Monday, July 06, 2020







Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Last books of 2008

62. Thunderstruck - Erik Larson. The story of The Crippen murder/chase and the discovery of wireless communication, all intertwined like Larson did with the Chicago World Fair and HH Holmes in The Devil in the White City. Larson is always interesting and I love this period of history, the early 1900's.

63. Key of Light - Nora Roberts

64. Key of Knowledge - Nora Roberts

65. Key of Valor - Nora Roberts. Another trilogy by Roberts. I think I liked the Three Sisters trilogy better, but these were pretty good.

66. A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson. A re-read for the hospital book club.

67. Drowning Ruth - Christina Schwartz. Arizona book club. Interesting but rather predictable.

68. Twilight - Stephanie Meyers. An unscheduled re-read to prepare for reading...

69. New Moon - Stephanie Meyers. Edward, still creepy and kind of an asshole. And Bella is annoying. I'm definitely on Team Jacob, at least for this book.

70. They Psychology of Joss Whedon: an unauthorized exploration of Buffy, Angel and Firefly - Joy Davidson, Editor. Pretty in-depth for a pop psychology book. If you have a deep interest in either psychology or Whedon, you might like it. Casual fans of either should probably skip it.

71. Stolen Innocence: my story of growing up in a polygamous sect, becoming a teenage bride and breaking free of Warren Jeffs - Elissa Wall with Lisa Pulitzer. Depressing, thought-provoking, sad and hopeful. I'm slightly fascinated by the Fundamentalist Mormons and this book gave a good behind-the-scenes picture of them.

72. The Colorado Kid - Stephen King. Not good. At least it was short.

73. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series). OK, but True Blood is almost directly pulled from this so it didn't have much new in it. I'm starting the next in the series soon and then I'm make a judgment if I like the stories or not.

74. Eclipse - Stephanie Meyers. And now Jacob pisses me off. I give up. The only decent person in the books is Charlie and even he's a bit off.

75. Breaking Dawn - Stephanie Meyers. Really? Half-vampire babies? "True love" imprinting on infants? Dental c-sections? The name Renesmee? Really?!? Oy.

76. The Dewey Decimal System of Love - Josephine Carr. Got it just for the title, which turned out to be the best thing about the book. Had potential but it just got weird.

77. Midnight Sun - Stephanie Meyers. I had to do it, just for completion sake. At least Edward realized he was being a creepy stalker, so that's something...

78. The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America - Bill Bryson. Technically I haven't finished this one yet, but I only have 20 pages to go so I'll finish it tonight unless something unforeseen happens (premature New Year's Eve revelry, for example).

So, 78 books for the year. Not bad considering I was working full time AND had satellite tv for the first time in 9 years. Maybe next year I'll give up sleep and finally get to 100.

Happy New Year to all. Lucy and I hope 2009 treats you kindly.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Trio of Goats

Part of the AZ trip was a visit to the Tucson Wool Festival at The Withers' Ranch. Llamas, Jacob goats, one alpaca, angora bunnies and an inordinate amount of mohair goats. Many pictures were taken.

I liked this guy because it looked like he had a piece of salt water taffy stuck to his head. Licorice, I assumed.

Salt Water Taffy Horn

This big fellow was the mohair ram. Gigantic horns and - as an extra, added bonus - he was in rut. Which consists of him peeing and then rubbing his face in it. Apparently, that's all it takes to get the female goats all revved up. Also apparent? I am not a female, did this guy stink. Cool horns though.

Big Horn Mohair

[whisper]"Don't look now, but I think Mabel's gone and gotten herself posessed. Head's about to twist clean off. I'd leave right quick, before the pea soup starts flying."

Mohair goat

Monday, November 10, 2008


I know I've been away a long time. The new wheel is only one (poor) excuse. I'm not making any promises since, apparently, I can't honor them but here's some of what I've been doing, at least.

38. The Wind Done Gone - Alice Randall. Gone with the Wind parody. Interesting.
39. The Last Full Measure - Jeff Shaara. More Civil War obsession. I don't like Jeff as much as Michael Shaara (son and father) but I still like the topic. And it still had my imaginary Civil War boyfriend, Lawrence Chamberlain.
40. Fasting Feasting - Anita Desai. AZ book club. Didn't care for it, don't really remember it.
41. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz. Awesome!!! Read this now!
42. Manassas: The Civil Ward Battle Series Book 1; A Novel - James Reasoner. Hoped this would be good. Really not.
43. Twilight - Stephanie Meyers. Hospital book club. Not as good as the rest of the world thinks and Edward is a creepy stalker but I can understand why it's popular.
44. A Gift of Dragons - Anne McCaffrey. 4 Pern short stories, only one new. Still good.
45. The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death: Reflections on Revenge, Germophobia and Laser Hair Removal - Laurie Notaro. Very funny but contained the saddest story I've ever read about the death of a pet. The lovely Mel got it signed for me at Changing Hands so my collection remains complete.
46. An Abundance of Katherines - John Green. Young Adult but great. Nerds and math and could it go wrong.
47. The Friday Night Knitting Club: A Novel - Kate Jacobs. OK. Reminded me of the Blossom Street books.
48. Will the Vampire People Please Leave the Lobby? True Adventures in Cult Fandom - Allyson Beatrice. The story of a Buffy message board moderator. Pretty funny but I was hoping for more.
49. Dragon Harper - Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey. Pern again. Still good.
50. Dragon's Fire - Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey. Pern again again. Still still good.
51. Gods Behaving Badly - Marie Phillips. The Greek gods in a squat in present day London. AZ book club. I loved it, others hated it. Aphrodite is in it, so of course there's going to be some smut. Very funny.
52. Looking for Alaska - John Green. I like this one too, almost as much as An Abundance of Katherines. Nice coming of age story.
53. Serenity: The Official Visual Companion - Joss Whedon. The shooting script and behind the scenes of the Firefly movie. I think this completes my Firefly obsession collection.
54. 21: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions - Ben Mezrich - The book before the movie. Since I know little of blackjack and have less interest in Vegas behind the scenes drama, this didn't do much for me. In fact, I'm not sure why I read it in the first place.
55. The Running Man - Stephen King. A re-read when I didn't want to think too much.
56. Dance Upon the Air - Nora Roberts
57. Heaven and Earth - Nora Roberts
58. Face the Fire - Nora Roberts. These three are the Three Sisters Island trilogy. They were highly recommended to me by a friend so I read them. I assumed they would be, at the very most, tolerable but I ended up really enjoying them and finishing them all in one weekend. Next up, the Key trilogy.
59. A Dirty Job - Christopher Moore. My trip to AZ book. A re-read but Moore is completely awesome and worth rereading numerous times.
60. Triptych - Karin Slaughter. Another recommendation, from whom I can't remember. I can't say I enjoyed it, a typical murder mystery except it was a lot grosser than others I've read. All that being said, I read the whole thing in one day.
61. Fat Tuesday - Sandra Brown. Another murder mystery. Eh.

So, to sum up: Still obsessed with Joss Whedon, the Civil War and Pern. New minor obsession with Nora Roberts. Not too many re-reads. Overall positive ratings. Need to find new descriptive words.

And one last thing: Edward is a creepy stalker. Really. If he's breaking into your house, it's not love - it's a felony.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Google-Fu is THAT Good

Today was one of those days I know I made the correct career choice. Bizarre research questions and finding the exact (free, full text) journals I needed. Tracking down a recent newsweekly for an ADVERTISEMENT (i.e. something that wasn't indexed anywhere because it wasn't, you know, science.) Instantaneous article retrieval. Almost proving a negative. And so on.

OK, maybe having a Grand Rounds with lots of slides of purulent eye discharge wasn't a great aesthetic choice for a lunch conference but that was the presenters choice, not mine. It was still educational even if half the audience wouldn't look at the screen. Or that may have just been me. Eye juice, ick.

In dog news, Lucy has found her new favorite place in the backyard.

Lucy wedging

It's nice and cozy wedged between the ac unit and the gas meter.

Lucy perusing

And there's lots to eat.

Lucy grazing

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Symbolism 101

Mood weather
(The view from my backyard last week, 4 o'clock on a balmy summer afternoon. Plus a tornado watch.)

Things are getting brighter but it's been mighty cloudy for a while now.

Not torrential downpour cloudy, but more like take-a-blog-hiatus cloudy. I was on the edge of a bad spell and needed to spend some time addressing it. I've being getting acupuncture for the past few months and just recently started on some Chinese herbal medicine to "restore my middle qi" and fix my weak spleen. There's some detoxification action happening as well. I'm not sure if I understand it all, but I'm definitely feeling it, in a good way. One of these days, I may actually feel like a real live girl and then the next step is to stay that way. Right now, it's a goal I think I can obtain. Fingers crossed (and needles at the ready.)

There are a lot of things I want to share with you all, but we're going to start with some baby steps. I like blogging but I need it to not seem insurmountable so we'll be spreading out the fiber, travel, Lucy, bookly and deep-thoughts wealth. First up (because they're the closest to the computer) is all of the books since April.

22. Life was a Cabaret: A Tale of Two Fools, A Boat, and a Big-A** Ocean - Becky Coffield. Arizona book club. Not good. If you're going to sell your home and sail around on a boat forever, at least invest in some safety equipment. Also, a 360 degree turn leaves you facing the same way you started. If you want to run away, try a 180. Jeez louise.

23. Julia's Chocolate - Cathy Lamb. Hospital book club. This one I'd recommend with a few me-specific caveats. a) The cover managed to piss me off by the second page; the narrator is fat and her abandoned wedding dress, as pictured, is a size 2, if that. And b) without a speculum and a mirror, you can't see your own vagina. Vulva yes, but vaginas are internal. Intelligent women should know this. Other that those points, it was very good.

24. The Complete Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi. A graphic novel that's recently become a movie. Very interesting look at Iran from a non-conforming female perspective.

25. The Blue and the Gray - John Leekley. There was a CBS mini-series done from this book in the 80's. I vaguely remember that but I read this book approximately 7 billion times. It has to have been 10 years since the last time I picked it up, but I still had large sections memorized. Actually a pretty good overview of the Civil War.

26. The Twelfth Card - Jeffery Deaver. Typical Deaver twinkie book.

27. A Darker Place - Laurie R. King. Not as good as the Mary Russell/Holmes books but okay. The ending was a little rushed.

28. Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861 - David Detzer. Local history (for me at least). I liked this but it needed more maps, I spent way too much time trying to figure out where people were supposed to be. I was forced to supplement with a Manassas Battlefield Park map and even that didn't help too much because all the landmarks apparently have at least 2 names. It took me a long time to finish, but it was worth it. I also learned that there was a Confederate officer named Bartley B. Boone and that, in and of itself, almost made up for the lack of maps.

29. Savannah Blues - Mary Kay Andrews. Hospital book club. Mystery set in Savannah (duh). Cute book.

30. Whatever You Do, Don't Run; True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide - Peter Allison. Arizona book club. The title says it all and it was funny. Recommended.

31. World Without End - Ken Follett. Sequel to Pillars of the Earth, set a few hundred years later in the same town. A Fortunate Find at the library with means you get two weeks to read it. At 1024 pages, that was a challenge but worth it.

32. Grave Talent - Laurie R. King. Not Mary Russell again. Okay.

33. The Killer Angels - Michael Shaara. Re-read to prepare for a trip to Gettysburg National Battlefield Park. Love this book and still have a major literary/historical crush on Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. If you haven't read this already, please do. Even if you don't like "war" books, it's so much more than that. But stay away from Chamberlain, he's my imaginary civil war boyfriend.

34. Another Thing to Fall - Laura Lippman. Tess Monaghan book. Very similar to the others.

35. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World - Eric Weiner. Arizona book club. Pretty good.

36. Breach of Duty - JA Jance. Hospital book club. Okay, nothing special. May have been better if I didn't start in the middle of the series.

37. The Cold Moon - Jeffery Deaver. Again, pretty typical Deaver but I think he outdid himself with the twists. I lost count after the third time "nothing was as it seems". At least he redeemed himself with an actual reason for repeating plot points and motivations from The Bone Collector.
I think that's all of them. I'm not on track to hit 100 this year but I'll give it a shot.

More later. Probably.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

In which I am covered in salad dressing and despair

As Anonymous so aptly noted in the comments of my last post, I've been gone for a while now. I've been in a bit of a rough patch, I'm hanging on by a seemingly invisible thread at work and it's just sapping my energy to do much else that requires higher brain function.

Since we last spoke I:

  • did get an iPod, it's cute and green
  • almost finished a very large, oddly colored afghan
  • made a Clapotis for my Mom's birthday
  • went to Florida to visit my parents and see the new house they bought there
  • helped with one day-long conference with a speaker that was determined not to exist (kids and drugs and no one want to speak about it? Seriously?)
  • was a major player in a day-long conference that no one wanted to sponsor (hospitals saying they're sorry for f'ing up apparently strikes fear in the heart of drug companies and lawyers)
  • ate $40 crab cakes (on someone else's dime)
  • inhaled a metric crapload of mohair fiber
  • watched a lot of dvr'd tv
  • committed myself to spend a weekend sticking mailing labels on 8,000 brochures for yet another day-long conference for which I am almost solely responsible
  • took approximately 3 billion pictures of manatees
  • did some serious research into non-pharmaceutical treatments for depression and came to no firm conclusion on validity and safety
  • invited Mel to come visit and go to Maryland Sheep and Wool with me (p.s. She accepted!)
  • had my right eye swell shut for 24-hours due to a medication reaction (and, yes, it was a workday and, yes, I did go to work. For I am a goofus)
  • spent too much time feeling sorry for myself about workload, lack of energy and assorted life obstacles
  • went to the Homespun Yarn Party with Eva and bought pretty yarn
  • avoided turning on my home computer with a zeal matched only by my desire to eat my weight in Tastykakes

and, most notably:

  • managed to cover myself from bangs to belt in Italian dressing, thanks to an exploding squeeze bottle at the weekly Grand Rounds I run. In front of my boss. And others.
So, that's what I've been up to. That and reading.

12. The End of the Alphabet - CS Richardson. Arizona book club.
13. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctor and the Collision of Two Cultures - Anne Fadiman. Hospital book club.
14. Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen. Still an excellent book.
15. Serenity Found: more unauthorized essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe - edited by Jane Espenson. Such a good TV show I'm forced to read about it.
16. The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield. Hospital book club.
17. The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower VII - Stephen King.
18. Off Ramp: Adventures and Heartache in the American Elsewhere - Hank Stuever. Highly recommended, especially for suburb dwellers like me.
19. Back on Blossom Street - Debbie Macomber.
20. Deja Dead - Kathy Reichs. Arizona book club. Didn't really care for it. Neither did the book club.
21. Death du jour - Kathy Reichs. But that didn't stop me from reading her second book. However the second book has stopped me from reading her third.

Pictures when my brain starts up again.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I'm back and with not a whole lot to show for it. Many things in progress, not a lot done.

I did finish Mel's belated birthday present.

Pre-felting, with clogs and dog.

Mel's unfelted slippers


Mel's felted slippers

And the bottoms.

Slipper bottom

Pattern: Fiber Trends Felt Clogs
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted in Strawberry Smoothie, held doubled and some "rayon chenille" in red and black
Needle: Knit on size 13, 24 inch, plastic. Rayon sewn on in loops with tapestry needle.
Bottoms: Fiber Trends' Suede 2-piece Slipper Bottoms

I got all the yarn at the Mannings while I was living with my parents. That is seriously one of the coolest places ever. (Lolly thinks so too.) Wheels and looms and yarn and fiber everywhere. Also, many cats. I'm guessing the chenille was a 'home-grown' yarn because the label was plain white with "rayon chenille" and the yardage typed on it. That's is.

I used 4 skeins of the Lamb's Pride but ended up with two half skeins because I was holding it doubled. I then used the leftovers to make a garter-stitch birthday scarf for a co-worker. There are pictures but they're trapped in the camera.

Here's a partially completed blanket made with the Jo-Ann Sensations Rainbow Boucle in the aptly named "Green Print." I was making a log-cabin but I tired of binding on and casting off so I just went a little wacky with the random squares. It's finished now and there are pictures but, again, camera hostages.


Library Plug!


Pamie's doing her book drive again and I encourage you all to go a donate a few books to some needy libraries. Do it 'cause Dewey's so darn cute!

Only one book to report. I'm acting atypically for me and have actually started two books recently and put them down unfinished. Nothing really wrong with them and I'd gotten about halfway through each but they just weren't what I was looking for. I did finish this one.

11. Island of the Sequined Love Nun - Christopher Moore. Less woo-woo then Coyote Blue, which is good in my opinion. Very funny, touching on organ trafficking, cargo cults and talking fruit bats with sunglasses. For me, the best part came in the Afterword: "My approach to research has always been 'Is this correct or should I be more vague?'" I'm always a fan of a good research joke.

In other news, I just got DirecTV and a DVR so I'm planning on never leaving the house again. Except to go to the gym because I'm going to buy an actually iPod soon so I won't go insane while exercising. I have to say, having a positive income is much better than the negative one I've been dealing with the last few years.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sorry about that

I managed to warp the space-time continuum and schedule Grand Rounds 4 years ago instead of last week. So, if you suddenly felt discombobulated for an hour or so last Thursday please accept my sincere apologies. And beware because I managed to do the same thing for the last week in February; that Thursday will also be taking place 4 years previously so load up your iPod with some "Hey Ya", ready your best wardrobe malfunction jokes and prepare to party like it's 2004.

Note to self: Proof-read entire date prior to hospital-wide flyer distribution. Dumbass.

In other hospital-adjacent news, I've joined the Fitness Center. The clientele is generally older and there are a lot of health-related hoops to jump through but it's about a 3 minute walk from my office so I'll be more inclined to go. And, as I was told during my introductory tour, if I collapse during a workout the ER is Right There across the parking lot so...bonus.

Besides being a doofus and planning my grand re-entry into the world of active people, I've been reading.

6. Lance Armstrong's War - Daniel Coyle. The hospital book club. I know very little about Armstrong or bike racing and this book didn't really help. The author tried but you really needed to have more background than I have to get the full effect. Also, professional bike racers are insane.

7. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the World of Harry Potter - Tere Stouffer. Impulse selection at the library. This would be helpful if you didn't know much about Britain or had trouble keeping all the spells and monsters apart and it did a nice job of explaining the origin of the names Rowling chose. But it needed a much better copy-editor (ironic coming from the girl who caused a rip in time, I know.)

8, 9 and 10. The Bromeliad Trilogy: Truckers, Diggers and Wings - Terry Pratchett. Very cute books. Nomes (not gnomes) who live in a department store and need to leave when the store is going to be demolished. They are very literal and wonder why the humans don't follow the signs saying "Dogs and Strollers must be carried on Escalator." Most of the humans carry neither dogs, nor strollers. The nome's deity, Arnold Bros (est. 1904) doesn't seem to care though.