Thursday, September 29, 2005


Here's a term whose time may once again have come.

vampyrarchy: Derisive description from the 1820s for a parasitic group of politicians.

     --from Forgotten English Knowledge Cards by Jeffrey Kacirk.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Knitting News

Originally uploaded by Sharon Hurlbut.

I just finished knitting a groovy vest with tassles and beads for my daughter (sorry, no picture) and am getting ready to tackle a big project - a blanket and pillow set like the one above. I knitted this one over the summer. It was my first throw, my first experience with circular needles, and my first really big project. I'll be making one in dark green this time, for my brother, who is a huge Oregon Ducks fan.

I also have bags and bags full of Mission Falls 1824 cotton, which I've been stocking up on since they stopped producing at the beginning of the year. Sadly, Mission Falls is closing up shop entirely now, but you can still find some of the cotton at local yarn shops as well as the Mission Falls Warehouse on eBay. I have several projects planned for this wonderful yarn, which has a lovely soft texture, including a summer blanket and at least two tops for myself. While learning to knit, I have mostly focused on making things for my kids and other family members, but the Mission Falls cotton is all mine!

I'm also experimenting with stitch patterns these days, just playing around and having fun. Despite the fact that I have numerous books of patterns for dishcloths, scarves, and other goodies, I have an independent streak that insists I try and make up my own instead. I'll let you know how that goes.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The 100 Acre Personality Quiz

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

Truth Really is Stranger than Fiction

As a writer, I'd like to think I can come up with some interesting, creative, and fairly original ideas. Maybe even some funny ones on occasion. But you just can't make something like this up: Idaho weatherman quits to pursue hurricane-mafia theory.

From the article: "Stevens has claimed that the hurricane [Katrina] was caused by the Yakuza mob using a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to control the weather."

Now I know there's a short story in there somewhere. Make up your own, or check back and see what I come up with.

Update: Read Ecks Ridgehead's hurricane conspiracy story "Oil Be Back" at Tales from the Ridge.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Lone Pine on Sentinel Dome

No sentinels any longer
Originally uploaded by cortomaltese.

Lone Pine on Sentinel Dome

A                                        coiled rope
  tree                                like
     leans into wind,    on itself
             trunk curving

     straining to hear the melodies
         of other places:
            the weedy and salt
                   of oceans and deserts,
                      the chink, clatter,
               and clap of asphalt and steel,
                      the soft plink
                    of starlight
                  in a distant window.

              The wind pauses.
                The tree straightens
               and looks across valleys, past rivers
             to other mountaintops of rock
           more barren than its own.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Peacock

You can read my story "The Peacock" (under my pen-name Ann Walters) now on the fiction page at Cracked Lenses. While you're there, check out some of the other fine fiction, too.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Not What We Expected

Originally uploaded by Sharon Hurlbut.

Since it was the last weekend of summer, we went to the beach yesterday. We were there for a long weekend a few weeks ago and the girls had the best time ever. So yesterday we thought, let's grab our seashell buckets, hop in the car early, have breakfast on the way, and make it one last hurrah on the sand before Fall comes. It didn't quite work out that way.

Yes, the girls were excited. Eager even. Their buckets swung jauntily at their sides and we bought a brand-new field guide so we could identify all the things in the tidepools. But as we headed through the soft sand to the hardpacked layer by the water's edge, something happened. By some twist of the universe, the day turned, spinning instantly into fear instead of adventure.

Emma started screaming and crying that the waves were going to get her. This from a girl walking in loose, dry sand.

Then Kate stepped on a miniscule strand of dried seaweed and dissolved into tears, clinging to me like the most stubborn barnacle.

No amount of talking, reassuring, or explaining could relieve these irrational fears. For Emma's part, she's read a few too many science books and was certain a tsunami was going to spring on us at any moment and wash us away (thank goodness I never exposed her to any of the news about last December's horrific tsunami). Where Kate's fear of seaweed came from, I have no idea, though she was clearly feeding off Emma's emotions.

We didn't make it to the tidepools. We barely collected any seashells. Turning around almost the minute we got there, we stepped off the beach and into a few shops, then got back in the car and drove home. Emma got a book to read on the way, and Kate got a toy. They were as happy as could be. Dennis and I looked at each other and shrugged. It wasn't the day at the beach we had planned, but we were all together, and that was enough.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Quick Reading

Looking for a very good, very short story or two? Check out Quiction Online, a new website devoted to bringing readers four new flashes each week. Quiction is not an ezine. It's a project to familiarize people with flash fiction and a place where readers can go to enjoy some very short works. There's also an opportunity for feedback via email addresses linked to each writer's name.

This week, my own flash "Hands" (originally published at Salome) appears, along with stories by Theresa Cecilia Garcia, Barbara Jacksha, and Liesl Jobson.

Take five minute and do a little reading. You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Today was Emma's first day of school. She has been anxiously waiting for it for weeks, asking me every other day how much longer it would be. This morning, she brushed her teeth and got dressed more quickly than she ever has before. She was ready. I wasn't sure whether I was.

Emma is my oldest child. She's bright, funny, and energetic; a firecracker that keeps us all on our toes. She has been the center of my universe since the doctor performed an emergency c-section and pulled her from me five years and four months ago. We have been together every single day, and suddenly last week, as I handed her a lunch box and had her pretend she was eating in the cafeteria, it hit me. The three of us wouldn't be having lunch together every day anymore. Soon it would be just me and Kate, my two year old. When I mentioned this to Emma, she frowned just a little, then smiled hugely and said, "But we'll still have Saturday and Sunday!" I smiled back and agreed, pointing out that lunchtime will be a great opportunity for her to make new friends.

This morning, the school was swarming with kids and parents finding their way to classrooms and new teachers. The principal, who now knows Emma by sight, greeted us and walked Emma to her room. I was shocked by how much bigger the other kids were (Emma is skipping Kindergarten and starting right off in First Grade, plus she's kind of small for her age anyway), but Emma didn't seem to notice. She read name-cards and said hi to those around her, shook the hand of the teacher, and forgot I was even there. She had no trouble following the directions the teacher had written on the chalkboard and was soon seated at her place, her pristine school supplies piled neatly in front of her. While I clutched Kate on my hip among the swirl of children, adults, and teachers, trying to take it all in and grasp that this was THE moment, Emma settled in and began drawing on her name-card, decorating it in her own particular style.

I know I'm lucky to have a child who is secure and self-confident, but I'll admit it was a little tough to leave, saying good-bye with a wave that was barely acknowledged. Emma was much too busy examining the new world around her to dwell on the one she was leaving behind, so I hugged Kate close and followed Emma's example.

For the first time in her life, Kate had me all to herself.

For the first time in her life, Emma spent more than just a couple of hours in a school setting.

For the first time in my life, I let my child go, just a little bit.

Tomorrow, Emma rides the bus to school and back. It'll be another first. It won't be the last.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

My Heart Hurts

I flipped the TV off today.

Simply could not take
another minute
of the hopeless flood
that fills my soul
with each new scene

   hip-high water swirling brown and viscous
   past mothers tucking babies under arms,
   a wheelchair waiting empty at the water's edge,
   arms that wave into a silent sky,
   fear and desperation on the haunted faces
   of the hungry, the homeless, the unhelped.

Anger and outrage pelted
the screen from both sides
until my fury melted into despair.

I had to turn off the TV today.
I could not turn off my heart.

Please do whatever you can to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Please look around and appreciate what you have.
Please do one thing to improve and assist your own community.
Please stand up and change the world. We can do better.