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December 31, 2005

New Year's Resolutions

Well, it's that time again. Fewer this year, though, because last year's list just went so well.

1. Get one of my novels-in-progress to the point at which I can start submitting it to agents and/or publishers.

2. Read 100 books, at least some of which are from my mental "I really need to get around to reading that" list. (I don't know, 100 just seemed like a good number. I like goals.) Keep track of them.

3. Finish more knitting projects than I start, and decrease the size of the stash. And keep track of what I knit, because it would be nice to know.

4. Finish a gorram sweater. Finally.

5. Finish losing the weight I want to lose. (No need to get into the particulars here, as I write about that elsewhere.)

6. Try to relax. A little. Sometime. I'm really bad at that, and I make my life much more difficult/stressful than it really needs to be.

Posted by Kat at 07:41 PM | Comments (1)

December 24, 2005

And to all a good night...

So it's been a decent day, and things are... going. Today I finished the Secret Santa scarf and knit about half the scarf for my aunt. (But I'm not seeing her until Sunday afternoon, so I clearly have "plenty" of time.) While doing so I watched Beautiful Thing (a new favorite), My Beautiful Laundrette (also very good), and two episodes of Six Feet Under. I also wrapped presents, did dishes, packed, and did errands. Whew. Now I'm sitting by the tree, knitting my mom's mittlets and listening to the Nutcracker and finishing up that wine from the other night. It's a nice moment of relaxation amidst all the craziness.

One less-than-relaxing moment of realization today was that the end really isn't as close as you'd think, at least as far as knitting is concerned. None of the gifts for my immediate family will be complete by Christmas (without some sort of miracle), so I'll give them to them partially done and try to finish my New Year's. So I'm in for another week, at least. Then I have to finish my roommate's gift. But I'm trying - trying - to remind myself to relax and enjoy things. We'll see.

Honestly, I haven't been in that much of a holiday mood this year. It's quite unlike me. I think it's good in some ways - I'm being less rigid about things being "perfect" and holding myself and others to ridiculous standards - but it feels like some of the magic is gone too, and I'm not sure why. It's probably a combination of things - being busy, this being the first Christmas after five Christmasses with my ex, just growing up, etc. So I'm trying to just go with the flow and see how it goes. Who knows; maybe it will be better if I'm not forcing myself to wake up early on Christmas morning to read the things I have to read every Christmas morning, and not trying to make my family do everything the way we've always done it because otherwise the world will end. (Of course, I'll probably be waking up early to knit, but...) So... we'll see. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm working at the store from 7:45 to five tomorrow and then heading to Connecticut - it'll be a long day. I'm not sure about the status of Internet access at my parents' house at the moment, so I may not post again until the 26th. Everyone, have a lovely Christmas or Hanukkah or weekend. See you on the other side.

Posted by Kat at 12:08 AM

December 23, 2005

This is IT.

So. I think I have officially reached IT. Let's go through Steph's criteria, eh?

1. It is within three days of Christmas. Despite my constant confusion about days of the week this week, I am pretty sure that it is indeed within three days of Christmas.

2. Multiple gifts to finish. Um, yeah. Totally. Let's see... three to totally finish, five more to get as far as I can with and finish by New Year's or so.

3. KHPD over 24. Yup.

I'm about to pass out from exhaustion, but here's my plan for whenever I wake up: tomorrow I need to finish the secret santa scarf and knit another bulky scarf and at least one mittlet for my mom. That seems reasonable for one day/evening, right? I have lots of tea and DVDs. I'm set.

Other things I need to do tomorrow:
1. Wrap presents.
2. Apply hand lotion approximately every 30 minutes. My hands are so dry that they are spontaneously bleeding, which isn't so great for the knitting.
3. Do dishes. I actually told my roommate not to, because I felt so guilty that he was doing more than his share of housework recnetly.
4. Pack for the weekend.
5. Clean out my car so I can fit multiple people/bags/presents/etc.
6. Go to the bank.
7. Do another errand or two.
8. Have coffee with a friend. (While knitting, of course.)

Okay. That's not too bad. That's doable. Or I'm delirious. Whatever. This is IT.

Posted by Kat at 02:16 AM | Comments (2)

December 22, 2005

Random Wednesday: Solstice Edition

1. Happy Solstice. I don't have the brainpower to write anything coherent at the moment, so go read Cate. At least I managed to light a candle in my house-shaped candle holder. I guess that's something.

2. Christmas knitting update: Three things totally done, and a fourth just needs ends woven in. A few other things have been postponed or replaced, because really, I'll be crazy enough as it is. Full update coming tomorrow as I officially enter IT.

3. This evening I tried to make sweet and sour meatballs for the work potluck tomorrow. The meatballs self-destructed. I'm going to just tell everyone it's sweet and sour sloppy joes. That's perfectly reasonable, right?

4. Said meatballs/sloppy joes included wine in the ingredient list. So clearly I had to drink some, right? Yum.

5. I took today off and went Christmas shopping in Boston with my cousin. It was lovely. I REALLY don't want to go back to work tomorrow.

6. I want to bake something. Maybe fudge. Hmm. Yes, I know I have to knit. I can knit and bake at the same time, right?

Posted by Kat at 12:18 AM | Comments (1)

December 20, 2005

To whom it may concern:

Dear knitting,
Thank you for being reasonably cooperative thus far. Might I suggest that we step up the pace a bit?
the knitter

Dear stupid coworkers in the neighboring department,
I don't think the word "gay" means what you seem to think it means. You might want to look it up before you yell something like "You all must think we sound really gay" over the row of cubes again, because at least two of us over here are about ready to throw big cans of soup at you.
Just a thought,
P.S. Boss, that goes for you too. Also? Stop with the jokes about women. Thanks.

Dear Chris Botti,
"Hallelujah" (yeah, the Leonard Cohen one) is not a Christmas song. Just no. I don't care if it has the same name as the Handel chorus. No. Have you heard the words? I know you don't sing them in your version, but please tell me you at least know what the song is about. Your muzak version really has no reason to exist, especially not on a Christmas album.
No love,
Jeff Buckley fan

Dear customers,
I know you for some reason think the online reserve thing saves you time, but it really doesn't. And here's a little secret: it just makes us really, really annoyed with you, although I do understand that it's not your fault that the system's so screwed up. But please. Call and ask us to hold your book. It works just as well, if not better. I promise.
The girl with the pager

Dear out-of-it teacher lady,
30% of $30 is not $10. It is $9. I promise. I'm not sure how many different ways I can explain this to you. You're a teacher. Aren't you supposed to understand things like that?
Your cashier
P.S. I was nice. Next time find your darn educator's discount card. Preferably before you get up to the register and start holding up the line.

Dear reading public,
No, The Da Vinci Code is not out in paperback. Neither is virtually any book published in hardcover in the past year. That's just not the way it works, and I promise, it's not my fault. It is also not my fault that you didn't decide until December 19 that you need to order an obscure book for brother-in-law. I can't magically make it appear. I know that you are probably angry at yourself and just taking it out on me. The holidays are stressful. I know. Please try to remember that it's stressful for me too.
Let's all smile and try to get through the next few days.
Your friendly neighborhood bookseller

Dear salespeople,
I know this may come as a shock, but when you send a request to my department that includes direct insults to my department, that does not make me feel especially inclined to hurry up and get it done for you right away. Just in case that hadn't occurred to you.
No love,
The data corrections girl

Dear Mr. Ledger,
Well done. Couldn't you have played both roles?
Much love,
P.S. Casanova looks cute too, if a bit historically debatable.

Dear readers,
Thank you to anyone who waded through all that. Something coherent (like a review of Brokeback Mountain) will be coming one of these days, but, honestly, it might not be until after Christmas. I will try to at least get some Christmas knitting pictures up soon.
Much love,

Posted by Kat at 04:41 PM | Comments (4)

December 18, 2005

Christmas Knitting Dos and Don'ts

It's... going. Not quite as well as I'd wanted, but I figured that would happen. So to distract you from my lack of pretty pictures or actual content, here are a few pointers for you based one what I've picked up over the past few days.

* DO just keep knitting, and avoid thinking about any of it too much.

* DON'T use yarn or needles you hate. Metal 15s? Ribbon? Eyelash? The end results are pretty, but what was I thinking?

* DO take advantage of the lovely technique that involves doing some extra wraps before each stitch one row and dropping them the next and stretching it out. (I'm sure it has a name but I don't have time to look it up.) My God, does that make a scarf go quickly.

* DON'T take a break to argue with your mother. Or at least put her on speakerphone or something so you can keep knitting. (At least I won.)

* DO "carpool," i.e. get people to drive you places so you can knit in the car.

* DON'T just keep adding things to your list. My list went from 12 to 14 before it got down to, um, 13 at the moment, but two of those are almost done, I swear.

* DO cut back on sleep and housework. 5 hours a night. Laundry and dishes. Everything else can wait.

* DON'T watch anything too enthralling or complicated while knitting. I'm finding that Simon Schama's History of Britain works well - it keeps me interested but, well, I know the plot, so it's okay if I don't give it my full attention.

* If you are making anything that comes in pairs like socks or mittens, DO knit one of each pair first. It will keep things interesting, and it's better to give each recipient one mitten and some yarn instead of two mittens to half of them and just yarn to the rest.

* DON'T let yourself get dehydrated. Dehydration does not increase knitting speed. I've been going with mostly Tab and various kinds of tea.

* DO keep the house stocked with easy-to-make, non-messy food. You don't have time to cook or to take food breaks. Knitting while eating is possible. I've been concentrating on canned soup, chips and dip, baby carrots, Twizzlers, and chocolate.

* DON'T develop a new addiction to an online game. (I'll give you the link after Christmas. I promise. It's for your own good.)

* DO remember the twelve days of Christmas. Nothing is technically late until January 6. Especially if you're Catholic.

* DON'T let yourself feel too much envy or resentment when you walk by your roommate's open door and notice the neat stack of books and CDs that he's giving people for Christmas. So what if they come already assembled? You're putting in way more effort.

* DO resolve to drag him into the madness next year. It's not like you forced him to start knitting.

Posted by Kat at 10:35 AM | Comments (4)

December 16, 2005

The needlework alone can take years.

Prize (after Christmas) to the first person who guesses what movie I'm watching while I furiously knit really bulky scarves. The above subject line is a quote from the movie. Another favorite: "That's what tapestries are for."

"I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. We're a knowledgeable family."

"I could peel you like a pear and God himself would call it justice."

Random hint: Cate should get it, for a sort of tangential reason. ;-)

Posted by Kat at 11:00 PM | Comments (4)

December 15, 2005

The Plan

Okay. Trying not to panic. Plans solve everything, right? I'm a good planner. I like to make lists. So. I just need some lists and a plan.

First, knitting hours as calculated last night:

Coworker scarves (2): 5 hours each
Dad's and brother's scarves: 10 hours each
Roommate's scarf: 20 hours
Nosewarmer: 1 hour
Cousin scarves (3): 3 hours each
Pairs of mittlets (3): 5 hours each

Total: 75 hours. KHPD: 7.5. Um, right. That's another full time job. I have one of those already. Huh. This might be a little difficult, you think? So.

The Plan

1. This weekend will be the big marathon knitting. Friday night: finish at least one cousin scarf. Saturday night (since I'm working all day): finish at least one coworker scarf. Sunday: Knit all day. Finish other coworker scarf and nosewarmer (and hopefully something else, but let's let that be a pleasant surprise). Those three scarves are the things I really need done before Christmas, so I will breathe a bit easier then.

2. The next focus will be the mittlets, since those are harder to knit while out and about. Monday and Tuesday I will work on the mittlets at home and scarves while out (in line, on lunch break, etc.).

3. The three cousin scarves? I'm going to go with these. Two hours each. Steph promised. And did you see how I budgeted three hours for each above, since I know I can't possibly knit as fast as she does?

4. I am leaving work early tomorrow to go to the yarn store to get the yarn for the cousin scarves, mittlets, and nosewarmer. Oh, but there's supposed to be an ice storm. Please God, don't let the yarn store close. That would totally mess up the plan.

5. Basic schedule for next week: work 8-5 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Probably other work Monday and Thursday evenings. Wednesday I'm taking the day off to go Christmas shopping with my cousin in Boston. I'll carry a scarf around to knit while we shop. I'm sure she'll love that. Wednesday night I need to make something for the work potluck on Thursday, but I can knit while I make meatballs, right? Wednesday night is probably around when I'll cut down on sleep, as well. Don't want to do that too early, or the adrenaline will run out.

6. Tuesday evening I have agreed to see a friend. The conversation went something like this:
Friend: We should hang out before Christmas. I have presents and I miss you.
Me: Is hanging out something that can be done while knitting?
Him: Of course. I figured as much.
So hopefully that won't cut into the knitting time too badly.

7. Friday evening is free. Thank goodness. Oh, except for packing for CT. Saturday (Christmas Eve) I'll be working and leaving for CT right from work. Sunday is Christmas and there will be lots of people at my parents' house. Nevertheless, I seem to think I will have a fair amount of knitting time both days.

8. On Christmas, I will be knitting my roommate's scarf, since Christmas Day is one of the very few days on which we won't see each other (as we'll be with our respective families). And he's okay with it being a Boxing Day or New Year's or Epiphany present if necessary.

9. And really, I'm not above giving a few things on the needles and having them done when I see everyone again at New Year's.

10. But. That's only an extra week. This is still quite a lot of knitting, even with the extra week.

Progress reports will appear when possible. Let's hope I can get lots done over the weekend so I don't get too discouraged. Send caffeine and chocolate.

P.S. I was vaguely thinking of a few more nosewarmers for other relatives, "if I have some extra time." The delusion runs deep.

Posted by Kat at 03:41 PM | Comments (2)

December 14, 2005

Random Wednesday ('cause I can)

Yeah, I know, twice in one day. But I had stuff I felt like saying and liked the idea of posting Random Wednesday on Wednesday for once. (It is Wednesday, right? I think?)

1. First, because Lauren asked for it:

The five scarves-in-progress, albeit a bit blurry. The stray needle and brown yarn coming in from the left belong to another scarf-in-progress, but that one is my roommate's, not mine (thank goodness).

2. Tonight was my last class of the semester. We had pizza and wine and cookies and then left early. Really, all classes should be like that.

3. During class, my professor asked me: "Could you make your life any more difficult?" Hah. He doesn't know the half of it.

4. I also discovered that when I e-mailed my final paper to my professor yesterday, I didn't actually, you know, attach the paper. I am so smart.

5. While walking to the train after class I started calculating my Knitting Hours Per Day for the next ten days or so. Let's just say that it's looking rather appalling. Details, and hopefully a Plan, will be forthcoming. Tomorrow. When I'm bored at work.

6. I have decided that Green Day's "Holiday" is what I wanted Franz Ferdinand's second album to be. Not necessarily politically (because Franz Ferdinand is/are British [Scottish?], for one thing), but musically.

7. Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the fatal shooting incident that occurred at my alma mater. Although I was there long afterward and didn't know anyone involved, the reverberations are still felt throughout the tiny community, and I felt I should mention it and that everyone affected is in my thoughts today.

8. On a happier note, it is also my dad's birthday.

9. New Dunkin' Donuts favorite: Vanilla Spice coffee. Yum.

10. I'm dreaming, not of a white Christmas (well that too), but of all the things I will have time to knit after Christmas: the baby Aran, Birch (which was going along swimmingly until I finally had to admit that I should stop on it until after Christmas), Trekking XXL socks, and some sort of freaking head covering, already. I am in New Hampshire. It is cold. I do not seem to own a hat. What I really want is a hooded scarf, but I'm not letting myself think about it yet.

11. It sounds weird, but I have discovered that sleeping in hoodies (yes, with the hood on) is SO cozy. Another thing for which I can blame my roommate. Caffeine, Auden, alcohol, Michael Nava, Six Feet Under, cilantro, sleeping in hoods... what will be next?

12. Since I am home in time to go to bed on time, I should really do so, huh? 'night.

Posted by Kat at 10:35 PM | Comments (3)

Ack ack ack ack ack

See? Told you I'd be panicking soon enough. Christmas is in 11 days. ELEVEN. How did that happen? How? I have several presents started, at least. The majority of them are some variation of "red scarf." I am sick of red. And scarves. And I've thought of several more people for whom I need gifts. And decided that no, if I'm knitting for my dad and brother, I need to knit for my mom too. Especially since she doesn't much like scarves. So. How about a new list?

Projects in Progress
1. Irish Hiking Scarf for Dad. Red. Maybe... 1/6 done? Ish? I haven't even looked at it in weeks.
2. Ribbed scarf for brother. Red. Several inches done.
3. Ribbed scarf for random semi-coworker. Red. About 1/3 done. (Yes, the project on which I have made the most progress is for the person I don't really know. Not that I sabotage myself or anything.)
4. Fun fur scarf for secret santa person. Pink. (Not quite red!) Several inches done.
5. Campus Scarf for roommate. Not red! About 10% done.

Now, you'd think I'd be able to say "enough already" and just concentrate on getting those things done. But, um, apparently not. I am taking 1/4 of a vacation day on Friday to get to the yarn store before it closes to get yarn for the following:

Projects I Have Not Even Started
1. Three pairs of mittlets. (Mom, aunt, other aunt.) None of them will be red.
4. Three scarves. (Cousin, other cousin, godmother/cousin.) Think big needles, novelty yarn, quick quick quick. Also not red.
7. A nosewarmer. Also for godmother/cousin, because she was complaining about her nose being cold the other day. And because it won't take very long, so I can have a feeling of accomplishment.

And, um, yeah, if you look at my creative numbering scheme up there, you will see that I have More. Projects. Than. Days. I just figured that out as I was typing it. And there's no chance I will finish anything today or tomorrow because I won't be home until midnight-ish either night. So. Um. Basically, I need to barricade myself in my apartment this weekend (except that I'm working Saturday 8:45-5) and drink lots of tea and watch lots of DVDs and knit. Oh, except if my roommate wants to go see Brokeback Mountain. That's worth leaving the apartment for. But otherwise... not so much, I'm thinking.

And, of course, I am stuck here at my desk and cannot knit. Torture. If I think about knitting enough, eventually something will start knitting itself, right?

Posted by Kat at 02:10 PM | Comments (1)

December 13, 2005

Don't worry, I'll be panicking soon.

I feel like I'm crawling out from under a rock. I've been MIA for a few days. First, I survived three days with my family with no Internet access (a temporary problem in their neighborhood) or cell phone service (a permanent one). And no knitting, due mostly to a large dog who likes yarn. A lot. Sooo... aaah. Aren't you proud of me for not yelling at anyone or even crying? I know I am.

And then yesterday I got back home and had to finish my final project for my class this semester. It. Is. Done. I mean, I'm not totally satisfied, of course, but it is done enough and I have e-mailed it to my professor so I'm not allowed to think about it anymore. Right? I finished it this morning while making Death by Chocolate for a coworker's birthday. It was sort of a nice combination. I'll have to remember the "assemble elaborate dessert while typing madly" trick for next time.

So... it's done. I have no homework. I barely know what to do with myself. Other than go to work in a few minutes. (I took a half vacation day for the aforementioned baking/typing festival.) And clean my house. And, you know, think about the Christmas knitting I've been ignoring. I need to reread the "It" chapter of Yarn Harlot. But... later. When I get home from work. I'm going to try to focus on the "relief" for a few hours before "panicpanicpanic12daysleftPANICalready" sets in.

Posted by Kat at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)

December 09, 2005

Random Friday

Because Friday's just a good day for randomness...

1. Snow! Lots of it! Yay!
2. Brokeback Mountain is out today but nowhere near here. Bah.
3. Visiting my family this weekend. Yay.
4. Don't ask about the Christmas knitting.
5. Don't ask about my final paper, either.
6. I've just discovered The Colbert Report. Wonderful!
7. Will any customers show up at the bookstore tonight in spite of the snow? Stay tuned...

Posted by Kat at 03:54 PM | Comments (1)

December 08, 2005

Indisputable Evidence

I've been making a good show of the "oh, there's plenty of time until Christmas" thing. But I can't do it anymore. Because look what has taken up residence in my living room?

Isn't it pretty?

Oh. What's that on the top, you ask? Well. I had no tree topper, and it was looking a little bare. Plus, it's COLD in my apartment. So what do you do when you have someone bareheaded and cold in your house? Think about it for a minute.

Yeah. I thought so. You knit it a hat. It's really only logical.

Posted by Kat at 08:15 PM | Comments (3)

December 07, 2005

Me me me me meme

I'm procrastinating, and Kat tagged everyone who read it, so...

10 Things you might not know about me:
1. I have broken my left arm and right leg.
2. I was born with congenital heart disease and have had a few open heart surgeries.
3. I am officially a high school dropout.
4. I like driving in snow, as long as there's not much of it.
5. I didn't try alcohol until I was almost 23. (Yes, that's how old I am now.)
6. I'm a virgin.
7. I started college as a physics major.
8. I used to play D&D and Magic: The Gathering.
9. I have several other blogs/online journals/etc.
10. I have recently become addicted to Tab.

9 Places I've visited:
1. Nicaragua
2. England
3. Italy
4. France
5. Vatican City
6. Malta
7. Monaco
8. Spain
9. Cornwall

8 Ways to win my heart:
1. Cook me dinner.
2. Let me cook for you.
3. Knit for me.
4. Ask me to knit for you.
5. Read me poetry.
6. Talk about literature.
7. Treat me like an intelligent adult.
8. Deal gracefully with my quirky family.

7 Things I want to do before I die:
1. Have a novel published.
2. Own a house.
3. Go to Ireland.
4. Get married.
5. Have children.
6. Finish a sweater.
7. Learn to speak another language fluently.

6 Things I am afraid of:
1. The dark
2. Falling
3. Loneliness
4. That no one really likes me
5. "Grown up" paperwork type stuff
6. People close to me disappearing

5 Things I don't like:
1. Fish (as a food. I like fish if they are swimming) <- I'll stay with Kat on this one.
2. Mean jokes or teasing
3. Bugs
4. Rude customers or coworkers
5. Ice on the roads

4 Ways to Turn me Off:
1. Refuse to take responsibility for your actions
2. Be rude (to me or anyone else)
3. Be totally self-centered
4. Make fun of people

3 Things I do every day:
1. Brush my teeth
2. Read
3. Talk to or e-mail my roommate

2 Things that make me happy:
1. Reading
2. Knitting

1 Thing on my mind right now:
1. My stupid paper

As Kat said, I'll tag whoever reads this, but especially Aisling, Erica, and Cate.

Posted by Kat at 03:01 PM | Comments (2)

December 06, 2005

November Reads

Sorry this is a few days late. Things have been crazy, and I've been either happy but too busy to write or sad and therefore not feeling like it. Anyway. The mini-reviews might be even more mini this time, but it's something, at least. Again, five books for the month, which is not that bad, I guess, considering that I also worked two jobs, went to class, wrote a novel, and knit Christmas presents.

(Explanation of the ratings)

How Town by Michael Nava
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4
Comments: The third in the Henry Rios series. Like the others, very good. This one gets into Henry's past and his psyche, which makes things interesting. There wasn't as much of Henry's lover Josh as I would have liked, but we did get to meet Henry's long-lost sister. As I've said before, I highly recommend the series in general.

When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan Kellerman
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 3.5
Comments: The first in the Alex Delaware series; I've read a few others, but I decided to go back and read the whole series in order. It's definitely a fast-paced, enjoyable read, and I'm looking forward to discovering how the characters evolve throughout the series. My one main problem with this book was in Kellerman's descriptions of people, especially women and gay men. I tried to remind myself that it was written twenty years ago and tried to just enjoy the story. It sort of worked.

Hidden Law by Michael Nava
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 3.8
Comments: The fourth in the Henry Rios series. I didn't like it quite as much as the others I've read, which is why it gets a slightly lower rating, but I'm not sure if I really didn't like it as much or if I'd just read too many Nava books in a short span of time. Or maybe my main problem with it was that not-very-nice things happened with Henry and Josh's relationship. (Trying to avoid blatant spoilers here.) Still, a good read, and I still love the series overall.

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 3.5
Comments: Pretty good. It's a very short book, and I somehow felt like it was too short in some places and dragging in others. Still, a fascinating picture of a very interesting mind. I did think Styron was rather flip about the effects that his depression had on those around him, especially his wife. My basic conclusion was that I'm not sure I'd like him much as a person, but I definitely want to read more of his books.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 5 (yes, FIVE)
Comments: Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I loved this book. Loved loved loved it. So much that I'm having a hard time being very coherent about it. But it's about love and loss, and life and death, and grief and art, and hey, it just won the National Book Award. It's not exactly the happiest read, but with that caveat, I can't recommend it highly enough, especially if you're going through the aftermath of any sort of loss in your life (not just death). I made my roommate read it and I'm giving it to my parents for their birthdays. Both of them. It's that good.

My reading goal for December is to finish some of the books that have been languishing partially read. Starting the month, I had a list of ten (and that was after taking off five that had gone back to the library or otherwise been abandoned). I'd really like to start the new year with a clean slate. Wish me luck. So far, I've finished one of the ten, am a few pages from finishing another... and am about to start something new. Ah well. As Cate keeps saying, two steps forward, one step back.

Posted by Kat at 08:16 PM | Comments (1)

December 04, 2005

Oh, is this what they call "life"?

I did not turn on my home computer at all yesterday.

I got up, went to work until five, came home, had dinner with my roommate (who had cooked and had very yummy pot roast waiting for me), helped him get started on a knitting project, and then went out with him and a bunch of other friends from the bookstore. And didn't get home until almost three a.m. Weird. But kind of nice, to, for once, not feel like all my friends are in the computer.

Posted by Kat at 06:17 PM | Comments (2)

December 02, 2005

The invisible divide

Isn't it weird when real life friends become online friends and vice versa? Yeah. I mean, I'm used to meeting people online and then meeting them in person. We all know how that goes. But what happens when an in person friend starts a blog?

Well, first you start finding about things in odd ways. Like you read that she's going to ask you something before she actually asks. I'm not, of course, suggesting that she shouldn't have written it... but perhaps it would have been easier to kill two birds with one stone and ask me directly in the blog.

And then this thing happened to me last night that I was going to blog about, but I looked over and Erica already had. You should read her post, because boy, is the holiday season at the bookstore fun. And to whet your appetite, my new favorite quote:

What a customer said to me last night:

"Hey, can I get, like, a library card for here? Is this a library? Nah, this ain't no fucking library."

I kid you not.

Posted by Kat at 03:30 PM | Comments (1)

December 01, 2005


If I hadn't already pretty much decided that I can no longer in good conscience consider myself a member of the Catholic Church, this would be the final straw. I'll give you a few highlights, in case you don't have time to read it.

First of all, the main point: "Even if they have never had a gay sexual experience and are fully committed to celibacy, homosexual men are not suitable candidates for the priesthood."

And in case anyone was unclear, here are some "warning signs" of potential homosexuality:

students who had trouble relating to their fathers; are uncomfortable with their own identity; tend to isolate themselves; have difficulty in discussing sexual questions; view pornography on the Internet; demonstrate a deep sense of guilt; or often see themselves as victims.

Here are some of the reasons given for why even celibate gay men make bad priests:

He said they tend to have few friends, to close themselves off from others in "a clan of persons of the same type," to resent the claims on their time made by parishioners, to encourage other gay men to enter the priesthood and to deal with authority predominantly as a matter of "seduction and rejection."

Umm, pardon? Who has he been talking to?

The article goes on to explain that candidates for priesthood must be mature in their masculine sexual identity and theoretically capable of being good spouses and fathers. It seems to be accepted without question that any man with "homosexual tendencies" could not possibly fill any of those criteria.

Really, who are the ones making statements with no social or moral value now?

EDITED to add: I just found the actual text of the Vatican document here, in case you were wondering about the thing itself.

Posted by Kat at 10:50 AM | Comments (2)

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