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November 2006
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January 2007

End of the Year Ramblings

You Passed 8th Grade US History
Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

Okay, technically, I did not pass this the first time. (The quiz. Please. I aced history in school. It was reading.) But I did know enough to know the four questions I missed. Wikipedia is really pretty darn awesome, you know?   

This is what my brother found my mother for Christmas:

Blog_pix_219 It's THE LAKE! The one lake that all others are compared to. My grandparents had a summer home on Union Lake and my mom has fond memories of it.

This is what my brother got me for Christmas:



Next year, I've really got to get ready for Christmas earlier or skip it entirely. And somehow I think skipping it entirely isn't going to be possible.

Reading:  (or rather, read.) Elegance and Innocence by Kathleen Tessaro. I liked Elegance better. It was a cute story of a woman who was basically sleep walking through her life and her marriage, until she picked up a book named "Elegance" in a secondhand store and started applying a few of its precepts to her life. She doesn't rely on the book, but it does jumpstart her life again.

Innocence relied too much on gimmicks. The ghost of her dead friend was one, and one I find really annoying, flashing backward and forward in time during the story. It got confusing, or as confusing as such a simple story can be. The only purpose I could see it in was to drag the storyline out a bit. Girl Wants It All, Girl Wants Boy More, Boy is An Ass, Girl Gives Up, Girl Gets It All (more or less.) It was a bit too twee for my taste.

Still slogging through 1968 by Mark Kurlansky. Oh, that's a lovely way to describe it! It's interesting, it really is, it's just not a quick read. Did you realize John F. Kennedy was born in 1917? 1917. I didn't.

And knitting news, Eunny's Endpaper Mitts with the orange background Kim gifted me with awhile back:


and then unknitting it. Blog_pix_215 The pattern barely showed, it was almost impossible to knit without relying - heavily - on the chart. Not enough contrast, alas. So it's frogged and I think I'll try it again with the blue yarn I picked up the other day. And dang, I've really got to get some decent lighting for pictures. It's orange, yes, but sheesh.

I knit up a couple of Fetchings in the Touch Me yarn, now I just need to knit the right hand mitts. Yes, two entirely different sizes, and yes, on purpose.

My Debbie Bliss Cashmerino yarn from Yarnmarket arrived yesterday so with any luck, I can knit the final......60-34= 26 inches by Sunday. Hmmm. Fat chance.

What I probably should have done is just knit feverishly on my Mary Tudor so that I have some hope of finishing it before the Dale of Norway KAL starts but I wanted to see some discernible knitting.

Oh! TK of Everywhere Knitting  is looking for some knit bloggers to answer 20ish questions to help her out on her thesis. Anyone interested can leave a comment on her blog.

Happy New Year! Stay safe and have fun.

Yum. I just made lovely homemade Egg Nog with Cyril Watson's recipe. My version is the non alcoholic, sadly, but just as good. Mmip_343

Peeve and Diane M tagged me with the 6 weird things list. I think I've done this before and probably the same six even though I have enough weird tics to do this meme plenty of times. The rules are: post six weird things about yourself. Then tag six other bloggers, leaving comments on their blogs to let them know they have been tagged. And I'm not tagging anyone because...because.

1. I read too much. Yeah, gotta work on that. (This has mostly been said to me, as if I care.)

2. I make my bed every morning. The idea of crawling into an unmade bed. Urgh. If, by some weird circumstance, I didn't make the bed in the morning (say, a certain cat was cutely cuddled in it, or in bygone days, a sleeping husband), I'd make it before I went to bed that night.

3. I fold my underwear. I didn't actually realize this was weird until I read La's Weird things.

4. When I cook or bake, I get out everything I need and put it away as I finish with it. Mainlly this helps me not skip some crucial ingredient, but it's nice not to have a big fat mess to clean up at the very end.

5. I will drive thousands of miles out of my way to avoid sitting in traffic for five minutes. Because it's never five minutes.

6. I don't ask for directions. They don't have the slightest idea and then they use all those esoteric terms like "left" and "right" or worse, "north" or "south". Give me a map. Better yet, give me a Garmin nuvi 30something GPS. I missed the sale last week. AND it had an MP3 player and an audiobook thingie.

Debdeclogo2_2 On the Good News side of the DB December - the PInk Cable Scarf is going really well, knitting wise! I knit ELEVEN inches this week! That's not even what I was mostly working on either. At that rate, I'd be done much sooner than I thought. The Bad News - I'm using DB Baby Cashmerino and it looks like I need another ball and my LYS had pulled it from her shelves because of the content controversy. Mmip_334_1

In additional I-don't-have-enough-yarn news, I lost a skein - somewhere - last week -  that I'm pretty sure I'm going to need for the Country Socks that I've been knitting (for me). $#%! It was supposed to be two colors but I didn't like the look of the color combos I had on hand and it's too late to make the (first one) two colored and shorter at this point.

Uh. Edited later to update you all that I'm an idiot. It turned out that that missing skein? I WAS KNITTING THE SOCK WITH IT. Oh yeah. I'd started the 2nd skein.

Mmip_337_1 Mmip_336_1 

The two dishcloths destined to be really late Christmas presents because, no, I still haven't woven in the ends, nor have I mailed them. It's not too late, right? Right? Uh oh. Can you see the critter in the multi dishcloth? (You can click on all the pictures to make them bigger.)


I won a contest! My favorite way to win too, by merely leaving a comment.  Lisa at Kniting By The Sea sent me packages of Kool Aid and a skein of yarn to dye and the cutest cat card. See?


Kim at HandEyeCrafts bought a flock of chicks in my name at Heifer International. That is a great Christmas present.

Once again, I have completely failed to do Christmas cards. I didn't even buy any this year. Well, honestly, I don't need to, I have years of cards that I've bought and not sent. In my defense, there was one year when I bought them, wrote them all up, address and stamped them - and then found in March. I don't know why I don't just get my act together and do it, I love getting them. Not that I get many after years of silence. BFF sends me one. That's the fabulous thing about friends, they love you anyway.

Book Review: Frankenstein (1818 text) by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. 191 pages, library copy. 4 out of 5 rating.

It was a bit trippy, reading Frankenstein for the first time and being so familiar with the story and yet so unfamiliar with the actual original text.

It opened in the Artic, of all places. It was narrated by an explorer (in the Artic), Victor Frankenstein, and the Daemon/Creature. Frankly I felt the most for the poor Daemon/Creature. Frankenstein blithely brings forth life and then abandons it in the moment of its birth in horror, sinking into what I'd describe as a hypochondrial selfish guilt ridden funk. Mores must have been much different in those days than ours, poor Justine (who was awkwardly introduced evidently only to be sacrificed a few pages later, no editor today would let that stand. I think.) was 'cheered' by Victor and Elizabeth as going 'innocent of the crime' she's, oh, being given the death penalty for, but they'll suffer oh so much more, being alive without her. Victor, of course, will suffer even more greatly than Justine and Elizabeth because he's the cause of her misery and downfall. Poor, poor Victor. Not.

The dawn of science clearly hadn't hit much more than dawn either. Victor refuses to make the Creature a mate, imagining that they'll populate the earth with little Creatures. I think possibly they'd be like mules, unable to procreate. Half the book I kept trying to figure out how Victor could possibly create an enhanced humanish creature out of presumably, people parts.

I couldn't figure out how Victor kept the high road in his own mind and the author's either. He shirks his parenting responsibilites, brings danger to everyone he loves, seems incapable of logically working out what the Creature would do to Elizabeth - honestly, that was the one part where I really wanted to whack him upside the head - hello? What's the Creature's m.o. so far, Victor? When the Creature was leading him on his merry dance, I was quite cheered. Served him right.

All in all, I enjoyed the book and I'm glad I finally read it.

Meme, first sentence of the first post of each month in 2006:

Jan: My hollandaise sauce curdled this morning. (And thereby set the tone for the whole year.)

Feb: Like I've been waiting for it, or something.( The title is "Finally February". Titles are hard. Comedy is easy.)

Mar:  I love this song. No more (h)allelujah's until Easter. LEONARD COHEN(LYRICS)"Hallelujah"

April: Someone stole an hour from me. (I would bet this sentence will be in every DST post I ever make. I hate daylight saving time.)

May: The fabled gauge swatch for the mythic Twinset.

June: Meet Sophia! Isn't she adorable?

July: Saturday sky, posted Monday morning.

Aug: Check out Laurie's mittens! (The Fishies from August, although her other mittens are nothing to sneeze at.)

Sept: The Summer Reading Challenge that Amanda hosted and the Summer Reading Program that Kat hosted have come to an end.

Oct: House is not on tonight. (And I think Tuesday's was it until Jan 07. It's so good this season.)

Nov: (Title) At last! Eggnog Season. (Sentence) I was lying in bed feeling quite virtuous last night thinking I'd only eaten an apple and a handful of pistachios all day when I realized..........uh oh.

Dec: From Marina's site, the Canuck quiz above.

Hmm. I'm shocked that they all didn't start with "I".

Thanks for all the kind words, you guys! I miss Sheba but I'm glad I have Hez.

Hez, Monday morning. (She doesn't like Mondays much) Blog_pix_207 "You can get up if you want, no one's stopping you. But me? I would like to sleep. So keep it down, willya? And quit popping that flash in my eyes."

One Year Ago Today

I lost my best [furry] friend, my last link to what I thought my future was going to be, and my baby.  Bye, Sheba. [here with grandma who is going to be horrified if she sees her arm. It must be the camera.]  Gmacat


I miss her, but so thankful that Hezekiah came into my life. This morning she draped herself across my neck and fell asleep. (Sheba used to do that - it was cute when she was a little bitty kitten but not so much when she hit 16 lbs.)

This is across from the Lafayette BART station commemorating the soldiers lost in this war.

Blog_pix_197 Blog_pix_198

And in news that won't make me cry at my computer, I finished the Gingerbread Castle dishcloth and another one (not that I thought to take a picture) and have been rummaging through my stash to see what I have to make Eunny's Endpaper Mitts, mostly because of Cara's gorgeous version. The Debbie Bliss Pink Cabled Scarf got a little attention. I'll be posting its progress (hopefully) on Sundays. Maybe the threat of public exposure will drive it to knit itself in the night. 

I finally decided on Nygard for my Dale of Norway KAL and for a brief hallucinogenic moment yesterday, thought I'd gotten the kit in the mail. Uh, no. I'd ordered it the night before - I think it will take at least A DAY (or more) to get here. (It was a Christmas present for my mother. My brother found this site that will make a **clock out of any lake location and my mother has really fond memories of her summer home at Union Lake, MI so he ordered it for her. Fond memories in that any lake everywhere reminds her of Union Lake.)

That bridge picture at my library a couple of posts below has an *egret under the bridge on the right hand side of the creek. If you click on the picture, it should be big enough to see.

*Chris says it's an egret and I believe her. To me all long legged birds are cranes, unless they're pink, and then they're flamingos.

** Possibly they'll make whatever out of any geographic location, but this one is a clock. Of Union Lake.

Reading Challenges

Literary Cache is hosting the 2007 TBR Reading Challenge. My list, which sadly does not include more than one of my books for the From The Stacks challenge because I've already started all but one of the books on my list and because the 2007 TBR Reading Challenge starts in, oh, 2007, oddly enough. Which it isn't here yet. And no, you can't cheat! Cheating is bad. Besides the more TBR books read, the better. Justifies buying more.

My list:

In absolutely no particular order and chosen randomly from my shelves::
1. The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker
2. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
3. The Argument Culture: Stopping America's War of Words by Deborah Tannen
4. What If? edited by Robert Cowley
5. At Day's Close: Night in Times Past by A Roger Ekirch
6. The Last Apocalypse: Europe at the year 1000 by James Reston Jr.
7. The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
8. Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
9. The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton
10. The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall
11. The Hollow Crown by Miri Ruben
12. Queen Isabella by Alison Weir
And for extra credit (which I may or may not get to, or may swap with the List):
The Secret History of Domesticity: Public, Private and the Division of Knowlege by Michael McKeon
Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara
Murder of Angels by Caitlin R Kiernan

Bookfoolery and Babble is hosting the Chunkster Challenge, a challenge I wasn't going to take up because I'm frakking busy Feb-Mary, until I realized that she is so flexible that I can read JUST ONE chunkster book from Jan 1st - to Jun 30th. I've got two on my 2007 TBR Reading Challenge list anyway, so if I manage to read one of those......


so it's either


- The Secret History of Domesticity: Public, Private and the Division of Knowlege by Michael McKeon


or What If? edited by Robert Cowley.


How I think I'm going to manage this when I still haven't finished Frankenstein, the November Knit The Classics book choice, at a mere 260 pages (and could the Frankensteins be more self involved? Sheesh.) we won't get into.


KNITTING: Oh, it's just all so painful. After all that torment yesterday on the Gingerbread Castle (destined to be a mere lowly dishcloth, for the love of mud) and thinking I had it whipped, I knit up the rows blithely and in all innocence - and it was still 5 stitches short.


Grrr, argh, etc. does not begin to cover it.


It turns out that I was mistaking the knitting abbreviation of P2B, which turns out to mean Purl Two Stitches EACH through the back loop for P2togB which is, duh, Purling Two Stitches TOGETHER though the back loop. No wonder I was coming up 5 stitches short the next row and the pattern was goofy.

Speaking of goofy, what the heck happened to the font/text? Copying that list, no doubt.

Pfft. Titles.

First off, mrspao is hosting theDebdeclogo2 Debbie Bliss December .

Hopefully I'll finish: Mmip_024

It's This Big, so far. Mmip_326 It only needs to be about 60 inches and it's taking me roughly an hour to knit a(n)[ *#!$%$] inch. Check out that ancient wood ruler. My mother has threatened me with certain death if I break it. Honestly.

I managed to finish at least one Christmas present: Mmip_324

and get hopelessly bogged down on another:  Mmip_329

mostly because I'm an idiot. It took hunting the net for errata that doesn't exist (but finding this, page down to the Nov 30th post, is that gorgeous, or what?), knitting and ripping, knitting and ripping, knitting and ripping (mind you, we're talking about freaking row 37 and row 38) and then charting and erasing, charting and erasing, charting, checking off and erasing, charting and checking off. I still haven't managed to knit Row 38 but at least I've got it worked out on paper.

As for the Dale of Norway KAL, I've narrowed down my choices to this or that. Today. I don't know about superwash wool though. Anyone have any experience with it?

Tomorrow I'm going to update on the Reading Challenges (mostly so I can sort my posts) but is this a cool pic outside of the Clayton Library or what? Naturally I didn't have my digital camera so I had to take it with the cellphone. Librarycrane_1

Meandering Monday

You are 37% Canuck!

There may be hope for you, run for the border, the Northern border you damn yank! Maybe then and only then can you be saved. If you were closer to 34% just stay put, Canada doesn't need your kind.

How Canadian Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

From Marina's site, the Canuck quiz above. Stupid post won't let me go in front of it. Huh. I didn't expect to be all that Canadian but for some reason I expected a little higher percentage. I least I know Tim Horton's is a coffee place. (And I would know that, wouldn't I?)

From Bookfoolery, a poetry meme:

1. What's the first poem you remember reading/hearing/reacting to?

Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight.....?  Mostly because I was pretty much blind as a kid (and still am) and I was gobsmacked to see stars at night after one early childhood trip home from the optometrist. (Also, cows in the hills, leaves on the trees, etc, etc.)

And probably untold nursery rhymes which I was very, very fond of.

2. I was forced to memorize (name of poem) (El Dorado) in school (in the 7th grade) and . . . every time me and Mary Jo get together, we recite it. It's the only poem I can ever remember all the way through.

3. I read/don't read poetry because . . . I read poetry. I just enjoy it.

4. A poem I'm likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem is . . .Gerald Manley Hopkin's Carrion Comfort.

5. I write/don't write poetry, but . . . I have. I thought it was amazingly insightful, incisive and revolutionary at the time, but........that time is gone.

6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature. Well, yeah. I read poetry less often and I get really obsessive over certain poems so much more so than books.

7. I find poetry . . . intiguing.

8. The last time I heard poetry . . . I'm not sure I've heard poetry since college. Usually I read it. Unless it's poems I'm reading outloud, but that's hardly hearing it. Hearing yourself talk out loud? I guess.

9. I think poetry is like . . . wine.


Ha! I tag YOU! Meaning whoever thinks it looks like fun.


And my camera (or my computer, I'm not sure where to assign blame) won't let me upload pictures, so I can't show you the yummy goodness mrspao gifted me with in our own Coffee Swap (I missed the swap and she offered to be my unofficial swap pal! Isn't that sweet? Mmip_312

Ha. Pictures. Is that bounteous or what?


The package arrived  on Saturday, which was a lovely, lovely treat, seeing as how I'd spent four or five hours walking the shops of Walnut Creek an Lafayette looking for Moose Munch for BFF (Macy's carries it, FYI) and right before my last stop (the bank) getting into the car,  I managed to throw an entire cup of hot chocolate on my lap, my white turtleneck, my carseat, the floorboards - and, two office keys, which wouldn't unstick this morning when I tried to unlock the office door.


So after [driving home] throwing all clothes in the wash, myself under the shower and hosing the car down (as much as I could with most of it being inside), I got to open her package! Pretty purple and gray yarn, TIM TAMS! espresso chocolate, Free Trade coffee beans, loose chocolates........Lovely, lovely!  Hopefully I can post a pic of it tonight.


Movies: BFF and I went to see The Fountain yesterday. Enh. She liked it better than I did. Murky, dark and repetitive. I couldn't even knit during it and I still have no real idea what the movie was about. Very Zen and mythical, but not nearly colorful enough (it's as close to a black & white movie I've ever seen filmed in color.) I was expecting costumes, spectacle and mythology, not repeating scenes and monkey experiments. Oh yeah, a love story too. Sort of.


Reading: I picked up Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden Wizard series and I'm hooked. The first one isn't as well writen as the last, but then that's hardly a fault. He's my kind of anti hero and I love the intertwined otherworld characters. Mmip_298 This pic is the side of the Clayton Library week ago Sunday. Pretty, eh?


Knitting: Not much this weekend. I did start a  sock from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks, but mostly because my feet have been freezing and I needed a carry around project. Naturally I managed to not realize that the gauge was for two inches and not four until I was well into the sock, but luckily my gauge was off anyway, so it  just needs a bit of tweaking as I decrease down the legline.

Not enough time at the house to do much on Mary Tudor (I type Marty first, every. freaking. time).