The other day I was at the P.O. When I went to check my P.O. box it was stuffed with bookplate-requesting SASEs! They actually fell out of the box and onto the floor when I opened the little door. I laughed out loud with happiness. People!!! How cool are you! I love you. Thank you for making me feel so special, and for making this book time so wonderful. Thank you for all the sweet notes tucked into envelopes, the emails, the kind reviews on your blogs, the comments you've left on book-selling sites. I'm really so overwhelmed by your kindness. There are so many generous magazine articles and reviews and book excerpts out right now, too, and I will point you toward all of those as soon as I get them organized. Monday. I will also get a Flickr group going to share photos of projects. Today I am signing and sending out bookplates ASAP, under Violet's supervision. She's sitting on a pile of book postcards.
Our kitters, Violet Paulson, has been with us a long time. She's fourteen this fall. I got her in September of 1994, in Missoula, a few weeks after I'd moved there. Andy moved to Missoula a few weeks after I'd arrived and didn't know about the kitten. He likes to tell the story of how he arrived in Missoula, after driving straight through from Chicago, and found not me (because I was downtown buying a nightgown) but the teensy-tiniest tabby cat you ever did see, meowing up at him. I got her when she was about three weeks old — too early to be separated, but her living conditions were atrocious. So she came home with me, and sat on my shoulder, like a bird, for several weeks. I lived in a big house with some of my other ex-pat-Chicago girlfriends then, and between them they had four dogs, including Rue, a Rhodesian Ridgeback (bred to hunt lions), who sat outside the closed, kitten-containing bedroom all day and stared at the crack between the door and the jamb, hoping it would open. But little Violet eventually came out of the bedroom and held her own with all the dogs, finding places to hide between chair legs, good ambushing spots from behind plant stands. I think she loved all of the dogs, even Rue. One time, in that house in Missoula, long before we started actually letting her outside, I couldn't find her anywhere. I looked everywhere, every single nook and cranny, and I knew that all the doors and windows were shut. Except for the skylight in the bathroom, which was open. How she jumped through the open skylight in the ceiling (from the sink? It had to be the sink) I'll never know. She was so tiny. She fell off the roof and landed in a pile of rhubarb. When I found her, sitting under her rhubarb-leaf parasol like a wide-eyed and thoroughly rattled baby owl, her ears out sideways, she hissed at me like How could you let me do that? I apologized profusely, my heart pounding. And she hasn't been too far from one or the other of us ever since.
She's also helping me finish the runner. This is the ironing board. Where I was trimming the edges and just turned around for one second to go get the pin holder. One second is all she needs: V. jumps up, makes herself comfortable, notices the scissors and when I return she looks at me like How could you leave these big huge scissors here where I could get hurt?
At least she's not around for convos like this (as I slipstitch squares in bed while watching the Hallmark Channel when Andy walks in):
"Honey, I have some bad news. There's a #20 sharp somewhere in the bed."
"What's a #20 sharp?"
"It's a #20 sharp . . . needle."
And then, later that night, or two nights later, usually at about 3 a.m., while rounding the turn on a precious REM cycle:
"FOUND THE NEEDLE!"
"Cool! Thanks hun!"
" . . . Sure."
Yes, it's life on the edge here at Paulson Place.