent much time on those sites! Equally true, Ravelry didn't exist and I wasn't the avid knitter I am now. I guess that all boils down to: I've got a lot more to distract me and less ability to shut myself away from it all.
I've whinged and whined here in the past about my writing and where I'm going with it, so I'll spare you a redux of all that. There's a good idea in this year's NaNo novel, struggling to get out. So maybe down the road a bit, I'll get back to it and make it shine.
In the meantime, I've got to change the email over on the right of the blog, under my picture. It's getting a lot more spam and I'm tired of it. I don't know what the new one will be yet, but I suspect I'm going to have to make it an image, so the bots and such can't grab it.
Finally tonight, we're down to the last month of 2009. Where did this year go? It's been a painful year, with a couple bright spots, but I'm definitely going to be glad to kick this year out the door. I'm not really in "the Christmas mood" so far. We haven't had a tree since 2004 and we don't do live trees here -- I'm just not that big of a risk taker! I'd like to have a tree, but if I bought one, it's likely to be the entire Christmas! So I don't know what we're going to do, decoration-wise. At a minimum, I want to get out my large fiber-optic wreath and use my mini-decorations on it, like I used to do.
As for Christmas gift-giving, I've got an idea for one person on my list -- well, that's not true. I've got a couple ideas for several people. I just have to see how the planning pans out. Most of all, this year I don't want to crap out on the Christmas stockings. That's usually where I really shine: making sure everyone's stocking is overflowing with weird things, goofy things, items which are small and often forgotten and most especially candy of some kind. Randy always says I'm the best at stuffing stockings; this year I want to really knock their, ahem, socks off!
No matter what you celebrate, I hope you have friends and family to share these year-end festivities with. If you can, look around and spread the love to someone less fortunate. Walmart and other chain stores of the type usually have 'gift trees' with wishes from local children who won't have much for Christmas. There's also Childs Play, "a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in our network of over 60 hospitals worldwide." For those who read here and are ferret lovers, there's the Ferret Giving Tree, where you can find a fuzzy (or two or three!) who are spending Christmas in a shelter that you can spoil.
I'm not sure I've blogged about Bark 10-4 which is aimed at getting pet oxygen masks on fire trucks around the country. You can order one for your local fire station and know your pets will get the help they need in a fire emergency.
As Book says in Serenity, "I don't care what you believe in, just believe in it."
It's been an odd Christmas season this year for me. We bought me an amazing HP Laser Jet 3600 back in September when they were 50% off. I've been enjoying it ever since. It's so nice to have a laser printer again.
Randy caved and gave me my other big Christmas present about two weeks ago:
These first two images were taken by the man who created the ring. He's a much better photographer than I am!
The last two were taken by me or Nick, with the ring on my finger. I sure didn't think my fingers were that chubby! The ring is sterling silver with a topaz in the exact color blue I wanted. It's kind of stormy-blue, depending on the light it's in.
I haven't worn a wedding band or ring in a long time, since I quit wearing gold. It's nice to have one again!
With the early (not totally unexpected) arrival of my nephew, I've decided that blanket #3 and the Sheldon turtle that goes with it, are going to be his first Christmas gifts. That relaxes my time constraints some and lets me mix it up with the other Christmas gifts I'm working on.
First there's this one, which I can't speak about much because the recipient reads here. I even had to change the name of it on Ravelry, so the link wouldn't give anything away!
Then there's the project which is using this purchase, for another blog reader. This project has no knitting (!) and requires me to push my drawing skills to the limit. Eek! What was I thinking????
I still need to come up with good gift ideas for my nephew's mum and dad, my mum, and some other people I'm sure I'm forgetting. Not everyone will want a handmade gift, but for those who do, I'm trying to find the right kind of gift.
Since a lot of my knitting between now and the end of the year will be of a gifting nature, there's probably not going to be a whole lot of pictures of the knitting variety between now and then. Except for darling nephew's gifts 'cause he's not quite old enough (!) to catch on...
Here's his Sheldon turtle all finished up:
I didn't take Sheldon out of his shell because he's a little challenging to pull out and put back in. Maybe the extra shells I want to make for Soren's turtle will have velcro tabs to open and close his shell's underside, for easier removal.
If you like Sheldon, you should check out Drunken Monkey Knits --- this is a great blog, plus there's some awesome costumes Brooke has worked up for Sheldon. You can buy a kit for some of her costumes over at Knit Picks.
At what point am I a spinner? Can I call myself a spinner now?
Or should I wait until I've resolved those funky little twists in my yarn? Can you see them in there? This is some Cotswold pin drafted roving I purchased from a lady on my spinning list. She put together a wonderful box of roving for me to play with!
I'm not spinning as much as I'd like right now---I'm lucky to get in 15 minutes each day! But, I'm getting pretty close to finishing the two pairs of slippers for my in-laws for Christmas (one pair's ready to felt and the second pair is half-finished). Then I've got a couple other projects I may or may not get to in time for Christmas--I really hope so, 'cause they'd be really neat. I can't say more here 'cause the...interested parties...read here occasionally.
I'm listening to a lot of audiobooks---unfortunately, the 4th book in the Saga of Seven Suns isn't out on Audible yet. *sigh* I've finished "Darwin's Radio" by Greg Bear, and am currently listening to the sequel, "Darwin's Children". I really need to find more books I'm in the mood for right now!
I guess I could spin a little more. I've got 4oz of that Cotswold and what's spun up isn't even half of it, I'm guessing! Which is good, 'cause I need the practice to get those twists out of my yarn!
I've linked the images to their location on flickr (I think I did it right), so you should be able to click through and see the notes I've put on the photos---apparently I can't get that part to show up here.
I meant to post last night, but we had to kick some Zergling butt for a while.... *grin*
I found a solution to my yarn dilemma: buy more yarn. ::snickers:: Yeah, I know. Totally original. However, I justified it by the low cost of the yarn. I selected Wool of the Andes by Knitpicks. The beauty of it is, there's so many freaking colors, Nick was sure to find one he wanted. And, he did: Sapphire Heather. Oooo.... Aaaahhh....
And to further the insanity, I thought Randy might like a matching sweater (in his own color of course). So, I offered to knit him one for Christmas! Instead of being nice and helpful and picking out the color he wants, he said.... "Surprise me." Oh, no pressure or anything. *sigh* Since he reads here on occasion, I can't actually *name* the color, but I can tell you this: 6th row, 2nd one. Uh-huh. (Hey, Randy, if you peek, fine. I'll probably knit it in front of you anyway! ::grins widely::)
I got a call from my FIL today---wow. I haven't talked to him in ages! Randy usually calls home and talks to them. He's really excited about my knitting and wanting to get into spinning. He mentioned Alpacas and how cute they are---ah, no wonder I like the man: he has taste!
I was talking about felting and how cool it is---for some reason I've had the image of really huge unfelted slippers in my head for a while now. So I mentioned them as an example. He said, "I'm a size 12." Squee! Don't you wish all Christmas planning was that easy? I prompted for MIL's size and he said she's a 10, so there's two more projects in my Ravelry queue.
What am I doing talking to you guys? I've got knitting to do!
Well, I've had one inquiry on some yarn but no sales thus far. *sigh* And yet...
If you look to the right, you'll see the bright green progress meter tracking my fundraising efforts. How did that happen? Mom chipped in for my Christmas present early. Thanks Mom!
Now, I just have to raise enough money for the rest of it!
And hope the right wheel comes along at the right time, so I can snag a good deal.
In the meantime, maybe I'd better use some of the yarn I'm not destashing! *grin*