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March 2009
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May 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LITTLE BROTHER! *

Blog pix 308 Isn't he adorable? He may be a wee bit older now.

Blog pix 1115Angie,  holding her specially imported nutmeg thyme unless she hates the picture, in which case that's a random organic gardener at a high end Farmer's Market in a San Francisco hotel lobby. (It could happen.) (No pictures of me until I reach my picture taking weight again (doubtful) but especially since I had a lovely salivary gland **infection and my face was puffed up (well, half of it) like a .......puff fish.)  Angie was nice enough to be seen in public with me anyway. Lots of public. Cable cars. Cheesecake Factories. Street walking. Irish urchins. Tasty Salted Pig Parts.

She came bearing gifties. I showed up late. Check out those stitch markers! [Edit: Hey! What happened to the swag pic? Gah.] Sweet! That's a kitty cat face on the button/pendant at 6 o'clock in the picture. Too cute.  But I did provide cable cars and Bay Views and considering it was 94 degrees when she landed in San Francisco, a pretty nice wind chill factor for strolling the wharf. Okay, it was a wee bit chilly but I'm not the hardy Midwesternenne. 

She was knitting while waiting for me but no knitting commenced once I got there. We almost attempted Urban Knits Studio....

Blog pix 1118 Other than Not Working, Wining and Dining about the City, what have I been up to? Not really catching up with everyone, I'm sorry to report. (Like you can't tell.)  I will! Eventually. I keep getting distracted by the almost finished Mary Tudor

(which reminds me, GET OFF THE COMPUTER AND FINISH KNITTING THE BUTTONBANDS YOU LAZY SOW).

Ahem. What was I saying? Oh yes.Knitting. Hiking and sightseeing and nature. Friends and family. Reading. Mindless television watching.(C'mon, it's me. There will always be mindless television watching.) Let's just say that Chuck had better get renewed and Tony Almeida better have a really, really, really good reason.Blog pix 1113 (Pictures: the trail is Phillips Loop in theRedwood Regional Park, click here, Bay Area Hiker for pictures and some other hike info in the area. The other is the playground of the elementary school in Canyon.)

OTOH, TV appears to be breaking up with me (the old; it's not you, it's me). You don't believe me? Life on Mars, cancelled. Life on the bubble. The Sarah Connor Chronicles killed Derek Reese (Brian Austin Green),  effectively killing my interest in the show. (OMG, is that how old he is? Urgh.)

NCIS.Ziva loves Tony - does Tony love Ziva? And who IS that guy?  No, not that one. The other one.

Gray's Anatomyis making me cry for Izzie. I hate Gray's Anatomy. Why do I have to watch it? Why?

Being Erica. I want to be Erica. Well, I want to be me but getting to do what Erica does. (The link has video so it is not a stealth surf).
Blog pix 1109

Knittin Brit in WI sent me her copy of House at Riverton complete with the English spellings and a bookmark direct from The Totnes Bookshop in Devon. I can't decide if I'm more charmed by the bookmark or the book, which was a pretty riveting read considering the pace is stately and the book is long.

Okay, okay. I always want to know What Is Going On  & the suspense was making me crazy. I stayed up until 2am finding out the last of Grace's secrets. I managed not to read the ending but at 599 pages? Amazing. Sometimes the endings are baffling but in this case it would have spoiled the book and it was such a good read it would be a shame. B+ 

Cute kitty sighting. Like a baby Nerissa (who is basically a baby herself.)

Other April reads:

Dog Days and New Tricks by John Levitt. It's Louie I love but Mason is hard to resist. A jazz musician in the City fighting Black Magic? Swoon.

Play with Fire by Dana Stabenow (5th in the series) Do not read this one if Christian fundamentalists make your blood boil or you are a Christian fundamentalist. It's a pretty compelling psychological mystery exploring relationships, religion and racism in Alaska. I heart Kate Shugak (and she would cringe to hear/read that). Of course, it's really Mutt that I love best. I'm sensing a trend. (I might have peeked ahead to see what's in store for Mutt and while she's okay, there were some other twists I did not see coming. Relax, Chris, I haven't read them out of order. (It hurts her [thumps chest] HERE when I do that.)

I've just started Suits Me: the Double Life of Billie Tipton by Diane Wood Middlebrook. She's written a bio on Ted Hughes that I wanted to read when I ran across Billie Tipton. Can you imagine? Having to live life like that in such utter secrecy? Famous to boot.

Finally finished Lover of Unreason: Sylvia Plath's Rival and Ted Hughes Other Doomed Loveby Yehuda Koren. (I keep writing Tom Hughes. Shades of old As The World Turns?) Assia starts out so spoiled and selfish it's hard to feel any empathy for her but by the end of the book, I almost admired her. If she had only had the self reliance that would have let her stand on her own she might have been a true force. As it was, she was something to be reckoned with but felt she was nothing without a man. And, naturally, a particular man. Too bad she and Sylvia Plath decided on Ted Hughes as that man.

Crow Goes Hunting by Ted HughesBlog pix 1100

Crow Goes Hunting

Crow
Decided to try words.

He imagined some words for the job, a lovely pack-
Clear-eyed, resounding, well-trained,
With strong teeth.
You could not find a better bred lot.

He pointed out the hare and away went the words
Resounding.
Crow was Crow without fail, but what is a hare?

Blog pix 948_edited It converted itself to a concrete bunker.
The words circled protesting, resounding.

Crow turned the words into bombs-they blasted the bunker.
The bits of bunker flew up-a flock of starlings.

Crow turned the words into shotguns, they shot down the starlings.
The falling starlings turned to a cloudburst.

Crow turned the words into a reservoir, collecting the water.
The water turned into an earthquake, swallowing the reservoir.

The earthquake turned into a hare and leaped for the hill
Having eaten Crow's words.

Crow gazed after the bounding hare
Speechless with admiration.

*It is still April, right? I'm not too late! For me. Happy Birthday!

** Swine flu. THIS is a level 5? What, there are 28 levels? What colors are they? Geez.


Blog pix 1095  Blog pix 1102 The steek is off center because I didn't know you're supposed to add and end on the edges not the center to leave three or four fully knit stitches to crochet & cut the actual steek on. I could probably just hack right down the middle of the Jamieson's Shetland it it'd be fine. Maybe.


Look! A collar! And facing the right direction too. (I managed to get left and right confused and knit about a quarter of the collar inside out first. There was a picture but my iPhone likes to scramble the picture order which is then compounded by being upside down or sideways,  then the thumbnail pictures being the size of a........well, a thumbnail and I can't quite figure out what they are when I go to upload them.)

She has both her sleeves and is only lacking her buttonbands.

You all might want to say what you need to say to your loved one and prepare for The End, I'm pretty sure when I finish, it's the final sign of the apocalypse. Darn. I have more sweaters I want to knit. Nerissa & the Palm Tree

The palm climbing cat isn't Hez but her cousin, Nerissa. Evidently she's taught her sisters the trick too. It's a jungle out there.


Pimping for La and Quarterly Book Reviews

Doesn't that title sound both street and stuffy? Schizo.

First! Pimping for La:

La Mean Grils About the club: The website is The Mean Girls Yarn Club

Sign-ups begin April 3, 2009 

La being Laura Wilson-Martos: blog is Fibercrack'd

Store is Dizzy Blonde Studios  Ravelry ID is KnottyLa

Ravelry Group is Dizzy Blondies

Her cohost in Mean-Girl-ness, Bobbie Bowles, store  KnittyKnitterton's House of Awesome, Ravelry ID is KnittyKnitterton and her Ravelry Group is House of AwesomeDizzy Blonde - Michelle 

  • First shipment goes out in June

  • Shipments will go out every other month for 1 year

  • The cost: $150 for the entire year, payable either in 1 lump sum, or in three $50 installments. This includes shipping.

  • Membership will be limited to 50 people.

  • The colorways are to be club exclusives.

  • Never to be sold by us.

  • And it’s all super secret until you get your installment.

  • Feel free to guess to your black heart’s contents.

  • There’s actually a theme within the theme.

  • Each skein will come with a little something COLLECTIBLE attached to the band, and an additional little something extra.

Please continue to Save the Words

keleusmatically: in a demanding manner. 
 

You Are "alt"
Some people might find you to be strange, mysterious, and even a bit off putting.
You tend to be drawn to and influenced by alternative lifestyles. You're definitely not normal.

Once people get to know you, they realize you're interesting, intriguing, and very intelligent.
You have a lot of knowledge stored in that big brain of yours. Most of it is useless knowledge, but some of it is very useful.

Once they get to know me? Ridiculous. To know me is to love me. Shamelessly cadged from Purling Dervish.  Eons ago.

Books read since the dawn of time beginning of January:

1. Liberation: Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America.  Brian Francis Slattery (2008) 299 pages - I liked this book even though it has its flaws but this paragraph alone would have sold me: "...the employees of the library made a spontaneous pact to defend it as soon as the police force stopped working, and now they just live in the building. They hauled beds into the offices and corners of the huge reading rooms, put plaid couches against the marble walls. An army of cats patrols the halls, has litters on the stairs. She imagines that some of the librarians are fulfilling a long cherished fantasy."

This struck me. It never really occurred to me how true this is: "He now understand that this expectation of progress applies only to young nations, for most of the planet lives among the ruins of dead empires: Angkor Wat, the Great Zimbabwe, Rome, the Mughal palaces."

The writing style is reminiscent of Thomas Wolfe. John Fowles, Tom Robbins.

Zeke Hezekiah one of the six. What a fabulous name! Hez concurs. Blog pix 289 There's also the New Sioux, slavery reinstituted. The Aardvaark using his real name once he's King of New York. Assassins, dot com, The Vibe, Dr San Diego and the Americoids (and Felix Purple, the bus driver).

2. Who By Fire by Diana Spechler (2008) 343 pages. Quotes:

"Musically, Arbahim sounds sort of like a Hebrew-speaking version of the Grateful Dead, but lyrically, I guess they're more like Whitney Houston, not that I would share that analysis with Todd."

"Kind of selfish, isn't it? " I didn't mean to say that, didn't want to get into it with Yosi. But I was suddenly throbbing with rage. "We apologize three times and if we haven't been forgiven we have permission to feel forgiven? What if what we did was really bad? Three apologies can't always be enough. A million apologies might not be enough for some transgressions. Now that you've apologized to three times to Janie's father, do you honestly believe that you're absolved? Honestly?"

Oh boy. Brutal but with familial love. Ripped, damaged, torn, bound. Religion, mindless sex, blame, guilt. This was a pretty darn good book. Go read Bookfool's review for a well written coherent review of this book (and more).

Hmm. Apparently I've taken up free association book reviews.

  • The Magicians and Mrs Quent Beckett, Galen L SF 2008 499. A little too heavily drawn from Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. The previously mostly Elizabeth Bennett character (Pride & Prejudice) morphs oddly into Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Not a half bad fantasy world though. I hope he writes more.  

  • Confessions of an Economic Hit Man Perkins, John L NF 2004 250. Oh man. He had an unusual perspective on corporate culture in other countries but for someone so revolted by it, he sure didn't mind making the money or blaming others who couldn't have possibly had a clue or done a darn thing. A little too Illuminati and One World Government for me, the author was just too self serving to be believable, but.......an excellent read all the same.

    Index to Murder by Jo Dereske pb M. Helma Zukas, librarian. A lovely antidote of common sense after reading John Perkins.

    Anne Neville: Queen to Richard III  by Michael Hicks, pb B 2006 243 I admit it, I think Richard the III was framed by the Tudors. History is written by the victors after all. His Queen had a fairly eventful life all on her own. She was married to the actual heir to the throne first and I don't mean Edward, Richard's brother either.

  • The Post American World by Fareed Zakaria L NF 2008 272. I had no idea I was so US centric. Fascinating. Explains a bit more about our current recession woes even before it happened.

    Fool by Christopher Moore  HB F 2009 336. Oh sheesh. I wanted to like it, a take off on King Lear? By Christopher Moore? With the witches of MacBeth thrown in (Parsley, Sage and Rosemary. Do not ask about Thyme) among other Shakespearian touches (footnotes!) But the unending relentless mindless sex stuff just wore me down. I felt like someone's disapproving maiden great aunt. It's just so........mindless. Constant. He does warn that it's a bawdy tale. Bawdy, my eye. Bawdy is fun. This was verging on cretinous. Go read A Dirty Job.

    Uncommon Reader Bennett, Alan pb F 2007 128 Excellent, excellent novella about QE2 discovering books. Highly recommended.

    House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family by Paul Fisher,  L B 2008 669 Everything I never knew about Henry James and his family. Now I'm desperate to learn more about Alice James, his sister. Despite Henry James, patriarch, being such a free thinking man in public, he certainly had old fashioned ideals.

    Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health Survival in a Bacterial World by Jessica Snyder Sachs L NF 2007 273 pages. OMG, scary! Scary and at the same time, fascinating. Explains quite thoroughly why antibiotics fail, how bacteria has gotten the upper hand and why you should never skip a vaccine.

  • A Cold Day for Murder, Fatal Thaw 1993 208,  Dead in the Water 1993 224 and Cold Blooded Business L M 1994 240 by Dana Stabenow, follow the cases that Kate Shugak, an Aleut of Alaska takes on. I can't believe I've never read this series before but I love seeing Alaska through her eyes and Kate herself is a woman I admire.

    Paths Not Taken L UF 2005 272 and Just Another Judgement Day HB UF 2009 263 by Simon R Green, the latest installments in the life of John Taylor, son of Lilith and the day to day goings on in Nightside. One of my favorite guys.

    How to Write Gertrude Stein  1931. I ran across this my old fashioned way of finding books, by perusing shelves in a bookstore. It occurred to me that I'd never actually read anything by Gertrude Stein and in fact, could only attribute to her the famous quote about my hometown, Oakland CA "there's no there there." The book reads something like that quote.

    Lover of Unreason: Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath's Rival and Tom Hughes Doomed Love Koren, Yehuda. Still reading.....

    The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson, L NF 1989 Just picked up as a light hearted antidote to the current work mode but it's not exactly what I had in mind. I absolutely loved his delightful A Walk In the Woods but The Lost Continent? while it's occasionally pretty funny, it seems a lot more mean and mean spirited than I can take right now.

      Blog pix 936 I'm taking odds - can Marina finish her eight sleeves before I finish my second sleeve on Mary Tudor? (The answer for those of you who don't know is, heck yeah she can. But I have hope).