Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Who is your favorite female lead character? And why? (And yes, of course, you can name more than one . . . I always have trouble narrowing down these things to one name, why should I force you to?)
Oh, dear, this is a difficult one. If I were feeling better, I would certainly spend more time and effort on this because it is a challenging question. However, since I do not recover as quickly as Young Man from colds (I'm to the coughing and snuffling stage, next comes the Lauren Bacall voice), I'm going with my first reaction to the question. I will have to say that my favorite female character is Miss Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Miss Bennet is bright and thoughtful in an age where that was not always valued. She is sensible where so many in her family are wildly not. Eventually, she wins the heart and even the mind of Mr. Darcy who can appreciate her intellect and spirit. As will all Austen novels, it is never this simple and economics certainly factor into life. Still, the happy ending arrives for all.
Now, I'm back to my simple scarf knitting and a box of tissues.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
We teach our children to share and what do they do? Yep! Share their colds with their parents. Time to bring out the quizzy things.
You Belong in 1988
Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.
Monday, February 25, 2008
The day began very well. It continued with Young Man feeling much better so that he could go off to school. Not everyone would think that was a good thing, but Young Man enjoys school. He had a very nice day and finished all his homework within 20 minutes of arriving home. He had a very, very big incentive.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Today's book is The Willoughbys, by Lois Lowry. This is a delightful children's book. How could anyone not like a book written for children that describes the parents as irascible and indolent? I adore children's books that do not speak down to the children. While many of the reviews offer comparisons to the Series of Unfortunate Events books, I don't think that will give potential readers a feel for the book. The Willoughbys has some of the same elements, but it seems quite a bit less morbid and more humorous. Okay, so there is some morbidity and the ending could be seen by some as dreadful, but it is all handled masterfully and without becoming maudlin. It is especially delightful to find a children's book that includes an epilogue, a glossary, and a bibliography! So few books in this genre offer references to the sources of the inside jokes. This just makes it a complete experience. Amazon says that this is for ages 9-12, but I think a bit younger would enjoy this - then again, Young Man was reading Harry Potter in second grade, so I might have skewed expectations.
As for any who are wondering how I got my hands on a copy of a book that isn't due to be released for another month, there is no mystery. I have had quite a run of luck in the blogosphere lately and I won a review copy of this book from Elizabeth Bird in a contest on her spectacular blog, A Fuse #8 Production. If you love books for children and young adults, I highly recommend adding this blog to your subscribed feeds
Saturday, February 23, 2008
No, it is not cold here. Get real, we live in Southern California. The worst it gets is chilly. Today the highs were in the the low 60s, but it was a dreary day. It started out well with pretty clouds against a blue sky. The sky quickly progressed to dreary grey by game time. This would not have been a terrible thing (it made photography easy) if it weren't for the decline in Young Man's health that seemed to correlate. Young Man is the one with a cold. Throughout the morning he vacillated between wanting to stay home, wanting to play, and wanting to go but stay on the sidelines. We packed up the party bus with Young Man's gear and sticks, but he stayed in jeans and a T. All were happy to see a good turn out for the game and opponents who were reasonably sized. Young Man's gear stayed in the van, the sticks came out for sideline play, and we were ready for the second to last game of the season. By game time, Young Man did consent to wear a sweatshirt and the onset of a light rain made him happy that he did! As the day progressed, we were all happy that Young Man declined to play as he is obviously under the weather.
Young Man spent most of the game either on the sideline with his team or over by the parents. We are quite sure that he enjoyed being with the team more than being with the parents. He did smile (in a tween way) when I pointed out that he now knows what the parents are yelling during the game. He told me last week that he can't really hear us when he is on the field. That might be just as well. We keep it clean, but we are proud of our boys.
It was refreshing for the parents to see our boys go up against a team that was more evenly matched to our team in size. That didn't stop our coaches from looking nervous during some of the plays. Our boys used their speed and agility to rack up several unanswered points.
The other team was not about to give up easily. They were capable players and were very good at retrieving loose balls. Still, the fierce intensity that our boys displayed could not be matched today. Rain didn't even seem to slow the boys down, although it did seem to make the ball a little "slippery." The parents had to admit that they lost track of the score. The coaches were just as bad. We know that we won and we think that the score was 9-5, but that might not be correct. It could just as easily have been 8-5 or 9-6. We aren't worried. The boys played another great game and gave it their all.
Young Man was relieved to see that more than enough players were suited up and ready to play and that his team was able to get along without him. Of course, his parents are convinced that fewer goals would have been scored had Young Man been on the field, but we well understand that he isn't the only great defensive player on the team. I am not joking when I say that these boys give it their all.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
All other things (like price and storage space) being equal, given a choice in a perfect world, would you rather have paperbacks in your library? Or hardcovers? And why?
Okay, this was an easy question for the week. While I do enjoy the portability of paperbacks and their transience (so that I don't feel bad if they get creased or spotted), they are not my format of choice. If I could afford it and had the room, I would love to only have hardcovers in my library. There is something about the satisfying heft of a good hardcover. It just feels right in my hands. To satisfy this curious urge, I have taken to buying more hardcovers. No, I didn't win the lottery. What I do is to purchase used (or lightly used, or nearly new) books through Amazon booksellers. Often the hardcover is less expensive than the paperback even after shipping is included. Thrift and tactile satisfaction, score!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
And on Wednesday, no less!
First up is the first of two Big Basin socks and the cast-on toe for the second sock. Yes, my very first toe-up socks are going very well. This is the current pattern for the Six Socks Knitalong.
Next is a no-sew baby sweater that is cuter than the photo would suggest, but is eating up more yarn than I expected. Oh, no, I'll have to go to the yarn store this weekend!
Last is an almost WIP. This is the Noro Silk Garden that I picked out for a striped scarf. I'm still not convinced.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Finally, in honor of Sandy's 5th Blogoversary, here is a view of the great outdoors:
Sunday, February 17, 2008
How can I even begin to capture the excitement of Saturday? There is no way that I can fully express the ecstasy, the agony, the joy, and the sheer, nail-biting excitement that we went through during Young Man's lacrosse game. The weather was absolutely perfect. It was sunny and a nice breeze was blowing to keep the players cool. As the boys warmed up, the parents shared in hushed tones the word out about the opposing team. Even though the other team called itself a 5/6 team, all the players were sixth graders. Then we learned that this team had upset one of the strongest teams in our league (one to whom our boys lost 8-5). We all agreed not to discuss this with the boys until after the game and we took our places on the sidelines trying not to look too worried.
It was more difficult to look nonchalant when we saw the size of the other team! There is one tall player on Young Man's team and he is a full head taller than the next tallest player. All of the boys on the opposing team looked as big as our tallest. From the first whistle, we could tell that the other players not only were bigger than our boys, they played a much more physical game. Still, our team managed to score the first goal. This was quickly answered, but we scored a second and a third. We would have liked for this early lead to have rattled the opposing team and it may have. They were still able to come back strongly. By the half, the score was tied 3-3. Even better, our boys were playing a remarkably clean game while the other team was often a man down with one in the penalty box.
Refreshed from their half-time break, all the boys came back ready to start the game anew. The other team was very good at forcing our boys out of bounds to force turnovers. Our boys responded by running further from the sidelines. The other team was big and strong. Our boys responded en mass to keep them from getting close to the goal. There were many long shots on goal so the balls were flying. Mr. Engineer volunteered as ball boy to get some exercise. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, our boys were down 7-4 and the parents began to think of ways to reassure bruised egos. The boys, however, were not ready to call it a day. They battled back strongly. Not only did our defense prevent any more goals, our offense racked up three in a row. Just as the final whistle blew, our boys scored the tying goal. Yes, they went into sudden death overtime for the fourth time out of six games!
The referee came out to explain the rules for overtime. We parents knew the drill: five minutes, first score wins. We did learn something new this time. After three minutes, the goals switched. As tough as that other big team was, our boys held them off. They went a full five minutes without allowing a goal! One more whistle blew and referees left the field calling it a 7-7 tie. The boys decided to play one more ball for honor. They did a Braveheart play: the goalies and one middie from each team playing for bragging rights. In this play, size did matter and the other team prevailed. Our goalie was crushed that he allowed the winning goal to be scored. We let him know in no uncertain terms that there were no losers on the field that day.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Project: Bananahead's Baby Beanie, by Vibegrrl
Yarn: Jeanne by Plymouth in 0023, lilac
Needles: US4 dpns
Notes: Very easy pattern and way cute hat! The yarn was soft and not overly splitty (well, no more splitty that other cotton yarns that I've used). Next up will be a cute, little sweater.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Pattern: Gathered Pullover from Interweave Knits
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Have you ever fallen out of love with a favorite author? Was the last book you read by the author so bad, you broke up with them and haven’t read their work since? Could they ever lure you back?
I can't really say that there has been an author who completely turned me away, but there have been some with whose work I have become quite bored. I read three books by Dan Brown and have no desire to read more. If I were somewhere and his were the only books available, I might pick them up. Another author in that same category would be John Grisham. I read several of his early novels and then just stopped. I think we have a couple in the house that I haven't read, but I have no need to go find them. Far more likely is for an author to turn me off during the first read and leave me with no need to search out more titles (e.g., Sue Grafton, Tony Hillerman).
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Pattern: Twin Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks, by Charlene Schurch
Yarn: Opal Rodeo
Needles: US 1 dpns
Notes: Quick, easy, and seemed to suit the yarn. These needed something other than a straight stockinette and the basic 6x2 rib didn't seem quite right either so I went for this twin rib with a short row heel. I had many moments of doubt as I knit these, but I'm glad I stayed the course. These should be good for keeping one of my northern friends warm.
Pattern: Fuzzy Feet from Knitty
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted
Needles: US 10.5 dpns
Notes: Another successful pair of Fuzzy Feet! These are destined for Young Man's wonderful teacher. How many fifth grade teachers can get this recommendation? One recent evening, while Young Man was doing homework, he blurted out, "I like Mrs. M!" High praise from a fifth grade boy, indeed! I also added some Puffy paint on the bottoms as it would not do for our favorite teacher to injure herself on a slippery floor.
Okay, this one is a teaser. This is a shot of my Gathered Pullover while it is blocking. I hope to wear it on Friday and I might even get enough nerve to pose while wearing it. After seeing Girl Who Knits model her version, I have extreme stage fright. I am not nearly so neat and trim as she.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
I had great plans to show off some handknits, but, well, plans change. As you can see from the sidebar, I am stacking up an impressive number of finished knits, but they are still waiting for their photo shoots. After at least six tries, I managed to cast on for my first toe-up sock! I pulled some wonderfully soft Mountain Colors Bearfoot out of stash and am enjoying feeling it go through my fingers. The Gathered Pullover is finished, but needs some blocking to control at least some of the rolling. It looks pretty good.
Until tomorrow then, shall we pull a card?
You are The High Priestess
Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.
The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
This week's book is a bit of a deviation for me. Actually, it is more like a trip down memory lane. This one is similar to the books I read for fun when I was in college (when I didn't have my head stuck in a textbook). I belong to a book club at my work and one of the best things that we do for each other is to introduce one another to books that we would never discover without a guide. Each year we have two meetings where we do not discuss just one single book. During one of those meetings, we share what books we are reading now and at the other we share our list of books that we want to read (or a small sample from our ever-expanding list).
At one of our sharing meetings, one of the members brought the first book from The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, Storm Front. I was intrigued, so I looked at it the next time I was in a bookstore. The back further intrested me, so I brought a copy home with me. The series is centered on Harry Dresden. Harry is a wizard. No, not like that other Harry. This wizard is no schoolboy. Dresden has the regular difficulties of a working Joe, but his are compounded by technology that shorts out whenever he is around, a wizard parole officer who dogs his every move, and a demon who is killing people with incredibly powerful magic. This is just the sort of quirky detective-meets-supernatural book that I used to love and am happy to rediscover. Storm Front is Jim Butcher's first novel and I see real promise here. There are some rough edges, but that is expected in this genre and doesn't really detract from the story. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the book and would have been finished by now if other things hadn't come in the way (work, knitting, stuff). It is a quick and enjoyable read. There is some blood, but Butcher doesn't dwell on gore. For that I thank him.
This is just the first of a series that is about to see its tenth entry and I can see why. Wizards, vampires, and a down-on-his-luck wizard detective may interest everyone, but I see more of these books in my future. No, Harry isn't Dirk Gently, but I'll take him for what he is.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
The parents responsible for the half-time snack flaked so the boys didn't get their customary gummy bears (don't ask, I think they are the head coach's favorite snack), but they didn't let that slow them down. Again, it took some time to get into the game and they were down 5-2 before we knew it. The boys seemed to thrive on being the underdogs and put their hearts (and feet) into the game to bring the score to a 5-5 tie at the end of the second half. Yes, we headed into our third sudden death overtime of the season! As we waited for the boys to come out for overtime, I made predictions on who would play for the last point. As usual, Young Man was there on defense along with his classmate at midfield. Young Man's PE teacher was there to see his very first lacrosse game and was thrilled to see two of his students playing so well as to be put on the field when the game was on the line.
Friday, February 08, 2008
The photo isn't very good (certainly not up to the standards of Margene or Susan), but the view as I drive Young Man to school every morning is still awe-inspiring. Credit for the shot goes to Young Man himself, taken from the backseat of a moving minivan.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Today's question: Okay, even I can't read ALL the time, so I'm guessing that you folks might voluntarily shut the covers from time to time as well... What else do you do with your leisure to pass the time? Walk the dog? Knit? Run marathons? Construct grandfather clocks? Collect eggshells?
Sometimes I think the answer to this question is another question: What is this leisure thing of which you speak? There are weeks where I barely get to pick up a book or any other hobby. Other weeks have better balance.
I actually have a large number of hobbies and activities all vying for my attention. First and foremost is my family. Mr. Engineer is understanding and very patient, Young Man, less so. This time of year, a substantial amount of my time is dedicated to Young Man's lacrosse season. Mr. Engineer and the fabulous mother of Young Man's classmate/teammate are handling the driving to and from practice. I have volunteered by making roster tags for all the parents so that we know for whom we are rooting (once the helmets go on, most of the boys look very much alike) and bag tags so that the boys can tell their otherwise identical gear bags apart. I do like my laminator!
Knitting is the other big hobby around here. I pretty much always have a pair of socks on the needles as well as several other projects. The slippers that I am making for Young Man's teacher just came off the needles and need to be felted. The sweater that I am making for myself needs a second sleeve sewn in and a neckline added and it will also be finished!
Before I started knitting, I already had a long list of hobbies. Other than knitting projects, I currently have a nearly completed quilt for Young Man resting on a chair in the living room (so that I don't forget it) and numerous counted thread embroidery projects that were put away when I discovered beading. The beading projects were put aside when I discovered polymer clay and the polymer clay went back in the drawer when I discovered painting. The paints have barely been touched since I started knitting! Add to all of that the insanity that was my agreement to coordinate costumes for Young Man's school's production of Oz in April and you have a bit of a creative mess. It is lucky for me that my family is very tolerant of odd bits of fiber everywhere!
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Whatever gave you that idea? Seriously, I do check my stats for the fun of it. I don't do anything to try to deliberately boost views (obviously not), but I do get a kick out of seeing how many people have clicked by. It's pretty obvious that 2007's dearth of posting put a hefty dent into any regular viewers, but things may be improving slowly with all this regular posting (a few memes don't hurt either). My very favorite view from SiteMeter has to be the World Map view. I really like to see where people are clicking at
Thank you all for stopping by!
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
It is also a day for luck. Thank you, Teresa for the prize. Now I have to decide between sock yarn and lace weight and then a colorway ... the pressure! I have been quite jealous over The Woolen Rabbit yarns that both Teresa and Margene have been
Monday, February 04, 2008
Yes, I'm all mixed up. What with the late games on Saturday and the Big Game on Sunday (who would have thought that a Super Bowl game would be interesting?), I didn't write about any books yesterday.
Today's entry is one that I read last year and really liked. As seems to be my luck, I discover an author only to be forced to say goodbye too soon. A year ago, a friend of mine requested some Margaret Truman mysteries for a gift exchange. Intrigued, I picked up a copy of Murder in the White House for myself. Some reviewers have been less than complementary to this initial book in the Capital Crimes series. I thought it was fabulous. I had a wonderful time keeping up with the turns of the plot while generally finding the characters believable and well enough developed for me stay interested. There are so many other books on my list that I didn't get back to Ms. Truman's. Last week I learned that there will be no more novels from this talented writer. Ms. Truman passed away on 29 January. I must have been the last mystery reader on earth to discover her writing while remaining completely clueless about her famous father. If you enjoy mysteries and a bit of fictional (or is it?) political intrigue, this series may be for you.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Young Man had a really good day on Saturday. So did his parents, but it was really Young Man's day. Besides the normal good things like second breakfast, he received a shockingly good report card. His cards are always good, but even Young Man was surprised by some of the grades on this one. Then, he was a true helper to Mr. Engineer with the Great Plumbing Project. Young Man had several helpful solutions to problems and his ideas worked very well. He also showed us that he has been paying attention to all the engineering-ish shows that we watch (Mythbusters, Modern Marvels, Some Assembly Required) in that he was able to fire back answers to Mr. Engineers quizzes on why they did certain things (e.g., the reason for draining the water from the pipe in the wall before attempting to solder the new pipe section to the old). One of my friends remarked that our family is kinda scary. We admit it. Still, it is a good kind of scary, the kind you want when things start going wrong.
The good day continued as we headed for the lacrosse fields. The clouds cleared and the boys had a bright, sunny day for playing. Young Man and his teammates were very concerned about their first game. Young Man's team is made up of mostly fifth grade boys with a few sixth grade boys. This is because the sixth grade boys are mostly siphoned off of the club teams to play on middle school teams. Their opponents in the first game were the sixth grade boys who played for the local middle school. Even more disconcerting, Young Man's team had faced this very team in a practice scrimmage last week and the results were, um, distressing to the egos of our boys with their unbeaten streak.
Early play showed that nerves were still rattled from that scrimmage as point after point crossed into our goal. The boys soon settled down and began to make up some ground. The final score was 8 to 5 and the unbeaten streak ended. Given that most of our boys are shorter and less experienced than the other team, all the parents think that they did a great job! One of the amusing subplots in today's game was that Young Man spent the first half of the game guarding one of his schoolmates and good friends. The friend's mother and I, who are also good friends, had a fun time standing next to each other while cheering on our respective boys as they competed against each other.
The sun and the temperature went down and the boys all moved to another field so that play could continue under the lights. As suspected, even my new camera couldn't cope well with play under the lights. The boys, however held up very well. Their opponents in this game were better matched with our boys in size and experience. However, the opposing team played a much more physical game than our boys. It was a very exciting game as play moved from end to end and the parents kept nearly as warm as the boys by cheering. As the final horn blew, we were again faced with a tie score, 5 to 5. One of the fathers from the opposing team mentioned how much he liked the new sudden death rule. I noticed that he didn't say much a minute later when our boys pulled it out again. Yes, these boys play very well under pressure! Another face off and a few very determined boys later and Young Man's team had won 6 to 5!
We poured Young Man out of the car and into the shower just after 10 p.m. He was exhausted and very, very happy.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Today is the Bloggers (Silent) Poetry Reading. As I turned to go into the house last night, this gorgeous cloud, painted by the setting sun, caught my eye.
There's something about the going down of the sun,
Whether it makes a bonfire of a cloud,
Or, too obscure and lonely to be proud,
Sinks on the nearest rooftop, and is gone.
There's something, not of color nor of size,
In the mere going, in the calm descent,
Half out of heaven and half imminent;
Final, as though it never again would rise
There's something in its very noiselessness,
Unlike mad waters or the winds that shout
Their end in one last agony of excess;
Something that does not count its days nor deeds,
But trusts itself to darkness and goes out
And finds whatever after-life it needs
- Louis Untermeyer
Friday, February 01, 2008
Today was Mr. Engineer's off Friday and he was home puttering (when his work wasn't interrupting). I figured he would call some time during the day to tell me what he was doing. Sure enough, he called just after noon.
Me (seeing who it is thanks to caller id): Hello there!
Mr. Engineer: What do you think about remodeling the bathroom now?
Me: What did you do?
I knew he planned to do some plumbing, but I thought he was going to work on the drain to our bathroom sink (slow draining and the doohicky that connects the drain plug to the plunger thingy isn't connected). No, he apparently decided to change the shower head in our bathroom. I didn't know that it needed replacing, but okay, I'm game. As he was turning things, suddenly something gave way. The pipe is now broken in the wall!
- The break is between the control and the shower head so we have water to the rest of the house
- We have two showers so impact would be tolerable
- The bathroom needs remodeling
- I really wanted a new kitchen, and this will delay that (but might get us back in the remodeling habit)
- This was not how I had planned spending this weekend
Mr. Engineer called again a few hours later to tell me that he came up with a solution. If we remove the mirror in Young Man's bathroom, we can go in through that wall, fix the pipe, and then put the mirror back to hide the hole until we really remodel both bathrooms. Also, I learned that Mr. Engineer was swapping out the shower head to get a higher head on it (not surprising since the old one hits him in the neck and forces him to duck down to actually rinse) and the hardware store guy warned him that this might happen.
Mr. Engineer then took inventory in the garage to determine what supplies he needs from the hardware store. It really isn't a home improvement project unless you have at least two trips to the hardware store.
Ah, well, it looks like we might have an interesting weekend or two ahead of us. Until then, we will just enjoy the evening sky: