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)