Monday, June 30, 2008

Whew! That Was A Day!

Busy, busy, busy. I actually worked an hour of comp time and could have worked more except that poor ole Mr. Pointy Sticks was too tired to work comp so he was just waiting in the car for me. I joined this new branch just when 1) there is a hearing coming up, 2) one of the other women is, as I mentioned, on maternity leave, and 3) the other young woman had to go to Texas for a long weekend to help out her sister (who is just back from Vietnam with a new baby sister for her twin boys! how cool!!). So my boss and I are scrambling...but it's fun and she's a good person to work for/with. So that's cool.

I need to go do some chores, but then I am going to come back and do this meme. Hey, it's books! It's my kind of meme!

This came from Amy at Knit Think.

  • Bold all the books you have read
  • Underline those you loved &/or have read more than once (I can't underline easily on the blog so I'll make these red)
  • Italicize books on your To Be Read list (books you own just haven’t read yet)
  • Add an asterisk to those you started but didn’t/couldn’t finish

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole *
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
Bleak House - Charles Dickens
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Complete Works of Shakespeare (haven’t read them all…a fair number of the plays and some of the sonnets and sort of can’t imagine reading any more unless I took a class or something)
Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
Don Quixote - Miguel De Cervantes
Dracula - Bram Stoker
Dune - Frank Herbert
Emma - Jane Austen
Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
Foucault’s Pendulum - Umberto Eco
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Germinal - Emile Zola
Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (well, I’ve read the first couple - don’t really want to read any more of them)
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke
Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo *
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden*
Middlemarch - George Eliot
Middlesex: A Novel – Jeffrey Eugenides
Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
My Antonia – Willa Cather
Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
Northanger Abby – Jane Austen
Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
On The Road - Jack Kerouac
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Persuasion - Jane Austen
Possession - A.S. Byatt
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome *
Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
The Bible (again, I’ve read chunks)
The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (but I sort of wish I could have those two hours back)
The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri
The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
The Iliad - Homer
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
The Odyssey - Homer
The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton
The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Ulysses - James Joyce
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
Watership Down - Richard Adams *
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West – Gregory Maguire
Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

And you? Which are your favorites/most disliked on this list?

Hit The Ground Running

It's going to be a busy day but I'll grab a few minutes to tell you what we did this weekend.


Heck, we didn't even leave the house on Saturday. On Sunday....we did grocery shopping. Whoopie. It was not an exciting weekend chez Pointy Sticks. My brother and S. came for a quick visit on Sunday. My brother has written a blues song in honor of my knitting. That may show up in the next day or so.

But I did get a lot of reading done.

Current Reading

Friday evening I finished up Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen. It was a fun read...the narrator's voice (ten-year old Sally O'Malley) is pretty distinctive though there were some flaws. A quick read.

On Saturday I read Deborah Crombie's latest, When Memories Lie. Not as good as her earlier mysteries, ot as good as the latest one with the barges, this one left me feeling sort of meh. I don't think I'll stop buying her books (Elizabeth George is at that stage for me. Even though people have been saying that this latest one is good. I'll try t from the library, thanks.) but I may wait for the paperbacks.

Yesterday I read Morag Joss' The Night Following, which I really liked. It's a sad'un though, like Half Broken Things.

Now I'm on to one of Michael Connelly's, The Last Coyote.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Um, Loopy Ewe? About This Addiction I've Developed....

I tell you , I get that message from Sheri saying that there's more new stuff in the store and I just can't help myself. This week I scored some Numma Numma yarn. I had been hearing people on Ravelry drooling over it and, man, the colors were scrumptious. I manage to get two colors in my cart and purchased before they disappeared. Could have gotten a third but I was trying to show some restraint.

The colors I got?

Tomato Chutney (the orange and yellow and red one) and Brunch for Beth. (I feel as though I should make socks for my friend Beth out of this.)

Duncan approves.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Suddenly, Work Doesn't Suck!

The job switch, that I think I mentioned before and that I asked for sometime before last Christmas, has been made. I am still working in the same office but on a different program staff. I am away from the obnoxious boss who I loathed. I honestly think it was mostly pheromonal. (Well, actually a lot of people - agency-wide - don't like the guy. But I disliked him from the moment I met him, when he worked in another branch. Bleah.)

Anyway, now I work for a wonderful woman and with two other young women (one of whom is on maternity leave) and the subject area is different, and more interesting to me. I like the way my new boss works...everyone is involved in everything and kept up to speed on everything that's going on.

However, I will probably have less time for knitting at work. Not a bad thing....the day certainly goes faster when we're busy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

At Long Last...Pictures

Viola! The sock!

Heel flap is done and I'm ready to turn the heel. This heel flap is just a continuation of the leg slipped stitch padding. But it will look nice with clogs or other shoes where the back of one's heel is on display.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Someone Wake Me Up When The Poison Ivy's Gone

Remind me, please, never to go outside again. Still with the poison ivy, still with the itching, still with the Bena........z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z, oh sorry.....dryl. I loathe Nature.

Still plugging away on the first Hedgerow sock. (Hey, maybe I can actually get a picture of it tonight! There's a concept.) But I am so proud of myself! I was chugging along down the leg and getting close to doing the heel flap (which I actually started at lunch today) and thought (without a glance at the instructions) "Oh, I think I'm going to want to shift this stitch over to the other needle so that the instep stitches are symmetrical." And I was right...the instructions actually talk about this. And then I started the heel flap and was breezing right along and just felt very confident. It's like a little switch has gotten flipped and I've internalized the Basic Ways of the Sock. Cool. And that's even with a head full of Benadryl.

And I just placed another order with the Loopy Ewe. I've ordered some Numma Numma yarn to try. It certainly comes in pretty colors. (Let's hope that, unlike the North Harbor yarn from the post a few days back, this yarn is as pretty in person as it is in its picture.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Well, That Was Certainly A Short Weekend

We drove down to Fredericksburg on Saturday to see one of my favorite people.

Rachel is taking a Milton seminar (better her than me, that's all I have to say) in the second summer session. She gets to stay in the same apartment, but moved from the double room into a single. She was expecting two room-mates to show up today but as of 5 p.m., no one had arrived. And 5 p.m. was the end of move-in time. So she may have the entire apartment to herself, which could be nice but could also be pretty lonely.

I got some more knitting done on the green Smooshy sock on the way down and back, but less than you might think as I am taking Benadryl for this poison ivy (which will not die) and I find that naps are just incredibly appealing. Like hey-someone-hit-me-over-the-head appealing.

We had a late lunch yesterday at the Bonefish Grill where I had melt-in-your-mouth Ahi tuna. Yum. And we laid in lots of groceries, so Rachel will be eating well, if by herself.

There's a wonderful post on Looky, Daddy today. Couldn't say it better myself.

I had lunch the other day with two old friends. One of them (let's call her Maude) is pretty conservative. I knew that, but I was sort of aghast when she made some negative comment about gay marriage. "But...but...but..." I sputtered, "How can you be against it? How can you be against people loving each other and finding the communion of marriage so important that they want to share in it?"

"Well," said Maude, "I think marriage is about procreating and there's no way that a gay couple can do that."

"Oh, okay," I said, "So I guess couples who marry and then find out that they can't have children should have their marriages annulled? And couples who decide they don't want children but do want to be married...they're just out of luck."

"Oh," said Maude, apparently giving this some thought for the first time.

"But," she said, "the Bible says that it's a sin..."

"Well, I certainly hope you're not wearing any cotton-polyester blend, 'cos the Bible doesn't like that fact, there a lot of stupid rules in the Bible. Are you following them all or just picking and choosing the ones that you like?"

Maude was silent.

I don't think I did anything to sway her. And I love her dearly. But I hate that she thinks this way.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Smooshy Redux

The sock, started on size 1 needles yesterday, was ripped out last night and re-started today on size 2's. It's much better. The fabric is less....cardboardy and stiff. I've only got the ribbing done so far, but I'll keep churning along and I think it'll be fine. The Smooshy is very pretty...just subtle shifts in color. I can't get a good picture of it here tonight...I'll work on it some more and try to get a shot tomorrow.

I got a package from the Loopy Ewe today. For the first time, I am less than thrilled with one of the yarns I got. See if you can guess which skein isn't my favorite!

First, from The Sanguine Gryphon - Bougainvillea

Another from the Sanguine Gryphon - Philebus (Philebus is one of the Socratic dialogues, as well as a speaker in that dialogue...according to Wikipedia, Philebus says something along the lines of "enjoyment and pleasure and delight, and the class of feelings akin to them, are a good to every living being." I can get behind that.)

And from Indie Dyer - New England Harbor

So...which one is....odd? Yup, that would be the last one, with the not-terribly-attractive acid yellow and dull greys and browns. Not my favorite. I wish the picture of it was still up on the Loopy Ewe because I'd love to know what made me order it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Resistance Is Futile

I finished up my Lorna's Laces Apple Hill socks the other day. They're yummy and I'm very pleased with them.

"There," I thought, "those are done. Now let's get going on that Miss Bea cardigan for little Alexandra!" So yesterday I came to work with that pattern and the yarn for it. And at lunchtime I pulled out my needles and yarn and cast on and knit happily away for a while and then found myself thinking.....

"What sock should I start next?"

So last night I pulled out my Dream in Color Smooshy in Go Go Grassy Green (it was extra-appealing because it had already been wound into two equal balls) and today at lunch I worked a little more on Alexandra's cardigan but had to come to a stop because I forgot to bring any stitch holders with me. But, la la, that just means I get to start a new sock! How wonderful is that. I think I'm going to be trying Jane's Hedgerow Socks. They look pretty and doable.

Photos as progress warrants...I mean, really...I haven't even cast on yet.

Edited to add:

So I cast on with my new Knitpick's Harmony needles in size 1. (The pattern calls for 1's.) Such pretty little needles. Little being the operative word. I feel as though I'm knitting with toothpicks.

And, those of you who have knit on 1's, you can tell me the truth....these socks are going to take a l-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng time, aren't they? Half an hour's work and I have about half an inch of cuff.

In other news, the woman in the cubicle next to me likes to eat pumpkin seeds...or sunflower seeds (I can't remember which). One at a time. Cracking the seeds open, cracking little bits off them. Over and over and over. It sounds like the crunching of small mammal bones and I am about ready to pick up my chair and brain her with it. I'm thinking that's completely justificable workplace violence.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Do I Have The Best Big Brother In The World Or What!?

My brother and his sweetie just got back from a week-long visit to Seattle. They loved it there, even though there was apparently only about a 5 minute pause in the rain the entire time they were there. J. thinks Seattle is even cooler than Toronto, and he really likes Toronto. He was especially blown away by Hardwick's hardware store where, he said, he had an almost religious experience. (The man loves his hardware stores...what can I say? He keeps saying things like, "They had eighteen different kinds of door stops! Eighteen! And those were just the straight ones!") They had great food, a good hotel, very successful trips to used bookstores.....

But I love him because when they went to Kinokuniya, he thought of me. And he brought me a gorgeous book of Japanese stitch patterns (the book shown at the top of this page) and another little book of needle felted animals which, he said, he couldn't resist because of the hedgehog on the front. It's plum adorable...if my scanner worked, I'd scan in a picture of it. I'll try to take a photo this evening.

Thank you, mein brutter! This makes up for all the times you made me carry your trombone home from school for you!

Monday, June 16, 2008

What I Love (And Don't Love) About Knitting Socks

Number one on the love list has to be the assortment of yarn available to the sock-knitter. Beautiful colors, delectable fibers. I can't walk into the Black Sheep without checking out the Claudia's....seeing what they might have new in the Araucania, realizing that I could never choose just one colorway of the Noro...

And while you might not want some of these brighter yarns in a sweater, as a pair of socks, I think they'll be fun. I fell in love with hand-painted yarn the first time I saw it, but you take your chances with how it works up. I've had good luck with scarves, but I've never been really happy about the sweaters I've tried out of it. (Though I've now seen some sweaters out of the very subtly colored Dream In Color yarn and I think I may have to try one of them...)

Love - 1, Don't Love - 0

Starting a new pair of socks is sort of a pain. Getting the cast on lined up on your needles, making sure it isn't twisted, doing those first few painful makes me feel semi-incompetent every time. "Look at the monkey knitting the socks!" small children say as they pass me by. On the other hand...well, that's pretty much balanced out by the fun of starting a new project, all excited to see how the yarn is going to pattern. So...

Love - 2, Don't Love - 1

The leg of the sock is where you can have some fun. There are gazillions of beautifully designed patterns out there but you can also open up a stitch dictionary and find one that works with the number of stitches you have on your needle. Depending on the pattern you chose, this portion of the sock can be pretty mindless (straight ribbing) or I-need-to-pay-attention knitting (lace patterns). I'm still pretty much at the "keep it simple, stupid" stage, but I am beginning to feel confident about stretching my wings a little.

Love - 3, Don't Love - 1

When you get down to the heel flap, it all seems pretty straight-forward. It's sort of fun to work back and forth instead of in the round. And I am beginning to see that there are possibilities in the heel flap. I've now learned that you can do a garter stitch edge and it'll look pretty cool. And that it looks even better if you have an odd number of stitches in the heel flap. And now I'm wondering how it would look to have a little cable run down the sides of the heel flap. In fact, the cable might run all down the side of the!


Love - 4, Don't Love - 1

Then there are the magic parts...the first one of which is the heel turn. Man, you just feel so accomplished! Here you are knitting along north to south and, hey presto, now you're knitting east to west! It's so simple when you see what you're doing (though I still lean on Charlene [Schurch...I spend so much time with her, I figure we're on a first name basis] figure out the first two rows of the turn), and so clever.

Love - 5, Don't Love - 1

The gusset. I always have to go somewhere quiet to do the heel turn and to pick up the stitches for the gusset. I still need to concentrate on it to make sure I have the right number of stitches, to make sure I remember the two extra stitches at the corner of the gusset, to remember to knit in the back of the picked up stitches. It's a thoughty little process. But it too has a little magic, as you see your stitches smoothly emerge from the side of the heel flap.

Love - 6, Don't Love - 1

The gusset decrease is another "pay attention" sort of place. I think on almost every sock I've made so far I've forgotten a decrease on one side. Usually I can catch it in the same row and back up and fix it. On this last sock...well, let's just say that the decreases on one side carry on for one more row than the decreases on the other side and leave it at that. So a little fiddly...but then you get that lovely row of decreases, marching so tidily (provided you remember them all). So...

Love -7, Don't Love - 1

Just when you think you've had enough of the thinking and keeping track, you enter the body of the foot. No more decreasing for a while and, if you decide to end your patterning at the ankle, just plain ole stockinette. I am getting so that I can really rip right through this section. And you know that you're getting close to the end, and that's always a thrill.

Love - 8, Don't Love - 1

And, just when you're getting a little bored with the stockinette (I have big feet), hey! you have these neat little toe decreases to make. For some reason, I have less trouble remembering to alternate decrease and non-decrease rows here, though I have to have Charlene whisper to me about the number of stitches I should have when I start every-row-decreases and the number I should have when I stop. But the decreases look so tidy and cute, curving in to cover your toes.

Love - 9, Don't love - 1

And then, the final bit of magic. Kitchenering the toe. I have to get the instructions out every time, sitting with Charlene on my lap (I said we were close) but it just blows me away every time. Oh, I'm not the best at it. But I'm getting better, I think.

Love 10, Don't Love - 1

The weaving in of the ends? Well, that could almost be a "Don't Love." But there are only two of them...and when you're done, you're done! No buying and sewing on buttons, or picking up and knitting a finishing touch...just pop 'em on your feet and you're ready to go! (Well, you might want them to match...)

Final score:

Love 11, Don't Love - 1

You know what this means? I think I'm a sock knitter!

(Which is good, considering the amount of sock yarn I seem to be amassing.)

Current Reading

After trying for the second time and slowly slogging through about 100-200 tedious pages of Kostova's The Historian, I have set it aside again (and perhaps permanently, unless someone can assure me that it picks up soon). Instead, I'm starting Robert McCammon's Speaks the Nightbird. At page 31, I'm already more engaged than I was with The Historian. Witch hunts and evil in the Carolinas in 1699. Yummy.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Late Post

The skies were looking like this this afternoon:

And there was thunder rumbling about, so I put off blogging.

But I had a very nice, and rather self indulgent, day. For one thing my poison ivy has pretty much completely subsided. Oh, it still looks hideous, red and blotchy, but it isn't oozing and it isn't itching. That's a big win.

Also, my new glasses came in and it's amazing how sharp everything looks! Wonderful!

Finally...well, there was yarn.

First of all, I got my most recent order from the Loopy Ewe. Which had in it:

Fiesta Boomerang in the Misty Morning colorway. I'll be interested to try this. It's sold by the Loopy Ewe as sock yarn but the label says "18 stitches to 4" on needle size 8." I'll be interested to see how this knits at a tighter gauge but I'm also wondering if it wouldn't really rather be a pair of mitts or something.

Claudia's Hand-dyed in Freesias. Click on this to see all the gorgeous colors. This one is so cheerful.

And, a real indulgence -

Perchance to Knit in Beach Party. This is another one that it would pay to enlarge. It's 25 percent cashmere and oh my god, it is so soft. And see the pretty stitch marker?

The day also included a very quick, drop in visit to the Black Sheep. It was fast but not so fast that I didn't come out with something.

Ella Rae's book 9. There are some really nice sweaters here. The Black Sheep carries Amity and the all wool yarn, but there are some sweaters here in a yarn called Pebbles that looks all soft and loopy. I hope they can special order it for me....maybe?

And I am becoming very smitten with Claudia's Hand-dyed, though I haven't yet used it. It sure feel good in the skein and the colors are gorgeous. These two came home with me:

The colorway is Oops. I love it. If it was a mistake, it was a good one!

And, in a less materialistic vein....a few years ago I planted a little pink plant by our front door. I didn't realize it would come back, but it does, every year, and every year it looks a little bigger...a little less weed-like. And it smells divine. I think I should plant a couple more.

Friday, June 13, 2008

All I Have To Say Is...

Thank God (and smart scientists) for prednisone.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Argh! I've Been Shot!

Full of steroids, that is. And I have one of those packets of pills to take starting tomorrow. And the doctor said, "Next time you get poison ivy, come in immediately. The faster we start treating it, the quicker it heals. And you're obviously sensitive to it." So yay for that.

The nurse who took my history and the doctor were both very smitten with the sock, and the nurse said that she had been thinking about starting up knitting again. "There's a nice yarn shop in Cockeysville..." she started, and I said, "The Black Sheep! It's my home away from home." I was urging her to come in some Saturday or to stop in during Sit-N-Knit (wish I could get to that but it's during the work day). She was nice. I hope she stops in sometime.

Happy Eighth Birthday, Readerville!

I was a bookish kid. That's perhaps putting it mildly. I always had my nose in a book. Visited the library with my dad on a weekly basis. Spent hours in my room reading. The only physical fight I ever got into was with a neighbor's kid who pulled my book from my hands and threw it across the yard. And, aside from my family, I never found anyone who seemed to love books the way I did.

Until I joined Readerville.

I had been hanging around Salon's Table Talk, posting only occasionally. There were a lot of smart, funny people there...people who seemed to love books the way I did...but it was sort of intimidating. But then I heard about this new place. I don't remember now if some kind soul on Table Talk told me about it or I just picked up on the hints and came to check it out, but it immediately felt like home.

Maybe that's was because I was there pretty much at the beginning. But I'm more inclined to think that it was Karen Templer's influence. And all the wonderful people who post there. Oh yeah, there are a few people who can make my eyes roll back in my head...there are people like that everywhere. (And on any given day, the list of eye-rollers can change.) But for the most part, Readerville participants are smart, witty, kind, generous and (most importantly) bookish people. They feel like family. These are people who love books.

The Readerville forum is going through some changes right now. The forums may be disappearing in their current form. The Journal, which for a couple of years was a wonderful print magazine, is now an on-line magazine. I don't understand Web economics. I don't understand why some sites attract corporate sponsorship or become widely successful to the point of having people line up to join. I don't understand why Karen isn't rolling to the bank in her gold-plated Maserati for having come up with Readerville. Maybe there just aren't that many people who love books in the world. And that makes me sad.

But if you like books....check out the Journal. It's free and interesting and if you want to comment on an article, it's as easy as commenting on a blog post. But if you love looking at book covers and deciding what makes one work and the other not....if you want to talk about The Sound and the Fury, Cormac McCarthy, Charles Dickens or religious writings...if your jones is poetry or history or science...if you love punning...if you want to talk gardens, movies or television or pets....if you need a recommendation to wow your next book club meeting or just want to know if Elizabeth George's last mystery is worth reading, check the forums at Readerville out.

Heck, if you just want to hang out with some smart, witty, kind, generous, bookish people...come join us in the forum. You might feel awkward for a day or two. But pretty soon...I think it'll feel like home.

So happy birthday, Readerville. Happy birthday, Karen. Here's to many more years to whatever format we find ourselves.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm Just An Idiot

So the other day The Loopy Ewe got in a sock pattern that was on my wishlist. So I had to order it, right? And at the same time I ordered some yarn to make them in...

The pattern is called Teosinte and the yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy in Petal Shower. The color isn't very true's cream and pink and ash rose, sort of. And as long as I was ordering that, I figured I'd order a little something else and I ordered some Claudia Hand Paint in Ingrid's Blues.

But...and here's where the title comes in...I only ordered one frigging skein. And I need two for a pair of socks.

Fortunately for me 1) they still have this yarn in stock and 2) I got a honking big award check at work today. So I ordered the other skein and a few other goodies, too, including a skein of sock yarn with cashmere in it that is supposed to be dreamy. Pictures to come up soon.

And in the meantime...I finished the first of the Lorna's Laces socks. Now here is something I don't particularly understand. I know that the way handpainted yarns stripe has a lot to do with the number of stitches in a round. So I had 72 stitches and the stripes came out nicely:

And then I did the heel flap and the heel turn and you end up with more stitches and then you decrease down through the gusset. And I end up with 72 stitches again...and the stripes don't look so good:

Weird, huh? I guess it's just where in the color sequence you are when you get back to the original stitch count. But hey, the sock looks cute!

And I've started the second one! Huzzah!

And somehow I seem to have gotten poison ivy...on my face. It isn't too itchy but if it doesn't clear up in the next day or so, I guess I'll have to go to a doc-in-the-box and get some heavy duty cure. I don't like it when it's on my face.

"Everybody Must Get Stoned...."

We left Giz singing to himself this morning. He's on pain meds and they certainly mellow him out. Although this morning's dose went mostly on his cheeks and my hand. One of my Readerville friends asked if cats have cheeks so I am including an educational illustration:
He is the very model of a wacked-out cat.

Oh and I should give credit to Rachel, because I totally stole and then completely mangled her style of drawing cats. If she had been home, I would have had her draw the illustration and it would have been adorable.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Invalid Is Home

Poor old Gizmo had to go to the vet today for teeth cleaning... They ended up removing three of his teeth. He's got stitches and we have to dose him with antibiotics and pain meds and keep him quiet. Actually, we were told that he shouldn't climb stairs this evening so we set up the computer room so that everything he needed was there...and he hated it. Mr. Pointy Sticks let him out and he staggered upstairs and demanded food and now he's curled up on his cardboard scratching pad/throne and slowly coming round. He just wanted nothing to do with being coddled.

It was amusing, in a sick sort of way, to watch him walk around when he first came home. He would pace back and forth and then suddenly his hind-quarters would just decide to sit down. They would flop down and then you could sort of see him think, "Okay, maybe a little rest." and he'd sink down for a minute or two and then get up and start pacing again. Poor beastie.

Current Reading

Last night I started Inger Ash Wolfe's The Calling, and man, I couldn't put it down all day. It was a real thriller...very creepy. I said to someone on Readerville that I haven't been this creeped out since I read The Lodger as a young teen. The main character, Hazel Micallef, is a 61-year old Detective Inspector in a small town in Canada. She lives with her mother and fights her back pain and her loneliness, but doesn't, until this book opens, have much occasion to fight serious crime. Until one of her town's citizens is murdered...and Micallef and her small team realize that the killer has killed 15 times before...and that he isn't done yet. The killer is a big ole bag of creepy...and Hazel and her crew are all appealing and interesting.

There's a big hoo-haa about this book because Inger Ash Wolfe is a pseudonym...there's lots of speculation as to who she really is. (The main money seems to be on it being Michael Redhill.) I have to say, I don't care who he or she is...I just want more books from this pen. It's a really great read.

So there are, four!...good reads in a row. My faith in books is becoming restored. Though my socks are languishing somewhat.

(Did I mention The New Yorkers before? It was a charming little book. I don't know that it is so quintessentially New York (maybe it is - I'm not a New Yorker). I could see it set in Baltimore or Chicago...any fairly large city. Anyway, it's a nice book....and sort of left me wanting a dog.)

Monday, June 9, 2008

These Dry Eyes Cry For You....

...or something like that.

I went to see my nice eye doctor today. Mostly because my glasses broke back in May and the old glasses I'm wearing are driving me a little nuts. But I took the opportunity to ask him about the burning, teary, painful eyes at work. And he examined me and said my eyes looked great except that I was suffering from "dry eye." He gave me some drops and talked to me about it a bit. I asked if it could be environmental and he said "Definitely." In fact, with so many people in the office suffering, it could be likely. Though it could also be from heavy computer usage. Here's a little trivia for you...people staring at a computer screen blink an average of 8 times a minute. Normal blinking should be at a rate of 18 per minute.

To complicate the yucky situation at work, we came in this morning to see a soaked rug, stained and saturated drop-ceiling tiles and a puddle in the hall. Apparently some disgruntled employee on the floor above us had clogged the drain of a water fountain and somehow managed to leave it running all weekend. Charming. And I'm wondering if we're being bothered by mold...not from this weekend's overflow...but I know the bathroom upstairs has been having leaking problems for months.

So I spent most of the day sitting in another office. Without a computer. Went back to my own desk to eat lunch and had just enough time to...put in an order with The Loopy Ewe. I swear, that shop is addictive!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

As The Heel Turns

(I wonder how many millions of knitting blogs have ever used that title?)

Anyway, the heel of the first Lorna's Lace sock has been successfully turned. This pair of socks is going more slowly than the last couple because I have actually found stuff I wanted to read! Yes, I have had two good reading experiences. So, without further ado...

Current Reading

I finished Jim Crace's The Pesthouse, which I think may best his best book so far. Though I did love Being Dead. This one is (just to sound really trite) is a bleak, but ultimately hopeful, book. Beautifully written. I loved the main characters...Margaret, Franklin and Jackie.

And today I read Jincy Willett's The Writing Class, which was a lot of fun. One member of a writing class begins playing pranks on other members....pranks that escalate to murder. I liked this one a lot.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Steamy Saturday

It is positively dreadful here today. Walking outside is like walking into a bowl of cream of soggy soup. Bleah. I do detest summer.

But we managed to have a nice day. We got up and got to the PO and I mailed back the defective Signature Needle. (One of the pair that I bought at the MD Sheep and Wool Show (only eleven more months!) had a wonky though it wasn't completely finished. So I contacted them yesterday and they told me to send it back and they would replace it. And offered me a deal on another pair but I think I'll hold off on that. They were an indulgence...I think I'd rather spend the money on yarn.)

Then we went to Lowes and I made decisions on medicine cabinet, toilet, vanity, faucets (both sink and shower), and shower doors. I've emailed our contractor with what I've chosen and he can look the list over and let me know if everything is okay. I am worried now that the sink I chose will be too deep. I took pictures of everything but I won't throw them in here...I'll unveil the completed bathroom when it's all done. Or perhaps document the process. But I will say that Lowes is a very happy place.

Then (cover your eyes, Rachel) we went to Bluestone for lunch. They have incredible sandwiches and wraps...I had the Ahi tuna wrap. Yum. Actually, I had half of it...the other half was dinner this evening.

Then a quick run into Michaels to get some size five needles. (I'm doing gauge swatches for the little girl's cardigan and I know I got gauge with 6s but the fabric just seemed sort of loose. I really liked the fabric the 4s made, but I was way off gauge. I'm going to try 5's in the hope that I'll be close enough on gauge and the fabric will be nice. I mean, it's a sweater for a toddler. If it comes out a little smaller than an actual size 2, for example, it'll still be wearable sometime, right?)

Then into Border's, where I indulged in some books. And a couple little things to send to Rachel, even if getting packages from the PO is such a pain. One of the things I picked up for me was Lisa Lloyd's A Fine Fleece. What a nice book! There are gorgeous patterns for sweaters and scarves. I don't think there's a stinker in the bunch. And, while the patterns were designed for hand-spun yarn, each one is shown knit in hand-spun and in a commercial yarn. Seriously good-looking patterns here. I'm so glad I pulled this one from the shelf to look at. It's a little pricey at $30 but with a 30 percent off coupon and $5 in Borders bucks, I couldn't resist. If you like hearty, cozy, cabley, tweedy sweaters, go check this one out. (Edited to add that, after another close read of the book, I love it even more but I do wish that there had been more close-ups of the handspun yarns...a lot of the close=ups seems to be of the mill-spun yarns. But that's a small quibble. And I think I want every single one of the sweaters in this book.)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

When It Rains...

(Sigh...I had this post about half-done when I did something stupid and erased it all. Let's try again, shall we?)

So...I like to come home to find little presents on my porch. Even if those little presents are ones that I bought myself. Call me self-indulgent. This last batch of little presents weren't planned too well, as they both showed up today. (Well, actually I also got the fifth season of Law & Order yesterday, which was good as I was feeling withdrawal symptoms. But I'm talking about pretty yarny presents here. Law & Order was really a present for me and Mr. Pointy Sticks. And by the by, the fifth season was the first season in which Sam Waterson shows up. My, he looks young. And cute.)

So what did I get today?

From The Loopy Ewe -

A skein of Aracaunia's Ranco Multi in a color that the folks at The Loopy Ewe call Pewter (the poetic folks at Araucania call it color 315). I'm showing the front and back of the skein. I just love these smooshy blends of color.

Claudia's Hand-dyed in Pink Lemonade. So summery.

Shibui in Jonquil. I've been wanting to get my hands on some Shibui and, in this skein at least, it doesn't disappoint. It's lovely and soft and squeezy.

And finally...

From KnitPicks...

Shine Sport to make the little girl's cardigan from Miss Bea's Playtime. I think I may be starting that tomorrow...I am about at the point where I need to turn the heel on my sock and I can't find Sensational Knitted Socks anywhere. Charlene, where are you?! I've been carrying it with me everywhere during the bout of rampant sock knitting, so I can't imagine where it is...hope it turns up soon because I can't remember how many stitches to start off with when I begin turning the heel. Grrr. So, unless I find Charlene this evening, tomorrow I'll play with the Shine.

My eyes are still bothering me. I bought some plain saline eye drops which I used today but we are all, in my office, still suffering from burning eyes and coughs and sore throats. People from Environmental Services came up yesterday and talked to me...I even had to visit the Health Unit to make it all official. I didn't hear anything from them today but really, this is getting absurd. It's bad enough to spend eight hours with your eyes burning and uncomfortable, but they don't bounce back very fast once I leave and things are blurry for most of the evening. Of course, I'm sure it doesn't help that my glasses broke a month or so ago and I am operating with glasses several prescriptions old. (I get to see my eye doctor on Monday. Yay!) But my eyes are fine all's just once I get into the office that they start acting up.

I'll sign off now, before I do something stupid again, and go rest my eyes.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

This Could Get Addictive...

Projects of the past...

1. tudora up close, 2. Fuchsia scarf, 3. Ready for my close up, Mr DeMille!, 4. Serpentina, 5. Oak Leaf and Acorn - unstretched, 6. log cabin blanket seamed, 7. Candle flame stole 1, 8. Scarf stitch pattern, 9. Bookowl's scarf up close, 10. Tabby's scarf, 11. Cindy's scarf, 12. magic rainbow 1

I'll Just Sit Here In The Dark...

We had some major thunderstorms move through here this afternoon...just as we were driving home from work, which made the commute both slow and impressive, what with all the lightning zapping around. And of course, the electrickery was off when we got home. It goes out at the drop of a hat on our side of the street. Meanwhile, neighbors on the other side of the street (Hi, Maureen!) are merrily cooking dinner and watching tv and cruising the Internet. So Mr. Pointy Sticks and I went out to dinner. Still dark when we got home, but just as it was beginning to get too dark to read in the house, power was restored. Hurrah.

And now I can't remember what I was going to write about....I'd swear I had something in mind.

My brother and his sweetie are out in Seattle for a week. Lucky them. My brother said they will be going to that Japanese bookstore whose name I always screw up. And he's going to check for Japanese knitting books for me. I told him to concentrate on stitch pattern books rather than sweater patterns, so we'll see what he comes up with.

Surely that wasn't what I was going to write about. Oh well, if it comes to me, I'll be back.

Current Reading

I read The House at Riverton, and now I sort of resent the time I spent reading it. It wasn't a bad book, per se. Just...all been done before. Sort of leaves a used taste in your mouth.

Now I've started Jim Crace's The Pesthouse, which is, so far, good. And I read, as a sort of amuse bouche before starting it, Lois Lowry's The Willoughbys, which was amusing and would be perfect for the cynical child in your life. Filled with despicable parents, an odious nanny who turns out to be not so odious after all, a foundling, a runaway...lots of good stuff and a quick and amusing read. It's written with a snarkiness that is amusing and seems less heavy-handed than the snarkiness of the Unfortunate Events books, which never grabbed me. I think The Willoughbys has less of a smug, aren't I being clever sort of tone.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Look, Ma! I Learned Something!

Sandy, over at Sandy Knits, had a fun little meme...which enabled me to learn how to make mosaics. So, there you go! A learning experience.

Here's what you do:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name

That was fun.

And in order to give credit where credit is due, here are the credits for the photos....
1. Sad little bird....for Sarah, 2. Cinnamon Ice Cream & Raspberry Sorbet, 3. Calin action shot!, 4. A quest for the most perfect yellow yarn..., 5. David McCallum stars on NCIS, 6. Bloody Mary in Belle Meade, 7. Sanibel Driftwood, 8. coffee and chocolate mousse cake, 9. Elevator operator in Smith tower, 10. The Finger Family, 11. Lazy Sunday, 12. Sarah knitting

There's Something In The Air....

...and it's killing my eyes.

I come into work in the morning and my eyes start tearing and burning and by the end of the day I can't even focus anymore. They clear up after leaving work and are fine all weekend. Come into work and the same thing starts happening again. By last Friday, it took a couple of hours for my eyes to feel normal again. And it's happening to others here in the office, though less severely, I think.

Mr. Pointy Sticks and I went and looked at Subaru's last night. Sat in a couple of Imprezas and a Legacy. All the Outbacks were, well, out back and all locked up and we must have looked enough like window-shoppers that none of the salesmen walked out there with us to open one up. Anyway, I like the looks of the Impreza...but the Legacy feels like a grown-up's car. It was pretty comfortable. Comes in dull, dull colors though -- bronze, silver, gold and black were, I think, the only choices. The Impreza, on the other hand, comes in a pretty blue...and red. Anyway, I was more comfortable in these cars than in most of the Toyota's.

And we have to locate the closest Honda dealer. We went to where they used to be, but what used to be the dealership is now just a service center. Just across from the Maserati dealership.

The first of the Lorna's Laces sock, the start of which I flashed in the last post, is coming along nicely. I find the yarn sort of split-y. More so than the Madelienetosh or the Family Pendragon yarn. But it's striping nicely in a sort of slanty fashion. I'm almost down to the heel flap.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Reproof Of The Daughter Was Effective

I didn't go to The Black Sheep yesterday...I began to think that I might possibly have some DK weight yarn in my stash that I could use. And if I don't, it's probably cheaper to just go ahead and order the DK Comfort from Webs. I'll save my Black Sheep expenditures for something more fun.

Oh Rachel....question for you. Do you think Stephanie might like these earrings?

They're small, since she is. Let me know, okay?

And look, I started something else...

Yup. More socks. This is Lorna Lace's Shepherd Sock in Apple Hill. I like the way it's striping.