Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Book So Good It Gave Me Chills

I just finished (as in, closed the cover 30 seconds ago) a truly great book. "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" by David Wroblewski. It made me laugh out loud, it made me sob and it gave me chills on more than one occasion. Seriously, read this book. Especially if you are a pet owner. This is an amazing novel about a boy who is born mute, living on a farm in rural Wisconsin in the 1950's. His family has a kennel where they raise their own fictional breed of dog. Edgar trains the dogs using sign language and teaches them to do amazing things but the crux of this story is really relationships--between Edgar and his parents and shadey uncle Claude, between Edgar and the dogs, relationships among the dogs, relationships with nature and the list goes on. The last two days I've gotten so caught up in the story I nearly missed my bus stop! Just read it. It's 560 pages of fabulous story-telling and I think it could become a classic (it was an Oprah's Book Club book, afterall :)).

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Why Wasn't I Shown This in High School?

Check out this video from 1946 which describes what a librarian does. We've sure come a long way...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Swapping Out Presidents and Yarny Goodness!

Wow, what an amazing day! I watched the swearing-in and speech in my office's kitchen with a handful of my coworkers--all trying to hide the tears in our eyes. Does anyone else feel buoyed with hope today? I know things are bad in this country but I just feel better, reassured that things will get better from here on out...

And then I came home and found a package waiting for me
from my swap partner. I'm part of the Mystery Book Talk Group on Ravelry and we are doing a round robin mystery book swap--mystery novel, knitting pattern, yarn and other goodies tied (at least loosely) to the book or to the knitter recipient's interests. This was my first time participating in a swap so I wasn't really sure what to expect.

First, here's what I sent my partner:
The first novel in the Aunt Dimity series--Aunt Dimity's Death which features a ghost who communicates by writing to the living in a periwinkle blue journal--another item I threw in. The pattern is Boo! Toe-Up-Socks available on Ravelry and I added some beautiful purple yarn called "cosmos" for the socks. Added some tea to accompany this mystery set in England. Threw in some candy from the UK, or so I thought. Turns out Cadbury has been licensed to Hershey so the candy bar I sent my swap partner was made about an hour from her Pennsylvania home and not across the pond. Also included some Milky Ways which my swappee added as a favorite treat.

And here's what my swap partner, Moonchick, sent me--I was blow away with all this wonderful stuff! Beautiful sock yarns, a cute sock pattern, knitter's balm, two mysteries & a "book thong" bookmark, chai tea, Godiva chocolates & coffee--how did I not know Godiva made coffee? And two of my favorite fruity candies--starbursts and skittles! And a raven which the lovely purple card said would make sense once I started reading one of the books--for now the cats find it extremely interesting! Thanks again Cindy/Moonchick!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

One Christmas present 20 to go?

Wow, time is just speeding along and somehow we're halfway through November--not that it feels like it since it's going to be in the 90s today but anyway... I'm trying to pretend it's at least "fall-like" by buying apple cider and pumpkin items at the grocery store this morning. It's hard to knit with wool when it's hot enough to wear shorts but I shall continue as Christmas is only 40 days away. Crazy. Well at least I finished one knitted Christmas present this week--socks for my father-in-law Dave. It's the Rockin Strat pattern I found on Ravelry.

Socks to fit a Men's shoe size 11 foot, made of Knitpicks essential in grass on size US 1.5 needles. Didn't take too long though, suprisingly. I started them October 20th and finished them up at the West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch on November 13th. Ok, now to get cracking on the rest of those gifts--before it gets too hot for knitting! Here's a preview--a blanket that's about halfway done, well almost halfway anyway. Those dark brown things are knot holes--I'm going to add echoing lines in brown to mimic wood grain. Well, that's the plan anyway but we'll just have to hope it works out because I'm making it up as I go along.
In other holiday prep news, the Christmas cards I ordered from the Humane Society just arrived today and they're pretty cute. I've also been cleaning and getting the house ready for a Silpada silver jewelry party tomorrow afternoon--if you want to stop by and knock some Christmas gifts off your list, just let me know and I'll give you the details.

Stay cool this weekend if you're in CA and stay safe if you're in the path of those fires in Sylmar and Santa Barbara. I was watching the breaking news coverage last night around midnight and the fires looked like molten lava--very scary. But for those of you not in CA, don't worry because I don't live close to those areas so Tristan and I (along with Amanda, Samantha, Magellan, Pierson, Post and Epstein) are just fine.

Ok, this elf has to get back to the workshop now--peace out!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


What's that lovely scent in the air? Victory? Hope? Faith in the populace? Nope, a delightful blend of all 3. Barack Obama is our next president! This is history folks, history. Ok, I'going to cry now--I've been holding it in all day and need to let the tension and joy spilleth over. I got up early today, got to the polls at 7:05 (stood in line for an hour and 10 minutes) and cast my vote for the first African-American president of the United States.

While I was waiting in line an elderly African-American woman made her way slowly down the sidewalk, leaning on a cane, her head bowed down. As she got closer she looked up and tears were steaming down her face. The woman in front of me asked her if she was ok, if she needed some help and she said "I'm just so happy. I never thought I'd get the chance, in my lifetime, to vote for a Black man for President!" and then she did a little jig with her cane and shook with joy. God, it was a beautiful thing to see! Ok, I'm kinda crushing on this country of ours--after years of thinking we needed to break up.

Oh happy day!!! Now how am I going to sleep tonight--especially not knowing how these Propositions are going to come out?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Happy 30th Birthday, Danielle--you are missed

Danielle, you would be 30 today. Do you remember how far away 30 seemed when we met at age 19? You should be having a grand old party celebrating 3 decades on this earth (and ribbing me about having to do the same next month). You should be celebrating the end of a great year--a year that saw you earn your Masters in Social Work in May and mark your first anniversary with Geno in June. All this you should be celebrating but an undiagnosed brain aneurysm cut your life short and you never got to see 29, never got to finish your Masters and never got to marry and build a life with that wonderful Geno. Well college roomie, I'll try to live mine up and tell you all about it when next we see each other. And so I leave you with a song:

Thank you for being a friend.
Travel down the road and back again,
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a confidant.

And if you threw a party
and invited everyone you knew
You would see that the biggest gift would be from me
and the card attached would say
"Thank you for being a friend."

You'll always be the Blanche to my Dorothy. I love you and miss you.

Danielle Marie Berger
(November 2, 1978 - January 19, 2007)

Reason #7,688 to vote NO on Prop 8...

Tristan and I attended a lovely backyard wedding in Santa Ana on October 19th. The couple is very much in love and had a wonderful, simple ceremony surrounded by friends. LeAnn & Tiff, may you have many many years of happiness together!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

You might be an obsessed crafter if…

So last night I was up late reading the second in a series of vampire books written for teenagers by author Stephanie Meyers. The first one was Twilight which sucked me in. They are sort of like a cross between The DaVinci Code and Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret but set in Washington State and without the "we must, we must, we must increase our busts" episode. The first one had me up late reading it and last night I found myself in the same predicament with the second book, New Moon. I was only 75 pages from the end of the almost 600 page book and I considered staying up past midnight to finish it but, alas, my heavy eyelids made the decision for me. Anyway, in the book there are 3,000 year old vampires and do you know what my first thought was when I read that? "Wow, how many knitting, quilting and cross-stitching projects could I make if I had that kind of time?" Yes, seems I would sell my soul not just for the promise of immortality and super-strength but because it would give me more time to craft. Honestly.

Hmm, maybe I'm only having these thoughts because I can't quite seem to get started on my Christmas knitting yet--too many other little projects here and there that I need to wrap up first. That will hopefully change by next week. I sent off a box to Socks for Soldiers with the never-ending black socks that I finally finished (forgot to photograph though their image is indelibly ingrained in my brain). Hoping to ship off a box to afghans for Afghans tomorrow for their youth collection--a vest, a pair of socks & a sweater made with scrap yarn (resulting in 10,000 ends).

And I hope to get some bath poofs finished by Sunday night so I can throw them in a box with some makeup and toiletries to send to a battered women's shelter on the Pine Ridge Reservation for their "Diva for a Day" event. Volunteer hair and makeup professionals come in and give the women at the shelter a makeover and they pass out goody bags of makeup, hair and body products. They are still collecting through Oct 22nd if you'd like to contribute. Once those are in the mail Monday I can turn my attention to presents, although I may be distracted by calls for Christmas mittens and socks for kids or something. How is it already a week into October?

Since the holidays are approaching, I decided I'd better book our airline tickets to PA last night and because we voluntarily got bumped to a later flight at Easter (and were given $400 vouchers each for compensation) we only had to pay an extra $50 each per ticket. Woohoo, both of us LAX to Reagan National for a total of $100. Also, the prices seem to go down on Mondays--they were $150 cheaper than when I looked at them Sunday night, exact same flights. Go figure. At least that's all set. Let's hope there's no snowstorms in Cincinnati since we'll be flying through there both going and coming...and if there has to be one, let it be the on the 22nd when we fly out because at least I could finish up the Christmas presents that I will inevitably be scrambling to finish and not on the way back when I'm totally sick of knitting and just want to read.

Ok, back to sewing in the ends of that afghans sweater...