Saturday, February 27, 2010

Alice Is Stalking Me

I'm a big Alice in Wonderland fan and I have a small collection of Alice's with different illustrations. So I was looking forward to reading Alice I Have Been. And did so yesterday. It is a fictional biography of Alice Liddell, the little girl to whom (along with her sisters) Charles Dodgson told the first Alice story. (More about the book later.)

I finished the book last night and picked up Margot Livesey's The House on Fortune Street. It's anovel set in contemporary England...well, actually a collection of four inter-related stories. And who shows up? Charles Dodgson and Alice Liddell.

And then this evening we walk into Barnes and Nobel, saunter past the "New Arrivals" table and...come upon a table covered with copies of various editions of Alice in Wonderland and Alice dolls and tie-ins with the new movie.

Weird synchronicity.

I finished the February Red Scarf this afternoon and am buckling down and knitting away on Rachel's infinite sleeves. And my brother came by this afternoon and chose the colors for the hat he would like me to knit. So I can get started on that, too.

Yesterday afternoon we got home from work about 4:00 p.m. and, after leafing through the mail and such, I walked into the kitchen and looked out our back window. The back yard was a mass of black birds...the ground was covered. I shouted for Mr. Pointy Sticks to look out the window and when he opened the blind in the computer room the birds spooked and, as one, flew up and filled the nearby trees. Then, a few seconds later, they swooped back down, carpeting the lawn again. We thought at first that they were grackles and starlings but when we looked closer we saw some juncos and lots and lots of red-winged blackbirds. They did the "OMG! Into the trees!
"Whew, all clear!" trick a few times while I watched and then, a few minutes later, when I looked out, they had all disappeared.

Gizmo is sitting here beside me, clutching my left wrist with his right paw and resting his head on the back of my left hand. Makes typing iffy. Guess I'll close here and give him some attention.

Oh, and Alice I Have Been? I was really disappointed with it. I just didn't believe the character of Alice as young girl. Oh well, the cover is gorgeous.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Things You May Not Know About Me

So, there is knitting going on. I'm working on the sleeves of Rachel's sweater (two at a time, so they are moving slowly) and the February Red Scarf and my poor neglected pink socks. But they hardly change from day to day, so not much to write about there.

But hey, I checked out PC's blog today (always an entertaining read) and he had this stupid but somewhat intriguing list of questions. So, herewith, my own answers:

1. What curse word do you use the most?
Generally…”damn.” Or “damnity-damn.” Or if something is really irritating “fuck.”

2. Do you own an iPod?
No. I have some sort of generic MP3 player but, as my husband is constantly pointing out, I never use it.

3. What person do you talk to the most?
Probably the aforementioned husband. Or my co-workers, with whom I actually enjoy talking.

4. What time is your alarm clock set to?
My alarm clock is that same aforementioned husband. He wakes me at 6 a.m. on workdays and is smart enough not to wake me on weekends.

5. Do you still remember the first person you kissed?
Yep. And, as a matter of fact, (I know, how dull) it’s that same guy I’ve mentioned in the previous three questions. Unless you count non-romantic kissing in which case it was probably my mom.

6. Do you remember where you were on 9/11/01?
Sitting at my desk at work. And, like PC, I was on Readerville at the time. I remember RML’s posting. And PC’s. And then my boss turned on his tv and we were glued to that or, when I couldn’t take the pictures anymore, to Readerville.

7. Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture?
Take, take, take. I always look old, fat and stupid in pictures. All of which I may be, but I prefer not to have photographic evidence.

8. What was the last movie you watched?
Ummm…Sunshine Cleaning while I exercise biked. I liked it.

9. Do any of your friends have children?
Yes, though they are all sort of old children.

10. Has anyone ever called you lazy?
Has any ever not called me lazy?

11. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep?

12. What cd is currently in your cd player?
Probably none. I tend to eject them once I’m done.

13. Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk?

14. Has anyone told you a secret this week?
Not a secret, per se. But stuff I’m not going to repeat.

15. When was the last time you had Starbucks?
I only go there for the hot chocolate and I don’t think I’ve had any from there this year so I’ll say last winter.

16. Can you whistle?
Yes. What’s it to you?

17. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
What a weird question. When I meet someone? Probably his face.

18. What are you looking forward to?
Going home tonight. Lunch. The next Terry Pratchett.

19. Did you watch cartoons as a child?
We had no tv when I was growing up, but I am old enough that we saw cartoons before the main feature at the movie theaters.

20. Do you own any band t-shirts?

21. What will you be doing in one hour?
Eating lunch.

22. Is anyone in love with you?
I sure hope so.

23. What was the last song you heard?
Tomaso Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor

24. When was the last time you cried?
The other evening, reading the Ravelry thread on sad commercials and watching those commercials. Tear-jerkers, all!

25. Are you on a desktop computer or a laptop?

26. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoos?
Nope. I just don’t get the desire for tattoos. (And I must admit that my mother’s voice in my head is muttering “trailer trash” whenever I see one.)

27. What's the weather like?
We’re expecting another snowstorm. Whoopie.

28. Would you ever date a girl/guy covered in tattoos?
I don’t think the aformentioned husband would be cool with it…with or without tattoos.

29. What did you do before this?
Floated in the cosmos, waiting to be born.

30. When is the last time you slept on the floor?
Can’t remember…if I did it now, I’d probably never get up again.

31. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
I seem to be able to get by on about 6 a night but I know I should be getting more. On weekends, I average 8 to 9.

32. Do you eat breakfast daily?
No, I don’t like most breakfast foods.

33. Are your days fast-paced?
No. Most of them are slow enough that I have to check my pulse occasionally.

34. What did you do last night?
Burned dinner, rode the exercise bike, watched some John Stewart, wasted too much time playing a stupid computer game. Just where did that evening go?

35. Do you use sarcasm?
I’m afraid so.

36. How old will you be turning on your next birthday?

37. Are you picky about spelling and grammar?
Pretty much so. My mom was an English teacher and used to correct my errors in letters I wrote to her. Some of that rubbed off.

38. Have you ever been to Six Flags?
Amusement parks are my idea of Hell. So, no.

39. Do you get along better with the same sex or the opposite sex?
Depends on the person’s personality more than gender as to whether we’ll get along.

40. Do you like mustard?
Yes, and ketchup, and chutney, and salsa, though you didn’t ask.

41. Do you sleep on your side?
Yes, but it has to be my left side.

42. Do you watch the news?
Very rarely…usually only if I wander in the room when BBC World News is on. Sometimes watch John Stewart on line.

43. How did you get one of your scars?
Fell off the Selhorst’s back porch and ripped my knee open. And my friend Debbie wouldn’t walk home with me. My dad took me to the hospital and I got several stitches while I frantically recited the plot of The Five Little Peppers to him so as not to think about what the doctor was doing. (I was about 10.)

44. Who was the last person to make you mad?
Glenn Beck

45. Do you like anybody?
A few people, I’ll admit.

46. What is the last thing you purchased?
Postage for a package I sent to my daughter. And just before that, a scratch-off lottery ticket to stick in that package for her amusement.

47. What side of the heart do you draw first?
The left.

48. Can you dive without plugging your nose?
I do not dive.

49. What color is your razor?
Blue and white

50. What is your blood-type?

51. Who would you want to be tied to for 24 hours?
Someone with a sharp knife or an extensive knowledge of knots.

52. What is a rumor someone has spread about you?
I’m so far out of the loop I wouldn’t know about any rumor anyone spread.

53. How do you feel about carrots?
Better cooked than raw.

54. How many chairs at the dining room table?
Five…I think.

55. Which is the best Spice Girl?
Cinnamon? Though Nutmeg is nice, too.

56. Do you know what time it is?
25 or 6 to 4

57. Do you know all the words to the Fresh Prince Theme Song?
I don't know ANY of the words to the Fresh Prince Theme Song.

58. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator?
If I were smart, I’d have my book with me and I’d read. After pushing the emergency button.

59. What's your favorite kind of gum?
I liked Teaberry gum when I was little.

60. T or F: All's fair in love and war?

61. Do you have a crush on anyone?
I’ve never recovered from my teenage crush on David McCallum. Sigh.

62. Do you know how to use some words correctly, but not know the meaning?

63. Do you like to sleep?
Yes, particularly if I can dream.

64. Do you know which US states don't use Daylight Savings Time?
Since my dad lived there, I know that Indiana doesn't. Or at least part of the state.

65. Do you know the song Total Eclipse of the Heart?
Yes, I lived through the ‘80’s.

66. Do you want a bright yellow '06 Mustang?
No, but I wouldn’t mind a bright yellow Scion DX…the old boxy style.

67. What's something you've always wanted?
A scooter.

68. Do you have hairy legs?

69. Would you rather swim in the ocean or a lake?

70. Do you wear a lot of black?
Yes, it doesn’t show the dirt.

71. Describe your hair:
Fine, dishwater colored, floppy and disheveled.

72. Do you have Entomophobia?
No. Except for moths.

73. Are you an adult?
Legally, yes, though I keep waiting to grow up.

74. Where is/are your best friend(s)?
One’s at work, one’s off at college.

75. Do you have a tan?
No, I don’t tan.

76. Are you a television addict?
No, but don’t ask me about computer games.

77. Do you enjoy spending time with your mother?
I certainly did. And wish I could spend time with her again.

78. Are you a sugar freak?
Only until I eat something sweet…and then I want something salty.

79. Do you like orange juice?

80. What sign are you?

So there you have it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Finishing Touch

...or over the top?

I added the little bells to the hat. They don't make any sound but they bounce around and tickle the back of my head. Fun!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why You Can't Go Home Again

My brother’s girlfriend is sweet enough to pass on her New York Times Book Review section to us when she’s read it. But lately it’s been leading me into purchasing way too many books. Well, I don’t think you can have too many books (talk to me again when our living room collapses into our basement), but I’ve sure been buying a bunch.

And the book I’m reading now is one of them. It’s by Geoffrey Becker and called Hot Springs. It’s about Bernice, a somewhat unstable young woman, Landis, her male friend, and Emily (or Pearl), Bernice’s five-year old daughter who she had previously given up for adoption and has, at the beginning of the book stolen back from the adoptive parents. I’m only on page 82, but I am liking this book a lot. And just now I read this:

“Anyway,” said Gillian, “you can’t ever go home. Home isn’t a real place. I mean, it is, but only partly. It’s also connected to time and people and just the way the world was back when you were younger, and who you are inside, or who you were. There’s nothing sadder than walking along a street that used to mean something to you and finding out that it doesn’t at all any more, that you’ve moved on and it’s just a street.”

I like that.

A few of the other books I've picked up and am looking forward to:

Going Bovine by Libby Bray
Sleepless by Charlie Huston
Impact by Douglas Preston
Alice Have I Been by Melissa Benjamin

This last one - a fictional biography of Alice Liddell Hargreaves, for whom the Alice in Wonderland books were written - is especially intriguing. In college, I roomed with one of her descendants. Wonder if she's read this book?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

One Month Down, Eleven To Go

I finished the Palindrome scarf a couple of days ago...that was my Red Scarf for January. And the other day I started the February Red Scarf.

Duncan seems to approve.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's Sort Of A Relief

"For 2/12/10, The Social Security Administration is opening 2 hours late."

Of course, I have to leave early for a doctor's appointment...and then there's the three-day weekend. So it's not like the nose will be on the grindstone all that hard. I should be able to take care of an assignment...catch up on everyone's snow stories....have lunch. Another strenuous day!

But really, it'll be nice to get out of the house.

Oh, yes. I finished my Red Scarf scarf for January...pretty. And started the February one...and have about 6 inches done. Pictures soon.

The Sun Appears

I feel as though we should be sacrificing a virgin or something. Mr. Pointy Sticks was out for two hours this morning digging us out. I was excused from shovel duty as this lovely hacking cough I've had all week is only getting worse. Thankfully, I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow...if the office is open.

People have been calling this Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse but I think I read the best name for it this morning -- Snoverkill! I'm done with snow. Snow kidding. And there are mutterings of another storm coming through on word yet on whether that will be snow or rain.

And while it's been nice being home...for the first few days...I miss my work buddies and keep thinking about the one assignment I have sitting on my desk that should have been released to the Hill on the 8th....of course, the Hill isn't there to worry about it and it isn't life or death...but still...

Meanwhile, reading, knitting, making brownies, eating brownies, reading,'s not the worse thing in the world but when you can't even leave the house for a quick run to the yarn store...or gets a leetle boring. I think if I just knew I could leave, it would be better. It's knowing you can't that makes you itchy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Once More, With Boredom

"For 2/11/10, the Social Security Administration is closed."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Too Much Of The Cute!

Here's another one...

And a little more about the duo:

And because "Walk Don't Run" is just too are the Ventures.

Boredom Reaches New Heights

But really, this is the cutest video...

Monday, February 8, 2010


This just in:

"For 2/9/10, The Social Security Administration is closed."

What's That Weatherman Saying??!!!

So, no work today. No word yet about tomorrow but I'm assuming that we'll be going in.

And...tomorrow night? They're predicting....sunshine?....chocolate truffles falling from the sky?...a shower of hummingbirds and fairy sparkles?

No....more snow! Maybe 20"! How exciting! Isn't that just thrilling?

So let's talk about books.

Have I read anything really good since last I posted books over there on the left? Well, yes, a couple.

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris. This is the guy who wrote And Then We Came to the End, a both funny and sort of heart-breaking book about a company going under. This book is very different. The main character, Tim Farnsworth, suffers from a periodic compulsion to walk. At any time, in any weather, he is forced to walk until he collapses from compulsion. No one can explain this phenomenon. He's a successful lawyer and loves his job, but this compulsion is destroying that. He loves his wife, but this compulsion, of course, affects his marriage, too. It's a great book.

Two South African mysteries by Deon Meyer - Dead Before Dying and Devil's Peak. These were sent to me by my friend Kat and I really enjoyed these. She sent me another one, Blood Safari, that was okay...but I liked the first two better.

Stitches by David Small is an incredible graphic novel by a very talented illustrator. A grim, but ultimately...well, not happy...but uplifting book.

Other than that...nothing really wonderful. But I'll update the list...maybe there will be something there that someone will like.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I Love This Hat!

Lookie! It's all done.

It's cushy and squishy and pulls down over my ears. It's warm and cozy. It's colorful and cheery.

(Unfortunately, it doesn't cover my double chins.)

What, you want to see it without the clown?

I changed the end of it a little so that it comes to a little point. And, silly as it sounds, I really want to find a little silver bell to sew onto the tip. It's so cute!

Why Yes, We Did Have A Little Snow....

Birds huddling in the snow...I think they are grackles (and one cardinal) but they are so puffed up it actually looked more as though the bush was full of bowling balls.

Snow hanging off the edge of the roof. These first two pictures were taken through a screen and while it was still snowing, so they are a mite fuzzy.

The Mister out tackling some shoveling. This was toward the end of the storm.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


How could I have forgotten Tom's Midnight Garden!? The Wizard of Earthsea?! The Lovely Summer??!! Or Patricia McLachlan's Baby? And The Rabbit's Umbrella!!??

And Käthe pointed out that Eva, for example, is really a YA I think I'll try again. I think I'll see if I can't come up with my ten favorite picture books, children's books and YA books. (Though there's always some blurring in those last two categories.) I will (possibly) put a little more thought into the selections this time, instead of just sitting here at my desk and musing a bit.

I have been knitting...and there will be pictures later to prove it. We had snow overnight and work started two hours late, so I took some pictures of Palindrome (groan - still not finished) and a hat I'm working on (which may explain, in part, why Palindrome isn't yet finished) and Gizmo. But I didn't get them uploaded before we left.

Usually, when work opens two hours late, I take it as a sign from God to stay home. Wish I'd done so this time.