Wednesday, April 22, 2009


At one point in my life, I read much more than I do now. I think this was before having a child, and probably before I went to grad school. I still read, but there's been a definite drop in both the quantity and quality of my reading. The past couple years have been particularly difficult - after the deaths of my mentor and my dad, I've wanted to avoid anything serious, anything potentially distressing, and preferably no discussions of cancer in my books. That's mostly left me with mysteries and science fiction, although I admit that most of the Twilight series also snuck in there. (I haven't read the last book, and I probably will. At the same time, I think it's a terribly written series and the female protagonist is a wet washrag.)

Two weekends ago, I went to the bookstore with Julie, ostensibly to knit. We didn't ever get around to that - we wandered around a lot, and yakked a lot, but didn't pull out the knitting. I did, however, purchase some books. I just finished The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, volumes 1 and 2 over the weekend. It looked promising - it had great blurbs, it was a NY Times Bestseller, it sold itself as
"...a bodice-ripping, action-packed roller-coaster ride of suspense, betrayal, and richly fevered dreams."
With a line like that, I couldn't resist. I wasn't looking for high literature after all, I was looking for escapism.

The first chapter was promising, but the book rapidly got bogged down in its own language, overly convoluted plots, and poor pacing. Parts of the book stretched on forever, and critical scenes were rushed and hard to follow. By the time I finished reading both volumes (evidently this is one larger work that was packaged into two smaller paperbacks for ease of handling), I still had no connection to any of the characters, and had lost track of much of the intrigue and the rationale for most of the actions. It was bizarrely violent, gory, and completely nonsensical, and lacked any sense of fun.

I don't think it's that I don't like steampunk - Girl Genius amuses me, and I enjoyed the Difference Engine, but this book really left me cold. In some ways I think it's comparable to Jonathan Norrell and Mr. Strange, at least in terms of being somewhat in need of an editor, but Norrell and Strange was a much better book. I didn't enjoy that one very much either, but at least I didn't want a refund of my time quite as badly.

Overall, I was disappointed, and I'm recommending a pass on these.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blog Block

I've been having a hard time figuring out what to say lately. As usual, I've been juggling a lot of projects. On Ravelry, I formally claim 9 of them. There are well over a dozen, however, and although my dabbling keeps me from being bored, it doesn't make for exciting blogging. Over the last 2 days, I've finished 2 socks.

Primavera. Simple pattern, nice effect. I still count Trekking as one of my favorite yarns. I like the way the colors blend into each other, the yarn is durable, and makes a sock that's just the right weight.

Undulating Rib
For the knitting-tolerant husband, the Undulating Rib sock from Favorite Socks. This is some Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Colori Socka Color yarn I've had in stash since the first year I started knitting. It's also a striping yarn, similar to Trekking, but much less even in yarn thickness. I don't know that I loved working with it, but I'm quite pleased with the sock.

Crime Fighting Sock
And this is my labor of love. I hate this yarn. It's squeaky, and sticky, and slimy. I don't like working with it, but the husband likes it. The colors are fun, and the dye is gorgeous - I just hate the base. I'm up to the toe on these, then got distracted and had to rip back. Now the sock is in time out, and I'll finish the toe tomorrow, and cast on for sock #2. If it wasn't meant for the husband, I'd chuck the whole thing.

I had several ideas earlier this evening about what to write, but it got late and I got tired. Hopefully I'll be a little less scarce, now that I'm over my cold, and actually back to knitting, but it's been hard to do much of anything.
I keep hoping my schedule will get less intense, but I think that's not going to let up until at least August.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Two sleeves down.

And a yoke to go.

Bells recently started Tangled Yoke, and as I don't want this to be another time that she completes a sweater I started years ago before I finish mine. I had one sleeve already knit, and just finished the second one moments ago.

They are, however, off on stitch count from what they should be according to the pattern. Not hugely, just a few here and there, so I'm planning on adding in the extra 2-3 stitches per sleeve (one sleeve is short 2, the other 3) when I join the whole mess together.

Just not tonight.

Should I be more concerned about this? I tried the sleeves on, and they fit just fine. But at 6 st/inch, this is not insignificant... Then again, I'm okay with being a sloppy knitter.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Title goes here.

Last night I finished knitting a Bias Shawl out of Handmaiden Silk Rumple. This was one of my presents to myself for getting a new job. I have to admit that I am not entirely sure about the finished product. The yarn is silk, and feels fantastic. After all, it is silk. But - it's also boucle, and I'm not certain how I feel about that aspect. As usual, I love the colors (peridot mist for my particular skein), and I mostly enjoyed working this up. The pattern is an incredibly simple 2 row repeat, which is frankly about all I'm up for right now. I needed something mindless, or meditative if you prefer. Currently, the wrap is blocking, and I'm holding off a final judgement until it's dry. I will state that my blocking skills are lacking. I can't pin a straight edge, and I'm way too lazy to use string to block things. I'm contemplating asking for blocking wires for my birthday, especially if I keep knitting lace. I have a suspicion that blocking just may require a lot more patience and attention to detail than I have at the moment. Hopefully I'll get some photos of it tomorrow once it's dry, but I also have to go into the lab and work this Saturday. I spent yesterday hiding at home, and am planning to do the same again today. I have a lot of work to do involving organizing spreadsheets, and as I have coffee and relative quiet at home, working here is an appealing option. That being said, I tried it yesterday and spent much more time drinking coffee and knitting than I did working.

My boys come home tomorrow night, which is good. Having the quiet was nice, but I think I much prefer having them with me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

On hold

Just for a little while. Being at the computer is seriously stressing me out.

An excuse to blog

Yeah, the blogging every day thing isn't going so well. I also don't want to sit online and whine about my life. And frankly, things aren't going so well, so I'm trying to keep quiet. Anyhow. I'm grumpy and things feel aversive, so I'm going to go with the 10 on Tuesday theme for the day.

10 Least Liked Foods

I like food. I like to eat, and I'm a reasonably adventurous eater. That being said:

1. Organ meats. I don't care for them, won't eat them.
2. Lima beans. My mom insists they are something
3. Peas. Raw, maybe, but cooked peas gross me out.
4. Ham. I don't know, I just don't like the way it looks or smells.
5. Canteloupe. Or melon in general, come to think of it. That's a textural issue for me, as well as finding them too sweet.
6. Collard greens. Too bitter.
7. Any overcooked vegetables. I like my roughage raw.
8. Over-ripe bananas. Ick.
9. Beets. Don't care for them.
10. Brussel sprouts. Taste bitter to me.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Doo doo doo....

Looking out my front window.
Raking season, just the beginning.
Yesterday I could not figure out where to drop my son off for daycare, which was held at a school we don't normally go to. It was his first day of spring break, and since my boss was away, I decided I'd take the day off and spend it with him. We ran some errands, played outside, and I then started to spend some time on my least favorite yard chore. Raking. This represents a tiny fraction of what needs to come up off my yard - and this is from an area that has already been raked once this season. Ugh. I have a lot more work to do.

Raking season, more to go.
I'm hoping to get the piles picked up by the end of this week, but the job never seems to end. My legs are really sore from picking up the piles, but I need the exercise anyhow.

At least you can see pretty flowers out the back window.

So the boys are off for their vacation, and I've got the house to myself. Which means I have been doing my best to be anywhere but home. It's weirdly quiet. I'm going to settle down for the rest of the evening with a movie, some popcorn, some knitting, and some tea. I'm hoping to get close to finishing a sock - I'm not sure how long it should be, and the husband isn't around to try it on, but I know it needs a few more inches of foot regardless.

Tomorrow, in to work to collect my computer and my phone charger. I've picked up 2 new knitting books recently, which will make good blog fodder for tomorrow, I think.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day 2

I swear to you I had fewer of those 2 days ago. It's been a week. Thankfully, tomorrow is Friday, and the boss is out, which means I can relax and have a better day.

Julie freaked me out about carpet bugs, which prompted me to pull out my roving and spin a little bit. I am not very good at making yarn with my spindle, which isn't much of a surprise. I don't play with it very often, and honestly, I don't really have time to take up spinning, even though I do find working with the spindle to be really relaxing. I think most of my yarn is safely stored in plastic bags inside plastic tubs, but there's one area in my house that I'm a little nervous about. I think I'll dig into that area this weekend, but it's hiding a lot of things I don't really want to deal with.

It rained all day and wasn't a good day for photos. Hopefully tomorrow the pollen will have been washed away a bit and it will be slightly drier. Roads were flooded for my morning commute - high tide + rain + living at sea level = hazardous conditions. If it's a little better, I'll snap a shot of the wrap I've been knitting away on. Let's face it - it's a novelty scarf, but it's silk and it feels fantastic, and I'm feeling totally unashamed of it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

This cheesy 80's moment

Brought to you courtesy of a lousy day.
Humor me. I gave notice today (3 months) and it didn't go so well. But, hey - I made it this far. I can make it another few months, right?

I'm challenging myself to blog every day this month. If nothing else, it may help me get out the camera more.