Friday, May 31, 2013

May Reading List

Books Read in May

061 - 01  The Lady Forfeits, by Carole Mortimer (5/1) 
062 - 02  Christmas with Holly, by Lisa Kleypas (5/2) 
063 - 03  Sunrise on Cedar Key, by Terri DuLong (5/4)
064 - 04  Chasing Sunsets, by Eva Marie Everson (5/5)
065 - 05  An Amish Kitchen, by Beth Wiseman (5/5)
066 - 06  The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee, by Caroline Brown (5/6)
I was very disappointed in this book. I had heard some good things about it, and it sounded like it would be a fun read. Unfortunately, the writing was disjointed and the story did not flow easily. You could almost guess where the author had put the writing down and gone back later to pick it up and write some more. Okay, that's probably a little mean to say. But really, the only reason I didn't give up was because of the recommendation it had gotten. (I won't be taking any more book suggestions from that group!)
067 - 07 The Girls' Guide to Love and Supper Clubs, by Dana Bate (5/9)
This was a horrible book. Even worse than the one I had just finished. At least the Jalapeno Society had possibilities. In the Girls' Guide, the main character was immature (she was supposed to be 26 years old and rebelling against her parents) and dishonest. It's very difficult to enjoy a story when you don't like the heroine.
068 - 08  Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, by grace Burrowes (5/10)
069 - 09  The Lady Gambles, by Carole Mortimer (5/12)
070 - 10  Holly and Mistletoe, by Susan Mallery (5/12)
071 - 11  True Blue, by Diana Palmer (5/13)
072 - 12  A Hand to Hold, by Kathleen Fuller (5/15)
073 - 13  Considering Kate, by Nora Roberts (5/16)
074 - 14  Against the Law, by Kat Martin (5/17)
075 - 15  The Four Corners of the Sky, by Michael Malone (5/28)
I read this as part of the The Big Library Read, which runs May 15 to June 1st. It's a surprising wonderful book - part love story, part mystery, part farce. I especially loved the doctor with all his puns.
076 - 16  Saving Hope, by Margaret Daley (5/28)

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Reasons Why I Knit

Ten Reasons Why I Knit (in no particular order):

1. I knit to keep from being bored and/or impatient - in lines, waiting for other people, in meetings, even in traffic (when I'm at a full stand-still on the interstate, not when we're actually moving).

2.  I like the squishy, soft, yummy feel of yarn. Well, of most yarns. Other yarns I like because of the color, or the difference in how they look as skeins versus how they look knit up.

3.  It's fun to see people's reactions when I knit socks -- so many people are amazed at my kninja skills using multiple needles. Although I'm always honest enough to admit that it isn't as difficult as it looks.

4.  I like hand-knit socks. And since no one else is going to knit them for me, I knit them for myself. And for my daughters and my mother who also like hand-knit socks.

5.  Knitting gives me an excuse to go out and socialize. If I didn't knit, I'd probably become a lonely cat-lady with no friends and no life outside of my apartment. (Okay, I'd still have bells. And work. And mahjong. And volunteer work. But knitting is my social activity; the others things I do are for more specific reasons.)

6.  Knitting is relatively inexpensive. I could spend $20 and go out for one evening for dinner and movie. Or I can spend that same $20 to buy yarn that I'll spend at least weeks knitting into socks. That's a comparison of $5/enjoyment hour for a night out against $1/enjoyment hour of knitting.

7.  Whatever my mood is, knitting fits. If I want to be creative, there's delicate lace shawls to knit. If I want fast and easy, there's baby bibs and wash cloths to knit. If I want bright and colorful, there's self-patterning sock yarn. There's always something I can put on the needles no matter what my mood is.

8.  Knitting keeps my fingers from hurting. It doesn't make sense, but it's true. The more I knit, the less my arthritis bothers me.

9.  Knitting gives me the excuse to be lazy. I can go to the park and just sit and knit, and even though I'm just relaxing I'm also accomplishing something.

10. Knitting is non-fattening. I also like to bake cupcakes and cookies, which is fattening.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Saturday Snapshot

I thought it was Pedestrian Crossing...
...but it turned out to be Peacock Crossing!

Riverbend Park in Jupiter, Florida

Friday, May 03, 2013

Friday Favorites - Daffodils

I love daffodils. Whenever I see them I think happy thoughts of spring, and Easter, and family. Years ago, when I lived in Kentucky, I planted ever-so-many daffodil and tulip bulbs in my yard. I loved the bright, cheerful colors signalling the end of winter. I wasn't much for doing any other gardening, but I had my daffodils and tulips in the spring. 

Now that I've lived in Florida for many years, daffodils don't have the same affect. I think it's because we have flowers year-round. Daffodils are actually a hot-house flower because you have to manipulate the bulbs to grow since we don't have the cold season to allow the bulbs their dormant stage.

While I was in Brooklyn visiting my daughter, I spotted daffodils in the wild. It amused me to find flowers growing in the city -- I always picture the city as being a stark, steel and cement landscape. I find the city beautiful for it's diverse architecture; I just don't picture gardened yards as part of that. And it thrilled me to learn that daffodils are still capable of bringing happy thoughts of family to my mind. (Even more so now, since they're now associated with happy memories of visiting my daughter!)

Thursday, May 02, 2013


My latest obsession is smoothies. I blame my oldest daughter, since she's the one that introduced me to these wonderful fruity concoctions. There isn't a lot that I can eat right now. so I've been using smoothies as both my go-to breakfast in the morning and my dessert-treat in the evenings.

There isn't anything to making one. Just combine a couple of pieces of fruit (I'm partial to bananas and mangos mixed with either an apple, an orange, or some strawberries) in the Magic Bullet, throw in some ice cubes, and add a little almond milk or coconut milk (since I can't have dairy) and whip it up. It couldn't be any easier, or any tastier!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Crossing my Fingers and Toes

If asked, I usually describe myself as a Sock Knitter. Lately, however, that's changed. The last couple of pairs of socks I've knitted have really kicked my butt. I did a Cookie A pattern, Cusp, that had me knitting the same sock three times in order to get it right. I'm still not sure why I didn't just give up and start a different - easier - pattern, except that the socks did turn out to be well-worth the trouble they gave me. They were gorgeous! Unfortunately, I gave them to my daughter without getting a photo of the finished pair. Hopefully I can get her to send me a picture of them on her feet because the way the lace curved around from the back to the front was simply wonderful.

A normal person would have taken a break and knit something simple after struggling with the Cusp socks. Nobody has ever accused me of being normal.Which is why I cast on Mince Pie Mayhem, a sock pattern by Alice Yu. I've only recently discovered Alice Yu and her amazing designs. I have a list of her socks that I want to knit! (If only I could get the pattern for Deuce...unfortunately my laptop won't support Sockupied.) I only had to start over twice on these socks before I managed to get into the swing of the cables. Every other row has cables almost every other stitch, which means that I'm okay as long as I'm concentrating. As soon as I get over-confident, though, and start to think that I have the pattern memorized...sigh, it's tink*-time.

One of the things I really like about this pattern is the way the gusset and heel flap are done together. The gusset comes up along the ankle, rather than running along the length of the foot. You knit the heel flap, the gusset increases, and continuing to knit the instep all at the same time. My normal sock construction is to knit only the heel flap (ignoring the instep), then going back to pick up for the gusset and instep stitches. I can't wait to compare the way the construction of this sock fits with my normal construction.

Just in case you think that I spent all my time in April agonizing over socks, I did cast on - and finish! - a shawlette. Carolyn, in my Thursday knitting group, was working on a beautiful Wingspan in Noro Kureyon yarn. I love Noro Kureyon, and I just happened to have the exact same colorway in my stash that she was using. Now I could claim, in fact I have claimed, that I spur-of-the-moment cast on a Wingspan while I was up in New York after discovering that cabling the Mince on the subway was too difficult. The truth is, I packed my skein of Noro Kureyon in my suitcase because deep in my heart, I lusted after Carolyn's Wingspan. As it turned out, I'm not the only one to have stalked her project. Noro Wingspan has become unintentional KAL with at least one other knitter working on the same project (Pattern and Colorway!)

I've already worn my Wingspan to work, and there were a lot of compliments. You really can't beat Noro for the beautiful colors. And this was such a great carry-along pattern to knit, I'm tempted to cast on another one using the black/gray self-striping sock yarn in my stash.

First, though, I'll be casting on Hecate.  This is a For-Real KAL that we're doing (and not just another Oh-I-like-your-project-so-I'm-going-to-copy-you KAL). I found some of my hand-spun that will work nicely for this pattern, so I'm looking forward to getting started. I've also got a sweater pattern picked out that I promised to knit for my daughter, so I better get back to the needles!

*Tink - to knit backwards, undoing all the work you've just finished