Monday, December 31, 2012

December Reading List - 250 for 2012!

Books Read in December

232 - 01  Cruel and Unusual, by Patricia Cornwell (12/1)
233 - 02  Montana Creeds:  Dylan, by Linda Lael Miller (12/2)
234 - 03  Princess Charming, by Nicole Jordan (12/2)
235 - 04  Devil's Embrace, by Cathine Coulter (12/3)
236 - 05  The Body Farm, by Patricia Cornwell (12/9)
237 - 06  Deep in the Valley, by Robyn Carr (12/9)
238 - 07  Just Over the Mountains, by Robyn Carr (12/9)
239 - 08  Love, Aubrey, by Suzanne LaFleur (12/9)
I cried all the way through this book. It's only a children's book, but well-worth reading. Aubrey is only 11 years old when her family is tragically torn apart by an accident. Left alone to cope, her grandmother finally steps in and helps her deal with life. The book pushes every tear-duct button imaginable.
240 - 09  Turtle in Paradise, by Jennifer L. Holm (12/10)
241 - 10  Size 12 and Ready to Rock, by Meg Cabot (12/12)
I read the first books in the series because I liked the in-your-face attitude that the heroine doesn't have to be thin. In this book, the newly-engaged heroine once again solves the murder mystery, despite the handicap of being (gasp!) a size 12. Since when was a size 12 considered overweight? It seems that the happier the heroine gets, the skinnier she becomes -- as if there exists an undeniable correlation between the two. I'm so disappointed in the author.
242 - 11  Home from the Sea, by Mercedes Lackey (12/14)
I loved  this book. I wasn't sure I was going to in the beginning. But the story soon had me in it's grip, in true Mercedes Lackey tradition. After all, who can resist real life mermaids (or selkies).
243 -12  Rizzoli & Isles: Last to Die, by Tess Gerritsen (12/15)
244 - 13  Notorious Nineteen, by Janet Evanovich (12/18)
245 - 14  Shada, by Douglas Adams and Gareth Roberts (12/19)

I actually gave up and abandoned a book this month. I almost never do that -- as you probably can tell by some of the really junk novels on my reading list each month. It's funny, because I don't have a problem abandoning most other things (routines, resolutions, knitting projects). Although, to be fair, I always swear that I'm going back to whatever and that the abandonment is only temporary. But books are different. Just because they're horrible, have no plot, no redeeming social value, and the dialogue is ridiculous is no reason not to find out the ending. I've gone so far as to skip ahead and read the ending (or I did when I was reading "real" books; it's too difficult to do that with an ebook) of a horrible book in the hopes of being able to put it down. That seldom works, though. I still go back and read the entire book. In fact, most of the time I find that the more horrible the book is, the less willing I am to put it down. It's a matter of wanting the misery to end sooner. Good books can be savored, set down and contemplated for a bit before going on to the next chapter because I don't want them to end. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, I know. But that's the way I am.

Anyway, I actually gave up on a book. I stopped about halfway through, and returned it to the library. It wasn't even the worse book I've ever read. And it had flashes of greatness, in the commentary on a hippy-commune society. (Although I was just an infant and can barely remember that time in history, but I fondly cling to the belief that I should remember it all.) The book I gave up on was Arcadia, by Lauren Goff. If you've read it, let me know whether or not I should give it a second try.

246 - 15  The Case of the Missing Secretary, by Diane Palmer (12/22)
 I probably should have given up on this book instead of Arcadia... 
247 - 16  Changing Habits, by Debbie Macomber (12/23)
248 - 17  Devil's Daughter, by Catherine Coulter (12/25)
249 - 18  The Family Fang, by Kevin Wilson (12/29)
250 - 19  Sheltering Hearts, by Robyn Carr (12/29)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Today was a good day for dressing up a bit

My Friday volunteer is on vacation, so I got to dress the altar.  I don't think I did a bad job, considering the pathetic choices I had for flowers. It was even kind of fun.

For Christmas, Mom gave me a headband that she knit. It was so cute, with an adorable bow that I'm much too old to wear but couldn't resist. I liked it so much that I decided to knit myself a couple more. This one was started Wednesday, and finished Thursday at Knit Night using the Anthropomorphic pattern and Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn. I love the way it turned out. It's a bit wider than I prefer, but it's very comfortable. I'm thinking about trying it using fingering weight yarn in order to make a narrower band.

I did have one complaint with the pattern. It clearly explains that it was designed as a copy of a headband seen in a popular store. In other words, the designer reverse-engineered someone else's design to write her pattern. Actually that's not my complaint, especially since it's a free pattern. What I disagree with is that the pattern goes on to state that you can't copy or distribute the pattern -- even though it's free! -- and you can't make the headband to sell or in any way earn money for it without the permission of the pattern's author. I guess from now on I'm going to have to do my own reverse-engineering when I see a design I like.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas-is-over!

I never did find my Christmas spirit this year. I did finally manage to get up enough energy to put my tree up late Christmas eve. For someone who eagerly waited for the first sign of Christmas in the retail stores in order to justify pulling out my decorations early, waiting until the night before was pretty bad. I just didn't feel like Christmas this year.

At least it's over now.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A season of chaos

To be able to function properly, I need order and organization. I really can't cope well with chaos. So naturally, life managed to arrange itself so that construction on our volunteer office started this week. We had to move everything from the volunteer office into my office, with just one hour notice. Yep. It's a mess. And none of us (the volunteer or I) have any idea where anything is. Naturally this is the week that I have three bulletins and a monthly newsletter to produce. And our bulletins aren't some tiny affair. No, I'm expected to include the full service for people to read along with (since the pastor changes things each week, it could be confusing without a program to follow), the prayer list, the announcements for all of the scheduled activities, as well as any other important notices for the congregation. Typically the bulletin is a 12 to 16 page booklet. Our newsletters can run 16 to 24 pages, not counting the photo pages. The stress and the mess have turned me cranky. (There would be a better term for it if I worked someplace other than a church.)

It's rather ironic that working in a church has caused me to lose the Christmas spirit.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I'm just there to look pretty and smile

The Voices in Bronze (my bell choir) had two performances this past week. The first was a church service, which was pretty awesome. Even though I messed up on the last song and ended up standing there, smiling like an idiot (because you always keep a smile on your face on stage - or altar as the case was) while inwardly hoping that nobody was noticing that I wasn't actually ringing any of my bells. I couldn't, since I got completely lost and didn't figure out what measure we were in until the very ending. Sigh. At least I did well in the first three songs. I also rocked the early morning rehearsal, although that probably doesn't count for anything.

Last night we went to a state nursing home. It was so much fun! I did great, the choir did wonderful, and our audience really seemed to enjoy the show. Well, there was the one lady who fell asleep in the middle of it, but everyone else stayed awake. And two people actually clapped. There was even one person who sang along!

After the concert, the choir served punch and cookies (sugar-free) to the residents. I got to hand out jingle-bell necklaces as thank you gifts to our audience. I've really missed my students, and getting to interact with the nursing home residents was wonderful. There was one blind guy (he's the one who sang along to the show), and when I gave him his necklace I asked him how he liked my playing. "I don't know, which one were you?" he asked. I told him that I was the pretty one up there, and that I could say that since he couldn't see to know if was lying. So the woman sitting next to him started shouting, "She's lying! She's lying!" But he was wonderful, insisting that he could tell I was beautiful. We all ended up laughing, with me threatening to steal back the woman's gift and the two of them paying me extravagant compliments in an effort to get a second necklace.

Sue, our director, taped both performances. Hopefully I can get a copy of at least one of the shows to share.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Knit faster, she's naked!

Because of a staff meeting, I was still at the church when the choir started arriving for their weekly rehearsal. As I was gathering up my things to leave, the organist came into my office with a very odd expression on his face.

"There's a naked person in the sanctuary," he told me, clearly expecting me to do something about it. It took me a minute to process the sentence. After all, you don't expect naked people to wander into church. And if they do, shouldn't the pastor be the one to reach out to them? I really don't think nudists were covered in my job description. But obviously, something had to be done so that the choir could concentrate on their music.

From the back of the dimly lit sanctuary, I saw the naked woman sitting in one of the pews in the front of the church. As I went down the aisle toward her, I recognized her as a faithful member of the church. I also, thankfully, realized that she wasn't naked. The back of the pew had hidden her tube top from view, leaving her bare shoulders and back to give the impression of nudity. I imagine the organist, waiting in the back of the church, got a bit of shock when I slid into the pew to give her a hug instead of covering her up with with the shawl as planned.

Away from work, I've been spending a lot of time tatting. I am totally obsessed with the fun of flipping shuttles around to make rings and chains. I finished the second bookmark, using the spiral bookmark pattern I found on Threads of a Tatting Goddess blog. I clearly need more practice; there are a lot of sections that didn't turn out very well. But even with all the mistakes, I'm very impressed with myself.

I also found a pattern for a tatted bookmark using a jumbo paperclip, and for the past few days I've been obsessively making rose clips in various colors. I even got adventurous enough to try adding beads!

But don't worry, I haven't given up my sock knitting. I'm halfway through a pair of Cookie A's Crest socks using Knit Picks' Stroll in Dandelion. This has to be one of the most difficult patterns I've ever attempted to read. It's also one of the best designs I've ever had the pleasure to knit. I love Cookie A!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

November Reading List

Books Read in November

218 - 01  A Place Called Home, by Jo Goodman (11/2)
219 - 02  Lily of the Day, by Joyce Burgess (11/4)
220 - 03  Summer Nights, by Susan Mallory (11/5)
221 - 04  Defense for the Devil, by Kate Wilhelm (11/7) AUDIOBOOK
222 - 05  Redoubt, by Mercedes Lackey (11/7)  *I was so excited to see that the fourth book in the Collegian Chronicles series was out. It was such a disappointment. The first half of the book was wonderful. The second half ruined it for me. Of all the Valdemar books, this is the first one that wasn't complete; it felt like it was just a link between the third and future-fifth book of the series. 
223 - 06  Trading Christmas, by Debbie Macomber (11/8)
224 - 07   Montana Creeds: Tyler, by Linda Lael Miller (11/10)
225 - 08  Finding Perfect, by Susan Mallory (11/10)
226 - 09  The Cinderella Deal, by Jennifer Cruise (11/10)
227 - 10  All Summer Long, by Susan Mallory (11/11)
228 - 11  Christmas Eve Baby, by Caroline Anderson (11/12)  *just a time waster
229 - 12  Postmortem, by Patricia Cornwell (11/15)
230 - 13  Body of Evidence, by Patricia Cornwell (11/22)
231 - 14  All That Remains, by Patricia Cornwell (11/30)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

And the chorus, one more time!

All afternoon and evening I've had a song stuck in my head. It's really bad when that happens. It's even worse when the song is really bad.

This morning, after cleaning the cat litter box, I put the trash in the rear hatch of my car, intending to drop it off at the dumpster on my way out of the complex. Unfortunately, something must have distracted me because I didn't make the stop. I didn't realize it until after work, when I got into my car to run errands. I blame the toxic fumes for encouraging that stupid song to repeat over and over in my head. The song? "He's a Garbage Man," a (mercifully) short-lived favorite family ditty.

For some strange reason, my children had very odd career goals when they were little. My youngest wanted to grow up to be a cow. My son's dream was to be a garbage man. Since I was a very good mother who loved (and loves) her children dearly, I supported his ambition by allowing him to take out the trash everyday and by encouraging him to study personal hygiene methodology that would help him get along in the real world should his dream come true. Why, I even went the extra mile and made up a special theme song to show him how wonderful his life could be. His sisters took great delight in singing this song to him over and over again -- which I'm sure had nothing to do with his announcement that instead of a garbage man he wanted to be a policeman with a gun.

He's a Garbage Man
(sung to the tune of Frere Jacques*)

He's a garbage man, a very happy garbage man.
He's a garbage man, and he loves his job.
He can ride the great big truck,
And he makes a great big clang when he bangs the garbage cans.
He's a garbage man, a very happy garbage man.
He's a garbage man, and he loves his job.

*I know that the meter is somewhat forced. Okay, it's outright tortured. And the rhymes are horrible. But the intended audience loved it. At least for the first fifty times, anyway...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This and tatt

tatting (verb) the process of tangling and untangling thread obsessively while trying to look as if one is intentionally forming knots into lace.

Two weeks ago my friend Carolyn offered to show me how to tatt. She had taken a class at SAFF, and was justifiably proud of her new skill. The bookmark she had made was beautiful, so tiny and delicate. Of course I took her up on her offer to see how it was done. Since Carolyn is a card-carrying enabler, she not only showed me how it was done, she loaned me a shuttle and spool of thread so that I could give it a try on my own.

The next 24 hours was spent obsessively making knots, watching tatting videos, and researching pattern sites online. By the time I finished my first bookmark, I was completely entangled in a new obsession. Then I figured out I could justify the new hobby by making Christmas gifts, an idea made easier once I learned that tatting supplies were as close as a trip to mom's. 

So for any of my family or friends who were hoping for knitted socks or woven towels this year, you can thank Carolyn for the bookmarks!

My first tatted bookmark

Monday, November 26, 2012

Whispered in the sounds of silence

I had some time after work today and rather than go home and risk being distracted, I decided to take my music binder to Starbucks to practice bells. Unlike most other instruments, you don't get to bring your bells home with you to practice. Instead, you have to rely on reading through the music and work out counting  your part in your mind. If you want to build muscle memory, you can wave around a couple of pens in place of the bells.

So I sat for two hours at Starbucks, where I drank too many espresso-based drinks -- because the extra caffeine in espresso sounded like such a good idea at the time -- and vigorously waved around my pens and markers to music heard only in my head. I managed to snag a nice-sized area to myself, despite the otherwise crowded location. To be honest, I think I scared everyone away, since I heard one little girl cry, "No, mommy, I don't want to sit by her. Let's just go home, please mommy!"

But the practice paid off. I managed to keep up with the bell choir for a change, with only a few obvious mis-rings. Last season, I did really well in the Boca bell choir. In fact, I was proud to call myself one of the best ringers in the choir. Looking back, the pride was probably misplaced. There were only two people in the bells last year who had rung before. All of the rest of us were new ding-a-lings without a clue of what we were doing. I had the advantage of actually reading music and knowing enough to keep smiling even when you made a mistake. (You would think that music majors, in their senior year of college, would have learned not to say "opps, sh*t" during a performance, especially during a church service. But apparently not.) This year, after waiting several months for the bell choir to start up again, I decided to join the bells at my church. I confidently told the choir director that yes, I was an experienced ringer. She wisely put me in a beginner's chair anyway. Which was really good, since this bell choir really rings out the sanctuary! As a beginner, I only have four bells and four chimes. The more experienced ringers have four bells in hand, which calls for some mighty fancy wrist work. Just imagine what the barristas at Starbucks would have thought of me flinging around that many pens!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The long-awaited October Reading List

Books Read in October

190 - 01  Heart of Texas Vol. 3, by Debbie Macomber (10/1)
191 - 02  Sugar Rush, by Donna Kauffman (10/5)
192 - 03  Public Secrets, by Nora Roberts (10/7)
193 - 04  Country Brides, by Debbie Macomber (10/8)
194 - 05  Secret Fantasy, by Carly Phillips (10/10)
195 - 06  Death Angel, by Linda Howard (10/12)
196 - 07  Shelter Mountain,  by Robyn Carr (10/13)
197 - 08  Redwood Bend, by Robyn Carr (10/13)
198 - 09  Malice Prepense, by Kate Wilhelm (10/13)  AUDIOBOOK
199 - 10  Only Mine, by Susan Mallery (10/14)
200 - 11  Crystal Gardens,  by Amanda Quick (10/15)
201 - 12  Black and Blue,  by Anna Quindlen (10/17)
202 - 13  A Creed in Stone Creek, by  Linda Lael Miller (10/18)
203 - 14  Sunrise Point, by Robyn Carr (10/18)
204 - 15  Second Chance Pass, by Robyn Carr (10/19)
205 - 16 Birthright, by Nora Roberts (10/21)
206 - 17  Hot Item, by Carly Phillips (10/21)  *I'm not sure why I bothered reading past the first page. It just kep tgetting worse and worse..
207 - 18  A Virgin River Christmas, by Robyn Carr (10/21)
208 - 19  Angel's Peak, by Robyn Carr (10/22)
209 - 20  Sizzle and Burn, by Jayne Ann Krentz (10/23)  *This was a Re-Read. I can't help it. I love all the Arcane Society books!
210 - 21  Creed's Honor, by Linda Lael Miller (10/25)
211 - 22  Balance Your Life, Balance the Scale, by Jennifer Tuma Young (10/26)  *I was disappointed. The summary sounded so promising. It still does. But I never found anything in the book beyond the initial theory.
212 - 23  The Creed Legacy, by Linda Lael Miller (10/27)
213 - 24  Touch of a Thief, by Mia Marlowe (10/27)
214 - 25  The Heir, by Grace Burrowes (10/28)
215 - 26  The 5-Factor Diet, by Harley Pasternak, M.Sc. (10/28)
216 - 27  Already Home, by Susan Mallory (10/31)
217 - 28  Only Us; A Fool's Gold Holiday, by Susan Mallory (10/31)

I'm back. Did you miss me?

Since my last post, I have gotten old and depressed. (There is, by the way, a definite a link between those two items.) I received two really amazing and unexpected birthday gifts, but overall the experience was horrendous. Since my last post, I have learned a new skill - tatting - and have become obsessed. I have started a group to deal with another obsession of mine, spinning. I've done a lot of reading, not surprisingly.  I have gone in - and out - of business. I had my first childless Thanksgiving in over 25 years, which made it difficult to give thanks. (Although I did enjoy not spending days in the kitchen cooking and cleaning.) I took a few sick days, and had my vacation time misplaced by a committee. I've baked cakes, cookies and cupcakes, all of which were greatly enjoyed by myself and others. I've finished several projects on the long, long, WIP list; but I've also added to it - without any expected feelings of guilt. I found, and was found, by long-lost family members.

And yet, I've had nothing worth writing about. Sorry. I'll try to do better.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Home-Grown Dinner

 Do you remember my garden? The plants are doing really well, and I've managed to harvest my basil quite a few times now. (The mint, too!) After cleaning and drying off the basil, I stuff it into my Magic Bullet with some olive oil, walnuts (which are much cheaper than the traditional pine nuts), a little Parmesan cheese, and just a quick squeeze of lemon. This gets chopped up, and then mixed with hot pasta.

You would not believe how good the fresh pesto tastes. And it is so easy and quick to make. I have a difficult time waiting for the basil plants to re-grow -- I think I need a couple more pots of it for my garden!

Monday, October 01, 2012

WIPs into FOs

The problem with going so long without posting (well, one of the problems) is that there is way too much to catch up on when you finally do post. So all the wonderful things you meant to talk about have to be discarded in favor of just hitting the highlights. Personally, I would love to gush about the little lamb sweater, or explain where the inspiration to sew patches came from. The problem is that I've managed to finish 11 items off my WIPs list, plus two more mini projects. Just showing the pictures for those will make a long enough post. So the story of how I accidentally cast on a project will have to wait for another day.

 My Long List of WIPs:

  1. Cabled Casey cotton shawl - FINISHED.
  2. I really love this shawl!
  3.  Sampler Sock Blanket
  4. Pink and gray baby sweater - FINISHED
  5. This no longer fits the baby that I made it for, so I probably need to add another project (a toddler sweater) to my list. But I'm still really happy with this pattern, and the matching shoes are adorable. There's bound to be a baby in the future that I can give this to.
  6. Plarn doormats
  7. Earth colorway lace shawl with beads - not started yet
  8. Striped toy- need this for Christmas
  9. Candy print baby sweater - FINISHED (but I started a second one with the left-over yarn)
  10. This knit up very quickly. I was able to use it as a baby shower gift, and was immediately invited to two more baby showers. I guess everyone liked it! (Even if the lady in the fabric store, when I was buying the buttons, thought that only "progressive, young mothers" would dare put a boy in a sweater that color -- white with teal, pink, and yellow confetti dots -- unlike her day "when mothers worried about boys looking like boys.")
  11. Monster pants - this is a promised gift that hasn't been started yet
  12. Ryan's arm warmers - he's already finished his tour of duty, sigh
  13. Silver potato chip scarf
  14. Black stocking socks - not started yet/need it for Christmas
  15. Prayer shawl
  16. Animal hat - not started yet/need it for Christmas
  17. Wheat wool hat - not started yet/need it for Christmas
  18. Sheep sweater - FINISHED
  19. This is only the most wonderful sweater ever! And I've already received a picture of it being worn by the cutest baby boy ever! If I can get permission from his mom, I'll post that picture on the blog. (It's already posted on my refrigerator. LOL)
  20. 12x12 square - not started and the deadline is approaching quickly!
  21. I made the deadline. I didn't think I would, but I did. It wasn't entirely my fault, since I had to wait to get the yarn -- it could only be certain colors. But the important thing is that I turned it in when I was supposed to.
  22. Pink chemo cap - FINISHED

  23. I liked the construction of this hat. The cable was knit flat and seamed to form the brim. Then stitches are picked up to knit the rest of the cap.

  24. Rose chemo cap - not started yet
  25. This is another strangely constructed hat. The brim (ribbed) is knit flat along with the material that later forms the rose. Then you join and knit in the round. Finishing work includes the leaves (sewn on later) and the rose (tacked down into shape).
  26. Skype socks in Jojo - not started yet
  27. Modea baby hat
  28. Woven towel sets - FINISHED

  29. Woven towel set #1

    Woven towel set #2. Both sets were done on the same warp.
  30. Christmas towel sets - not started yet, but obviously needed for Christmas
  31. Cari's yarn to be untangled
  32. grey baby bib - FINISHED

  33. Finishing this bib was a snap, once I realized it was possible to use my sewing machine to attach the patches. The idea of handsewing was the only reason this was in the WIPs pile for so long!

  34. girly baby bib  - FINISHED
  35. Did you know that actually sewing a button takes less than 5 minutes (including the time spent looking for a needle)? As opposed to avoiding sewing a button, which took well over a year!

  36. lime shawlette - needs to be blocked
  37. blue shawlette - needs to be blocked
  38. February Lady Sweater
  39. Mystery Shawl
  40. Baby Bib with flower buttons - FINISHED
  41. (See the comment for the bib above.)

  42. French Press Slippers - need to seam and felt
  43. Universal Tunic - not started yet
  44. Aeolean Shawl
  45. Kingdom Gloves - need it for Christmas
  46. Handspun Peacock Shawl - yarn finished, need to knit
  47. Baby Surprise Jacket - need to finish yarn and then knit
  48. Handspun Brown Silk Shawl - need to spin and knit
  49. Blue T-Shirt Sweater - not started yet
  50. NYC Socks - started, but I'll probably frog and start over
  51. Paula's drop spindle yarn

Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Reading List

Books Read in September

167 - 01  Guilty Wives, by James Patterson (9/1)  AUDIOBOOK
168 - 02  The Playboy, by Carly Phillips (9/2)
169 - 03  Harvest Moon, by Robyn Carr (9/2)
170 - 04  Bring Me Home for Christmas, by Robyn Carr (9/4)
171 - 05  Something Missing, by Matthew Dicks (9/6) *After a slow start, I ended up loving this book. I swear I was on Martin's (the main character's) route many years ago. It would have explained so much!
172 - 06  Heart of Dixie, by Tami Hoag (9/7)
173 - 07  Feels Like Home, by Maggie Shayne (9/8)
174 - 08  Paper Roses,  by Amanda Cabot (9/10)
175 - 09  Married by Mistake, by Abby Gaines (9/11)
176 - 10  Homespun Bride,  by Jillian Hart (9/14)
177 - 11  The Magic of Handweaving: The Basics and Beyond, by Sigrid Piroch (9/16)
178 - 12  Blue Skies,  by Robyn Carr (9/16) 
179 - 13  Paradise Valley, by Robyn Carr (9/17)
180 - 14   Woodrose Mountain,  by RaeAnne Thayne (9/18)
181 - 15  The Best Defense, by Kate Wilhelm (9/20) AUDIOBOOK
182 - 16  That Summer Place, by Susan Wiggs (9/21)
183 - 17  Simply Irresistible, by Jill Shalvis  (9/23)
184 - 18  Whispering Rock, by Robyn Carr (9/25)
185 - 19  A Dirty Job, by Christopher Moore (9/27)
186 - 20  Love Me if You Dare, by Carly Phillips (9/28)
187 - 21  Heart of Texas Vol. 2, by Debbie Macomber (9/29)
188 - 22 The Ideal Man, by Julie Garwood (9/30)
189 - 23  Unfinished Business, by Nora Roberts (9/30)

I have added "The Magic of Handweaving" to my wishlist. I think it would be a tremendous reference in my fiber library. I wouldn't recommend it to a complete beginner, but it's great for someone like me who has done a few projects and is ready to step up. Piroch has included some really amazingly detailed  how-to photos.Unfortunately, some things are just glossed over and the reader is left to figure them out on her own. It's inconsistent, and at times frustrating. I enjoyed the inter spaced historical and cultural references, and the pictured examples of various weaving projects were inspiring.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The Official Count

Over on the Fiberistas board in, we've started a special incentive for people (like me!) who have a bunch of WIPs. Anyone can join in. Just let us know how many unfinished projects you currently have. Then every time you finish a project, post it in that thread. Each project will get you one entry in the drawing at the end of the year. We're still working out what the prizes are -- I suggested a bag full of the projects I don't end up finishing, but that was quickly nixed. I'm sure we'll come up with some real, nice prizes.

I finished going through all my boxes and bags and hiding places, and I have a final count of my unfinished projects. I am counting projects that I haven't actually cast on, if I've bought the yarn AND have a specific pattern for it AND a recipient AND an occasion. In other words, if I should have already finished the project, even if I haven't cast on, then it's an unfinished project in my mind. (I also have a long list of queued projects - things I want to make "someday" that I either don't have the yarn for yet AND/OR I don't have someone specific to knit it for. Those queued projects were not included in the count.)

So are you ready for the final number?  I wasn't. I'm still not. I have friends who are monogamous knitters. I'm obviously a fiber slut, with 40 unfinished projects.

      1. Cabled Casey cotton shawl
      2.  Sampler Sock Blanket
      3. Pink and gray baby sweater - only needs the buttons sewn on/baby has already outgrown it!
      4. Plarn doormats
      5. Earth colorway lace shawl with beads - not started yet
      6. Striped toy- need this for Christmas
      7. Candy print baby sweater - not started yet
      8. Monster pants - this is a promised gift that hasn't been started yet
      9. Ryan's arm warmers - he's already finished his tour of duty, sigh
      10. Silver potato chip scarf
      11. Black stocking socks - not started yet/need it for Christmas
      12. Prayer shawl
      13. Animal hat - not started yet/need it for Christmas
      14. Wheat wool hat - not started yet/need it for Christmas
      15. Sheep sweater - just needs to been seamed and button band knit
      16. 12x12 square - not started and the deadline is approaching quickly!
      17. Pink chemo cap - not started yet
      18. Rose chemo cap - not started yet
      19. Skype socks in Jojo - not started yet
      20. Modea baby hat
      21. Woven towel sets - just need to be hemmed & 1 dishcloth knit
      22. Christmas towel sets - not started yet, but obviously needed for Christmas
      23. Cari's yarn to be untangled
      24. grey baby bib - only needs the button and patches sewn on
      25. girly baby bib  - only needs a button
      26. lime shawlette - needs to be blocked
      27. blue shawlette - needs to be blocked
      28. February Lady Sweater
      29. Mystery Shawl
      30. Baby Bib with flower buttons - only needs the buttons sewn on
      31. French Press Slippers - need to seam and felt
      32. Universal Tunic - not started yet
      33. Aeolean Shawl
      34. Kingdom Gloves - need it for Christmas
      35. Handspun Peacock Shawl - yarn finished, need to knit
      36. Baby Surprise Jacket - need to finish yarn and then knit
      37. Handspun Brown Silk Shawl - need to spin and knit
      38. Blue T-Shirt Sweater - not started yet
      39. NYC Socks - started, but I'll probably frog and start over
      40. Paula's drop spindle yarn

      Friday, August 31, 2012

      August Reading List

      Books Read in August

      135 - 01  Fifty Shades Darker, by E. L. James (8/1)
      136 - 02  Fifty Shades Freed, by E. L. James (8/2)
      137 - 03 The Sherbrook Twins, by Catherine Coulter (8/3)
      138 - 04 Lyon's Gate, by Catherine Coulter (8/4)
      139 - 05  8 Sandpiper Way, by Debbie Macomber (8/4)
      140 - 06  A Cedar Cove Christmas, by Debbie Macomber (8/5)
      141 - 07  92 Pacific Boulevard, by Debbie Macomber (8/5)
      142 - 08  The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss (8/9) *This is a must-read-over-and-over!
      143 - 09  Wizards Daughter, by Catherine Coulter (8/12) *The first Coulter book I didn't like.
      144 - 10  Forbidden Falls, by Robyn Carr (8/12)
      145 - 11  Hired by the Cowboy, by Donna Alward (8/12)
      146 - 12 The Billionaire Wins the Game, by Melody Anne (8/13)
      147 - 13  Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck (8/15) *It's as good as I remember it being.
      148 - 14  Moonlight Road, by Robyn Carr (8/16)
      149 - 15  Fairy Tale, by Debbie Macomber (8/17) 
      150 - 16  Bride for a Night, by Rosemary Rogers (8/19)
      151 - 17  Chasing Fire, by Nora Roberts (8/19)
      152 - 18  Eight Keys, by Suzanne LaFleur (8/19)
      153 - 19  Convincing Alex, by Nora Roberts (8/20)
      154 - 20  The Search, by Nora Roberts (8/21)
      155 - 21  1022 Evergreen Place, by Debbie Macomber (8/21)
      156 - 22  1105 Yakima Street, by Debbie Macomber (8/21) 
      157 - 23  1225 Christmas Tree Lane, by Debbie Macomber (8/23)
      158 - 24  Christmas in Cedar Cove, by Debbie Macomber (8/24)
      159 - 25  Wild Man Creek, by Robyn Carr (8/25)
      160 - 26  Hidden Summit, by Robyn Carr (8/26)
      161 - 27  Dakota Born, by Debbie Macomber (8/26)
      162 - 28  Buffalo Valley, by Debbie Macomber (8/26)
      163 - 29  Be My Valentine, by Debbie Macomber (8/27) *This was one of those "why did I keep reading it?" books for me.
      164 - 30  The Unsung Hero, by Alison Roberts (8/28)
      165 - 31  Trust Me on This, by Jennifer Crusie (8/30)
      166 - 32  Promise Canyon, by Robyn Carr (8/31)

      Tuesday, August 07, 2012

      I should just keep moving

      I had planned this post out in my head, while walking on the treadmill. I was going to talk about getting into the habit of going to the gym, and how much fun I was having. I think that it might even become my newest obsession - even it it is just a tiny room with a few pieces of equipment the apartment complex provides. I was also going to lament over the fact that I have no idea of what I'm doing. Then I would brag that I have recently leveled up in Fitocracy. By the way, I now have a real-live friend on the site. Technically, everyone who posts on the site is alive. But one of my friends is someone I know off of the computer as well. This is wonderfully motivating, which is why I planned on suggesting that everyone join me on Fitocracy. Think of how much fun it would be to encourage each other, and to compete against each other on challenges. I also planned on bragging about my new sneakers (which is why I took a picture of my feet). New sneakers doesn't sound like much, but this is the first pair I've owned in over two years.

      All in all, I had a long post planned. Unfortunately, I sat down for 15 minutes after getting back from the gym.I don't think I'll be doing anything, even something as easy as typing, a while. I hurt!

      Monday, August 06, 2012

      Apples to Apples

      I don't know why, but I've been in the mood for a beer recently. The problem is, I just don't like beer. So I've settled for hard cider.

      Cider is actually closer to being a wine, than a beer. It's made by pressing apples instead of grapes, but the yeast and fermentation is similar to the wine-making process. It's referred to as cider, by the way, in most countries. During prohibition Americans started making a non-alcoholic version of cider that became popular. The term "hard" was added to distinguish the non-alcoholic from the alcoholic variety. (I thought that was an interesting piece of trivia.)

      My cider of choice is Angry Orchid, but I thought that might be because the grocery store carries that brand. So when I had the chance to go to the Wine Store, I picked up something different. It's Spire Mountain Draft Cider, made in Washington. It has a really great aroma, very applish with a light lemon. I could sniff it all night. The taste is slightly sweet and a bit tannic. (Do you use tannic to describe cider? Or should I just say that it has a little sour aftertaste.) It's easy to drink, and I find that I finish the bottle very quickly. I probably won't buy this brand again, though.

      Maybe I should try to make my own hard cider.

      Friday, August 03, 2012

      A little fiber bling

      I've gotten a reputation at work for never throwing out anything that can be reused or remade into something useful. It comes from my years at the ADT, where I was expected to come up with fun crafts and projects at very little cost. It's hard to stop looking at everything from the "save a penny" viewpoint, even though I'm in a much more affluent environment
      So I get teased a lot by my volunteers. Today was a good example of that. We were working on mailing out the monthly newsletters, and managed to use up two rolls of closure stickers. Grace* held up empty cardboard tubes from the packages and asked me if I was going to paint them and turn them into bracelets. I gathered up all my dignity, and assured her that I had no intention of making them into painted bracelets.

      Silly girl.

      I took the tubes home, got out some of my hand spun yarn, and turned them into pretty fiber bracelets.

      *I've come to realize that it's inevitable that I talk about my volunteers, since they play such a big role in my everyday work life. In order to preserve at least a little bit of their privacy, I've decided to give blog names to my everyday volunteers. (I'll have to wing it with the once-a-month volunteers, since there really are too many for me to keep track of.) I considered using Vol#1, Vol#2, etc but I couldn't decide who was my #1 volunteer. So I'm going with Faith, Hope, Charity, and Grace.

      Thursday, August 02, 2012

      I love getting mail!

      I only have 1 1/2 skeins left to knit on the cabled shawl!
      Today turned out to be a very nice day. I've been struggling at work, between the lack of sleep (that's left me unable to focus and without any patience) and the diverse and unrealistic expectations that occur when you are working for a committee rather than a single boss. I could function despite the lack of sleep if I had only one person to answer to, since I wouldn't have to translate which "top priority" was actually a "top priority" and not simply a whim brought on by a random conversation in the grocery store. Similarly, if I could just get a good night's sleep, I would probably find the random instructions amusing rather than insulting. So far I've managed to keep in mind that this all shall pass, and rainbows will appear and butterflies will once again poop on my head. (I know that didn't really make sense, but I'm living on 2 hours of sleep a night.)

      Anyway, despite my grumpy impatience, today turned out to be a very nice day. I received TWO thank you notes in the mail. Family members of two (of the three) memorial services I helped plan this month wrote to let me know that they appreciated my help. Both notes were very flattering, and sweet, and made me cry. One note (from the young boy's aunt and uncle) included gift cards for a night out -- totally unnecessary on their part, and unexpected, but greatly appreciated. What I really liked, though, was that I did my job well enough to have made a difference. When I worked at the ADT, I knew I was making a difference in people's lives. It's nice that even as just a church secretary, I can still do that.

      Wednesday, August 01, 2012

      Desperately in need of a fiber intervention

      I sorted out my Works In Progress, and there are more than I realized. A lot more! I obviously have KADD (knitter's attention deficit disorder) with OS tendencies (obsessive startitis). Here is a list* of the projects I sorted out:
      1. Cabled cotton shawl - this is what I'm actively working on, and that I carry in my pocketbook
      2. Pink & gray baby sweater - only needs the buttons sewn on/baby has already outgrown it!
      3. Plarn doormats
      4. Earth colorway lace shawl with beads - not started yet
      5. Striped toy- need this for Christmas
      6. Candy print baby sweater - not started yet
      7. Monster pants - this is a promised gift that hasn't been started yet
      8. Ryan's arm warmers - he's already finished his tour of duty, sigh
      9. Silver potato chip scarf
      10. Black socks - not started yet
      11. Prayer shawl
      12. Animal hat - not started yet/need it for Christmas
      13. Wheat wool hat - not started yet/need it for Christmas
      14. Sheep sweater - just needs to been seamed and button band knit
      15. 12x12 square - not started and the deadline is approaching quickly!
      16. Pink chemo cap - not started yet
      17. Rose chemo cap - not started yet
      18. Skype socks in Jojo - not started yet
      19. Modea baby hat
      20. Woven towel sets - just need to be hemmed & 1 dishcloth knit
      21. Christmas towel sets - not started yet, but obviously needed for Christmas
      22. Cari's yarn to be untangled
      23. grey baby bib - only needs the button and patches sewn on
      24. girly baby bib  - only needs a button
      25. lime shawlette - needs to be blocked
      26. blue shawlette - needs to be blocked
      Some of the projects aren't exactly WIPs, since I haven't started them yet. But since they've been promised or are needed as gifts and I have already have the yarn and patterns, I should count them as projects to do before I can go out and find new knitting.

      I'm going to need help. Please don't show me your wonderful project, or the yarn that you bought - I'm too easily tempted. It would also help if everyone refrained from getting pregnant, cancer, or engaged until I get caught up. Thank you.

      *The list only includes the projects I've sorted out so far. There are two more Rubbermaid tubs that I've decided to ignore until this group is finished. And it doesn't take into account any of the Spinning In Progress projects. Yes, it's definitely KADD with strong OS tendencies.

      Tuesday, July 31, 2012

      July Reading List

      Books Read in July

      106 - 01  The Courtship, by Catherine Coulter (7/2)
      107 - 02  Nice To Come Home To, by Rebecca Flowers (7/2) AUDIO
      108 - 03 The Accidental Bride, by Denise Hunter (7/4)
      109 - 04  44 Cranberry Point,  by Debbie Macomber (7/7)
      110 - 05  Always Dakota, by Debbie Macomber (7/7)
      111 - 06  Jenna's Cowboy, by Sharon Gillenwater (7/8)
      112 - 07  Miss Match, by Erynn Mangum (7/11)
      113 - 08  Heart of Texas Vol. 1, by Debbie Macomber (7/12)
      114 - 09  Eclipse Bay, by Jayne Ann Krentz (7/13)
      115 - 10  The First Adventure, by Tamora Pierce (7/14)
      116 - 11  In the Hands of the Goddess, by Tamora Pierce (7/14)
      117 - 12  The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, by Tamora Pierce (7/14)
      118 - 13  Lioness Rampant,  by Tamora Pierce (7/16)
      119 - 14  Coraline,  by Neil Gaimen (7/17)
      120 - 15  The Scottish Bride, by Catherine Coulter (7/21) 
      121 - 16  50 Harbor Street, by Debbie Macomber (7/21) 
      122 - 17  6 Ranier Drive, by Debbie Macomber (7/22)
      123 - 18  Dawn in Eclipse Bay, by Jayne Ann Krentz (7/22)
      124 - 19  The Bachelor,  by Carly Phillips (7/22)
      125 - 20  Family Affair, by Debbie Macomber (7/23)  **What a waste of time this one was...
      126 - 21  Wonderland Creek, by Lynn Austin  (7/24) **Loved this book!
      127 - 22  Pendragon, by Catherine Coulter (7/25)
      128 - 23  Matched, by Ally Condie (7/26)
      129 - 24  Alice I Have Been, by Melanie Benjamin (7/29) **Much better than her other book.
      130 - 25  Crossed, by Ally Condie (7/29)
      132 - 26  A Lady of High Regard, by Tracie Patterson (7/30)
      133 - 27  74 Seaside Avenue, by Debbie Macomber (7/30)
      134 - 28  Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James (7/31) **Sigh. I wasn't going to give in...

      Monday, July 30, 2012

      Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

       I have a garden, and I've very excited about it. Maybe it's not a real garden, but I think that plants in pots still count for something.

      Saturday I had gone up to see mom, and we ended up buying plants. One of mom's tomato plants had died, and she wanted to replace it. My two hanging plants had died in that last cold snap, and I've been meaning to replace the flowers. And I know that the cold snap was back way back around February, but it honestly  hasn't seemed that long ago. Then last week I got a notice from the complex office stating that the lease regulates patios to be kept neat and free of trash. I don't think that they meant dead plants, and the office manager assured me that the notice went to everyone and wasn't meant for me specifically. But I thought that since we were at the nursery for mom, I should probably get the replacement plants.

      I picked out some pretty begonia for the one pot, and pansies for the other. When we got into the vegetable section, though, I put the flowers back. Because herbs are almost as pretty, and ever so much more fun and practical.

      So now I have a tomato plant. It's a Sweet and Neat Cherry tomato, and it's been bred to grow only 12" tall and then the vines cascade downward. I think it will work out great in the hanging basket.

      I also bought some mint plants. I love fresh mint in my tea, especially in iced tea. Then I was thinking that it would also be nice to learn how to make mint juleps or mojitos. First, though, I need to learn how to harvest without killing the plants.

      Originally I only meant to replace the plants in the two planters I had gotten for Christmas. But I couldn't resist the sweet basil, so mom gave me an old planter she had in her shed. I'm looking forward to making fresh pesto.
      I bought the plants Saturday, so Sunday I needed to transplant them into my planters. While I was at it, I repotted two of my violets and started a new cutting.

      And to think that I have always been the brown-thumbed member of my family of gardeners. Now I've got the requisite dirt under my fingernails!

      Not being able to sleep is terrible. You have the misery of having partied all night...without the satisfaction. (Lynn Johnston)

      I think I'm going to give up trying to sleep any more tonight. I managed about 2 hours, so that's something to be happy about.

      I wonder if the neighbors would mind if I did the vacuuming? I feel like I should do housework, instead of something frivolous like reading a novel or weaving. Otherwise I might not make the effort to sleep tomorrow night.

      Friday, July 27, 2012

      Weekend Brunch

      There's something about the weekend that has come to mean quiche to me. It's so easy to make, and so very yummy. I like to have one ready just in case company comes by. (Oh, how nice of you to stop in unexpectedly. I'm afraid all I have to offer you for lunch is a broccoli-and-ham quiche and maybe some chocolate chip scones for dessert.) Okay, I don't usually get unexpected company dropping in at lunch time. But maybe if people knew I had quiche, they would come over to see me.

      Just in case you want the quiche, but it isn't enough of a bribe to come visit me, you can find the recipe on our Family Cooking blog.

      Thursday, July 26, 2012

      Oh, is that my phone ringing?

      I went to knit night, but I didn't stay long. And it will probably be a while before I go back. Which is a shame, because I really enjoy getting out and socializing with my friends. Or rather, I used to enjoy going to socialize with my friends. Lately, and tonight in particular, I've been isolated at that table. The table that nobody want to be stuck at, and not just because it's at the end of the row.

      For knit night, we gather around a long row of small tables in the front of the coffee shop. Naturally, sitting at one of the center tables is best since that puts you in the middle of the action. That's where I feel I belong. It's where all the cool knitters (I know, it's a redundant description) sit. Instead, I've been finding myself stuck at the far-far-as-far-away-as-possible table. I think if a vote were to be taken, the table would be moved two stores over. And even then there would be a scramble to sit on the other side of the store away from it.

      Just to be clear, the knitters are good people. And they would never intentionally snub someone, or tell someone that they weren't welcome in the group. But they're also human, and have normal self-preservation instincts. Which means that sometimes it becomes a matter of every knitter for themselves. I just don't have the patience that I once did. So tonight I found myself pretending to get a phone call (it's easy to fake hearing the phone ring when the other person is partially deaf). And then I lied* to my friends so that I could have a polite way of escaping. I don't know who became the next sacrifice once I left. I'm not sure I care right now - it is, after all, every knitter for themselves.

      Luckily, the Saturday group (although composed of the very same people) is felt to be too cliquey and as such has been able to stick together at just the one table. So until things change, I'll be getting my fiber-fix on Saturdays instead of Thursdays.

      *Editing to note that the lie mentioned was that I had to leave right away. The rest of my explanation was true. I might have been desperate enough to use it as an excuse, but I'm not so depraved that I would invent a relative's illness.

      Wednesday, July 25, 2012

      I'm getting too good at this.

      Today was the third funeral we've had this month.

      And to think that I thought it would be fun to have the pastor away for the summer.

      Do I have the authority to deny any future vacation time for my boss?

      Monday, July 23, 2012

      Old enough to know a bargain

      I went to the movies with a friend tonight, and when I bought my ticket the girl gave me the senior discount. I've never even been asked if I was a senior before this, and this girl just assumed that I qualified for it. Sigh. I can't decide whether I should be excited that I got away with a cheaper ticket, or depressed that I looked old enough not to be carded.

      Oh yeah - the movie that we went to see?

      Oh. Yeah!

      Sunday, July 22, 2012

      True love by page 123, and all of life's problems solved by page 217.

      I've managed to have a quiet weekend. I really needed a couple of quiet days, after just finishing an extremely stressful week, with another stressful week to look forward to. I did manage to do a little bit of housework and I completed some training for my new business, but mostly I just relaxed and escaped into the world of junk romances.

      Friday, July 20, 2012

      He was just a boy.

      Yesterday I was asked when I was going to start updating my blog again. Today was probably not a good day to come back.

      Today, I helped bury an 18-year old boy. He was loved by his mother and father, adored by his brother and sister, admired by his friends, and liked by just about everyone. There were over 400 people at the service. For many of them, the teenagers, this was the first time death was personal and real.

      It was a senseless, unnecessary death. (And yes, any death of a child is senseless and unnecessary.) He was a good boy. He attended church with his family (most of the time). He even volunteered at the church on occasion. When his family needed him, he helped out. (And there were many times this past year that the family needed help - it's been a really rough year for them.)  He was also a normal teenager. He had fights with his mother and father, and with his siblings. He stayed out late with his friends. He drove fast. But he always came home.

      Until this past weekend, when he couldn't come home anymore. He couldn't come home because he was riding too fast on his motorcycle and didn't survive the crash. And his mother will never be able to hug him, or tell him that it's going to be alright because it won't ever be alright again.

      I had to help his mother plan the funeral service. I organized the music, and the scriptures, and helped sort out which photos to include on the service bulletin. I typed the sermon for the pastor. I coordinated the donations that their friends and neighbors gave to help pay for the expenses. And I held his mother's hand and cried with her.

      The entire week, as I tried to do my job with love and compassion for the mother and father, all that kept running through my mind was thank God I never had to face this. Pray God that I never have to suffer this.

      The funeral was today. I stayed late, finished up the paperwork and helped clean up the sanctuary. Tomorrow, my life will go back to it's regular routine. I'll probably sleep late, meet some friends at Starbucks, maybe complain about how unfair life is. His mom will wake up, only to remember that her son is dead. She'll know how unfair life is.

      Thursday, July 12, 2012

      June Reading List

      Books Read in June

      091 - 01  16 Lighthouse Way, by Debbie Macomber (6/3)
      092 - 02  11th Hour, by James Patterson (6/5)
      093 - 03  The Heiress, by Catherine Coulter (6/8)
      094 - 04  Mad Jack, by Catherine Coulter (6/10)
      095 - 05  A Cowboy's Touch, by Denise Hunter (6/10)
      096 - 06  Candlelight Wish, by Janice Bennett (6/10)
      097 - 07  Wyatt: Return of the Cowboy, by Cathy McDavid (6/10)
      098 - 08  Fools Rush In, by Janice Thompson (6/12)
      099 - 09  Rainshadow Road, by Lisa Kleypas (6/14)
      100 - 10  Change of Heart, by Fran Shaff (6/14)
      101 - 11  204 Rosewood Lane, by Debbie Macomber (6/18)
      102 - 12  The Fairy Godmother, by Mercedes Lackey (6/22)
      103 - 13  311 Pelican Court, by Debbie Macomber (6/24)
      104 - 14  First Grave on the Right, by Darynda Jones (6/28)
      105 - 15  Again the Magic, by Lisa Kleypas (6/30)

      Sunday, June 10, 2012

      We interrupt this dull day...

      ...for a brief daydream of sailing away from all the housework...

      Saturday, June 09, 2012

      It's easy being green!

      Today did not go the way I planned. It's the first day of the great KIP Hunt, and I was not able to get out to knit anywhere. I should be very disappointed.

      Instead, I'm excited. I learned about a great line of natural products for my home and my health. They don't use any harsh chemicals, including sulphates, which means a healthier home with less stress on my fibromyalgia. Of course, they're also better for the environment in general.

      If you're looking for a way to "go green" (both environmentally and financially), let me know and I'll be glad to give you more details.

      Thursday, June 07, 2012

      2012's Great Gold Coast KIP Hunt

      The third annual Great Gold Coast KIP Hunt starts on Saturday, and I've started training for the big event. Tuesday I spent time knitting at the public library. Today I went to the movies with a friend, and I was able to get a little KIP time at the theater. Too bad neither of these will count for the hunt.