Thursday, January 25, 2007

Booking Through Thursday

  1. How many unread books do you have in your house, right now? (Your own books, that is--not ones that belong to other family members--and not counting things like school books, if you have them.) Clearly, an estimate will do.

  2. I did a quick count and I think there are around 80 unread (by me) books in the house.

  3. To the best of your recollection, what is the OLDEST unread book in your collection? How long has it been waiting?

  4. This was a very difficult question. I think the oldest is Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. This one has been on the shelf for about 11 years. At the time I was reading a lot of empowering myself books, but re-reading the description of this one reminds me why I picked it in the first place.

  5. Do your TBR books (that's "To Be Read," if you didn't know) haunt you, make you feel guilty that you haven't read them yet?

  6. I definitely am haunted by my TBR books. They are a reminder that I have very little self-control when it comes to buying books (or craft supplies). I have more stuff than I need, but I do not want to get rid of any of it!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cables & Sky

It's Saturday, so that means it's time for sky. It is also Lacrosse season, so you know how we spent our morning. Yes, we packed up our folding chairs and headed for the fields. Young Man is out there on defense looking alert. His team was very shorthanded today so only one boy was subbed out at a time. This is good for getting game time, but it left us with 11 very tired young men at the end of the day. While we don't make a big deal out of the scores at this level, Young Man's team won and was very happy with the game.
And what are fashionable Lacrosse Moms wearing this season? Why cables, of course. Here I am ready for cheering with my hat for the sun and my woolies for the chill. Stop laughing. It was cool when the sun when under a cloud!
Okay, here are the glamor shots (stop laughing, I said!)

Project: Follow-the-Leader Aran Knitalong (FLAK) sweater
Yarn: Brown Sheep Naturespun Worsted in Blueberry (I don't remember how many skeins, but it was quite a few)

Needles: Addi Turbo circulars in US 6 for the body and US 4 for the ribbing

Notes: This was a long time coming, but it was a wonderful project. I learned so much from Janet Szabo while working this project. Her directions were fabulous. This sweater is so comfortable and it fits perfectly. My only issue is that wool is a bit warm for Southern California. That is certainly not Janet's fault! I made this pretty much exactly like her instructions and used moss stitch for the filler stitch. If you want to learn about Arans get Janet's book and enjoy yourself!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Booking Through Thursday

  1. Grab the book closest to you.

  2. Open to page 123, look down to the 5th sentence.

  3. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog.

  4. Include the title and the author's name.

  5. "How often?"
    Excerpt from The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine, Ph.D.

That's a pretty boring sentence from a very good book. I actually prefer the first sentence on page 123: "When we mitigate natural consequences for our kids we deprive them of one of life's most important lessons: that we are held accountable for our actions."

It was a quiet yet crazy day here. Work is quite insane. I did manage to finish a Branching Out scarf during a noontime telecon. I figure that working through lunch isn't completely annoying if I am also knitting.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Texting on Tuesday
...must take break from fun fur....

Add me to the list of knitters who do not find Fun Fur any fun. It is for a good cause and it is emptying my stash. If I keep repeating that, I will work through the balls of it. So far, I have one sapphire blue hat and half of a hot pink hat. I completed a copper hat, but gave it to a friend who is going through chemo herself. She doesn't think she can wear it, but I assured her that its real purpose was to give her a laugh.

In between the eyelash, I've been finishing up some reading. Moll Flanders is off the nightstand. She was an interesting read. I do recommend it, but it wasn't an easy go. This is one of the first examples of the "modern" novel and the concept of chapters hadn't been considered. The entire book is split into two volumes with no chapter divisions so it really does seem to go one forever. Defoe did an admirable job of portraying the challenges posed to women in the early 1700s. Women without means were left with few options. Moll made the most of what she had. Whether she truly repented for her actions at the end is left to the readers' speculation.

If you noticed, FLAK is finished! I have even worn her twice and she fits perfectly! She is also beautifully suited for wearing during chilly lacrosse games. The photo shoot is still in planning.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

It's Thursday
So there must be books! Today's question: What are you reading right now? (Well, obviously, you're reading THIS right now, perhaps I should have been more clear. What book(s) are you in the process of reading? (grin))

I always have several books going at the same time. I know this confuses some people, but this way I can pick up whatever strikes my fancy without guilt. There are currently three main books on my list:

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe - This was the January choice for my book club. I'm about halfway through. Even though we had our discussion yesterday, I will still finish it. Moll is a character and her resilience is impressive.

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin - This is the reason that I didn't finish my book club book in time for the discussion! I received this for the holidays and settled in with it right away. I love history books that make the history come alive. We have a rich and amazing past and the books about it should be interesting. This one is a pleasure to read. Abraham Lincoln had so many challenges during his presidency and one of the big ones was bringing together those who didn't think he should have been elected in the first place.

A History of God by Karen Armstrong - Some of my friends may wonder about this choice. I am not a religious person and do not actually believe in gods. However, I am fascinated by the need that so many have for religion in their lives and I want to understand the history of religion and how it influences people and countries today.

And now for something completely different... (can you tell that we got the Monty Python 16-ton megaset?) It is supposed to rain soon. Bring it on!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Understanding Engineers 101

After several less than happy experiences with sales personnel, I feel it is time for a bit of a public service. Since I am certain that none of the contractors with whom we have met in the last few weeks would ever read this blog, I must appeal to spouses and friends. If you have a friend in sales, please pass on the following lessons:

When you are on a sales call to a home and the homeowners mention that one of them is an engineer, they are not making casual conversation. They are also not just telling you this so that you have confidence in their ability to pay for the item or service that you are selling. No, this bit of information is actually a warning. If your potential customer is an engineer, you will NOT be making a sale today. This is especially true if both members of the couple are engineers. No amount of wheeling or dealing will get you the sale today. In fact, the more you drop the price or offer different options, the less inclined your engineer customers will be to buy from you at all. Engineers need to carefully weigh the alternatives. Offering more options will just slow the decision making process to a pace that would make even a snail bored. Give us the data, give us a single price, and go away so that we can think. A deadline for the price is a good idea, but saying that it is only good for that day will not get you any business.

As you may have gathered, Mr. Engineer and I are dealing with contractors to enhance Chez Engineer. We have spent the last 12 or so years considering adding a patio room to the unused area that is usually called a patio. Our "patio" is now a concrete slab that used to have a nasty cover over it. We removed the cover two years ago in preparation for the patio room. This year we are actually going to have one installed. Really, we are. The past two weeks have been spent gathering data and getting bids. Making decisions like this is a very stressful thing for engineers. Dealing with contractors who do not understand us makes it more difficult.

I am getting lots of knitting done while I decompress from each bid experience. FLAK is nearly finished. I have either 12 or 50 rows to complete before starting the bottom ribbing. I have entered the knitting twilight zone where I measure, need 1 1/2 inches more, knit 12 rows, measure, and still need 1 1 /2 inches more. Another 12 rows should do it. Maybe.

I'm also knitting my first pair of socks with Austerman Step. I like the feel, but the yarn seems to split a lot. A nice, plain pattern seems to work the best. Marguerite gave me the idea for this simple 6-2 rib.

Finally, a little sky. This is actually from 26 December. Yesterday's sky was blue. Today, it seems a little hazy from the dust blown about by the wind.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Year, New Buttons

Today's new button is from Chappysmom. I love books, but I don't have nearly the time to read that she has. Still, I manage.

This week's question is, "What were your favorite books of 2006?" As expected, this is a tough one. My favorite of the year was probably 1776, by David McCullough. I just love Mr. McCullough's writing. I thoroughly enjoyed his John Adams in 2005 and liked 1776 just as much. He makes history ever so much more enjoyable than the textbook writers (at least the ones who wrote the textbooks I read). I hadn't expected to learn as much as I did while reading this book. I mean, all US children know about the Revolution, right? Wrong!

Another favorite was The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1, by Arthur Conan Doyle. I had a fabulous time revisiting old favorites and discovering new ones as I made my way through this volume.

For anyone wondering about the template changes, I'm looking for a new year change and this may or may not be it.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

2007 has started out well. It's certainly much too soon to determine how the rest of the year will go, but the first day was good. Young Man had a fabulous idea and we followed up on it for an afternoon at the tide pools.

We saw loads of wildlife. There were some fabulous pink nudibranchs that amazed us all.
There were also many sea hares. They aren't the prettiest creatures, but they are fun to watch.

Young Man had a wonderful time and his parents are very glad that they listened to his idea.
There was even time for knitting. I've been focussed on FLAK and she is thriving with just a little attention. Both sleeves are finished and the body is nearly half done. The homestretch has been reached!