Movable Type 3.2
December 31, 2006
Just in the nick of time...
I did it! One of my 2006 resolutions was to finally finish a sweater, so I realized that today was my last chance. I found this baby sweater that had been waiting to be seamed up for months now, and finished it this afternoon. Yay! I have knit a sweater! A small, easy sweater, but still! I'm hoping this gets me over my sweater-finishing phobia.
Pattern: Baby Kimono from Mason-Dixon Knitting
And on Friday night, I finally finished my Secret Santa scarf:
Pattern: Reversible Cable Scarf from Cables Untangled
December 30, 2006
Review: A Fountain Filled with Blood
My From the Stacks challenge review #2:
A Fountain Filled with Blood by Julia Spencer-Fleming
I loved this book. Loved loved loved it. Um. Okay. This is the second in the Clare Fergusson mystery series. Clare is a former army helicopter pilot turned Episcopal priest who has been assigned to a small community in the Adirondacks. She has to learn to adapt to the small-town life and deal with her mutual attraction toward the (married) chief of police. And, of course, solve mysteries. I read the first, In the Bleak Midwinter, shortly after it came out, but for some reason it took me a few years to get to this one. I had attempted it once before but not finished; now, I can't imagine why, because this time it grabbed me and I read the 320 pages in about a day. It's an interesting mystery with complex characters, and I definitely recommend the series. I can't wait to get the next one.
I'm looking forward to a lot of quality reading time this weekend, so I think I'm going to switch around as the spirit takes me between my three remaining challenge books and a book club book. Hope to have another review soon!
December 29, 2006
Review: Crowned in a Far Country
So on Thurday, Dewey and I made it home with no carrier escapes, thank goodness. But during the drive, I started feeling icky. I got home, unloaded the car, and basically collapsed. Fever, sore throat, etc. Since then, I've been doing little other than sitting on the couch eating popsicles. But at least I finished my first book for the From the Stacks challenge! (Yes, I'm behind, but January is a slow month so there's still hope. Or so I'm telling myself.)
Crowned in a Far Country by HRH Princess Michael of Kent
In this book, Princess Michael (herself a foreign royal bride) tells the stories of eight European women in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries who are sent to foreign countries to marry princes/kings/etc. The better-known subjects include Catherine the Great and Marie Antoinette; less well-known are Leopoldina and Maria Carolina. The women's lives are fascinating, but the short treatments given to each left me wanting more. The writing is serviceable but not particularly good. Chronologies sometimes become confused. All in all, though, the interesting subject matter helps the book surpass its technical difficulties. A fun read for those who enjoy reading about the royals.
December 27, 2006
My kitten is smart.
So. Guess who figured out how to get out of his carrier? While Mommy was driving on the highway? Yeah. Genius, eh? So I'm headed to Petsmart this morning to get a new carrier (perhaps with padlock?) that's actually kitten-proof, and then Dewey and I will be heading home. We've had a great visit, but I think we're both looking forward to getting back to real life.
December 23, 2006
And we're off!
I've survived my last pre-Christmas bookstore shift of the season, and Dewey and I are off to Connecticut. I won't be online much for the next few days, but I'll try to check in periodically. Everyone who has signed up for the UFO challenge: I have your info, and I will post the list next week.
Dewey last night, helping me pack:
Not that I get most of my presents at Borders or anything.
Have a great holiday, those of you who celebrate, and everyone have a great weekend!
December 22, 2006
Oh, right, Christmas.
So I've been really out of the Christmas mood for the past few weeks. Honestly, it seemed like Christmas was just a reason for more things to be added to my to do list. So I was doing the things, checking them off, but not really feeling it. I was looking forward to seeing my family and all, but getting through Christmas itself seemed like just one more thing that had to be done and checked off. Kristy, among others, has written about the pressure and stress induced by hearing how we're supposed to get rid of stress and chill out and enjoy the spirit of the season, and I've definitely been feeling that as well.
And then last night I was in the bookstore cleaning up the kids' section, and "O Holy Night" came on the overhead, and it suddenly clicked and I got it again. I don't think I can express exactly what I "got," but I finally remembered that oh, yeah, it's Christmas. It's not just meaningless stress. There's a point to it all. I like Christmas. Right. Must try to remember that.
That said, I am continuing to stress about all the stuff that needs to get done. I'm working a half day today so I can do errands and pack and such. Also, I have 42" of a scarf that needs to be done tomorrow. Can I do 18" in the midst of everything else today? (60" is an acceptable scarf length, right?) We shall see... Tomorrow, I work at the bookstore from 8:45 to 4, and then head go home to pick up Dewey and head to Connecticut.
PSA: If you're going to be in any stores for any reason this weekend, please, PLEASE try to be particularly nice to the people working there. You know those annoying fellow shoppers? The people working in the store have to deal with them all day. We know it's almost Christmas. We know you're stressed. We are too. You should know that we are doing our absolute best to help you find what you need and get out as quickly as possible. We don't enjoy the lines any more than you do. We can probably be more helpful than you expect, though, so give us a chance. Thanks.
December 21, 2006
Mr. Dewey has now been home for two whole weeks, and I don't know how I ever lived without him. Some things we've learned about him in his first two weeks:
And a few pictures from last night:
Favorite hiding place...
"I want to go to Grandma's for Christmas and all, but are you sure I have to be in this thing for three hours to get there, Mommy?"
"Really? You're positive? Well, okay..."
"Mommy, that hair tie was on your foot! I wasn't attacking you - I was protecting you!"
December 20, 2006
UFO Resurrection Challenge 2007
A while back, I mentioned that I was going to try to pull out and work on or frog a UFO per month in 2007. People seemed interested, so I thought I'd officially open sign-ups.
If you'd like to join in, just leave a comment. I'll put a list on the sidebar soon. Sign-ups technically close on January 31 (although if you sign up that late, you have to get started on your January resurrection that day, of course). And if anyone with more artistic talent than I have wants to make a button, please feel free...
1. It's the 20th? What? How did that happen?
2. Even though I only have one holiday knitting project this year, I'm still struggling to finish it. Bah. Must finish by Saturday. About half done.
3. Dewey kitten has been home for almost two weeks now. In some ways, it seems like he's always been there, but we are definitely still adjusting. The past two nights, he has decided that the best way to get me to play is to attack my head all night. Any tips on discouraging this? The vet, whom I liked in general, was unhelpful on the "attacking at night" issue - he just laughed and said to hope Dewey grows out of it.
4. Another kitten question: Dewey and I will be going to visit my family in CT for a few days over Christmas. Any tips on traveling with a kitten?
5. I'm sure you've all seen this, but Yarn Harlot is running another fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders. Go check it out.
6. Also, as I've mentioned, you should be listening to Lime and Violet. But if you're not, you may not have heard that they're trying to raise money for Violet's medical expenses through Lisa Souza's "Violet's Pink Ribbon" colorway. It's pretty. Go order some.
7. And again: Come join the Yarn Life 2007 Crafting Challenge! It'll be exciting. I promise.
December 19, 2006
So apparently I'm weird.
First of all: I just announced the Yarn Life 2007 Crafting Challenge. Hope you'll join us.
I was tagged for the "six weird things about me" meme at both The Stitch Witch and The Barefoot Cobbler. So, of course, I feel like I need to come up with twelve weird things. Hmm. (What, you're thinking it shouldn't be that hard? Shush!) I'm trying to think of things I haven't posted before...
1. I listen to podcasts all day at work, but I am incapable of listening to audiobooks. I just can't process them.
2. Somewhat related: I find it much easier to read books than to watch movies.
3. I generally hate going to parties. I am convinced that I like hosting them, though. (Not sure whether this is actually true.)
4. The first time I ever had alcohol (except for wine at Mass), I was almost 23. Had Defulct not made it his goal to get me to like some sort of alcohol, I likely still would not have had any.
5. I find alphabetizing and sorting to be extremely relaxing. This can lead to amusing times at the bookstore.
6. I have a weirdly good memory. This leads to me remember things about my friends' lives that they themselves don't remember. From before I met them. Because they mentioned it once, and then forgot, but I remember. Of course, I can't remember what day of the week it is or anything useful like that, but I remember all the useless trivia.
7. Tuesday has pretty much always been my favorite day of the week. I don't know why.
8. Once I got past the Sesame Street stage, the only show I watched regularly as a child was Avonlea. (And now I watch way too much. Oh well.)
9. I dropped out of high school. Actually, I wasn't old enough, so my mother had to do it on my behalf.
10. I have been making progress on getting over my picky eating issues, but I still refuse to eat seafood in any way, shape, or form. Except that I just discovered that there are anchovies in Worcestershire sauce, and this is now bugging me.
11. I cannot sleep if there are any open closet doors in the room.
12. I'm pretty good with understanding knitting patterns, but I seem incapable of deciphering crochet patterns. I have no idea why. I'll think I understand, but it just... doesn't work.
December 18, 2006
Sorry for the lack of posts - I had a party yesterday, and the past few days have been very busy with preparations. But the party was more or less successful, and Dewey had a great time meeting everyone. Here are a few adorable pictures of him with my friend Drew:
Reading Kittens for Dummies:
Can you find the kitten?
Lick lick lick!
December 14, 2006
Year end first sentence meme thing
I've seen this in a bunch of places, so I'm not sure where it's from or who to credit. Oh well. The idea: post the first sentence from each month of 2006.
January: Happy 2006, and happy birthday to this blog!
February: 1. New hair again, in its natural (i.e. not blow-dried straight) state:
March: I finally went to work today, after being out sick, so it felt like Monday, so I'm totally confused.
April: I've been knitting for several years, but somehow, I'd gotten away with not blocking anything.
May: I've been thrilled with the great response to Yarn Life so far.
June: Not to quibble, but wasn't it Miss Bingley who accused Elizabeth of being a voracious reader, and Elizabeth disputed it?
July: It is way too early in the morning to wrap my brain around this, but I had to share.
August: Happy first day of August, everyone!
September: I've been wanting a toaster oven for a few years now.
October: No, it's not actually snowing.
November: Happy November, everyone!
December: Warning: The following is pretty long and rambling, and doesn't really have an overarching point or theme.
I think the last is my favorite.
It's a boy!
The kitten went to the vet today, and he is indeed a he. He is also very healthy. Yay!
December 13, 2006
1. Thanks again for all the compliments on Dewey. We had a great night - I'm starting to learn the best way to deal with a very active kitten when I'm trying to sleep. (It involves pretending to be asleep and interacting with him as little as possible.)
2. Today's the last day of my semester! I have loved this class, but the break will be nice. And I have the same wonderful professor next semester!
3. I know I said I was going to start some exciting lace when the semester ended, but I'm going to be a good girl and finish my Secret Santa scarf first. It's almost half done.
4. The kitten is making me into a better housekeeper, because I want to keep things tidy so he doesn't hurt anything or get hurt by anything. This is good, but time-consuming.
6. Nevermind, got it.
7. Is Christmas really in 12 days? Seriously? How did that happen?
December 12, 2006
Not that you were worried. But today was Dewey's first day home alone, and I was worried sick all day. When I got home, though, he was fine. And so was the house! Other than a pillow on the floor, nothing was disturbed. Such a good boy. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to spend a smaller percentage of the day panicking.
Here he is with his new bungee toy, which will hopefully help keep him amused while I'm at work:
For FemiKnit, a picture of Dewey looking at the kitten in the window:
And one from last night:
EDIT: Thanks to Chris pointing out that the bungee could, despite the label of "independent play" on the packaging, be a strangulation risk, that toy is no longer in the Kitten-Safe Area. It's now here in the living room, where he only plays with supervision.
Review: Bimbos of the Death Sun
Well, one "good" thing about being home sick for EVER (okay, it was just four days or so) is that I apparently get lots of reading done. (And we don't need to discuss how many episodes of Grey's Anatomy I watched.) At least now I can start my From the Stacks books!
Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb
I had read this (and its sequel, Zombies of the Gene Pool) a few years ago, and reread this one over the past few days in preparation for a book club discussion. This is a fairly traditional murder mystery - but set at a sci-fi/fantasy convention. In short, it's hilarious. I have to say that it is a bit dated, but no more so than other "contemporary" mysteries set in the '80s - it just sometimes seems that way because of the emphasis on technology. (The engineering professor has to explain to the police what a floppy disk is at one point.) You probably do need a bit of familiarity with fandom in order to appreciate much of the humor, although McCrumb manages to explain much of it by having a main character who is new to fandom. If you do have any interest in fandom or gaming or Star Trek, though, and like a good mystery, definitely give this one a try.
December 11, 2006
More Dewey pictures!
...for your viewing pleasure. These were all taken last night by his Uncle jaQ.
Review: Size 14 Is Not Fat Either
Size 14 Is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot
This is the second in Cabot's Heather Wells mystery series. Cabot is one of my favorite authors, but honestly, this isn't one of my favorites of her various series. I don't like Heather as much as some of her other heroines. The "former pop star" bit is getting old, although Heather does have some personal growth in this book, so there's hope. And the mystery plots aren't exactly complex. But I don't really read Cabot for her plots. I read her for her tone, which is pretty consistent between her books and characters. But this book was definitely fun, and I like how Cabot is drawing out the romantic tension in a somewhat believable manner. I will certainly continue to read this series.
December 09, 2006
One good thing about being home sick: Shedir is finally done!
Pattern: Shedir from Knitty
And I assume you want to see more kitten pictures? Yeah, I thought you did. Oh, but first: thank you all for your wonderful comments. I'm trying to reply individually as I can, but I'm still feeling pretty ill and chasing after Dewey is taking most of my energy. So please forgive me if I don't get to all of them. To answer a few popular questions: yes, Dewey is after the Dewey Decimal System. And about the gender: I think it's a boy, but I'm not completely sure. I'll let the vet tell me. The name will be Dewey Burke for a boy or Dewey Jane for a girl, after the wonderful doctor I saw in the ER the day Dewey arrived. And I'm using male pronouns for him for now, because it's too hard to try to be neutral all the time.
So. Dewey in his current favorite spot (on the back of the couch right behind my head, watching Grey's Anatomy):
And taking a little nap (Grey's can get stressful.):
December 08, 2006
Kittens are tiring.
Yeah. So how about some pictures? I have a horrible backlog of pictures already, of course. Here are a few from yesterday as the kitten discovered a favorite spot. Meet Dewey:
Kitten in sunlight:
And my view from here at my computer:
December 07, 2006
Well, THAT was an exciting day.
So this morning I arrived at work as normal, sat down at my desk, put on my iPod, started up the computer, and... wait. My chest hurt. A lot. And then my vision went sort of weird, and my ears started ringing, and I was suddenly sweaty, and a bit tingly and generally shaky. Huh. Standing up seemed like a bad idea, so I e-mailed a friend in the next row asking her to come over to my desk. (Actually, she says that I made a really stupid spelling error in the e-mail, which was her first indication that something was wrong with me.) So she came over, and I was feeling a little better by then, but still dizzy and out of it. And then I called my mom (a doctor) and she agreed that seeing someone sounded like a good idea, especially as I have sort of a history of heart problems and all.
To make a long story short, my friend drove me to the ER, where they did lots of tests and poked me five million times because I apparently have no veins and fed me a surprisingly not-bad lunch. And determined that they couldn't really find anything wrong with my heart, and maybe it was something viral, so go home and rest for a few days, and see a cardiologist in a few weeks for a follow-up.
So my friend drove me home, and guess who was there to take care of me?
Yup. Quite a day.
December 06, 2006
Reading update and Book Challenges
So I gave up on The View from Castle Rock. I might try another of Munro's books at some point, because I liked her language and style, but the format of this one was just not working for me. Oh well. I'm now reading Size 14 is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot (one of my favorite authors), and then I'll finally get started on my From the Stacks Challenge books. Finally. Since, you know, a whole month of the challenge is over and I haven't even started. Oops. And 2007 is looking busy, because I'm joining two more challenges. Yeah, I'm a sucker for these things.
1. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
1. Queen Isabella by Alison Weir
I think I'll be busy...
December 05, 2006
Christmas in Miniature
For various reasons - including, of course, the imminent kitten - I'm not doing too much with Christmas decorating this year. My main decoration is a little tableau on my coffee table. I spend most of my time in the living room, so that seemed like the best place for it:
Yes, the current Hallmark singing decoration is my tree this year. I mean, seriously, I'm getting a kitten. A tree sounded like a poor idea. And this was just so cute. I love penguins. On one side is a gingerbread house tealight burner, and on the other is my Advent wreath:
It's tiny, a "personal Advent wreath." I'm slightly worried that the wee little candles won't last the whole month, but we'll see. I tried to get a close-up so you could see the actual wreath, but it was hard to get it to come out decently:
If you can't read it, in between the candle holes, it says "Silent night, /Holy night, /All is calm, /All is bright." I've actually been lighting it in the morning, because that's when I'm most reliably home, but oh well. It's shiny pewter and simple but elegant.
I've been waking up cold the past few days, so last night I bit the bullet and put my big sleeping bag on my bed. That means that I'm now cuddling up under a sheet (albeit not flannel - must remedy that soon), cotton blanket, quilt, faux down comforter with flannel cover, and sleeping bag. I hope that will keep me warm enough this winter. We'll see. (Oh, I just remembered that I have a big fleece blanket in the attic somewhere. I should find that.) Also, we had some nice snow flurries yesterday! It's really starting to feel like winter. Finally.
December 04, 2006
It was nice while it lasted.
Remember my whole "I'm not doing any holiday deadline knitting this year" thing? Yeah. Not so much. Well, okay, it's only one thing that's been added. I realized that I needed to knit a scarf for my Secret Santa recipient at the bookstore. Here's why:
1. I knit scarves for my Secret Santa people the past two years. I doubt anyone is really noticing/keeping track, but I'd feel bad if the person DID know that I had given handknits in the past and felt like I didn't like her because I didn't knit for her.
So. A scarf it is. I think I'm going to go with the reversible scarf from Cables Untangled: An Exploration of Cable Knitting. It looks like it might take a while, but it looks fun, so we'll see. I'm thinking a rich brown would be good for this person. Heading to the yarn store tomorrow...
December 03, 2006
Knit Unto Others Scarf 2
Here's my second scarf for Knit Unto Others. I did finish it on December 2, as per the instructions, but I had company until well after midnight so I couldn't post. I hope it still counts, but really, counting in the prize drawings isn't the important issue here.
Yarn: Red Heart Baby Clouds (ick) from the stash. So old it had an Ames sticker on it.
See all the "ick"s above? Those are there to signify the main reasons why I hated every stitch of this scarf. The yarn feels plasticky, and has tons of little loops and fiber bits that constantly get stuck on the needles. Hence the need for metal needles. I normally prefer something in the wood family, but without the slipperiness of metal, there was no way I could have managed this yarn. They were size 10, which is bigger than I really like, and straight, where I usually prefer circs or DPNs. So, you know, it wasn't really the most fun thing ever to knit.
Its one saving grace: it went extremely quickly. And, if I can distance myself from the torture of knitting it and try to look at it a bit objectively, I think it's pretty cute, and it will make a child happy and warm. So yay.
December 01, 2006
Warning: The following is pretty long and rambling, and doesn't really have an overarching point or theme. Or pictures. Just to let you know.
First of all, sheesh, you people like kittens! :-) Yesterday's post got more comments than anything else on this blog, with the exception of a few Knitting Olympics posts. Thank you all so much for your advice and support. I really appreciate it, and am taking it all under consideration. Kitten update: kitten has been slightly delayed, because apparently his or her littermates all left at about the same time, and the mommy is sad. So they want to let her keep the last kitten for a few more days. And I figure that a little more time with mom can only be good for kitten. ETA is sometime next week. I'll keep you posted.
So, it's December! REALLY? Already? That seems rather odd. But I love December, so I'm happy. Except that it's still like 70 degrees out. I have a friend in the Dallas area, and her kids had a snow day yesterday. But no, in New Hampshire it feels like May. What's with that? I object.
The next time I will have a whole day free will be, at the earliest, January 7. Well, no. I actually have no plans yet for December 31 or January 1, but my parents always have a party on 1/1, so I have to figure out whether I'll go down there for that, or do something up here, etc... I'm tempted to just say "forget it" and stay home for New Year's, but then I worry that that sounds better in advance than it actually does that night/day when everyone else is out doing fun things. So I'll wait and see what various local friends are doing and then decide.
The lack of time at home is an issue because it seems right now that all I want is to be home. I pretty much just want to read and/or knit and watch TV/DVDs. All the time. I guess this isn't really that unusual. It just feels more severe at the moment, which is probably a product of how busy I've been. So I'm sitting here at my desk pretty much just thinking "I JUST WANT TO KNIT!!!" Pleasant. I'm also in the mood to read, but neither of the books I'm reading are really grabbing me. I'm going to try to finish the Munro book tonight, though. I bought some brain candy at the bookstore last night - new Meg Cabot and new Nora Roberts (her first historical!) - and those will be my reward when I FINISH something. See? I told you I'm all about the self-bribery.
Tonight I actually have the evening mostly free, so the plan is to alternate knitting to episodes of Grey's Anatomy with reading and cleaning the house. And you cannot imagine how much I'm looking forward to this. I'm such a homebody.