Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For...

In lieu of boring pictures of baby blankets in progress, I bring you this Mind Hump meme:

In the song I'm currently listening to, U2 proclaims they still haven't found what they're looking for. What are you looking for? Have you found it?

What am I looking for? A pair of shoes to love. My feet are shaped like the rest of my body - relatively short and squat. I suppose in an odd way things got better feet-wise after Willow was born because my feet grew while pregnant. Yeah... that is one of those weird things that baby and pregnancy books rarely mention. I went from a size 5.5/6 W to a size 6.5 W. So I have small, wide feet. They actually rather square-ish. The kicker (haha - pun intended) is that wide shoes usually start at size 7. So, I have plenty of pairs of shoes that my feet slide around in and which is probably causing me to walk weird. I also have a few pairs of mules or slides - because there is no back to the shoes I don't have to worry about slippage so much. I really want some cute slightly heeled (chunky is better) leather mary janes. I have a pair of MUDD ones I recently bought and love - but even those are slightly roomy. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pretty Socks and Hats

Aren't they lovely?

These are the socks that my friend Michelle knit out of the self-striping sock yarn I hand-dyed for her for Christmas. I am so pleased with how they turned out - the credit is due to Michelle's great knitting skills.

I also finished up my Silk Garden hat last night while watching a bunch of stuff I had recorded on the DVR (Coupling, No Reservations, and the documentary about Life After Man - in case you were interested). Oh my I was sitting close to Michelle! (Note to self, sit further back and lift up the chin...)

Here's a close up of the colours in the hat - like I mentioned before, pretty muted all the way through. I like it - in fact, I am still wearing it right now for no good reason other than I like it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What do you do with a craptastic day?

Buy yarn. I've had a miserable emotional morning. Enough said.

I'm getting itchy because I have not had a finished object yet in January. I have been working on Asami and Teri's respective baby blankets, and as satisfying as making baby stuff is, the monotony of it all is getting to me. Right now I would say I am 70% finished on Teri's and maybe 50% done on Asami's, so there is no real end in sight.

So, with getting some stuff for my next Knitty SP package in mind, I went for a drive out to an Asian supermarket and one of my LYS. That could be construed as a hint, but I honestly don't think my downstream SP reads my blog, so it doesn't matter. I came out of the Asian supermarket with microwaveable sushi rice, rice seasoning (furikake), and some SP goodies. I came out of the LYS with this Silk Garden beauty:

It's actually muted all the way through. Whilst rolling it into a ball I expected to find a swath of magenta or orange, but it is all blue/green/grey. This will be a hat for me.

And my all-time 'make-me-feel-better' yarn... come on, you can read the label:

Just on touch factor alone this one is a winner for me. This will probably end up being a hat, too. I love Malabrigo hats. Plus hats are super-quick and will probably alleviate my baby blanket doldrums. Oh yeah, I bought something for my SP there as well, but can't show you a picture of that!

Gratuitous Willow shot:

Why yes, she did dress heself today! And she thinks my badminton racquet is a banjo... See the carpet she is standing on? Here's a somewhat better shot:

We picked this up at IKEA yesterday (oh, how I love going to IKEA - it rivals going to yarn stores for me!) for only $14.99. Andrew picked her up a small wooden train set as well. She can't wait for Ray to come over so the two of them can go crazy on it. We also bought some new dishes and looked at some armoires. As much as we love our house, the closet space sucks.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Really? I Thought I Was Wittier Than That.

Your Score: the Ham

(42% dark, 42% spontaneous, 10% vulgar)

your humor style:

Your style's goofy, innocent and feel-good. Perfect for parties and for the dads who chaperone them. You can actually get away with corny jokes, and I bet your sense of humor is a guilty pleasure for your friends. People of your type are often the most approachable and popular people in their circle. Your simple & silly good-naturedness is immediately recognizable, and it sets you apart in this sarcastic world.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Will Ferrell - Will Smith

The 3-Variable Funny Test!
- it rules -

If you're interested, try my best friend's best test: The Genghis Khan Genetic Fitness Masterpiece

Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman

Friday, January 25, 2008

Don't You Think the Author of a Wild Peculiar Blog Should Have a Peculiar Aristocratic Title?

Stolen from Dulcedosa...

My Peculiar
Aristocratic Title is:

Very Lady
Josephine the Lachrymose of Tempting St Mary

your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday Book Report: Plum Lucky

Boy, I got this one in just under the wire. It's been quite the week, people -between home stuff and work stuff - I was hard-pressed to finish reading a single book. Luckily for me, Janet Evanovich's Plum Lucky was just the thing I needed.

This is one of Evanovich's 'Between-the-Numbers' books - and why is that? Well, the main character, Stephanie Plum, is the hapless heroine of a series of books with a number in the title ( One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly, etc.). This is the second between-the-numbers novel - and at 166 pages, more of a novella, but fun nonetheless. Stephanie works as a bail bond recovery agent, and trust me - nearly every catch she makes is by pure luck or happenstance. She and her lively and colourful companions (Lula the former 'ho, Grandma Mazur, a mysterious guy named Diesel) are all out to recover some money that Grandma Mazur thought was hers (finders-keepers, don't you know?) that rightfully (?) belongs to the mob.

There wasn't much romance is this novel, and I was happy that Morelli was only given passing mention and Ranger actually played a small role (oh, I am a Ranger girl all the way!). Maybe it was just the mood I was in at the beginning of the week, but for me the laughing out loud didn't happen until the last third of the book. If you like funny mystery novels, pick up this series. Once again, not great literature, but definitely something that will make you smirk, smile, laugh, and giggle.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

WiP It Wednesday

Thank you to Zonda for reminding me so prettily it was Wednesday...

Here is the Pinwheel Baby Blanket, still in progress:


My rows are now 460 stitches around... it is getting harder and harder to add any more diameter to the blanket. I have only just started the second ball of yarn as well. As tedious as this project is at this moment, I could really see myself making another one.

And as for the pose? What am I supposed to do? It's already on 40" needles. Plus this way I don't have to worry about her blinking every time the flash goes off.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Michelle's Vest Socks

It doesn't much look like a vest, does it?

Remember the socks yarn I dyed for my knitting friends for Christmas? Well, Michelle is halfway through her second sock. I had intended it to be self-striping and I am quite pleased with how it turned out. When she is finished both socks I will try to take a picture in the sun to give a better representation of the colours.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Snow-delayed Book Report: Then We Came To The End

Sorry everyone - we had a bit of a snow squall here yesterday afternoon. Lucky also had a vet appointment. I thought I would be able to get up there and back and have time to write my book report... but in the slow snow traffic it took me about 70 minutes to drive 7 miles up the road. By the time I got home past 8pm, I hadn't had dinner yet and all I wanted to do was curl up in my flannel jammies on the sofa. Lucky is okay - he has a bit of a upper respiratory infection, but now has medication to take care of it.

Without further ado - this week's book report is on Joshua Ferris' Then We Came To The End.

I had such high hopes for this book. I first read about it in a New York Times article on the best books of 2007. Even before I saw what the book was about the title intrigued me. I later learned the title was an homage to another book - Don DeLillo's Americana.

This book is the story of a corporate office in the early 1990's Chicago and what happens when business starts dwindling and layoffs become a painful reality. It's rather timely considering the news you hear every day - Company X laying off 2000 workers, shutting down this call center, outsourcing work, etc. Sounds pretty morbid, right? Well, once I found out that the book was a dark comedy about layoffs, I snapped it up.

I'll admit I snickered in parts. On page 5 you will find, "Karen Woo always had something new to tell us [in staff meetings] and we hated her guts for it. She would start talking and our eyes would glaze over." Omigod, that is me! But, for the most part Ferris' passive prose drove me bonkers and toward there seemed to be some continuity problems toward the end. I am not going to go out of my way to recommend this book - for laughs concerning this subject matter you would get more out of "The Office" episode where Michael Scott has to decide who to lay off.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

*Canadian* SP Goodies and WiP It Wednesday

Oh, Knitty SP - you made my heart go pitter-patter... and it wasn't just at the level of caffeine in this box!

Tim Hortons coffee! And it is even coarse ground so we can use it in our french press. Coffee Crisps! (My all-time favourite chocolate bar and it is scarce in the USA) Licorice Allsorts! My husband won't kiss me when I eat them but I love them so! And *real* Smarties (analogous to M&Ms but so much better). For some reason here in the US they think Smarties are powdered sugar tablets. Yech. Thank you so much! I think I am going to watch 'The Tudors' tonight and get all sugared up...

And now - a real-live WiP. I know I haven't posted a WiP in a while, but I had a good reason. Okay, so maybe it was a lame reason, but none of the things I was working on was anywhere near a recognizable state. Here is a pic of the spiral baby blanket I am working on for my friend Asami:

I know it kind of looks like a tam right now - but trust me - it will be a big round baby blanket when I am done. I am up to 350 stitches now... and am only about a third done. I foresee the eventual binding off taking a few hours in itself...

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Pig Story

You really want to hear the pig story? There are actually a few different pig stories. The summer between ninth and tenth grades we moved and my parents bought a hobby farm. There may have been two acres, and we had chickens, 2 calves, bunnies, 2 goats, a half dozen pigs or so, and a big garden. Sound idyllic? It wasn't. It was a lot of dirty work. I remember entering a radio contest that summer about the best/worst thing about your summer. I wrote about how horrible it was to have blissfully lived in the suburbs and have your parents wrench you out of your comfort zone and make you shovel manure all summer. Yeah, I won the contest. The only thing was I didn't even know it! My friends back in our old town called me to tell me.

Anyway, back to the pigs. Pigs aren't bad creatures. If you keep their pens clean they don't smell bad. They don't poop where they eat. And piglets are just like little puppies - all they want to do is get close to you and play. In fact, we used to put our little miniature poodle in with the piglets and they used to chase each other around. When a sow is farrowing (giving birth), she is in a gestational cage so she doesn't harm the babies. She's half a ton, they are maybe a few pounds each. Unfortunately, some sows goes psycho after they give birth - they will stomp and rampage or eat their piglets and the sow has to be euthanized. This happened to us once and my Dad managed to save a single piglet from the litter. For the life of me I can't remember his name - Mom? Ter? Do either of you remember? But we brought this piglet into the house, bottle fed him cow formula, and my sisters and I treated him like a baby. It was one of those times after I had given him his bottle and he had fallen asleep that he peed all over me.

And yes, before anyone asks, we did eat him. That was one of the first lessons we learned - and perhaps a hard one considering my sisters and I were all teenagers when we came to live on the farm. Don't get attached to the animals because they are either food or a commodity. I think that perhaps because of this I tried being a vegetarian for a short time when I was 16. I lasted three months, McDonalds did me in.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lucky Update

Yay! He started using his litter box! I was a little worried when I woke up this morning - but Willow came bounding up the stairs with, "Good news, Mommy! He used the box!" And I have seen him a few times today wake up from his nap on the sofa, go downstairs and do his business. Yay! It wasn't the first time I was peed on - I think that was when we were raising piglets in the house when the mother pig went psycho - but it is never a fun thing.

My in laws came over to meet him this morning and he jumped up into both of their laps (I told you he was a lap cat!) He is very curious of my knitting. If I pull long on the skein and a bunch comes out he pounces on it and looks at me. "Are we playing now?" Willow has a half dozen of my small odd balls on the floor in the living room - it's no wonder this cat is napping right now - a five year old girl with her first pet really puts him through his paces! He also likes combing Willow's hair with his claws. I have seen him do this twice now when Willow was snuggled next to me and he was in my lap. He stretches out his paw and combs it through her hair.

Why didn't we do this sooner?!? Someone asked about Forgotten Cats. When we adopted Lucky he was neutered, was tested for FHIV and Feline Leukemia (negative on both), had all his shots (except his last Distemper one which I need to arrange for the end of the month). He was also flea-dipped and had his ears checked for mites. He didn't have a backstory with him, but I honestly think he must have been somebody's pet. He is very loving, great with Willow, and doesn't seem to have an aggressive bone in his body. As I had mentioned before, all he wants to do is snuggle in your lap.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Meet Lucky

Well, after over ten years, two countries, a child... Andrew and I have finally gone and made the plunge together... meet Lucky:

We aren't sure if that will be his permanent name - but that was the name the Forgotten Cats shelter had given him. He's a delightful guy - somewhere between 2 and 5 - and this next picture really shows his personality:

He's a rather mellow lap cat! This afternoon he couldn't make up his mind between Andrew and me - he kept moving from lap to lap to get pets and love.

"A-ha... I have them right where I want them... muwha-ha-ha-ha!"

He also seemed very interested in what the Comcast Cable guys were doing outside:

We had one little peeing incident tonight. He was in Andrew's lap, then came up to snuggle in mine and all of a sudden I feel HOT! I am not sure whether he was just comfortable and let it go or what. He doesn't have any history of this problem and he is litter-trained. Andrew rushed him downstairs and re-acquainted him with the litter box while I cleaned up the mess and ran out to the pet supply store to get some anti-stink spray. For tonight he is sleeping in the basement where we have his litter box (we put his bed and food down there tonight as well). Anyone have any advice?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Duty Knitting


I hate how duty knitting weighs on me. Don't get me wrong - I love making things for my friends and family who are having babies. I feel so happy when I see the babies wrapped up in the blankets, hats, or sweaters I make for them. What I want to know is what does it seem that duty knitting takes so much more time than anything else? Even when it is only a 30" by 30" square blanket?

I have two baby blankets going right now - a crocheted moss stitch one for my sister Teri and a knitted pinwheel blanket for my friend Asami. I should be clear and free after that - I don't know anyone else pregnant. 2007 was the year of everyone I know getting knocked up!

Today I received the March 2008 issue of Creative Knitting in the mail - I can't even link to show the projects because they haven't updated their website yet... but there are a few nice things (and a few doozies) in it. Two I like are the Wheat Cable Vest (and I would elongate the bottom ribbing by 2-3 inches) and the Women's Communicate By Cable Pullover (and I would change the bottom of the sleeves to match the bodice ribbing). Two doozies? The Changing Seasons Cardigan - the toggles aren't measured out evenly and it just looks bad - and the Please Me Pleats Skirt. No one needs a tight knitted skirt.

Okay... those babies aren't going to wait for me to finish their blankets...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday Book Report: Swimming Without A Net

Where do I start? I don't go into MaryJanice Davidson's books expecting great literature. Hilarious repartee and quirky characters perhaps, but nothing thought-provoking or challenging. To put it in perspective, I think it took me 90 minutes to read this book.

Swimming Without A Net is the second book in Davidson's 'Fred the Mermaid' series. Davidson says herself that Fred is the anti-romantic heroine - a mermaid, yet - but a foul-mouthed, bad-tempered, socially-inept one who can't even swim with her own two legs. She has been invited to the Pelagic (a worldwide mermaid conference) and is still trying to make up her mind over her two suitors (a merman prince and a romance-novel-writing scientist) from the last book, Sleeping With the Fishes. We get to meet more of the mermaids, learn more about the culture - but not of all your questions (just who is Fred's Dad, anyway?) are answered.

One thing that does set this book apart from other romance novels is that the secondary characters are having hotter romances than the main characters! I hope that changes soon. I have to admit I am very curious about mermaid sex.

I am not sure I would recommend this book to everyone. It's fluff. Funny fluff, but fluff nonetheless. Cristi may like it, though - for the King of the Merpeople has a thing for Deadwood and Al Swearengen!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Holy Belated Book Report, Batman!

What can I say? Short weeks always mess me up. Friday morning I started planning my book report in my head and then it hit me it was Friday and I was late...

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips is a comedic book about the down-and-out Greek Gods, who live in present day London. Some have adapted, so have not: Zeus has gone a bit senile, Aphrodite is a phone-sex operator, Dionysus runs a cool club, Eros a Christian evangelical, Apollo tries his hand at fortune-telling on TV (mixed in with turning girls who won't sleep with him into trees)... and the most prominent god in the book, Artemis? Well, she walks dogs. They live in a dilapidated townhouse, all living in fear of losing what remains of their powers once and for all. That and taking petty snipes and revenges on each other whenever possible (hey, you would get sick of our flatmates, too if you had lived with them the last 400 years!). One of these petty revenges causes their lives to intersect with Alice, a young woman who works as a cleaner, and Neil - the man who secretly loves her. The resulting events take you on a tour of the Underworld and Upperworld and show you what constitutes a hero.

I mentioned this book in my last book meme post, and as I have already mentioned, it was a fun read. Perhaps not as original as I would have liked. A few years ago I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman, which has a premise that is similar (painfully so at times) to Gaiman's book. The bookflap states that Phillips had worked as a bookseller, so she must have heard of Gaiman - a prolific and popular British writer himself. I would recommend American Gods to anyone - I enjoyed it immensely.

As a child I was fascinated by Greek myths - I think my mother bought me D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths more than once as a child because I kept on wearing out the copy I had. I was fascinated about the theory that there could be more than one God - a guess part of me thought that to be a more practical application of worship - get straight to the heart of the matter.

Like Bezzie, I originally heard about this book on NPR, so I looked it up at my local library. Yes, Bezzie, the book is mainstream - in my book journal where I am categorizing these things, I struggled to even note it as a fantasy. In my mind it is fiction - any residual powers these gods have are not necessarily the crux of the story (I know some may argue that). The bigger story is how they have all dealt with their waning abilities and the people they have become.


Afternote -

One thing I really enjoyed in this book is Phillips' use of language. My favourite line? In descibing Hera, Phillips writes:

"She had hair the color of blackmail, a spine as straight as a guillotine, and a face that could sink ships."

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Book Meme

... stolen from Nell

Open the book I am currently reading to page 161 and read the 5th sentence, and then tag 5 people...

The book I am reading: Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

The quote: "What did she go and die for?"

I am almost finished the book (#3 for the year, if you are curious) and it lots of fun. The story concerns the Greek Pantheon, who have settled impoverishly in London and have limited powers and influence left... and are not willing to go away without a fight.

Okay, I don't like to tag people - but please purloin at will. But if you do, please let me know so I can check yours out!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008 Challenge

I hate making resolutions - the last time I successfully made (and more importantly, kept) New Year's resolutions was the year I found out I was pregnant with Willow (and yes, that was one of the resolutions). Everyone sees the new year as a fresh start and wants to eat better, exercise more... so I won't even mention those.

Instead, I challenge myself to finish 100 books in 2008.

Think I can do it? I would say when I am in the mood I read between 2 - 3 books a week. The challenge would be to keep myself interested in reading. The knitting may suffer. Or my insomnia might just get stronger for it - I don't know. I bought Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Journal to help me keep track of the books. I'll probably whip myself up an excel spreadsheet as well because I am interested in what I am reading - what is the percent of sci-fi versus romance versus historical fiction? How many pages by the end of the year? Who do I read the most?

On the last day of each month I will update you on how many books I have read - and maybe by the end of 2008 I can think up some nifty contest to go along with either my raging success or abysmal failure. How many books do you think I can read in 2008?