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March 15, 2011

Listed: 5 Things I'm Looking Forward To About My New Apartment

1. Living on a paved road

2. Streetlights!

3. Shoveling being someone else's responsibility

4. No basement to flood every time it rains

5. Having a desk in the living room

Posted by Kat at 07:59 AM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2011

Listed: 11 Actors I Like Who Haven't Been Cast in Pilots Yet

1. Colin Hanks
2. Janel Moloney
3. James Badge Dale
4. Bradley Whitford
5. Jason Dohring
6. Alexis Bledel
7. Sabrina Lloyd
8. Jenny Wade
9. Diana Maria Riva
10. Dominic Keating
11. Josh Malina

Posted by Kat at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2011

Listed: 5 SiriusXM Stations I Like More Than I Expected

(Listed is a new [daily-ish? we'll see] feature, because a) I love lists and b) sometimes I just want to tell you I like something or don't like something or whatever without writing out a big long explanation.)

1. Caliente

2. Chill

3. Lithium

4. Faction

5. 20 on 20

Posted by Kat at 07:53 AM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2010

Do Not Want

This started out as an Endnotes I forgot to post last night, and then I noticed a theme...

A Wrinkle in Time ? I am skeptical.

Why on earth would you want to eat ice cream on a roller coaster? That sounds extraordinarily unpleasant.

I like the idea of an Avalon High movie, but this casting news isn't encouraging. Since it says Britt Robertson is starring, I assume that means she's Ellie, which would make Molly Quinn, the other girl mentioned, Jennifer. And it seems really obvious to me that those roles should be switched. Bah.

Rick Perry: Oil Spill May Be an "Act of God". Um, no. I'm about ready for Perry to go away, but alas, it doesn't look like that will be happening any time soon.

Posted by Kat at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2010

Friday List: Things I Want to Read/Watch Over From the Beginning

1. Jane Haddam's Gregor Demarkian series
2. Harry Potter (books and movies)
3. Gilmore Girls
4. Avonlea
5. Veronica Mars
6. Gossip Girl
7. All of Star Trek
8. Anne of Green Gables series (again)
9. The West Wing (okay, I sort of am already)
10. Studio 60
11. The Outlander and Into the Wilderness series (They seem to be inextricably linked in my head.)

Posted by Kat at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2010

Sites That Should Improve Their Search Functionality

It's a beautiful day for a listicle:

Google Groups
Musician's Friend
The New York Times
Yahoo! Groups

Posted by Kat at 05:00 PM | Comments (2)

July 08, 2009

Unread Books

Over at Toddled Dredge, there's a new meme (sort of) about the books we have sitting on our shelves, unread. Now, it would take me all day to list all my unread books (I love used book sales!), but I'm going to pick 50 to list here, and try to read them (or admit that I'll never read them and give them away) by not this coming birthday but the next one (7/31/10). To make things interesting, I grabbed only books that happened to be in my living room (where there are no bookcases but still seem to be books, always) and my dining room (where there are actually two bookcases). This has tilted the list toward non-fiction, and specifically history, but ah well. Are there any on my list that you particularly loved or hated? Let me know!

1. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
2. The Amateur Gourmet: How to Shop, Chop, and Table-Hop Like a Pro (Almost) by Adam D. Roberts
3. Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell
4. The Cook and the Gardener: A Year of Recipes and Writings from the French Countryside by Amanda Hesser
5. Persuasion by Jane Austen
6. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
7. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
8. Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce
9. The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women by Jessica Valenti
10. Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon - and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller
11. Living Witness by Jane Haddam
12. The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King
13. Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books by Maureen Corrigan
14. Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak
15. "A Problem from Hell:" America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power
16. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
17. The Weaker Vessel: Woman's Lot in Seventeenth-Century England by Antonia Fraser
18. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman
19. The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions by Karen Armstrong
20. Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir
21. An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England by Venetia Murray
22. A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
23. Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats by Matthew Yglesias
24. In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 by Mary Beth Norton
25. Daughters of Britannia: The Lives and Times of Diplomatic Wives by Katie Hickman
26. The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain by Maria Rosa Menocal
27. Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution by Simon Schama
28. Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe by Thomas Cahill
29. Bachelor Girl: The Secret History of Single Women in the Twentieth Century by Betsy Israel
30. Maids and Mistresses, Cousins and Queens: Women's Alliances in Early Modern Europe edited by Susan Frye and Karen Robertson
31. Deadlock: The Inside Story of America's Closest Election by the Political Staff of the Washington Post
32. John Adams by David McCullough
33. A New World: An Epic of Colonial America from the Founding of Jamestown to the Fall of Quebec by Arthur Quinn
34. Triangle: The Fire That Changed America by David von Drehle
35. Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother by James A. Connor
36. The Civilization of the Middle Ages by Norman F. Cantor
37. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki
38. A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
39. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
40. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
41. Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft by Lyndall Gordon
42. Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves
43. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
44. Cheating at Solitaire by Jane Haddam
45. On Her Trail: My Mother, Nancy Dickerson: TV News' First Woman Star by John Dickerson
46. L.L. Bean: The Making of an American Icon by Leon Gorman
47. Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind by George Lakoff
48. Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
49. The Making of Victorian Values: Decency and Dissent in Britain: 1789-1837 by Ben Wilson
50. American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work by Susan Cheever

Posted by Kat at 10:23 AM | Comments (8)

July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

Whee, it's Canada Day! I'm not Canadian, but I've found that many good things are. A random, non-comprehensive, not-in-any-particular-order list of Canadian things (and people) I like:

1. Yarn Harlot
2. The health care system
3. Koigu
4. Knitty
5. butter tarts
6. Moxy Fruvous, Bruce Cockburn, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Alanis Morissette, Rufus Wainwright, Barenaked Ladies
7. L.M. Montgomery
8. Nathan Fillion, Matthew Perry, Christopher Plummer
9. Frog and Toad Are Still Friends
10. Donna Moss (briefly) and Robin Scherbatsky
11. Avonlea and many of its fine actors/writers/crew
12. Patrick Carpentier and Paul Tracy
13. Kurt Browning, Brian Orser, and Sale and Pelletier
14. Gun control

I'm sure I'm forgetting things, but I have to get ready for work...

Posted by Kat at 07:43 AM | Comments (2)

September 18, 2008

Posts I owe you

Maybe if I make a list, I'll actually have time to write them, eh?

Photos from the Biden event
August books
Follow up on summer local eating experiment
Some knitting pictures
My new approach to holiday knitting
And maybe something about my new obsession with The West Wing
Posted by Kat at 04:44 PM | Comments (1)

July 31, 2008

They say it's your birthday...

I just had some fun with the July 31 page on Wikipedia, so now I can tell you that I share my birthday with...

1396 - Philip III, Duke of Burgundy
1527 - Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
1737 - Princess Augusta Charlotte of Wales
1912 - Milton Friedman
1919 - Primo Levi
1929 - Lynne Reid Banks
1945 - Gary Lewis (of "and the Playboys")
1956 - Deval Patrick
1965 - J.K. Rowling (and in the books, she says today is Harry's birthday, too)
1974 - Emilia Fox
1978 - Justin Wilson

It is also the feast day of several saints, including St. Ignatius Loyola, one of my favorites.

Posted by Kat at 09:54 AM | Comments (7)

June 26, 2008


I made an extensive packing list for this trip. Okay, so it's a spreadsheet. (Yes, I'm a dork.) So. I thought I was prepared. But last night, while packing my clothes, I encountered the word "sweater" on the list. Ah, right, a nice light sweater to put over my sleeveless dresses if the dining room is cool in the evenings. Makes perfect sense.

The problem: I own no such sweater.

I'm kind of baffled. Did I have a sweater in mind when I'd made the list that I'm now completely forgetting about? Did I have a plan for procuring such a sweater? Did I just think that if it was on the list, it would appear of its own accord? Huh.

So, yeah, time for a quick lunchtime shopping trip...

Posted by Kat at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2008

Trip Planning

So clearly the most important packing decisions for vacations are those regarding books and yarn, right? Figuring out the clothes and things are sort of annoying, but not as agonizing. The big issue with books and yarn, of course, is the fear of running out - of being far from home, and maybe having lots of free relaxation time, and having nothing to read, nothing to knit. That's terrifying!

Okay, first the knitting. It will be the Summer of Socks, so obviously I'll be bringing socks. I got some Noro sock yarn in bright islandy colors specifically for the cruise, so that will be my main project - I'll do something fairly mindless with it to make sure the colors shine through. I'm planning to start the Poseidon socks on the first day of Summer of Socks, and obviously won't be done by then, so I think they'll make quite appropriate cruise knitting, given the theme. That will probably be enough - it's only four days - but I'll probably throw in another skein of sock yarn just in case. You know, to be safe. For emergencies.

Now, on to books. Usually, a book per day on vacation is my absolute minimum, and I usually throw in an extra or two. It isn't even necessarily that I think I'll get that much reading done, but what if the books I bring aren't what I'm in the mood to read? I'm going to hold myself to four on this trip, though, because of the following factors:

1. The ship has a library.

2. I'll be with both my parents, and they will both have books I can steal ask to borrow if necessary.

3. If I need something new for the plane ride back, I can buy one at the airport.

So. I should be able to manage with four. (Plus a few magazines.) I've picked four fairly different titles, for a variety of moods: A Suitable Vengeance by Elizabeth George, The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion, Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire by Simon Winchester, and Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. I think that will be a nice assortment.

What's everyone else reading and knitting on vacation this summer?

Posted by Kat at 01:40 PM | Comments (4)

December 31, 2007

Books for November

The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
Genre: Literature
Pages: 358
Rating: 4.7
This novel revolves around the interaction between a sex ed teacher and her daughter's soccer coach, and evangelical Christian. They initially clash and assume that they will hate each other, but they find they are somehow attracted to each other and things become complex, both in their personal lives and in their small New England town. Perrotta does a very good job of writing about both sides of the abstinence-only education debate without making it into a clearly "good guys vs. bad guys" thing either way. Some of the characters are quite cliched, but others are surprisingly complex. I couldn't put this one down.

On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts
Genre: Women's fiction
Pages: 339
Rating: 4.3
Members of a knitting group feel that their families don't appreciate everything they do to prepare for Christmas and decide to go on strike. The local media hears of it, and the whole thing spirals out of control, with somewhat predictable results. I won't say that this was overly original or anything, but it was a cute, feel-good Christmas read and I'm a sucker for those. The writing was decent and I got attached to some of the characters. I'm hoping Roberts makes this a series.

Well-Schooled in Murder by Elizabeth George
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 414
Rating: 4.5
This is one of George's series of Inspector Lynley mysteries. These are traditional British mysteries at their best (although George is actually not British, contrary to popular belief). This one had a boarding school setting, which I always love. I definitely recommend this series - start with A Great Deliverance.

Candy Cane Murder by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier
Genre: Mystery, cozy/holiday
Pages: 390
Rating: 4.4
This is a collection of Christmas mystery novellas. I hadn't read any of these authors before, but they all sounded interesting, so I figured I'd give it a try. I loved the one by Leslie Meier, and the Joanne Fluke was quite good too. The Laura Levine was okay but not great. Overall, it was a fun Christmas read, and has gotten me reading Leslie Meier's and Joanne Fluke's series. I've tried a few of the recipes included, and they're quite yummy.

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott
Genre: Juvenile, classic
Pages: 62
Rating: 3.5
This little book wasn't much longer than a short story. It is about a farm family in early 1800s New Hampshire - the mother is called away at Thanksgiving and the children decide to make Thanksgiving themselves. Alcott's writing is always fun to read, but this wasn't anywhere near as good as most of her work. I kept being distracted by the "country" dialect that Alcott gave her farm characters, to point out how they were so good-hearted despite their lack of education, I suppose. It just seemed unnecessary - but, of course, these things must be seen in light of their times, and Alcott is, if anything, more politically correct by today's standards than are most writers of her time. I thought this story was interesting in light of the effort in the late nineteenth century to create the "history" and tradition of Thanksgiving, given that this story was set decades before it was written.

Posted by Kat at 04:00 PM | Comments (1)

Books for October

Apparently I was on an alphabet kick in October. (And apparently I was doing something other than reading much, though I can't remember what. Actually, I think I started some books in October that I didn't finish until November. Or didn't finish at all. Or something.)

The End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson
Genre: Literature
Pages: 119
Rating: 4.3
This was a quirky but moving little novel. I often have trouble with books that are so studiedly "different" and "artistic," but I decided to try to let that go and just enjoy this one, and I succeeded, most of the time. It's the story of a man who finds out that he is ill and about to die, and he and his wife try to go to a place for every letter of the alphabet. The characters are surprisingly well-drawn for such a short book, and the ending had me in tears.

ABC by David Plante
Genre: Literature
Pages: 247
Rating: 3.8
My review is here.

Posted by Kat at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

Books for September

Yes, trying to catch up a bit before the end of the year. I know I still won't have posted about all the books I read, but I at least wanted to mention some of them from the last part of the year. I'll try to do better next year! :)

Jinx by Meg Cabot
Genre: Young adult paranormal
Pages: 262
Rating: 4.5
We all know how much I love Meg Cabot. This is another fun YA from her - as with many of hers (fantasy or not), the premise is pretty ridiculous, but as long as you can get past that, the book is a delightful read. It's probably more similar to Avalon High than to any of her others. Jean, or Jinx, is an unlucky 16-year-old who moves from small-town Iowa to the Upper East Side to live with her wealthy aunt, uncle, and cousins. Unsurprisingly, she doesn't fit in, and she and her cousin have all sorts of conflict about many things, including their family legacy of witchcraft. As with almost all of Cabot's novels, there's a great male lead and sweet romantic subplot. Highly recommended.

Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott
Genre: Mystery, academic/paranormal
Pages: 304
Rating: 3.9
I had mixed feelings about this one. I thought that Stott was definitely a good writer, and I was impressed by the way she demonstrated complex relationships and histories between her characters. But I was unimpressed by the actual mystery. There were many threads of the plot, both in present-day Cambridge and in the Cambridge of Newton's time, and they never connected the way I wanted them to, and thought they would. Most of the individual threads were resolved, somewhat, but the connections between them ended up being some sort of "Oh, look, everything in the universe is connected" thing instead of anything actually interesting or satisfying. Still, I'll probably give her next book a try to see if she improves.

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick
Genre: History, Colonial
Pages: 461
Rating: 4.7
I love love loved this one. I find the early Colonial period fascinating in general, and this book provided much more of the "real story" of the Plymouth community than is usually heard. Don't let the title mislead you - it goes far beyond the actual Mayflower voyage and covers King Philip's War, which was a fascinating conflict that I didn't really know much about. I definitely recommend this for anyone interested in that period of history.

Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
Genre: Mystery, forensic
Pages: 411
Rating: 4.3
For those not as obsessed as I am: Kathy Reichs is the executive producer of Bones, which I feel is the best show currently on TV. Although the main character of Bones has the same name as the main character in Reichs' novels, but the show is actually based on Reichs herself, not her books. The character, Temperance Brennan, is, like Reichs, a forensic anthropologist who writes mysteries. ANYWAY. I knew all this going in, but since I love the show so much, I still had a hard time getting past the fact that this Temperance wasn't the Temperance from the show. Other than that, though, it was quite a good book, and I will be looking for more in the series. It is set in Montreal, so it included some interesting things about the law enforcement/criminal justice system there.

Posted by Kat at 10:14 AM | Comments (1)

November 28, 2007

Sleepy Wednesday Randoms

1. Blah, sleepy. Oh well. This week is crazy busy and it's not going to get better any time soon. My big dream for the day is that I might have time to stop for milk on my way home tonight. Yeah.

2. Speaking of sleepy: I got a surprise transcription job last night. The good news is that it will about cover the tires I had to buy last week. The bad news is that there goes most of my knitting time (and a bit of my sleeping time) for the next week or so.

3. My Christmas knitting list is scaring me. My goal is that by the end of this coming weekend I will have fewer projects to finish than days left. We'll see.

4. I have at least finally purchased all of the supplies and tools I need for holiday gifts. I think. Of course, as soon as I post this I will realize that I need another set of needles or something.

5. I want to make fudge. (Because obviously I don't have enough to do.) Anyone have a favorite recipe?

Posted by Kat at 09:56 AM | Comments (1)

September 17, 2007

Chilly Monday Happy Things

1. It was cold out this morning! There was frost! I felt totally justified in getting out a scarf and fingerless mitts for the first time this season.

2. Bones. Have I mentioned how much I love Bones? I adore it. I'm almost done with the first season, and I'm going to keep the third season on the TiVo until I watch the second. Yes, part of it is that I'd happily watch David Boreanaz read the phone book, but I also do really like the other characters and the forensic anthropology.

3. I have a big stack of library books to read. Don't you love that feeling?

4. I have a new bookcase! I bought it yesterday and a very nice friend put it together (with help from Dewey, of course). Pictures soon.

5. I also found three books and two videos at yard sales, for a grand total of $1.50. Love that.

Posted by Kat at 09:11 AM | Comments (1)

September 06, 2007

Signs of Autumn

(Yes, I know the season hasn't technically started, but in my brain, seasons all start on the first of the month. September 1, December 1, March 1, June 1. And yes, I know it's going to be 90 this weekend. I'm in denial.)

1. It was cold enough to wear flannel to bed the past two nights. Flannel. I cannot express the joy this brings me.
2. Dewey has been getting cuddlier as the temperature has been dropping.
3. Pumpkin spice lattes are back!
4. Halloween candy is starting to appear in stores. Reese's pumpkins... mmmm.
5. I saw pumpkins for sale for the first time yesterday, and on the way to work today I actually saw a few at someone's house.
6. The leaves are starting to change with a vengeance, although I sort of feel like this is earlier than it usually happens.
7. All I want to do is read and drink tea and bake things.
Posted by Kat at 09:01 AM | Comments (6)

July 27, 2007

Whoa. Where did this week GO?

What the heck happened to this week? I can't believe I haven't had a chance to blog all week. Although, looking back, I guess I can believe it. I've been way busier than usual at work, and working more hours than usual, and fairly busy in non-work time as well. Here are some of the things I've been doing instead of blogging this week:

1. Reading the new Harry Potter. (Well, okay, I finished that the day it came out.)
2. Watching the debate and discussing it and related matters ad nauseum.
3. Eating fondue at the Melting Pot with my dad, who was in town for business.
4. Doing preliminary research on starting a business.
5. Doing data entry for the Edwards campaign. (Honestly, I'm still undecided, but I'm leaning toward Edwards, not least because I think he stands a better chance in the general election than do the other Democrat frontrunners.)
6. Enjoying my new air conditioner.
6. Teaching myself SQL.
7. Knitting, occasionally. Should have some finished things to show you next week.

And because the above didn't allow for much time for blog reading this week, either... what have you all been up to this week?

Posted by Kat at 09:11 PM | Comments (4)

June 22, 2007

The best site ever.

Okay, that's sort of a sweeping statement. But seriously. If you need help getting organized, or just like lists, make sure you check out Remember the Milk. I discovered it a few days ago, and I love it.

Posted by Kat at 06:29 PM | Comments (2)

May 14, 2007

First post-school Monday happy things!

I'm still fairly ecstatic about being done with school, so it seemed a good time to start doing Monday Happy Things again. Things making me happy today...

* No more school! (Obviously.)
* Good books and music
* Discovering that, although I despise scrambled eggs, I love scrambled tofu
* A lovely day at NHS&W yesterday
* Actually having time to knit
* And to cook
* Gorgeous May weather
* Graduation is on Saturday!
Posted by Kat at 11:21 AM | Comments (7)

November 20, 2006

Progress Report

Let's see how I did on those goals this weekend...

1. Finish Shedir. Hah. Nope. I was thinking that hats are quick, but Shedir is a particularly fussy hat on small needles with splitty yarn. I think I'm on row 16. I'm really liking it, though.

2. Finish two Netflix discs to send back on Monday. Well, I finished one. Review soon.

3. Make a decent dent in my current homework assignment. Yup! Look at me, being all responsible and getting homework stuff done first. Aren't you impressed?

4. Pick out a recipe for a dish to bring to D&D next week and one to bring to Thanksgiving, and shop for the ingredients. Sort of. I realized that, since I'm traveling the day before Thanksgiving, it would be too stressful for everyone if I tried to cook or even warm something up in my mother's oven or my aunt's. So I'm bringing a few bottles of cider instead. Yes, that cider. Don't worry, I won't try to operate the ballwinder. Anyway. I did pick out a recipe for D&D (Mark Bittman's macaroni and cheese), but I didn't go shopping. I'll stop at the store on the way home from work today and cook when I get home.

5. Get to 28,000 words on my novel. HAH. No. I've pretty much given up on NaNo for the year. I will continue working on my story, but I'm not worrying about word count. I realized that it was keeping me from more important things, and that I was setting myself up to be distracted and irritable throughout Thanksgiving. And I was making myself sick from not sleeping enough. And it's just not that important.

6. Sit down and do some serious holiday gift/entertaining/etc. planning Yup. I'm not done, but I've gotten a good start.

7. Update the sidebars. Yup. But I guess you can see that for yourselves.

Posted by Kat at 09:03 AM | Comments (14)

November 17, 2006

Weekend Goals

Whoa crazy busy. Again. Still. Whatever. Anyway. I decided I should post some goals for the weekend, in hopes that that will keep me focused and give me a feeling of accomplishment, or something. Or maybe I'm just short on stuff to talk about today. You decide. :-)

This isn't everything I have to do, by any means, but it's some things that I'd really like to get done. If that makes sense.

1. Finish Shedir.
2. Finish two Netflix discs to send back on Monday.
3. Make a decent dent in my current homework assignment.
4. Pick out a recipe for a dish to bring to D&D next week and one to bring to Thanksgiving, and shop for the ingredients.
5. Get to 28,000 words on my novel.
6. Sit down and do some serious holiday gift/entertaining/etc. planning.
7. Update the sidebars.

That's... well. Probably enough, huh? What are you trying to accomplish this weekend?

Posted by Kat at 05:58 PM | Comments (8)

August 01, 2006

Happy August!

Happy first day of August, everyone! Since it's August, that means that I start checking the weather forecast obsessively, waiting for the temperatures to drop. (This continues through September. Then in October I check obsessively for any hint of snow. Yeah, I'm a dork.) No real sign of it yet, of course, although it looks like most of next week will be in the low 80s, which will probably feel positively frigid given the high 90s we have at the moment.

August also means a whole month's break from school! I'm sure you're all shocked that I've been constructing a mental to-do list of things to get done this month. But at least they're mostly fun things. So without further ado...

Things to Do in August

* Sew up the freaking baby sweater (yeah, just didn't have time during the Blogathon)
* Finish the baby blanket before he gets too old
* Actually mail the above items plus some other things I have sitting around waiting to get to people
* Read 20 books for the Summer Reading Program
* Clear out Teddy TiVo in preparation for fall TV
* Watch Veronica Mars from Netflix in preparation for picking up with season three on TV
* Get the spinning wheel into a more accessible location and start spinning again
* Rearrange/organize/clean apartment, so I can....
* Adopt a kitten!!!

Also, it seems that a lot of people I care about are going through weird/difficult personal stuff right now. Let's hope August is a better month. You're all in my thoughts.

Posted by Kat at 11:18 AM | Comments (6)

March 30, 2006

If I blog it, I have to do it.

I'm feeling vaguely out of it today, and have been for most of this week, actually. Part of it, certainly, is a need for just a bit more sleep than I have been getting. And I just have no focus. I don't know. Maybe it's because of spring. And actually being fairly happy sort of leaves me at loose ends. I can't decide whether I want to go run around crazily in the sunshine or take a road trip or hide under the covers and read obscure British novels. So. Um, anyway, where was I? Oh, lack of focus, right. I think I've made my point.

SO. Anyway. My plan for the evening is to go home, get some stuff done, RELAX a little, and SLEEP. Early. Theoretically. And because we've seen how scattered I am today, I'm going to put my to do list right here so that you all can harass me about it tomorrow. Okay? Okay.

1. Clean a bit. Honestly, my main point with this one is to find my copy of Last Minute Knitted Gifts and my missing Netflix envelope, but I'm planning to look for them in a way that makes the room look tidier rather than messier.

2. Finish translating Lauren's diploma. Yay Latin!

3. Block Branching Out.

4. E-mail my professor about my final paper topic.

5. Work on the Call for Submissions for the new online magazine I mentioned yesterday. (Thanks for all the enthusiasm about that! More details soon!)

6. (Finally) finish knitting the second ball of Dave's Scarf. I think it has entered the black hole phase - I've been knitting and knitting and nothing has been happening. At least if I finish a freaking ball of yarn I'll feel like I'm making some progress.

7. Start a grocery list. I'm out of hummus and pita. This can't be good.

8. Finish reading Knitting Rules and Bad Kitty.

Okay. That's totally doable for an evening, right? And theoretically it will result in pictures of a blocked Branching Out for you tomorrow.

Posted by Kat at 04:40 PM | Comments (5)

March 29, 2006

Quick Randoms

Because I was supposed to go to bed on time tonight, darn it! Argh.

1. Operation: Harlot was successful last night. I arrived at the store at 10:30, unpacked boxes for the first 15 minutes, and then realized that I had 15 minutes and about 25 boxes left and I had to go more quickly. So then I started just opening boxes. Blood was drawn. (Boxes are sharp!) But I found it. Wheeeee. It's wonderful. Better review after I finish reading it.

2. Clapotis = fun. And I haven't even started dropping stitches yet.

3. Watched the fourth Harry Potter movie tonight. Some of the exterior shots seemed oddly cartoony, but I thought it was good overall. Hermione is still my favorite, of course. As always, I found myself sort of wishing that they'd hurry up through the dragon/battle/whatever scenes and get back to the academics and interpersonal relationships and lovely boarding-schoolness. Maybe I should just go find some school stories to read.

4. Don't you hate it when something disappears right after you discover it? Last week, I discovered the green tea lattes at the coffee stand on campus. Now, I don't normally like green tea much, but these were all milky and melony and yum. Yesterday? They were gone. Bah.

5. Interested in reading or contributing to a free online knitting lifestyle magazine? Sort of Glamour meets Knitty, with a little Bust thrown in? Let me know.

I'm sure there was more, but I really, really should be asleep. Good night!

Posted by Kat at 11:06 PM | Comments (7)

March 28, 2006

Oh, look. A Plan.

So I'm loving the Rule of Ten idea (well, except for this weekend when I was chomping at the bit to start Clapotis), but I'm apparently feeling the need to prioritize a bit more. Basically, what happened was that at some point last night I realized that I had all these vague ideas floating around in my head. Ideas like "You know, it was be awfully nifty if Birch was noticeably bigger when I bring it to Steph's next signing than it was at the last" and "If I wore Clapotis to NH Sheep & Wool, it would be easy for people to recognize me because it's so freaking bright." (Because you're all coming to Sheep & Wool and want to meet up, right? Right?)

So it seems as though it could be beneficial to write up a list of when I'd sort of like to have various things finished. None of these are hard and fast deadlines, per se - they're more just... goals. A Plan. I seem to attract Plans. Anyway:

April 16 (Easter/next time I'll see my family) - Dave's Scarf and Irish Hiking Scarf
April 21 (Steph's signing in Grafton) - Birch
May 13 (NH Sheep & Wool) - Clapotis and Salina
June 16 (roommate's birthday, so it would be nice if his Christmas present were done) - Campus Scarf
August 5 (family reunion) - Baby Aran
October 14 (Rhinebeck) - Rogue

I've been averaging three finishes a month of late, so that's all totally doable, even with my usual lack of focus. Well, April and May look a little cramped, but... we'll see. The main challenge will be convincing myself to knit anything but Clapotis. It's rather addictive. But today I left it at home and so I have high hopes of getting well into the third ball of yarn for Dave's Scarf at class tonight.

In other news, we're on Harlot Watch around here. The book is on the truck. On its way to my store. The shipment should get there this afternoon; they may or may not have time to unpack it. (I may or may not go unpack it for them after class.) Erica is supposed to call me with any news, but I'll be driving more or less by the store on the way to class (around 3:30) and on the way back (around 10:30). So. Unless Erica calls and tells me not to, I'll stop on the way down this afternoon - heck, I wouldn't mind a latte for the car anyway - and if there's no sighting by then I'll go back after class. And if for some reason that shipment doesn't make it there today, I'll go back after work tomorrow. Because, you know, what better to do on my night off than go to work? (Don't answer that.)

Posted by Kat at 01:22 PM | Comments (8)

March 15, 2006

Random, with Pictures!

Wow, it's already Wednesday again! And I'm still in a good mood. Yay.

1. I knew the recent springlike weather was just a tease. We had some bizarre fits of snow this afternoon. At least we know who to blame.

2. I'm liking the scarf better as it gets longer, so that's good, I guess:

As you can see, it's not exactly reversible, but rather two-sided. I'm hoping to knit a ball of yarn every two days, so I finish on Sunday and can start Rogue. The picture has about half a ball knit up, mostly from lunch yesterday, subway and class last night, and lunch today.

3. On Sunday night, I realized that, improbably enough, I didn't seem to have any plain decaffeinated black tea in the house. I picked up some Red Rose at the store today, and they have new figurines! I've been sort of collecting them since I was very young, so it's always exciting to get a new one. I got the cute little bunny.

4. I saw Match Point over the weekend. Whoa. I think I've decided that it was very good, and you should see, but I probably do not ever want to see it again. But ahhh, Jonathan. Even in this rather, shall we say, questionable role, he was gorgeous. Oh! And according to IMDB he's going to be Henry VIII! That's one of the most exciting things I've seen in a while.

5. I'm doing some reorganizing of my Bloglines feeds. I've realized that I have a hard time getting into new-to-me blogs without reading all the archives, so now I have a separate category for blogs I think I'll want to read regularly but that I have to catch up with first. It's making it all much easier to navigate.

6. Last night for dinner I tried an Odwalla Strawberry C Monster smoothie and Super Protein bar. It was filling and surprisingly satisfying. Hmm. This may have to become my default quick dinner for nights when I have class or work. If I can find them, of course. I found the smoothies at the grocery store tonight, but I couldn't find the bars, even though the cashier told me they sold them. I got a few Luna bars, since they seemed to be the closest, but they don't have as much protein. Ah well.

7. And another for Project Spectrum: (blurry) strawberries!

Posted by Kat at 09:05 PM | Comments (1)

March 09, 2006

Books and TV and blogs, oh my!

I was all conflicted this morning: do I post about Black. White. or do I do a book meme? Decisions! Luckily, Cate made the decision for me by starting a new group blog: Reality TV Sociology. Come read or blog along with us if you're so inclined.

So the book meme! This is from Carole, even though she forgot me in the librarian list. ;-)

Meme instructions: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won't, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you've never even heard of.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
The Secret History - Donna Tartt

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert

Hmm. There are some that might be on my bookshelf but I don't remember that they're there. (Someday I will complete my inventory...) Or that I've borrowed. Yeah. The Atwood is on my night table, actually, now that I think about it, but it's not mine so I didn't count it.

Also, apparently I do not decide that I won't read books. I mean, I'd read pretty much anything if you put it in front of me. (Vickie, this means you.) Also, yes, I've heard of all of them. Lit degree + enough time as a bookseller will do that.

Oh, and I forgot to tag people. How about Erica and Rachel and Kristen? (Sorry if any of you have already done it.)

Posted by Kat at 03:46 PM | Comments (5)

February 07, 2006

Stress Reduction

Between the Knitting Olympics and the semester starting and my upcoming trip (not to mention the regular two-job insanity), I'm running around like, I don't know, a chicken with its head cut off, I guess. (And apparently too brain-dead to come up with original similes.) So I'm going to try taking a few steps toward stress reduction, because what's the point of going on vacation if it's just stressful, right?

1. I bought a black wrap to match my dress. Therefore, I don't have to worry about finishing the Clove Stitch Shawl.

2. Other things that have been deleted from the "Must Do Before Trip" list: wash sheets and towels (because that requires a trip to the laundromat), finish short story draft, finish other socks before Knitting Olympics, finish father's and brother's Christmas gifts. (Mom was more excited about hers, so that's my priority). Oh, and cleaning my bedroom.

3. I got more than a day's worth of work done at the day job today, and am planning to do the same tomorrow, so I can panic uninterrupted on Thursday and Friday.

4. I will hereby stop worrying about the following things, because I have no control over them: what my mother, grandmother, or other relatives might say about my weight and/or appearance; other family drama; whether the friends I'm visiting in Texas will like me in person (we've only met online/phone); plane crashes; the weather.

5. Lists, lists, lists. My coping mechanism of choice.

6. I am going to pack as much as possible tomorrow evening, so that Friday evening will be less stressful. Theoretically.

Oh, and a Knitting Olympics note: athlete sign-ups end at midnight tonight. I will keep adding team links, buttons, media coverage, etc. for the duration, though, so keep them coming.

Posted by Kat at 05:43 PM | Comments (4)

February 01, 2006

Random Wednesday

1. New hair again, in its natural (i.e. not blow-dried straight) state:

I think I like it. More pictures here, here, here, here, and here.

2. I'm actually feeling remarkably focused about knitting recently. I'm re-enamoured with my Trekking socks and they're coming along nicely. Tonight I'm making myself work on the Clove Stitch Shawl I want to bring to Florida. Next week. Yeah.

3. One of the reasons for my focus is that the roommate has decided to try a sweater: he's chosen Beau from Vintage Knits. In a show of, um, moral support or something, I've promised I'll start a sweater from the book as well. Contenders at the moment are Fleur, Bridget, Faye, Oriel, and Salina. Opinions?

4. Right before midnight last night, I finished Guns, Germs, and Steel. More about it in the upcoming January Reads post, but I am veyr proud of myself for managing to make it the whole way through this time. My new lunch reading is Elaine Showalter. Yeah, I'm a dork.

5. My semester started last night. My class - Literacy and Service to the Underserved - seems like it will be really interesting, and the professor actually encouraged me to knit in class.

6. I just ordered my luggage for my trip. Which is next week. Yeah. Good thing L.L. Bean delivers so quickly. I should probably start thinking about what I'm putting in said luggage, eh?

7. Ugh. My favorites were voted off of Skating with Celebrities. How can anyone not adore Kurt Browning? Does not compute. qw21?

Posted by Kat at 10:17 PM | Comments (2)

December 31, 2005

New Year's Resolutions

Well, it's that time again. Fewer this year, though, because last year's list just went so well.

1. Get one of my novels-in-progress to the point at which I can start submitting it to agents and/or publishers.

2. Read 100 books, at least some of which are from my mental "I really need to get around to reading that" list. (I don't know, 100 just seemed like a good number. I like goals.) Keep track of them.

3. Finish more knitting projects than I start, and decrease the size of the stash. And keep track of what I knit, because it would be nice to know.

4. Finish a gorram sweater. Finally.

5. Finish losing the weight I want to lose. (No need to get into the particulars here, as I write about that elsewhere.)

6. Try to relax. A little. Sometime. I'm really bad at that, and I make my life much more difficult/stressful than it really needs to be.

Posted by Kat at 07:41 PM | Comments (1)

December 20, 2005

To whom it may concern:

Dear knitting,
Thank you for being reasonably cooperative thus far. Might I suggest that we step up the pace a bit?
the knitter

Dear stupid coworkers in the neighboring department,
I don't think the word "gay" means what you seem to think it means. You might want to look it up before you yell something like "You all must think we sound really gay" over the row of cubes again, because at least two of us over here are about ready to throw big cans of soup at you.
Just a thought,
P.S. Boss, that goes for you too. Also? Stop with the jokes about women. Thanks.

Dear Chris Botti,
"Hallelujah" (yeah, the Leonard Cohen one) is not a Christmas song. Just no. I don't care if it has the same name as the Handel chorus. No. Have you heard the words? I know you don't sing them in your version, but please tell me you at least know what the song is about. Your muzak version really has no reason to exist, especially not on a Christmas album.
No love,
Jeff Buckley fan

Dear customers,
I know you for some reason think the online reserve thing saves you time, but it really doesn't. And here's a little secret: it just makes us really, really annoyed with you, although I do understand that it's not your fault that the system's so screwed up. But please. Call and ask us to hold your book. It works just as well, if not better. I promise.
The girl with the pager

Dear out-of-it teacher lady,
30% of $30 is not $10. It is $9. I promise. I'm not sure how many different ways I can explain this to you. You're a teacher. Aren't you supposed to understand things like that?
Your cashier
P.S. I was nice. Next time find your darn educator's discount card. Preferably before you get up to the register and start holding up the line.

Dear reading public,
No, The Da Vinci Code is not out in paperback. Neither is virtually any book published in hardcover in the past year. That's just not the way it works, and I promise, it's not my fault. It is also not my fault that you didn't decide until December 19 that you need to order an obscure book for brother-in-law. I can't magically make it appear. I know that you are probably angry at yourself and just taking it out on me. The holidays are stressful. I know. Please try to remember that it's stressful for me too.
Let's all smile and try to get through the next few days.
Your friendly neighborhood bookseller

Dear salespeople,
I know this may come as a shock, but when you send a request to my department that includes direct insults to my department, that does not make me feel especially inclined to hurry up and get it done for you right away. Just in case that hadn't occurred to you.
No love,
The data corrections girl

Dear Mr. Ledger,
Well done. Couldn't you have played both roles?
Much love,
P.S. Casanova looks cute too, if a bit historically debatable.

Dear readers,
Thank you to anyone who waded through all that. Something coherent (like a review of Brokeback Mountain) will be coming one of these days, but, honestly, it might not be until after Christmas. I will try to at least get some Christmas knitting pictures up soon.
Much love,

Posted by Kat at 04:41 PM | Comments (4)

December 18, 2005

Christmas Knitting Dos and Don'ts

It's... going. Not quite as well as I'd wanted, but I figured that would happen. So to distract you from my lack of pretty pictures or actual content, here are a few pointers for you based one what I've picked up over the past few days.

* DO just keep knitting, and avoid thinking about any of it too much.

* DON'T use yarn or needles you hate. Metal 15s? Ribbon? Eyelash? The end results are pretty, but what was I thinking?

* DO take advantage of the lovely technique that involves doing some extra wraps before each stitch one row and dropping them the next and stretching it out. (I'm sure it has a name but I don't have time to look it up.) My God, does that make a scarf go quickly.

* DON'T take a break to argue with your mother. Or at least put her on speakerphone or something so you can keep knitting. (At least I won.)

* DO "carpool," i.e. get people to drive you places so you can knit in the car.

* DON'T just keep adding things to your list. My list went from 12 to 14 before it got down to, um, 13 at the moment, but two of those are almost done, I swear.

* DO cut back on sleep and housework. 5 hours a night. Laundry and dishes. Everything else can wait.

* DON'T watch anything too enthralling or complicated while knitting. I'm finding that Simon Schama's History of Britain works well - it keeps me interested but, well, I know the plot, so it's okay if I don't give it my full attention.

* If you are making anything that comes in pairs like socks or mittens, DO knit one of each pair first. It will keep things interesting, and it's better to give each recipient one mitten and some yarn instead of two mittens to half of them and just yarn to the rest.

* DON'T let yourself get dehydrated. Dehydration does not increase knitting speed. I've been going with mostly Tab and various kinds of tea.

* DO keep the house stocked with easy-to-make, non-messy food. You don't have time to cook or to take food breaks. Knitting while eating is possible. I've been concentrating on canned soup, chips and dip, baby carrots, Twizzlers, and chocolate.

* DON'T develop a new addiction to an online game. (I'll give you the link after Christmas. I promise. It's for your own good.)

* DO remember the twelve days of Christmas. Nothing is technically late until January 6. Especially if you're Catholic.

* DON'T let yourself feel too much envy or resentment when you walk by your roommate's open door and notice the neat stack of books and CDs that he's giving people for Christmas. So what if they come already assembled? You're putting in way more effort.

* DO resolve to drag him into the madness next year. It's not like you forced him to start knitting.

Posted by Kat at 10:35 AM | Comments (4)

December 15, 2005

The Plan

Okay. Trying not to panic. Plans solve everything, right? I'm a good planner. I like to make lists. So. I just need some lists and a plan.

First, knitting hours as calculated last night:

Coworker scarves (2): 5 hours each
Dad's and brother's scarves: 10 hours each
Roommate's scarf: 20 hours
Nosewarmer: 1 hour
Cousin scarves (3): 3 hours each
Pairs of mittlets (3): 5 hours each

Total: 75 hours. KHPD: 7.5. Um, right. That's another full time job. I have one of those already. Huh. This might be a little difficult, you think? So.

The Plan

1. This weekend will be the big marathon knitting. Friday night: finish at least one cousin scarf. Saturday night (since I'm working all day): finish at least one coworker scarf. Sunday: Knit all day. Finish other coworker scarf and nosewarmer (and hopefully something else, but let's let that be a pleasant surprise). Those three scarves are the things I really need done before Christmas, so I will breathe a bit easier then.

2. The next focus will be the mittlets, since those are harder to knit while out and about. Monday and Tuesday I will work on the mittlets at home and scarves while out (in line, on lunch break, etc.).

3. The three cousin scarves? I'm going to go with these. Two hours each. Steph promised. And did you see how I budgeted three hours for each above, since I know I can't possibly knit as fast as she does?

4. I am leaving work early tomorrow to go to the yarn store to get the yarn for the cousin scarves, mittlets, and nosewarmer. Oh, but there's supposed to be an ice storm. Please God, don't let the yarn store close. That would totally mess up the plan.

5. Basic schedule for next week: work 8-5 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Probably other work Monday and Thursday evenings. Wednesday I'm taking the day off to go Christmas shopping with my cousin in Boston. I'll carry a scarf around to knit while we shop. I'm sure she'll love that. Wednesday night I need to make something for the work potluck on Thursday, but I can knit while I make meatballs, right? Wednesday night is probably around when I'll cut down on sleep, as well. Don't want to do that too early, or the adrenaline will run out.

6. Tuesday evening I have agreed to see a friend. The conversation went something like this:
Friend: We should hang out before Christmas. I have presents and I miss you.
Me: Is hanging out something that can be done while knitting?
Him: Of course. I figured as much.
So hopefully that won't cut into the knitting time too badly.

7. Friday evening is free. Thank goodness. Oh, except for packing for CT. Saturday (Christmas Eve) I'll be working and leaving for CT right from work. Sunday is Christmas and there will be lots of people at my parents' house. Nevertheless, I seem to think I will have a fair amount of knitting time both days.

8. On Christmas, I will be knitting my roommate's scarf, since Christmas Day is one of the very few days on which we won't see each other (as we'll be with our respective families). And he's okay with it being a Boxing Day or New Year's or Epiphany present if necessary.

9. And really, I'm not above giving a few things on the needles and having them done when I see everyone again at New Year's.

10. But. That's only an extra week. This is still quite a lot of knitting, even with the extra week.

Progress reports will appear when possible. Let's hope I can get lots done over the weekend so I don't get too discouraged. Send caffeine and chocolate.

P.S. I was vaguely thinking of a few more nosewarmers for other relatives, "if I have some extra time." The delusion runs deep.

Posted by Kat at 03:41 PM | Comments (2)

December 14, 2005

Random Wednesday ('cause I can)

Yeah, I know, twice in one day. But I had stuff I felt like saying and liked the idea of posting Random Wednesday on Wednesday for once. (It is Wednesday, right? I think?)

1. First, because Lauren asked for it:

The five scarves-in-progress, albeit a bit blurry. The stray needle and brown yarn coming in from the left belong to another scarf-in-progress, but that one is my roommate's, not mine (thank goodness).

2. Tonight was my last class of the semester. We had pizza and wine and cookies and then left early. Really, all classes should be like that.

3. During class, my professor asked me: "Could you make your life any more difficult?" Hah. He doesn't know the half of it.

4. I also discovered that when I e-mailed my final paper to my professor yesterday, I didn't actually, you know, attach the paper. I am so smart.

5. While walking to the train after class I started calculating my Knitting Hours Per Day for the next ten days or so. Let's just say that it's looking rather appalling. Details, and hopefully a Plan, will be forthcoming. Tomorrow. When I'm bored at work.

6. I have decided that Green Day's "Holiday" is what I wanted Franz Ferdinand's second album to be. Not necessarily politically (because Franz Ferdinand is/are British [Scottish?], for one thing), but musically.

7. Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the fatal shooting incident that occurred at my alma mater. Although I was there long afterward and didn't know anyone involved, the reverberations are still felt throughout the tiny community, and I felt I should mention it and that everyone affected is in my thoughts today.

8. On a happier note, it is also my dad's birthday.

9. New Dunkin' Donuts favorite: Vanilla Spice coffee. Yum.

10. I'm dreaming, not of a white Christmas (well that too), but of all the things I will have time to knit after Christmas: the baby Aran, Birch (which was going along swimmingly until I finally had to admit that I should stop on it until after Christmas), Trekking XXL socks, and some sort of freaking head covering, already. I am in New Hampshire. It is cold. I do not seem to own a hat. What I really want is a hooded scarf, but I'm not letting myself think about it yet.

11. It sounds weird, but I have discovered that sleeping in hoodies (yes, with the hood on) is SO cozy. Another thing for which I can blame my roommate. Caffeine, Auden, alcohol, Michael Nava, Six Feet Under, cilantro, sleeping in hoods... what will be next?

12. Since I am home in time to go to bed on time, I should really do so, huh? 'night.

Posted by Kat at 10:35 PM | Comments (3)

Ack ack ack ack ack

See? Told you I'd be panicking soon enough. Christmas is in 11 days. ELEVEN. How did that happen? How? I have several presents started, at least. The majority of them are some variation of "red scarf." I am sick of red. And scarves. And I've thought of several more people for whom I need gifts. And decided that no, if I'm knitting for my dad and brother, I need to knit for my mom too. Especially since she doesn't much like scarves. So. How about a new list?

Projects in Progress
1. Irish Hiking Scarf for Dad. Red. Maybe... 1/6 done? Ish? I haven't even looked at it in weeks.
2. Ribbed scarf for brother. Red. Several inches done.
3. Ribbed scarf for random semi-coworker. Red. About 1/3 done. (Yes, the project on which I have made the most progress is for the person I don't really know. Not that I sabotage myself or anything.)
4. Fun fur scarf for secret santa person. Pink. (Not quite red!) Several inches done.
5. Campus Scarf for roommate. Not red! About 10% done.

Now, you'd think I'd be able to say "enough already" and just concentrate on getting those things done. But, um, apparently not. I am taking 1/4 of a vacation day on Friday to get to the yarn store before it closes to get yarn for the following:

Projects I Have Not Even Started
1. Three pairs of mittlets. (Mom, aunt, other aunt.) None of them will be red.
4. Three scarves. (Cousin, other cousin, godmother/cousin.) Think big needles, novelty yarn, quick quick quick. Also not red.
7. A nosewarmer. Also for godmother/cousin, because she was complaining about her nose being cold the other day. And because it won't take very long, so I can have a feeling of accomplishment.

And, um, yeah, if you look at my creative numbering scheme up there, you will see that I have More. Projects. Than. Days. I just figured that out as I was typing it. And there's no chance I will finish anything today or tomorrow because I won't be home until midnight-ish either night. So. Um. Basically, I need to barricade myself in my apartment this weekend (except that I'm working Saturday 8:45-5) and drink lots of tea and watch lots of DVDs and knit. Oh, except if my roommate wants to go see Brokeback Mountain. That's worth leaving the apartment for. But otherwise... not so much, I'm thinking.

And, of course, I am stuck here at my desk and cannot knit. Torture. If I think about knitting enough, eventually something will start knitting itself, right?

Posted by Kat at 02:10 PM | Comments (1)

December 07, 2005

Me me me me meme

I'm procrastinating, and Kat tagged everyone who read it, so...

10 Things you might not know about me:
1. I have broken my left arm and right leg.
2. I was born with congenital heart disease and have had a few open heart surgeries.
3. I am officially a high school dropout.
4. I like driving in snow, as long as there's not much of it.
5. I didn't try alcohol until I was almost 23. (Yes, that's how old I am now.)
6. I'm a virgin.
7. I started college as a physics major.
8. I used to play D&D and Magic: The Gathering.
9. I have several other blogs/online journals/etc.
10. I have recently become addicted to Tab.

9 Places I've visited:
1. Nicaragua
2. England
3. Italy
4. France
5. Vatican City
6. Malta
7. Monaco
8. Spain
9. Cornwall

8 Ways to win my heart:
1. Cook me dinner.
2. Let me cook for you.
3. Knit for me.
4. Ask me to knit for you.
5. Read me poetry.
6. Talk about literature.
7. Treat me like an intelligent adult.
8. Deal gracefully with my quirky family.

7 Things I want to do before I die:
1. Have a novel published.
2. Own a house.
3. Go to Ireland.
4. Get married.
5. Have children.
6. Finish a sweater.
7. Learn to speak another language fluently.

6 Things I am afraid of:
1. The dark
2. Falling
3. Loneliness
4. That no one really likes me
5. "Grown up" paperwork type stuff
6. People close to me disappearing

5 Things I don't like:
1. Fish (as a food. I like fish if they are swimming) <- I'll stay with Kat on this one.
2. Mean jokes or teasing
3. Bugs
4. Rude customers or coworkers
5. Ice on the roads

4 Ways to Turn me Off:
1. Refuse to take responsibility for your actions
2. Be rude (to me or anyone else)
3. Be totally self-centered
4. Make fun of people

3 Things I do every day:
1. Brush my teeth
2. Read
3. Talk to or e-mail my roommate

2 Things that make me happy:
1. Reading
2. Knitting

1 Thing on my mind right now:
1. My stupid paper

As Kat said, I'll tag whoever reads this, but especially Aisling, Erica, and Cate.

Posted by Kat at 03:01 PM | Comments (2)

December 06, 2005

November Reads

Sorry this is a few days late. Things have been crazy, and I've been either happy but too busy to write or sad and therefore not feeling like it. Anyway. The mini-reviews might be even more mini this time, but it's something, at least. Again, five books for the month, which is not that bad, I guess, considering that I also worked two jobs, went to class, wrote a novel, and knit Christmas presents.

(Explanation of the ratings)

How Town by Michael Nava
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4
Comments: The third in the Henry Rios series. Like the others, very good. This one gets into Henry's past and his psyche, which makes things interesting. There wasn't as much of Henry's lover Josh as I would have liked, but we did get to meet Henry's long-lost sister. As I've said before, I highly recommend the series in general.

When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan Kellerman
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 3.5
Comments: The first in the Alex Delaware series; I've read a few others, but I decided to go back and read the whole series in order. It's definitely a fast-paced, enjoyable read, and I'm looking forward to discovering how the characters evolve throughout the series. My one main problem with this book was in Kellerman's descriptions of people, especially women and gay men. I tried to remind myself that it was written twenty years ago and tried to just enjoy the story. It sort of worked.

Hidden Law by Michael Nava
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 3.8
Comments: The fourth in the Henry Rios series. I didn't like it quite as much as the others I've read, which is why it gets a slightly lower rating, but I'm not sure if I really didn't like it as much or if I'd just read too many Nava books in a short span of time. Or maybe my main problem with it was that not-very-nice things happened with Henry and Josh's relationship. (Trying to avoid blatant spoilers here.) Still, a good read, and I still love the series overall.

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 3.5
Comments: Pretty good. It's a very short book, and I somehow felt like it was too short in some places and dragging in others. Still, a fascinating picture of a very interesting mind. I did think Styron was rather flip about the effects that his depression had on those around him, especially his wife. My basic conclusion was that I'm not sure I'd like him much as a person, but I definitely want to read more of his books.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 5 (yes, FIVE)
Comments: Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I loved this book. Loved loved loved it. So much that I'm having a hard time being very coherent about it. But it's about love and loss, and life and death, and grief and art, and hey, it just won the National Book Award. It's not exactly the happiest read, but with that caveat, I can't recommend it highly enough, especially if you're going through the aftermath of any sort of loss in your life (not just death). I made my roommate read it and I'm giving it to my parents for their birthdays. Both of them. It's that good.

My reading goal for December is to finish some of the books that have been languishing partially read. Starting the month, I had a list of ten (and that was after taking off five that had gone back to the library or otherwise been abandoned). I'd really like to start the new year with a clean slate. Wish me luck. So far, I've finished one of the ten, am a few pages from finishing another... and am about to start something new. Ah well. As Cate keeps saying, two steps forward, one step back.

Posted by Kat at 08:16 PM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2005

Worth every penny

Up here in Red Sox land, I tend to get some weird looks and questions when I buy the New York Times on Sundays. Why am I not buying the local paper1 or, if I have to be snobbish about it, the Boston Globe2? I am clearly some sort of traitor. I get these questions from people behind me in line and even from the cashiers who are selling me the paper. (Hey, cashiers? Nota bene: saying "What could this paper have to make it worth $4.50?!?" is not necessarily the best way to, you know, sell more papers. Just saying.) I generally mumble something about the Book Review and the crossword puzzle and how yes, I know the other papers have crossword puzzles too, but if Will Shortz isn't involved, they really don't count, don't you see? But no, they invariably don't see, and they give up, and I give up, and they let me buy my paper. But it's sort of exhausting. And my actual reasons for buying it are a bit more varied:

1. The aforementioned Book Review and crossword are, actually, quite important to me. Something just feels wrong if I don't have them.
2. My father has purchased the Times every Sunday since... well, I don't know. Probably before I was born, anyway. Again, it just feels wrong not to have it around. And some sort of emotional connection/stability thing is involved, too.
3. There's always a chance that Amanda Hesser will have something in the food section. She is on the "Can I be her when I grow up?" list along with Sara Norton, Meg Cabot, and Stephanie.
4. Erica expects the Book Review when I'm done with it.
5. I really do like the other sections, at least most of them, even if I don't always get through them. I like having the option. Some weeks I read more of it than others, but, again, it just feels wrong if it's not there.
6. And, okay, I am a snob. I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, but part of me likes being the sort of person who buys the Sunday Times. (More on this in the forthcoming post "The New Yorker Divide." I know you're waiting with bated breath.)

But now I have a much simpler way to explain it. As I was reading last week's Book Review this morning (um, yeah, I'm a bit behind), I came across the phrase, in reference to Greg Critser, "arguably the least bubbly reformer since Oliver Cromwell." That alone says it all. That's why it's worth my $4.50.

Also? Every single week the Book Review includes more books that sound interesting than I could possibly read in a month, never mind a week. But I keep writing down the titles, keep thinking I'll try...

1 Because I get the local paper delivered on Sundays, people, although really mostly for the grocery coupons. And I'm considering cancelling it, anyway. But shhh.
2 Don't they know the Globe is owned by the Times, anyway?

Posted by Kat at 10:32 AM | Comments (2)

November 25, 2005

Giving thanks

Things I am thankful for this year...

* My family. They may drive me crazy, but I love them and I know they love me and that means a lot.
* My roommate. Not to be overdramatic, but the past year would have been much harder without him.
* My "real life" friends. I seem to have more of them than I think. It's nice.
* Especially the friend I spent Thanksgiving with... she's actually an online friend who seems to be crossing into "real life" territory.
* Which brings me to online friends/bloggers/e-mail lists/etc. Quite thankful for you all as well. (And then of course there's Erica, who also manages to straddle the real/online barrier, to sometimes interesting results...)
* Knitting. It has also done its part in saving my sanity.
* Books/music/movies. In all the relationship drama, I'd sort of... forgotten. Not had the mental energy to read/watch "hard" stuff. And I'd felt like I shouldn't, for various convoluted reasons. But I'm loving getting back to it.
* My job at the bookstore, because I love it.
* My other job, because it provides financial security.
* My lovely apartment, even with the bizarre shower.
* And now we get to the hard-to-define part... it has been an incredibly hard few months, and I can't really say I'm thankful for getting my heart ripped into a million pieces, but I am thankful for how it has made me take stock and think about who I am and what I want and how everything in my life was wrong. Um, I seem to be failing with the "positive spin" concept here. Sorry. But... I guess I'm trying to say that, even though I'm still fairly miserable a lot of the time, at least I'm getting better at letting me be myself. And that deserves thanksgiving.

Posted by Kat at 12:14 AM | Comments (1)

November 21, 2005

Things I Have Learned in the Past Few Days

1. Six Feet Under + Birch = up until almost two am. Yeah. Bad combination. By which I mean "extremely fun and wonderful." At least I didn't have to be up early the next morning.

2. When my apartment is 49 degrees, it is pretty difficult to get out of bed.

3. Knit.1 seems to have a gift for writing simple patterns in the Most Confusing Way Possible.

4. On Friday afternoon, my roommate had to go to a meeting that might have coincided with our free snacks here at work, so I was to grab a snack for him. I realized that I'd be more confident in ordering for him at a decent restaurant than I was picking out a candy bar for him. Does this make us snobs, or just adults? I'm not sure.

5. It is, in fact, possible to talk on the phone while rolling very hot cookies in powdered sugar. Just in case you were wondering.

6. Sometimes those "Oh yeah, this IS my real life" moments actually help. Yesterday I was trying to simultaneously bake cookies and write my novel, and feeling vaguely annoyed at the situation. And then I realized that, if all goes according to plan, I will be writing novels while baking cookies for the rest of my life. (Well, eventually it would be nice if I didn't also have two jobs and school to keep up with while writing novels and baking cookies, and then maybe I could have enough time to give the writing a break and concentrate on baking for a few hours. But really, no guarantees.) And, somehow, once I realized that this was it, the writing got much easier.

7. A radio station that replaces its DJs with recorded messages about how they no longer have DJs to talk too much is, in fact, more annoying than the stations that actually do have DJs that talk too much.

8. I want to be Meg Cabot when I grow up.

Posted by Kat at 01:41 PM

November 17, 2005

Dear universe,

Just a few small requests:

1. The new coworker in the cube next to mine really does not need to talk to himself, randomly laugh vaguely maniacly, or sigh and/or moan at random times. Really.

2. It is getting toward the end of November. Will you get over this wishy-washy "Oh, maybe I'll rain or just fog up everything" thing and just snow already? Hint: This might be easier if you would also stop with the yo-yo temperatures.

3. I like working with the public. Really. I'm just not sure how many more times I can explain something as complex as, oh, alphabetical order or the fact that the bookstore has two floors or how, if you want a price changed, you do in fact have a "price issue" without attaching "you idiot" to the end of all of my sentences. Could we make everyone just a tad smarter?

4. You don't really want Christmas to be in fewer than 40 days. Really. How about an extra week or two? How do you expect me to get all this knitting done?

5. I'd also vaguely like to know how I ended up with two iPods in my desk, but hey, I'm not complaining.

6. Oh, yeah: Thanksgiving. Haven't I agonized over this enough already? Shouldn't it be over by now?


Posted by Kat at 04:59 PM | Comments (1)

November 09, 2005

Random Wednesday

(Yes, we had Random Kat Facts just last night, but that's a different kind of randomness. This is the "Here are twenty things I've been meaning to tell you but didn't have the time/energy/inspiration to write a whole post on" sort of randomness.)

1. If you would like a link to get a coupon for "Friends and Family Weekend" at Borders - 20% off now through Monday, I believe - let me know.

2. I'm feeling cautiously optimistic about the election results. Yay New Jersey and Virginia and Maine. Boo Texas.

3. Whoever decided to play "Saturday in the Park" (you know, the "every day's the fourth of July" one) right when the majority of listeners would be headed to work on one of the coldest days yet this autumn really should not be a DJ. (Or computers shouldn't be picking out music. Whatever.) That said, it did make me smile and it's a good one to sing along with. Can you dig it? Yes I can! (Of course, listening to "My Immortal" next didn't exactly do wonders for my mood, but who can resist the line "Your voice, it chased away all the sanity in me"? Yeah, I'll be listening to that the rest of the day...)

4. I finally finished the school assignment that had been hanging over my head being impossible for two weeks. Turns out I was making it far harder than it actually should have been. (What, you, Kat? Making something hard for yourself? Really? Shut up.) I'm ridiculously excited about it being done.

5. I'm also ridiculously excited about the fact that I'm wearing my "skinny jeans" that haven't fit in about a year. Whee!

6. Novel? What novel? No, really, it's... coming. I'm a bit behind but not irreparably so. As I said to my roommate this morning, I have nothing planned this weekend other than working all day Saturday (yes, he laughed), so I'm hoping to get a few good sessions in and get ahead.

7. Meg Cabot blogs! I somehow just learned this last night. Happiness ensued. (I know what I'll be doing during my down time at work today...)

8. I took a vacation day yesterday and Erica and I headed out for a day of excitement involving Harrisville, the Woolery, and crazy fundamentalist pizza. I'll let her tell you her big news herself, but let's just say that she picked me up at nine and by noon we'd managed to spend about $500 between us. And that was before the Woolery.

9. At Harrisville, I found a copy of Knitting Fair Isle Mittens & Gloves: 40 Great-Looking Designs by Carole Rasmussen Noble. A friend, with whom I had never before discussed porn of any sort (I don't think), recently told me that this was one of his "favorite books of knitting porn." It's out of print, and I didn't want to order an expensive used copy sight unseen, but there it was in the bookcase at Harrisville! And - yes. My friend was absolutely right. (And yes, I have started a glove.)

10. I may have also started the Irish Diamond Shawl from Folk Shawls: 25 Knitting Patterns and Tales from Around the World1 in Harrisville Shetland in Evergreen2. I bought the "weaving" version of the yarn, on the cone, because it was a fraction of the price (and it's what the pattern called for, technically). I'll let you know how it goes.

12. I finally went to an orchard and got local apples, unpasteurized cider, and cider doughnuts yesterday. Yum.

13. Okay, my computer here at work is freaking out, so I think it's time for some quality time with AdAware.

14. But I don't want to jinx my bad mood by leaving off on number 13, so let me just mention how annoyed I am that my online registration for next semester is at 5 pm on Saturday. Because that is clearly the best time for everyone to be at their computers. (I get out of work at five, so I'll be at least a half hour late and probably not get my first choice of classes. Bah.)

1 Am I going crazy, or does my copy have a different cover than the one Amazon shows? Hmm. Check your copy. What's on the cover?
2 They have three million about ten shades of green, so I'm not sure if the picture of Wendy's I linked above is in the same color, but it's close.

Posted by Kat at 09:42 AM | Comments (3)

November 08, 2005

Random Kat Facts, 6-10

The "my brain is weird" edition...

6. The words for "right" and "left" still do not come naturally to me a lot of the time.1
7. I see words in my head. Especially when people talk. Sometimes they appear as if they're being typed; sometimes they scroll; sometimes they're like subtitles. Sometimes they just hang in the air. (Hi, Rachel!)
8. I love to sort things. And alphabetize things. If I could make a decent salary shelf-reading full time, I'd be in heaven.
9. The most purely fun class I took in college was Formal Logic. Of course, given that most of my classes had names like "Agony in Stony Places" (no, really), that might not be saying all that much.
10. I love to learn languages, and learn them pretty easily. Latin is my favorite language.

1 This is, of course, when talking about physical directions. I'm pretty clear on the concept when it comes to politics.

Posted by Kat at 11:35 PM | Comments (2)

November 04, 2005

What's in your purse?

Bitch Ph.D. asked about the contents of our purses or pockets. I have no pockets in my skirt today (what is WRONG with women's clothing designers?), so, the contents of my purse:

Sock in progress
Packet of tissues
Small bottle of hand sanitizer
Two pens (blue and purple)
Two Lip Smackers (Cookie Dough and Strawberry Kiwi Comet)
Cell phone
Cough drops
Just-in-case pad
Asthma inhaler
Antibacterial wipes
Simmons ID
Paycheck to be deposited
Knitted pouch holding some cards that don't fit in my wallet (library, insurance cards, etc.)

Hmm, I think that's it. Your turn!

Posted by Kat at 02:24 PM

November 01, 2005

October Reads

Well, last month I hoped for a longer list of completed books this month. It is longer: I've gone from three to five. I'm still not really satisfied, though1. I want to be finishing a book every few days. I like myself better when I'm reading a lot. But that just isn't working out recently, for whatever reason. (Busyness, lack of focus, general sadness and ennui... take your pick.) And, again, I have lots of books I've read some of this month but not finished. I suppose I will, once again, pin my hopes on next month. Because, you know, with two jobs and school and NaNoWriMo and holiday knitting, I clearly have tons of time on my hands.

Well. Without further ado, here are the books I finished in October:

(Explanation of the ratings)

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner
Genre: Drama
Rating: 4.5
Comments: I read this shortly after watching the mini-series2. Both were extremely well done and affecting, but I wish I'd read the plays first so as to avoid the "can only picture characters as those actors" syndrome. Anyway, the subtitle is "A Gay Fantasia on National Themes," which I suppose is as good a six-word description as any, although I'd like to emphasize that this title is not of interest to only gay audiences. It's set in the eighties and deals with interesting issues involving religion, sexuality, AIDS, marriage, family, modern American life, and more, and is both intellectually interesting and emotionally wrenching. Not to be missed.

Rag and Bone by Michael Nava
Rating: 4.5
Genre: Mystery
Comments: This is the seventh and last book in Nava's Henry Rios mystery series, but I read it first because it was the only one at the library. After a heart attack, lawyer/detective Henry makes some changes in his life, including mending his estranged relationship with his sister and beginning a new romantic relationship (which he had not expected to happen again after his partner died of AIDS). He discovers a niece and grandnephew he never knew and soon becomes involved in unraveling the secrets of their life, including defending his niece when she is accused of killing her husband. Henry is extremely appealing in a complicated, tortured sort of way, there are several compelling secondary characters, and the mystery plot itself, while slightly predictable at times, keeps the pages turning. The writing is beautiful and I love Henry's love of poetry. I couldn't put it down; Nava is now the newest addition to my "favorite authors" list.

Until the Real Thing Comes Along by Elizabeth Berg
Genre: Women's fiction
Rating: 2
Read my review here.

The Little Death by Michael Nava
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4
Comments: The first in the Henry Rios series3. Not quite as amazing as Rag and Bone, but very very good. The mystery includes family secrets, legal drama, doomed romance, and all that fun stuff. Henry evolves over the course of the series in a way that many characters do not, so it was interesting to go from the last to the first. Now I'm working my way back in chronological order.

Goldenboy by Michael Nava
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4
Comments: You guessed it! The second in the Henry Rios series. The murder in this one involves troubled teenagers and messed-up Hollywood types. Perhaps more importantly, though, the subplot is one of the best bittersweet romances I've read in quite a while. Again, I highly recommend the whole series.

1 I know! Aren't you shocked?
2 The mini-series includes both parts one and two of the play(s). I'm planning to read part two but just haven't gotten there yet.
3 Yes, I said the library only had the last one, but I was hooked, and my roommate, who recommended these in the first place, wanted to own them anyway, so he's been buying used copies that I've been reading.

Posted by Kat at 02:49 PM

October 06, 2005

Are you sure it's not Friday?

Reasons why I think it's Friday:

1. This has been one of the longest weeks ever. You could tell me it was next Friday and I wouldn't be surprised.
2. I just got home from the movies. I normally do not go out gallivanting on work nights.
3. I had candy at work this afternoon, which is generally a Friday-only occurence.
4. I have a weird urge to stay up late doing nothing in particular.
5. I really, really, really do not want to go to work tomorrow.

Posted by Kat at 11:17 PM | Comments (2)

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