various things

+ I made…3 shawls in the last couple weeks of September. I’ve completed one so far now and have started another one because I found a skein of yarn I forgot I had and it’ll be fun to see how far I get and compare it to the “Neapolitan Shawl” that I made a couple months previous (they’re the same brand so it’ll be neat to compare).

I’ve been sharing photos of it on Instagram.

+ I decided to do Inktober this year. I found 2 different prompts and decided to do both: the one from the Inktober website and one called 31 Witches. So far I’m keeping up with it–granted it’s only the 4th, but hey, that’s 8 sketches done!

I’d decided to do non-serious 2-minute sketches and see if I can just use pen/ink instead of my usual pencil-then-ink process. I’m posting them to the comic-blog that I started if you’d like to check them out. I’m having fun with it.

+ I found that there is a limit to how many times you can apply to Bath and Bodyworks, and that number is 5. I find it hilarious. (there’s a local B&BW that has a number of various positions open)

+ I started reading The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories By Women and…yeah. Totally not for me. (the title page has the “by women” part italicized and I found it hilarious). Skipped the first story (not a fan of Anne Rice), read the second one and went “WTF” and was about to skip the rest of it when it ended. Started on the 3 story and got a couple pages (via kindle) in and noped out of it and now I’m on story number 4, it’s about an established character that the author has and…I don’t know. I’m finding myself less and less interested in it.

I like vampire stories. I like different takes on the vampire (from rotting corpse to bored, non-sparkly “teenager” determined to find someone to spend eternity with), but I could really do without the descriptions of a vampire-like creature molesting a kid (yeah, that happens in story number 2). I have more enjoyment out of the half-thought paragraphs that show up on my tumblr dash involving vampires than this book.

+ Jamie threatened to get me a cat yesterday. A few short hours after Carrot, one of our youngest cats (one of 2. He and Beric are about the same age) decided he wanted to lick the bowl of waffle-mix from the night before and broke a plate and one of Uggs’ ceramic cat food dishes. This happened two days after I found that he’d cracked my glass pitcher and my “eat, drink, and be spooky” mason-jar glass.

I swear, that cat gets into everything.

I told Jamie we can’t have more cats because Carrot and Mewkis are like having 4 cats on top of the cats we already have. He agreed, saying that if he were to pick another cat, he’d end up with another one like them. He’s the one who picked Carrot (well, he picked the other orange kitten and we wound up with Carrot), he picked Mewkis, and he’s the one who picked Faustus. I got conned into adopting Beric (my foof-monster) and I’m the one who conned Jamie into letting me keep Snooch.

They’re a weird bunch of cats, but they’re ours. And, for the most part, they live pretty well together. Uggs isn’t thrilled by it, but now he’s been staying in the bedroom and likes it that way, even if all the other cats are up and the door’s open. He’ll stay in the bedroom and sleep the day away.

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We survived September

Now we need to survive October (and beyond)

The Saga of Car

Jamie was gifted a car, a little non-descript Kia (which we described to people as “the perfect serial killer car if it didn’t sound like Claptrap.”) the day that his truck had died. We’d ended up having problems with it ever since, replacing the battery and alternator twice, the belts at least four times, the water pump, and something else. We dumped a lot of money into this little car.

The car died a block and a half away from our house, on train tracks. Thankfully we had just enough inertia to roll to the side of the road, after the tracks, and annoy drivers/traffic for about 20 minutes until the tow truck could come. We had to call a tow truck because we couldn’t push it up the hill.

We were able to borrow Jamie’s mom’s car, it made a weird noise, and died in our driveway. Come to find out, the battery was 2 years overdue for a change. We walked to AutoZone, with the battery, and were stopped and given a ride by some really awesome people. Battery was completely dead, we bought the cheapest battery we could, and trekked back (and a guy insisted on taking us the rest of the way, it was super awesome). Replace the battery, it runs for a day, and dies again in the driveway (thankfully). Alternator’s dead, battery’s dead. The windows are half-rolled down and the next day it rains, of course (but! I was able to figure out a way so that none of the electrical stuff got ruined)

Jamie ends up having to ride the bus to work a couple of times and get rides home from his mom before his dad brings his step-sister’s car down so he can use it. The car works and we’re back in action. Woo!

Until last week.

Jamie left for work, in the step-sister’s car, and an hour later, I hear this loud thump-thump-thump on the back door. It’s Jamie. The car has died on the way to work, thankfully he was able to pull into a parking lot and the guy who owned the shop he pulled into helped him troubleshoot the car. It might be the pump, we’re not sure. So he walked home, started the Kia and the Kia worked. Woohoo. He had called work to say he was running late because of car troubles and gets to work an hour after he was supposed to be there.

When he gets off, he decides to not go on the interstate, but by the truck route. 30 minutes after he’s gotten off, I expect him to walk in the door any minute. 45 minutes, I figure he’s run into some traffic. An hour later and I’m wondering where the hell he’s at.

His phone had died and turned into a paperweight, so he had mine. My phone didn’t have any service on it because I had to wait a few days for payday to be able to buy a service card and the only way we could talk to each other was through wifi on the phone and FB messenger. Two hours later, he stomps into the house, saying he can’t stay and he’s only here for a change of clothes, toothbrush, and deodorant. He’s going to be staying at his mom’s place so he could get to work in a few short hours.

Jamie continues to tell me that the Kia died on the truck route and is in an abandoned parking lot. He had to walk from there to his mom’s house and he was pissed.

The next day, he gets a ride home from his mom and I’m texting our friend T to see when she gets off work and if she can run us to the step-sister’s car and put gas in it because I think it’s out of gas (the guage is messed up so it’s probable). She agrees and soon we find our way to the lot. Jamie puts gas in the car, it turns on, and we go to Sheetz (closest gas station). T and I are talking about various things and Jamie asks her to drive behind him just in case the car dies, she agrees.

We get the car to the house and she goes home. The next morning, we decide to do much-needed grocery shopping and the car works. We get up to the store, shop, put everything in the car and…it won’t start. Jamie’s frustrated, I’m frustrated, and I call a cab to go home. We got the non-huge items back into the buggie (all the meat/cold stuff and everything that wasn’t cat/dog food, toiletries, flour, and fabric softener).

We get home. Stuff happens.

The next day, Jamie wants me to ride the bus to work with him and I do. We’re standing at the stop and a guy slams on his breaks and waves to us to cross. I’m scrolling through my phone-turned-mp3-player (it’s an old Verizon phone) and Jamie’s texting a friend of ours on my phone. The guy behind the car goes around him and the car tries to hit him and then starts screaming obscenities at the truck, screaming that he was trying to be nice and whatnot.

We get to the stop we need and go off shopping for a handful of things that I can shove into my backpack and a canvas bag so I can ride the bus back home. Jamie finds a phone he can use and he goes off to work while I finish shopping. stuff happened.

A few short days later, Jamie had the day off so we got a cab ride to the Honda place on Peters Creek. We weren’t able to get a car there, so we started walking up the street to the First Team. We ran into our buddy Matt, which is fucking awesome and a random occurence. He offered us a ride for the rest of the way, because he was waiting for his testing time to start, and telling us that he’s being shipped to South Korea at the beginning of the year. He dropped us off and we agreed to have dinner with him one night before he leaves and goes to the next base he’s been assigned to for a few months.

We end up not being able to get a car at the First Team place. I call a cab to pick us up and have been told it’ll be 35-45 minutes. We go across the street, where I asked them to pick us up at, to wait, and waited an hour and a half. No one showed up. We walked across the next street to the Kroger so I could use the restroom and we could get some bottled water. Jamie’s super irritated by now, but he’s found a small used car place about a 10-minute away from where we were.

He calls a cab (a different company) to come pick us up and we wait outside. Cab picks us up and the driver is like “are you sure it’s up here?” and 2 minutes later, there it was. He dropped us off and Jamie is determined to get a car, saying we are not leaving until he gets a car.

We walk around the dusty lot (it’s this little lot in Botetourt that’s all gravel, of course it’s going to be a little dusty) and Jamie finds the two cars he saw on the website. We go to talk with the guy and he tells us that the first choice, a little ’95 jeep, is not for sale because there’s something wrong with the engine. Ok, that’s cool.

He gives the keys to the little Nissan that Jamie saw and just says if Jamie’s interested in driving it, just drive it up to the door. I gave the guy Jamie’s license so he could make a copy of it and soon Jamie comes walking in. The power seating is dead in the little Nissan and Jamie can’t reach the steering wheel.

The guy tells us that there’s nothing he can do about that and to walk around again and see if there’s anything else we’re interested in.

Eventually, we found 3 more potential cars and come back to the guy. Jamie’s first choice is the keys that the guy hands us, so we walked to the car and Jamie sets the alarm off. (of course the one car that isn’t locked that we’ve looked at has an alarm on it). He gets the car unlocked and can’t get the alarm to stop for a few long seconds (it felt like 5 minutes but was probably 30 seconds). We get in, drive up to the door, and Jamie’s like fuck it, I’m getting this car.

He fills out the paperwork, calls the bank to approve the amount, and we drive home with the car. The next morning, we go up to his dad’s house and his dad checks out the car, admiring the honesty of the guy who sold us the car and the fact that they didn’t try to hide anything. There’s a patch of rust on one of the back doors, little aesthetic things that can easily be fixed. But, it’s a good car and so far has worked.

After we got back into town (it survived the trip of Roanoke to Dublin and back, a huge plus), we went to the store where his step-sister’s car is and got everything out of the car that we needed and got home. Jamie’s dad thinks that it’s a pressure thing going on with one of the caps in the car and that’s probably why it’s acting up. He said he’ll be able to look into it when he recovers from feeling like shit from being sick.

This was September.

small victory

Bear Hat finished! Woohoo

A post shared by Amanda Lovecraft (@alovecraft) on

As you can see, I finished Jamie’s Bear Hat. I like how it came out and I know he’ll wear it when it starts to get colder than it is now (because cold rain at upper-50s is still “too hot”)

So yay, at least one thing done.

I’m 36 rows into the latest shawl (which means I’ve got 264 more rows to go. boo), so I’m hoping I can get a bit more of it done today. I don’t expect to get a whole lot of rows in, but one or two would be nice.

The 2017 Inktober Prompt List showed up in my tumblr feed last night, so I wrote down the prompts so I can start working on some ideas. So far, I’ve jotted down ideas for 19 of the 31 prompts. The downside is, they’re not in order. They’re just the ideas that have come around while I look at the words. I’m still hoping to use them as part of the comic stuff, but as a “hey, here’s a not-so-clean ink sketch of an idea I had” because I’m not taking this thing seriously.

I’ve added a handful of words to the story I’m working on and…ugh. I just want it to be over so I can work on something else for a little while. I’m near the end, so stopping and working on a different idea just makes me think that I’ll leave it and never come back to it.

Groovin’ along

I’ve gotten 590 words in today so far. Woo, go me.

omg I want to be done with this story. I am at 6983 words. I am ready for my last-minute throw-in character to be eradicated and another character pulled away at the last minute, but dude. I’m stuck 10.5 ft away from salvation. A page and a half is what I’ve gotten done through and my narrator has made one large step to freedom. Now they’re approximately 8 ft from the doorway and I’m at the point where I can’t tell if I’m just being a wordy bastard or what.

I’m hoping that soon I’ll be done with the first draft. I asked Jamie if he’d skim through it to see if at least it flows well enough before I go and work on edits for it because I like the idea for this story (but omg why is this part taking so long).

An old idea I had years ago is poking my brain with “what happens next” so hopefully I’ll finish this one and go piddle around with that one.

I talked with Jamie about doing Inktober this year and he thought it was a cool idea. I thought it’d be a fun idea since I’m finally working through the comic and posting it on tumblr. I figured I could do a sketch, take a pic with my phone, and post it to the tumblr blog and probably even instagram and see what happens. Never know.

I found some con panels that talk about how to pitch to an agent and how to send query letters. I’m using them as background noise while I write and not really paying all that much attention to what they’re talking about. A few things pop up every once in a while and it’s pretty funny.

On the other side of the creative spectrum, I have made it through a grand total of 4 rows on this damned shawl.

It’s hard to work on the loom with a very determined cat who wants your lap and does not want to move for anything.

I ended up looking at some of my stash earlier this morning and realized I’ve got 3 skeins of this weird rainbowy yarn, that I re-rolled because the skeins were being a pain and I’m kind of a nut anyway, and thought that it’d look fun as a shawl. wtf, manders.

Dogs don’t like my music

As a fan of music of varying types, from centuries long-past to things released within the past couple years, I’ve found that I typically land on the same upbeat music over and over again when I want to listen to something while I clean.

Typically, this usually involves an array of 90s (pop, ska, punk, house/acid) and the dogs are displeased.

Firefly is pretty aloof about the whole thing, just as long as she gets to curl up on the couch. Bug seems to like pop more than the others, Hobbes just gives me his sad/confused-dog stare, and Cricket seems to think that it’s the perfect time to jump on people or go see Jamie.

I have noticed, however, that all of them hate Jamiroquai. Which sucks for them.

Hobbes is more of a fan of Alt/Rock and metal (seriously, cut on Volbeat or some old school Cradle of Filth and he is all about that). And they all like Voltaire.

Yesterday while cleaning the living room, Jamie cut on Spotify through the PS4 for me (because I couldn’t find it) and I found that none of the dogs like the Spin Doctors. What the hell, dogs.

Sigh, oh well I guess. Now this just means there are 5 people in the house that I can annoy with my atrocious tastes in music. Jamie’s pretty used to it (he should be after all the time we’ve known each other), but now he’s got a pair of AfterShockz headphone thingies so he can listen to podcasts while I continue to be a dork.

adventures in craft shopping

(I went to go write this onto tumblr and realized that it was really long, so I deleted it and decided to write about it here)

Jamie and I went to a local craft store the other day. Our area has a handful of craft stores and, hell, even some of the local Walmarts have a decent craft section (not as amazing as they used to be back in the day, but working their way back to it). This particular one I wanted to go to because they have a better fabric section.

Jamie and I went wandering through some aisles, wandered through beads and papercraft sections, the woodworky things and the kidstuff. I found a kid’s dress and pointed out that a) Cricket would look super adorable in it and 2) I could probably make one myself. Jamie agreed on both things (it was one of the dress-up dresses. sequins and tulle. I don’t do sequins as a craft because of childhood and the constant dealing with sequins)

Jamie found a couple things that he wanted to try/play around with, so he grabbed those. I found some yarn on sale that was really pretty and really tempting. But, I reminded myself that I have no room for more yarn and while the stripe-gradient thing was really cool, I have no idea what I’d make with those. I have a skein of one of those stripe-gradient yarns and I haven’t messed with it. I have a plan for it, yes, but I’m not sure how it’ll go. And, I was mainly here for fabric.

Like I said, this particular craft store has a better fabric section. So, off to fabric we went, circumventing the yarn area. We found some fun print fabric that would be cool to use, some glow-in-the-dark fabric that was more expensive than I’m currently willing to pay (I have small projects and I’m cheap. cheap also means more various fabrics)

I’ve been looking, off and on, for a specific fabric for a few years:: white with red polka dots. I’ve found white with pink-and-red or pink-and-purple polka dots, I’ve found white with green-and-blue polka dots, and I’ve found red with white polka dots. White with red polka dots is hard. I had figured I’d have to use red felt, red fabric, or even a red fabric sharpie (which I have all three), but, just in case, I’d like to look.

I found white organza with red polka dots. Score. I can work with the see-through fabric, I have white fabric at home. So I go to the counter to get it cut.

sigh.

I am ignored by the woman at the counter, who has seen me walk up, and continues working on folding fabric in front of her. Ok, cool, finish up what you’re doing (the retail monkey in me is screaming “acknowledge your customers!”) and I can wait patiently. I work retail, I’m not going to be a dick. I was also raised to be polite and wait patiently despite my grandmother’s best efforts otherwise.

Another woman comes up and another customer just dumps all this fabric onto the counter, joking about finding more stuff (a woman after my own heart. more power to you lady). The employee asks if she has her ticket and calls out a number.

There’s a ticket system? Since when?

There’s no notation to “take a ticket” or “please have numbered ticket ready” or anything like that. The woman who has steadfastly ignored me demands to know if  I have a ticket. I told her: I’m sorry, I didn’t know I needed one. So she calls out another number.

Are you fucking kidding me.

A woman who has grabbed a ticket from a pull-out machine that I had no idea was there because it blends in with the surrounding area hands me her ticket. I told her I could wait, no worries. She insisted I take her ticket and she grabs another. She was super cool and I thanked her and said “Shows how often I’m here, doesn’t it.” and we chuckled a bit.

The woman who has ignored me and gotten mad at me about this whole ticket thing calls out the number and I smile and ask for half a yard please. She unrolls it and I can see where someone just eyeballed it and cut it haphazardly. She measures half a yard, does a cut, and then uses the handy-dandy little pre-made cut area in the counter to cut the fabric. She doesn’t smooth it or even seems to care when it bunches up.

I don’t care, I want my little bit of fabric so I can get out of here. It’ll be enough for what I need.

Without looking at me, she tells me that this fabric is non-refundable.

Really? Really. It’s fabric. It’s cut fabric. Why would I want to return it anyway? I tell her that’s fine, take my ticket and half-assed folded little peice of fabric, and walk away.

We walk away far enough and Jamie can see that I’m a little mad at the whole encounter. I point out that I’m glad I didn’t have a lot of fabrics I wanted cut and that I’m not going to come back for fabric, I’ll just shop online or something. (which sucks because I prefer physical contact with the fabric I want. I want to see it and feel it before I make a decision).

We go up to stand in line and the woman in front of us insists we go ahead of her because she “has so many things” and we have one or two (we had like five but they fit in the palm of Jamie’s hand). The teeny tiny girl in her early 20s was there ringing people out. She’s super nice and even if I look at her name tag I can never remember her name. She always has a smile on her face and is always wonderful. I like her.

We had a better experience with the cashier and the couple of fellow customers than we did when dealing with the fabric people.

As we were halfway across the parking lot, I told Jamie: the longer I work in retail, the more I fucking hate people. Jamie told me it’s because I have higher standards because I work in a retail environment and have higher expectations.

I looked down at the fabric in my hand as I sat down in the car and saw that the red polka dots that I saw in the store are bright neon pink.

Jamie told me it was ok and I told him I can easily fix that. Hey, I’ve got fabric markers, I can do it.

 

Yarn hoarder

Jamie and I are working on re-arranging and “cleaning” the craft room.

Part of re-arranging the craft room was to take out the cat food and cat litter totes out of the closet and put them in the pantry, which meant that while I was sweeping and moving stuff around, Jamie had to pull out the little wooden shelf-thing from the pantry. It works out because now I have the wooden shelf-thing in the craft room and it is…stuffed with notebooks.

Jamie bought this reinforced basket hangy thing to put in the closet and shoved about a tote’s worth of yarn into the sections, and then realized I have way more yarn than that. So I have 3 totes of yarn in the basement, 1 tote of yarn (and hooks, needles, etc) in the bedroom, and I found skeins of yarn shoved up in other places (whoops).

Hi, I’m Manders and I have a problem. I have a lot of yarn.

I also have a lot of notebooks.

I’m not done with the craft room just yet. I have a few more things to do, rearranging things and putting supplies where I want them, and probably annoying the cats by moving them around when they’re in my way. Beric has learned that where I’ve put one of the shelves is the best place to catch some sun.

The end goal is to take the craft room back from the cats for the short amount of time that I can take it from the cats before we bring in the grow-lights and shelves for the indoor-growing portion of gardening.