Here’s the thing about Random Sundays: I have to be in a particular mood to write them, they’re kind of like stand-up with the smart mouth and the fast pacing, and I have not been in that mood for many weeks because of many different stresses. But yesterday, everything kind of came together and although I’m still up to my ass in alligators, I have a much better perspective. For one thing, I have remembered that while career, politics, health, and real estate are big things that can screw up my life, it’s the simple, everyday things that make that life worth living. So this is thank-god-for-small-pleasures Random Sunday, celebrating the little things that are the good parts, the coping parts, not the crying parts. There is no crying in Argh.
Part of my coping strategy is crochet. This month, it’s designing and writing patterns for my Sock Monkeys in Love collection for Project Yarnway on Ravelry. Here’s the design board: (I know they don’t look like sock monkeys anymore. I’m okay with that. They evolved past that.)
The only parts that are finished are the two hats on the right and the scarf with the big sock-monkey-head pockets on the ends that double as mittens (thumbs go in the ears), but I have a lot more pieces that are in progress. It’s amazing how much fun it is to work with a simple motif in so many different contexts. Next up: the Girly Skull Collection for Sweetness, the Evil Tween.
When Plants Vs. Zombies hit my iPad, I was stunned with admiration not only for the graphics, but for the incredible snark (a zombie in a Zomboni?) Then for Christmas I made Lani a PvZ scarf with the pattern from the lawn and appliques of the sunflower on the ends. Here’s the PvZ sunflower on the lawn . . .
. . . and here’s the first attempt at the scarf:
Sweetness, who usually goes to the dark side, loved it, but the lawn part is not right yet, too much contrast, and I think the ends need to be pockets with sunshine in them, so I’ll do a better version for her. And an OmNom scarf from Cut the Rope for Light as soon as I figure out how to construct the OmNoms so the mouths open.
We’re still debating the spiders (I’m for, she’s against), but the stars definitely go on. And of course, I must figure out an Angry Birds scarf. Designing this stuff kept me sane in December, so I see no reason not to keep going.
The Internation Quilt Festival is in Cincinnati this year, and we’re going. Krissie and Lani and I are beside ourselves with glee at the thought of piecing and beading and general stitching. And fabric. Really, fabric is second only to yarn on my list of small pleasures. Speaking of yarn, I ordered some with my Christmas money (thank you, Mom and Dad) during the Cherry Hill sale. How can you not buy yarn with names like Deathly Pallor, Lightning Scar, and Gilded Blade? Below, Deathly Pallor:
I’m going to make that into a scarf which Krissie will probably steal since a Deathly Pallor scarf is right down Anne Stuart’s alley. Where it will be mugged by a tall dark handsome stranger who will later have rough sex with it and then, helplessly lost in love, marry it.
Sweetness has invented a new character for one of her stories: Psycho Patty, the psychopath. I’m stealing it for a story that Peri, the ten-year-old in Lavender’s Blue, is writing but I’ve promised to give Sweetness full credit in the acknowledgements. And here. Then we went to Olive Garden for lunch and Sweetness who has decided to go for World Domination and spends all her day working on her evil plan, drew this:
That’s me in the locker. I’m her secret weapon. She’s going to put chocolate and yarn and dogs in the locker with me so I’ll stick around, and then whenever she needs muscle, she’s going to unleash Fake Aunt Jenny because, she says, we’re both evil so I will make a good henchman. I love being a role model. The “rematch, rematch, rematch!” along the side is because she wanted to play tic tac toe, so I played and beat her. Then she yelled, “Rematch!” so I played her again and beat her. So she yelled, “Rematch!” again, and I said, “Okay, best two out of three,” and she said, “Yeah!” and I beat her again. Sweetness has to work on her tic tac toe game. Also her math and spelling. But world domination and artistic ability? That she has in spades. That drawing really does look like her.
And then there are the dogs. Today, Lyle came in from outside covered with snow, burrowed under the covers of my bed, and threw up. (Why? Why? He was just outside, for Christ’s sake.) Then after I yelled and changed the sheets, he cuddled up to me, rested his narrow little head on my leg, and fell asleep, radiating heat like a long, skinny, furry, hot water bottle and looking like the canine version of chewed-string. So now I have clean sheets and a warm puppy.
See? Small pleasures.
Lani and Alastair bought me Sock Monkey footie pajamas. Bright red, one piece, not flattering but warm as all hell. I said, “The only thing that’s not good is that I have to get completely undressed to go to the bathroom and it’s COLD.” Light was sitting at the counter, chowing down; she nodded, wiped the pizza sauce off her mouth with the back of her hand, and said, “Been there.” It was one of those perfect moments when you look at a kid and all you can think is, “I love you, bunkie.”
I use dumb TV (Castle, Bones, Human Target) as a small pleasure to destress, and during the worst of the trauma, I tripped over Psych which is dumb TV at its finest. I’d seen a couple of episodes before and liked it okay, but it wasn’t until I started at the beginning on Hulu Plus and worked my way through five seasons that I saw how it evolved, how the characters grew, and how very very good some of the episodes are. There are also some bad ones, but hey it’s a series; that was true even of Buffy. There was one moment in particular that got to me as a romance writer. The protagonist, Shawn, is annoying as all hell because he covers up emotion with dumb jokes and dumber actions, but he’s also smart as all hell and there’s a good heart underneath that jerkish exterior, so he grows on you. And he’s slowly fallen in love with Juliet, a cop he works with, and I knew that sooner or later he’d make his move. Now traditionally, those long romance arcs are done so badly that I want to take an ax to the writers (I’m thinking of Moonlighting and Northern Exposure in particular) and since Psych has the dumb guy hero, I was really dreading that moment. And sure enough, in the tenth episode of season five, “Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part,” Shawn goes for The Moment. Only because he’s Shawn, he begins with stupid jokes about Lego People, and he’s already disappointed her, so Juliet says, “I really need to sort this out on my own right now,” and he nods and walks away to give her some space. And then he turns around and comes back and says, “Can I just say what I came here to say, please?” and she nods, tired, and he says this:
Shawn: I have a motorcycle.
Juliet: Yes. Yes, you do.
Shawn: And you know what? It is the purest form of freedom I have ever experienced. You zip through traffic, you park anywhere, you never have to take anyone to the airport, you certainly don’t have to help anyone move. Easily the best purchase I have ever made in my life. And I have never regretted it, not for one second.
Juliet: Great. You love your motorcycle. Is there a point to this?
Shawn: Yeah, there’s a point. The point is, since I met you, I . . . I’ve been thinking about getting a car.
And he kisses her while Elvis sings “Such a Night” in the background. It made my romance novelist heart so happy.
I’ve been thinking about my best friends, true and enduring pleasures, both of them. We know a lot about each other, not just because we talk a lot but also because we’ve written books together. And in one of those random conjunctions of two separate ideas, I thought about The List. You know, the names of the five people you’re allowed to sleep with even though you’re in a relationship. I was pretty sure I could dope out the first four on Lani’s list: John Cusack, Robert Downey, Jr; Colin Firth, and Jon Stewart (in alphabetical order since I’m fairly sure ranking changes depending on mood). The last one I took a wild guess: Stephen Colbert because she likes brains; wrong, it was John Krasinski. She got three of my five which is pretty damn good, and the two that weren’t on my list would absolutely be in my top ten (Jeffrey Donovan and Jon Stewart). I was pretty sure I knew two on Krissie’s: a Japanese rock star whose name I can never remember and Alan Rickman. After that I was guessing: Richard Armitage? Russell Crowe? James Marsters? Lani came up with Marsters, Rickman, and Reno from Final Fantasy for Krissie and then guessed Guy Pearce and Crowe. Krissie’s real five: “Gackt. Spike. Hawkeye. Captain Jack. Sheriff of Nottingham. Plus Mr. Rochester on the side.” Or as she puts it, “I’d rather f*** characters than actors.” Those characters translate to Gackt, the Japanese rock star, Marsters; Daniel Day Lewis; Johnny Depp; and Rickman, with Toby Stephens as an alternate. The fun thing about this, for me, was looking at the types: Lani’s are mostly smart-ass betas, and Krissie’s are mostly smart-ass alphas, and mine are mostly smart-ass outsiders. Yes, we share a taste for men who snark. Mine? Bruce Campbell, Vincent D’Onofrio, Damian Lewis, Ryan Reynolds, and Alan Rickman. Although I might bump Reynolds for James Roday after that Psych moment:
Sue me: I love a happy ending. Small pleasures, Argh People, small pleasures.