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Higglty-pigglty

So I’ve been doing forty-leventeen jillion things at once, it seems like (and not one of them involves cleaning the house). (Or rather, that’s not true. I cleaned the dog drool off the picture window. I think this must involve Grendel standing on the couch slobbering over the back, or something else equally disgusting.) Certainly none of them have involved blogging, at least according to Tamie, who has been complaining about the lack of new content. (It’s really her fault – if I hadn’t been forced to do a crossword puzzle at lunch I’m sure I would have finished up one of the many posts that are hanging around half-written.)

Let me give you a quick tour of my world:

Work. Meetings, writings, things for other people. Major intriguing statistical problems that I won’t bore you with but will make a really cool paper. (I can pretty much guarantee that you don’t care about the intriguing statistical problems, but just in case, this is the kind of thing I do at work when I’m not poking around in people’s pastures.)

Mixed in among that sort of thing I’ve been working on the online shop, though not as efficiently as I’d hoped. I have such large quantities of pretty dyed yarn, and as yet no outlet for it. This weekend, I swear. Unless Zen Cart and I suffer further disagreements, that is. I did a bit of dyeing for myself in among the production skeins. You’ll get a peek at that later this weekend.

I was having an email chat with a friend about random textile bits, and as often happens when I talk to her, I ended up ordering quite a large quantity of books from those evil people at Oxbow / David Brown Books. I think she must get a commission or something. Everything I wanted was on sale, so the damage wasn’t too severe. The box arrived on Wednesday, so I spent the evening sitting outside under the porch light with the books, pushing chocolate on small children in costume. Small quantities of chocolate may have also passed my lips, but none came anywhere near the books! The box contained Thor Ewing’s book on Viking Clothing, and Penelope Walton Rogers’ lovely book on Anglo-Saxon Clothing and Textiles (too lazy for links, will do it later). I was highly tempted to call in sick the next day so I could spend much, much more time with the Anglo-Saxon book. A third book found its way into my box simply because it was on sale so very cheaply and was about textiles. It’s a book on Norwegian coverlets, and turns out to be one of the better impulse purchases I’ve made, especially at the price. There are gorgeous pictures of these folk weavings, along with detailed instructions on how they are made. Someone who’s never woven couldn’t get along with just that book, but a more experienced weaver would have no trouble replicating the methods. There are also some photos of archaeological textiles that I hadn’t seen. Happy happy me!

I was poking around online, and discovered that the default settings for my blog software were to not be searchable by Google and its ilk. Not what I had in mind – I want this to be useful and accessible. At least when I’m not rambling on about who-knows-what. I promptly changed the settings, but checked back after a couple of days to see whether Google had picked up the feed. Not yet, but it was interesting to see the pages that reference me or my website. Hopefully I got the settings right, and the good bits of the blog will be showing up in searches sometime soon. I did learn that there’s a German heavy metal song about Phiala, though. Who knew?

It shouldn’t surprise you at all to hear that someone who reads as much as I do is also intrigued by the idea of writing novels. Well, November is National Novel Writing Month. The idea behind NaNoWriMo is that lots of people talk about writing novels, but few ever make time to do it. But anyone can do something for a month, right? So the originator chose a large but not impossible number of words – 50,000 – and set up a peer-pressure kind of system for encouraging people to write that many words of fiction during November. I’ve participated for the past 3 years, but only managed to write 50,000 words the first year. November is just a very hard month for me – I organize an annual textile symposium, am busy at work, usually travel for Thanksgiving, and so on. This year I’m also program chair for a national conference, and abstracts were due today, so I have quite a bit of additional work to do in November. But I really like the idea, and having some external motivation certainly helps pull fiction out of the morass of projects competing for my time and attention. Still, the word deadline tends to stress me out, and this year is already rough enough. I modified the goal. Instead of trying to frantically meet the daily word counts, or getting behind and striving unsuccessfully to catch up, my goal for this NaNoWriMo is to write a little bit every day. Even if it’s only a paragraph or two, whatever I find time for, consistent practice is the way to accomplish anything. So my novel may take more than a month. Slow is better than not at all, right? But I don’t think blog-writing counts.

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