"I have never felt that anything really mattered but the satisfaction of knowing that you stood for the things in which you believed and had done the very best you could." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, August 30, 2010


Okay, so I am stumped.  No, not really stumped.  I have a color challenge and that is most unnerving for me.  Color is something that I usually have great mastery over.  So, I am asking all those followers, stealth or otherwise, to help me on this.

This wonderful picture is ShiBui Knits Sock Yarn in colorway Roppongi (#4103).  It is a combination of Peony (intense berry), Lily (bright peachy orange) and Mulberry (deep Merlot purple).  My challenge is that I need to find solids from The Loopy Ewe - Solid Series that work with this wonderful yarn.

Now, I could be safe and get the black or white and that would work.  Or I could be totally unoriginal and get the Mulberry and it too would work.  What I want is two colors that will make this colorway sing.  Not like a little nursery rhyme.  I want a big chested jazz singing diva combo.  Some combination that will slap you awake without being gaudy.  I want to say that Malachite and Lake or Malachite and Oyster would be the best combination choices.  What do you think?

I know you have opinions....please share or I'll be forced to ask random strangers for their thoughts....  Come on Miss Ginger.  You have the best fashion sense going...what would you choose?


I finished the Clementine Shawlette back on August 20th but I'm just getting around to the pictures.

I received this yarn in a swap WAY back in 2008 and I had intended to make this for Megan's graduation in May 2008 from Stephen F. Austin Statue University (SFASU).  It is the perfect shade of purple and is so very close to the school color.  Life got in the way, a daughter graduated, her father and I learned how to be friends and the current relationship between SWCNLBN and I fell apart.  The yarn sat in my basket of pending project yarns calling to me.  I would gently unwrap the five skeins and tell myself that I needed to get more UFO's done so that I could cast on and make this wonderful pattern.

What a difference a new life can make.  My mojo has been full throttle lately.  SF actually likes it when I am sitting beside her knitting.  The constant click of the needles does something to soothe her as well.  Actually, if I am not knitting she will ask if everything is okay.  Funny, she knows more about me than I do sometimes.  When I stated this project, she was drawn to the charts.  She loves math and she could see the image even though she didn't understand the knitting involved.  She was mesmerized.  It was very amusing.  She patiently waited as I finished the first piece and put it on the stitch holder.  She asked why I did this, as she had not seen me use a stitch holder before.  I paused before I cast on for the second piece and explained it to her.

The pattern was a breeze to work with simple charts and was mindless once you made it to the last four rows of the chart.  These were your repeat rows to get the desired length.  I had read the "challenges" that had been expressed with the Kitchener bind off of the two pieces, so I opted for the three-needle bind off.  I was pleased and she is beautiful.  I have one skein of yarn left and I think I can pull off fingerless mitts.

Unfortunately, the Cathay has been discontinued by Debbie Bliss.  This upsets me greatly, as I have a book that has a beautiful sweater that recommends the same yarn.  I have trolled eBay and found some and I have also contacted an individual on Ravelry who has some.  I even found one on Ravelry who has enough of the same color of Clementine to make the desired sweater.  BONUS!  The color will make a beautiful sweater and depending on what the seller wants, it will be very affordable!

Later I will be posting pictures of the first Dandy that I made.  She is very pretty too and I think I know who will get her as a gift.  Both Dandy Neckerchiefs will be Christmas presents.  Now to make the cowls and hats I want to gift....

Friday, August 27, 2010

USS Migration

So, I have been knitting like a fiend lately and that is a good thing.  I have managed to finish up several old UFO's and that feels WONDERFUL!  I have the buttons to finish the Red Robin and I'll most likely do that this weekend since we have a large percentage chance of rain.  I have decided that the remainder of this year will be devoted to projects that I want to do for the pleasure of knitting.

I have been knitting for others for so long that I had almost forgotten how much pleasure one can derive from making the project all about ME!  Now don't get me wrong, I love making things for other people.  It is such a joy to be able to share with others.  I just think it is high time I made some things for myself.  So far, out of the twenty-nine projects that I have completed in 2010, only three have been for me.  I have made the Clementine, the Sugar Rush Tank and the Calais all for my pleasure.  I still owe you pictures of the Clementine.  Hopefully today I can get the correct lighting.  It is beautiful and soft.

I do have four projects in my WIP pile and they are all getting love; however, I have been branching out again.  The CLACK group has some amazing women as members and I have begun to make time in my weekly schedule to attend as many Monday's as possible.  One of the ladies works for the Upstairs Studio in La Porte.  She posted in Ravelry that she needed some Sample Knitters.  I had never considered sample knitting but I thought this was a great place in my life to offer my self for the store.

I am glad that I did!  I went by there this past Wednesday.  Shame on me for not having a knitting project with me that day.  I was running late that morning and didn't have the time to gather one up.  So I arrived empty handed at a yarn store.  But, in my defense, I never expected to be so drawn to these women and the one young man that was there.  Clarice, the owner, is a wonderful woman.  She is funny too!  There were several ladies, all with various skill levels.  One was busily crocheting blocks for charity, one was knitting her first ever pair of socks from Noro and one was making socks for a friend.  The lone young man is also part of CLACK and I have been wanting to meet him.  He was a hoot!  I can see that he and Lizzie are going to be serious enablers.

Lizzie quickly rounded up the yarns and the book for the sample knitting.  I decided that I could stay a while so I sat down to start on the socks.  Right away I saw an issue.  The pattern was Toe Up and I had never made a pair of socks that way.  I advised Lizzie and she asked if I wanted to learn or for her to find another pattern.  I decided that if she was game enough to teach me I was more than able to learn.  So, in the first hour I learned Turkish Cast On, Magic Loop and Toe Up.  Three new techniques all in one day.  Not to mention that the selected pattern is a color-work pattern.  I am making the Migration socks from The Eclectic Sole.  They are the socks on the cover of the book.  While I was knitting with these new-found skills we also discussed Alpaca (they have some that is to amazing for words) and Bamboo thread on a cone for a shawl.  Needless to say, as soon as I have the socks done I am already down for a shawl.

Now don't fret...I am not distracted by this and the bonuses are great!  The store supplies all the yarn for the project and after they are on display for six months they are returned to the test/sample knitter.  So, I will have these beautiful socks for my very own feet delivered back to me around Valentine's Day....  So, even though I am sample knitting, I am able to pick a few of the details myself.  For instance, I picked the shawl pattern from a list she found from a search on Ravelry and the bamboo was from a wall of colors.  It is a bronze brown.  It is hard to describe, so I'll get the name of the stuff on my next visit.

So, the three pictures above are the teaser for the socks.  I am stoked and will be knitting on them at the same time I work on Red Hot and Green Gable.

Friday Fill-Ins #191

1. You do your thing; I do mine and sometimes we meet in the middle.

2. Making Quiche and Pumpkin Bread is what's been on my mind on and off all day.

3. Remember when you drank out of the water hose when you were washing the car or just because you were thirsty.

4. Knitting, reading and wine tasting classes are three of my favorite obsessions :-)

5. During the last year I purged a lot of the "old" self and started working on introducing me to myself.

6. Thinking about SF puts a smile on my face.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to chillin' and relaxin', tomorrow my plans include watching the Pearland Little League and the Houston Texans and Sunday, I want to be totally spontaneous!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


All of theses were taken by Stephanie at her dad's house in Florida.  Look how big she has gotten since Memorial Day!  And that personality!  She looks so much like Megan did when she was little, except the eyes...Megan's are delft china blue and those big brown ones are harder to resist....

Monday, August 23, 2010


Well, it seems that the weekend is NEVER long enough.  Even with housework completed before Friday it seems as if there was way too much on our plates.  The pool has been returned to the correct chemical balance and all is well with the swimming universe!  Good news for those like me that love a good swim when they get home in the evening or one to start the morning before heading to the gym.

The visit to the hairdresser was also fruitful.  The color issues I was having have been resolved, at least for the moment, and I am once again past a large part of the painful process that one encounters while growing out very short layers.  The hair tends to be a little disrespectful the first two or three days after a visit, so I'll try to get some pictures later this week when it begins to behave.

I did manage to get the Clementine finished Friday.  She is quite lovely and is being blocked as I type this so that she will be ready for a photo shoot Tuesday.  It is actually quite a wonderful pattern and one you get to row 63 on Chart B the rest is a four row repeat that is so mindless it is actually soothing to the nerves.  I decided on a three-needle bind off as I was not fond of the mental image that a Kitchener bind off would create.  I can see more of these in the future!

I also managed to get the Dandy I made from the Patons Stretch Sock soaked and blocked.  It too will get a photo shoot Tuesday.  This way we can compare the sock yarn version to the dk version that I already posted about.  I am always amazed at exactly how much yarn is in a skein of sock yarn once you start knitting lace.  I will post more about it when I share the pictures.

I also have now sewn the sleeves into the Red Robin, so all that remains is to purchase three buttons and attach them and it can be moved to finished status.  It was the third project that I had listed in the Finish-A-Long. I was happy to see it get finished and off the needles.  All that remains from the UFO pile are two afghans.  One I will be sorting out and getting ready to tackle as soon as the weather here will cease and desist with the excessive heat warnings.  There is NOTHING worse than having a lap full of yarns in the Texas heat and humidity.  Except maybe not having AC at all.  So be prepared for posts later in October or November about the last two remaining UFO's.  There is one hibernating item (Fifi) but it needs to be frogged and re-started, as I have lost too much weight since I started it to finish the current size and that is a good thing.  Really!

I needed mindless knitting on Saturday so I started a wash cloth for Zoe.  I had a pattern for a rubber duckie in my queue so I grabbed some Sugar'n Cream that was in my stash and cast on.  I had a skein of bright yellow that I had purchased specially for this one.  She is with Stephanie in Florida visiting her grandpa so it will be ready for her when she gets back home to Texas.

I have cast on Red Hot and Green Gable.  I have Calmer in a beautiful pale blue (SH 487 - Refresh) for the Red Hot and Brown Sheep Company, Inc. Cotton Fleece in the Caribbean Sea colorway (CW-520)for the Green Gable.  I have also started the Multnomah with some handspun that I received in the All Things Local swap.  So it seems that I have now added three WIP's to replace the three UFO's that I just finished.  I am excited because they are all different but should be quick knits.  Or at least that what my brain said after reading the patterns for the first time.  I will be working on the Red Hot first, as it is for a KAL that ends at the end of the Third Quarter.  Green Gable will not be too far behind, as I want to be able to get some wear out of it while it is still warm this year.

We have also been cheering LOUDLY for the Pearland Little League.  After play ended last night they are the only US team that is 2 and 0!  They hit solidly and got on the board with scores early and never let up.  They play again at 7:00 PM CST on Tuesday.  I will be looking for tee shirts today to support them!  Texas has sent an amazing number of teams to the LLWS since it was started in 1947 and the Bellaire team of 2000 was the closest that a team from our metro area has made it since the two Houston teams won in 1950 and 1966.  You can bet that all of Pearland is cheering and doing what we can to see these boys all the way to the finish line.  I would love to see them sweep the whole event.

Okay...enough for the moment...Have a great Monday and cheer for Pearland!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Random Thoughts

My dear friend Amy is a wonderful swap mistress and she has been hosting a few swaps that I have been participating in this summer, such as the "Pimp My Queue Swap" and now the "Summer Reading Swap".  I was the wonderful benefactor of the Random Number Generator for the current swap and I could not have been happier when Amy announced that my name had been chosen for her to spoil!

Seriously....I have received a few gifts from Amy in the past and they have all been WONDERFUL!  So when the contents of the last swap arrived yesterday I was giddy with excitement.  We have these wonderful community mailbox locations and there are two large capacity drawers for packages that will fit.  I was very surprised when I opened up the personal slot to see a key within.  Amy had advised that the package would go out either Tuesday or Thursday, so I knew it could be coming but I had no firm indication.  I was on the way to have a late lunch with Megan at The Hobbit so I could not open it until I got home.  Look at the contents!

I will post more details later this weekend....I have a wonderful note from Amy that I will share and you can read about the mitts here.

Amy is Wonderful and I'm sure her husband John agrees!

Friday Fill-Ins #190

1. Laughter is the best medicine.

2. "Thank you so..." are the three words that started off the last email I sent.

3. What I'm most looking forward to today is finishing Clementine and spending the day with SF.

4. Sassy and Eraser playing puts a smile on my face.

5. Where in the world did I put that Kate Spade eyeglass case?

6. A recipe for cherry infused vodka, just what I needed!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching the Pearland Little League play their first game, tomorrow my plans include a long overdue visit to get my hair done and Sunday, I want to swim and finish Water for Elephants!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday's visitor

Some time ago my friend Dharma wrote about symbols and learning their hidden meanings.  To top this off, Stephanie, aka Trouble, has been talking about totems.  She has been working on hers and I admit I find it interesting in an unconventional way.  You are wondering what this is all about, I can hear your brains ticking.  Simple.  I posted some beautiful pictures yesterday of a dragonfly that landed on SF and stayed with her for about thirty minutes and then spent the next three hours on my knee, my fingers and my midsection.  So, when the little guy landed on my shoulder this morning while I was finishing up the pool brushing and adding the necessary chemicals before heading out I began to wonder why he was visiting me again, especially since the sun was not even up.  He was trying to tell me something and I needed to figure it out.

Symbolism of Dragonflies - As a creature of the wind, the dragonlfy totem represents change.  It's iridescent wings are incredibly sensitive to the slightest breeze, and so we are reminded to heed where the proverbial wind blows - lest we run into stormy weather.

Dragonflies are also creatures of the water, and any creature whose habitat is in, or around water carries symbolism relative the the subconscious, or "dreaming" mind and thoughts.

This is because in the animal world, water is symbolic of the subconscious mind ("deeper mind," "dreaming mind") and relates to the thoughts we have in relaxed/meditative/sleeping/subconscious states.

Quick-list animal symbolism of the dragonfly:
  • prosperity
  • good luck
  • strength
  • peace
  • harmony
  • purity
These symbolic meanings of dragonfly are particularly associated in Asian (Japan) and Native American (Plains region) circles.

Dragonflies carry messages that deal with deeper thought - and they ask that we pay attention to our deeper thoughts and desires.

Further symbolic insect meaning of dragonfly comes into play when we observe the dragonfly's mode of transportation as it skitters across the top of water surfaces.  This implies that our deeper thoughts are surfacing and we must be mindful of the outcome we wish to have.

The dragonfly is a reminder that when our deeper thoughts rise to the surface we must pay attention - there are lessons to be learned, and we are also reminded that what we think is directly proportionate to what we "see on the surface." ...In short, our thoughts (even the deeper ones that we might not be as in-touch with as we are with our conscious thoughts) are responsible for what we see in our lives - in our physical surroundings.

The dragonfly gives us a very powerful meditation tool.  Close your eyes, and focus on a thought - let it rise to the surface of your mind's ocean - see that thought float lightly up to the water's surface.  Now upon the top of a smooth, calm glass-like surface - visualize that thought moving across that water - sliding across - smooth and fast.

This exercise is useful when we want to visualize positive outcomes in a situation.  We see the thought of hope happily moving across an ocean of peace (peaceful mind) and skitting to a perfect outcome.

Lastly it should be noted that the Dragonfly lives a short life, and it knows it must live to the fullest with what it has.  This lesson is huge for each of us.  When you see a dragonfly, be aware of the gifts it has to offer by keeping its animal totem meanings in mind.

Being a cardinal water sign in the "regular" zodiac world I began to wonder if this little guy was trying to tell me he was a part of my totem and that I needed to pay attention, because he was very persistent.  Now I know I cannot devote my entire day to this pursuit; however, the information above has provided me with a foundation to build upon.

I asked myself if this was part of the planning that SF and I have been discussing with regards to retirement back to Tennessee, since he seemed determined to get both of our collective attentions.  Was he trying to get us to a new place in our relationship?  With so much information flowing through me I know I will need a cup of tea to relax my mind so that I can focus on the job at hand and return to the dragonfly when I am safely poolside this evening.

Interesting way to start my week.....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

floating, soaring and drifiting

This beautiful dragonfly insisted on sitting on my knee most of the afternoon while SF and I swam.  Before we came in he let me take these pictures.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wine Tasting

I just realized that I had forgotten to publish the post about the wine tasting event that I attended WAY back on July 28th.  It has been sitting in the draft area feeling all left out.

One of our favorite places to listen to live music has a wonderful Wine Room.  I had never had the opportunity sit within the area so when I saw that Rusty was offering wine tasting on Wednesdays after work I was thrilled.  I was a bit disappointed that they start at 5:30 PM which meant that SF would never be able to attend with me, as she doesn't get to the Park-N-Ride lot until 6:00 PM and then it would take her another thirty minutes to get to the Duck.  I was also keenly aware that wine was off her diet until she has reached the target weight.

Nonetheless I decided that I wanted to attend and felt pretty good about doing it alone.  I have gotten quite adept at going and doing things by myself and I like the freedom that affords me.  I skipped the first one as it was devoted entirely to the Reds and with the heat as high as it is I wanted Whites.  I was ecstatic when the next email came out announcing that the wines for tasting would be Whites!

"Beat the Heat with Summer Whites" was the subject of the email.  It announced the wines and the host Sommelier.  I knew the company he was from and knew how they trained their staff so I was excited.  Cost was a mere ten dollars a person and that could be applied towards the purchase of any bottle that was tasted that evening.  What a deal!

First up was Bisol Jeio Prosecco.  It was a wonderful selection to start off the tasting.  It was light and refreshing.  I could imagine using it in a mimosa as well.  It is a wonderful selection from Italy!

Next up was Sauvion Vouvray.  I must admit that I was hesitant about this one, as I remember the Chenin blanc wines from the 70's that were very popular and I wasn't sure I was that kind of wine drinker, at least not yet.  I must admit that I was pleasantly surprise by this one.  I could smell the honey easily and it was smooth and a bit velvet-like on the palate.  I can see why it had such a foothold with the White drinkers, as it was perfect for appetizers and for mingling with friends and family.

The third one was Firestone Estate Riesling.  We could have ended right here as far as I was concerned.  This is one of my all time favorite types of wine and I seldom meet one I don't like.  I knew I would fall hard for this one as soon as I read, "...flavors of Tupelo honey, melon and apricot...".  This is one that I can drink just to drink but love to have it when I am eating spicy food, or at least as spicy as I can stand it.  I think that most everyone in attendance loved this one.  And I know that it is one I have purchased since that initial bottle.

We moved on to Four Vines "Naked" Chardonnay.  I will freely admit that up until I tasted this Chardonnay I was not a big fan.  It seemed that I had to spend a lot of money to get good taste.  This one goes for around eleven dollars a bottle which is fairly inexpensive.  They recommend oysters and I can see why.  I think that the citrus and mineral tastes would be perfect companions.

Our final selection was Miner Viognier.  Historically I love this one.  It is very prevalent in the Finger Lakes and I am quite fond of wines from that area.  It was difficult to decide on this one after the Chardonnay.  In all fairness, I think that I will have to purchase this one again to give it the respect it deserves.

So, have you had any of these?  If so, please share your thoughts.  If not, share some whites that you have tried and love to recommend!

Friday Fill-Ins #189

1. Music feeds the mind, body and soul.

2. A sleepy hug from SF is what I like first thing in the morning.

3. The first thing I said this morning was: "do we have to?".

4. Snow crab legs and a salad; it's what's for dinner tonight.

5. It's all been worth it to get to this point in my life.

6. Floating in the pool with music and a cold beverage is what I feel like doing right now.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to finishing the Clementine and some quality time with SF, tomorrow my plans include going to the gym and then to see "Eat, Love Pray" with SF and Sunday, I want to swim and start on the Multnomah!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What are your reading habits?

Amy posted this on her blog.  It was due to a post she read on Chan's blog called “How Do You Book?”  I loved the answers on both, so I thought I would keep it going.  It also fits right in with the swap that Amy is running and I am a participant in.  Not to mention that I know that Amy is my spoiler

1. Favorite childhood book?

Wow, what a difficult one.  Growing up in Memphis our dad fixed everything in the house.  When our TV broke he was going to school at night and working all day.  So, we all took up reading more than we already did.  I read every book in the childrens' section before I entered the eighth grade.  I would say that The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is at the top of the list.  So much so that when my original hardback version was lost I promptly purchased a new version.  The only lament was that I could not find a hard-back version.

2. What are you reading right now?
Currently I'm reading The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage and Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison.  The first is the second book from my July Out of the Box Reading group.  I will reserve any reviews until I finish.  The second was part of my birthday package from Megan back in 2008.  She gave me five wonderful books and I am just getting to them.  So far it is an easy read and I am enjoying the change of pace from some of my previous choices.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?

None at the moment, as I have six paperbacks on the shelf as the "Next In Line" candidates.

4. Bad book habit?

Interesting question.  I don't have any that I can think of at the moment.  I treat all of them with reverence.  So much so that you can hardly tell that I have read them, when in fact I have read all of them at least twice.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

Nothing, because of question number three.

6. Do you have an e-reader?

Not yet, but I am considering one for a number of reason.  I like the idea that I can "take" a large number of them with me which is ideal for travel and vacations.  I also like the fact that I can load PDF files which would allow me to take my knitting patterns with me when I travel or go to knit night.  I doubt it will ever replace actual books for me but it would be a welcome addition as a supplement.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once.

Normally I have at least two going at one time.  I like to keep a non-fiction/learning book in the mix so sometimes I have three at a time.  I really do try and divide my attention to them equally but I will admit that if one gets me more involved than the other it will garner all of my attention until I am ready to move back or I finish with it.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

The habits have not changed but the variety of genres and authors has been complemented by those I have come to know.  It has changed how I write and how I view a few things in general.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)

So far, it would have to be My Lesbian Husband.  I read it after it was recommended to me.  The title did have a certain appeal for personal reasons but I found the book slow and choppy.  I realize that it is her memoir, so I tried to be objective but it took me three months to finish.  That is too long for me, especially when you consider that I can read one book from The Wheel of Time series in a few weeks and they are each at least 700+ pages and tiny print (7.5 font).

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?

So far it would have to be The Beekeeper's Apprentice.  It was book number one from the July Out of the Box reading group and I was immediately drawn in and engulfed in the book.  I am now a Mary Russell addict and I will be getting the remainder of the series as soon as I get at least four of the six books in waiting finished.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?

Not nearly as often as I should.  I have a tendency to get hooked by an author and read everything they have published.  Or, I see what books are similar by looking at the profiles on Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Borders and reading from those.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?

Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Mystery and historical romance

13. Can you read on the bus?

I have to go completely with Amy's answer, as it is EXACTLY what I would have written, "Not unless you want me to puke on you.  I can’t read in any moving vehicle, save for an airplane."

14. Favorite place to read?

I have two places.  When the weather is not so horrid I love to read out by the pool.  I take my glass of water and don my wide brimmed hat and sit in my favorite lounge chair poolside.  The sound of the water from the spill over out of the hot tub into the main pool is quite soothing.  It is not as loud as our actual waterfall so it does not deter from the serenity of the surroundings.  Otherwise, I prefer to read in "my room".  I have a wonderful Danish Drop chair (similar to the one in the link) that was my parents' first chair when they were married.  I love to go in there, turn on the ceiling fan and open the curtains and blinds.  The serenity of the room allows me to fully engage in the characters and the plot without distractions.  I have never been able to read before going to bed, as my mind will not stop with the book even after I go to sleep.  I will wake up exhausted every time.

15. What is your policy on book lending?

This is a sore one for me.  I let one person I really trusted borrow my original copy of  The Great Gatsby.  Mind you, it was paperback and I had read it at least four times that I could recall.  I cried when he returned it.  The front cover was missing.  Several pages had been torn and taped.  Several more had edges missing, torn or chewed.  And there were stains on numerous pages.  He didn't offer any apologies or offer to replace it.  I don't think I have ever lent one since.  If I no longer want a book, I will add it to a box for local schools in poor sections of town and then drop off the box when it is full.  At least then I don't have to know what condition they wind up in after reading.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?

NEVER!  I own at least three dozen book markers and use them or an index card zealously.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

Never.  I write the date purchased in the front sometimes but I never write in the books.

18.  Not even with text books?

Depends on the book and the subject.  I had some books that I used in the first two years of college that showed no visible signs of use and I got almost the full price back from the book store when I sold them.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

When I was still in high school I could read French but I am out of practice so English is the best I can do at this point.

20. What makes you love a book?

Good question!  Many times it is just the author that makes me love the book.  If I like their style I usually like all of there books.  That is not always true but I would say that 90% of the time it happens to be so.  Otherwise, I have to like the plot.  If the plot pulls me in then I look to the characters to keep me enraptured.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

I have always enjoyed sharing book recommendations.  My sister and I share them most often, as she reads about three books a month since she takes the train to work and also takes it to see my parents from time to time.  I envy here that she can read in  moving vehicles, as it seems I am the only child in my immediate family that cannot.  We are pretty blunt when we review books, so I know upfront if she thinks it is a thumbs up or a thumbs down.  I think that her living in NJ and working in NYC makes her fairly blunt too, so I know I can count on that when I ask her.

22. Favorite genre?

Toss up between Dystopian and Sci-Fi.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)

This sounds odd even while I type it but I wish I could enjoy westerns and historical fiction more than I seem to be able to do.

24. Favorite biography?

Hands down, The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt.  She is one of my all time favorite women and her quotes and insights are still as appropriate today as they were then.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

Many of them over the last thirty years.  Some were work related but most were personal.  Some were pre-divorce from John and some were after I started my relationship with SWCNLBN.  I found each one to be helpful and I have retained many of the lessons learned.  I think that these books are often misunderstood and people often feel ashamed of admitting the reading of such material.

26. Favorite cookbook?

Hands down, Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.  I fell in love with him when I was watching Take Home Chef on TLC.  I was sad to see the show end and have followed him ever since.  I want to get his other books as well.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?

I don't have one yet.  I have been concentrating on enjoyment thus far.  I think that Water for Elephants will likely qualify and it is next up in the queue.  I also have The God of Small Things in the queue and I am not sure about it but my sister was moved by it.

28. Favorite reading snack?

I don't usually eat while I read.  I don't want to risk damages to the book.  I do indulge in hot tea while reading indoors and adult beverages if reading in the evening.  While outside it is usually water or cranberry juice over crushed ice.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.

Oddly enough, I can't think of any.  I try whenever possible to read the book well in advance of seeing any movie based upon a book.  That way I can understand the movie better.  I can say that I have only seen one of the Twilight movies and have no real plans to see the rest but I did not read any more of the books either.  They fall outside my genre base and that sums that up in a nutshell.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?

The only critics I care about are my friends and relatives.  I cannot recall ever buying a book because it was on any particular top reading list or show.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

I try to be objective with my reviews but if I think it blows then you will know that by my review.  If you have questions about my review, ask me.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?

Wow!  German or Russian would top the list but I would also add French back in there too.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?

Haven't found it yet but I'll be sure to let you know when I do.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?

Same answer as number thirty-three.

35. Favorite Poet?

Seriously, who can pick just one.  I have a few: Khalil Gibran, Edna St Vincent Millay, Carl Sandburg and William Shakespeare.
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?

Five is normal.  Of those, three of them are usually reference materials such as cook books or knitting books and the remaining two are for pleasure.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?

Can't recall ever checking out one that I didn't read.

38. Favorite fictional character?

Gandalf from J.R.R. Tolkien's books.

39. Favorite fictional villain?

O'Brien from Nineteen Eighty-four.  Classic antagonist in a dystopian society.

40. Books I”m most likely to bring on vacation.

I have never really been one to take books on vacation; however, the addition of an eReader may change that.  I do; however, bring crossword puzzles and knitting.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.

Not more than three months.  I have never been able to leave books alone and prefer them over TV.  Only my knitting gets more of my attention than books.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.

Haven't found one yet.  I always finish one once I start it, no matter how long it takes or how much I may dislike it.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

Not much, as I try to devote time set aside to read so that there are less likely to be distractions.  Exceptions are phone calls or the pets getting into mischief.  They are a lot like kids...if it is too quiet it is best to check out what they are doing.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

I think that I would have to go with the Lord of the Ring movies.  I think that Peter Jackson did an amazing job at taking Tolkien's visions and translating them to the screen.  I also think that technology was in Jackson's favor to be able to create the images.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

Flowers in the Attic was the worst to me so far.  I was a HUGE V.C. Andrews follower and had read everything she had published up until 1990.  It was nothing like the book and I still regret spending money to see it.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?

I doubt I could really be accurate with this one.  I know that I have spent several hundred at a time for college course books but that doesn't really count.  For personal consideration I would guesstimate that it would be around $75.00, except during the holidays when I buy books as Christmas gifts.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

Depends on the book.  If it is by an author I know I won't skim art all.  If it was highly recommended by family or friends I won't skim either.  However, if I am trolling through the book store for new books to broaden my horizons, I will skim.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?

Nothing that I can think of since it has never happened.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

Absolutely!  I am a total nerd when it comes to this.  They are alphabetically stored by medium.  Paperbacks are together and hardbacks are together.  Reference is divided into categories and then alphabetized.  I should have been a librarian I suppose.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?

If space were unlimited I would keep every one of them.  Since that is not the case, I keep only the ones I know I would read again and then I donate the rest.  The only exceptions are reference materials.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?

Sappy romance books like Harlequin and total gore.  Add Christian fiction to that as well.

52. Name a book that made you angry.

Can't recall one that made me angry but the very nature of the dystopian genre is rage against the establishment.  I guess that is why I like them so very much.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?

When I was home on leave after my hysterectomy my sister mailed me Memoirs of a Geisha.  I wasn't really up on the whole Geisha history so I wasn't too sure that I could read it.  I was initially cautious as I started reading but by the end I was moved and I learned so very much about these women and the way of life.

 54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Probably All the Pretty Horses.  I was a fan of Cormac McCarthy from his book Blood Meridian so I had expected to like this one as well.  I think I should possibly revisit this one, as I read it while I was starting the first phases of my divorce and was not really in the mood for romance I suppose.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

I love historical romance books.  Characters that I can loose myself in while I soak in bubble bath with a good glass of wine.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Well, we lived through yet another weekend only to end up at Monday all over again.  Hopefully if you are in a heat advisory you are staying in the AC and getting enough fluids.  I can tell you that the pool water temperature this morning at 4:30 AM was 86 degrees and the air temperature was 87 degrees, at least according to the equipment that monitors our pool.  The heat has depleted the chlorine levels so we had to add another fifty pound bag of salt this morning before we left for the day.

So, Thursday SF came home and was as pale as a ghost.  It seems that some one kind enough to pass on a little bug that was going around her office.  She had thrown up around 4:30 in the afternoon and slept all the way home on the van pool.  When she got home, I sent her straight to bed.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect $100 dollars.  And do not pass it on to me please and thank you.  I took a bottle of water into her and put it on her night stand.  She slept from 6:30 PM that night until 8:00 AM the next morning.  The only reason she woke up is because I needed to see if she was going to go to the dentist.  A resounding no.  I called them and rescheduled her appointment and left for the day.  I got back around 4:30 PM and she was still asleep.  She had not even been aware that the day had gone and that I had been out of the house.  She got up and I got her some 7-Up.  She ate some scrambled eggs and a piece of toast but complained that her head hurt so bad that it was making her sick.  Back to bed.  She slept the remainder of Friday and did not get up until around 9:45 AM on Saturday.  Her color was back and her appetite was as well.  I made her stay in the AC and she was happy to do so.  We did venture out long enough to go to the movies but that was all.  Sunday was also a low key day with me keeping her in the AC and hydrated.  It seems she is over it all now and I did not catch it but it was not an ideal weekend.

Yes, we did go to a movie.  Movies are one of our favorite past-times.  We were also going to celebrate out second anniversary of our first official date.  On 08/08/08 we went to a movie as our first official date.  That seems so distant now but still fun to remember.  We decided to go and see "The Kids Are Alright".  We had seen the reviews on TV and read about it and so we agreed it was worth seeing.  Funny how life often seems to resonate art.  There were pieces of this film that hit a little too close to home and had me sniffling a few times.  There were other times when it was hard not to choke on the popcorn from laughing.  All in all it was a good movie but I could have waiting and gotten it on Netflix I think.  As we were leaving SF reminded me that the movie we saw on our first date provided me with the same range of emotions.  We laughed and I asked her if she was okay having such an emotional woman in her life.  She called me a little idiot and I knew we were ok.  Just to set the record straight, little idiot is a term of endearment when it comes from her.

I have been knitting up a storm as of late.  My dear friend Joe posted about a secret project and when I commented he was worried about the outcome.  Curious as I am, I ran to the stash and grabbed some sock yarn, cast on and knitting away.  A flurry of emails drifted between us and then I realized that I was comparing apples to oranges.  So, I ran back to the stash and found two skeins of JustSoya from a swap and cast on again.  It took about 15 hours and I had the second one completed.  Note that Sassy decided to supervise.  I think she thought that if she sat on the pattern and my notepad that I would stop and pet her.  No dice.  Proof below:

I will tell you that the JustSoya looks wonderful and feels divine but was a pain to work with.  It tended to be a bit too splitty for me, especially with the lace application (ssk/k2tog/s2kp2o).  I like the fact that it is machine washable but would not purchase it myself.  This was a true DK weight yarn, so I was able to do the pre-blocking measurements and after-blocking measurements and report back to Joe so he would have more insight into his own.  The Handy Dandy will be gifted to my neighbor Jeannie.  She saw me taking pictures of it and fell in love with the color.  She and her husband Pat have decided that it is time for him to retire and they will be moving to outside Knoxville as soon as they can get their house here sold.  We will miss them immensely but we have been planning to retire near Knoxville ourselves so we will see them again.  Plus we can always go visit!

I have also been working on my Clementine.  I have one whole half completed and am about one quarter of the way on the second half.  After looking at other projects on Ravelry I think that I will do a three needle bind off in place of the Kitchener that is called for.  Pictures below:

I am also working on the Red Robin for the Finish-A-Long.  I am not sure if I will get the pants done but I will get the shirt finished easily.  I'll post pictures of it before the 13th, as that is the deadline for the contest.

Okay, off to find a recipe for Mahi Mahi.....

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #188

1. Life is what you make of it.

2. Never give up, just keep going.

3. My last text message (or IM) ended in these three words: in the sand.

4. Alaskan King Crab legs and a baked potato with a salad is what I'm thinking about for dinner sometime soon.

5. On the 1st day of August my niece was born (22 years ago).

6. A trip to the gym always makes me feel lively and energetic.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to spending quality time with SF inside AC (heat advisory), tomorrow my plans include a trip to the local farmer's market and Sunday, I want to swim before it gets too hot to be outside safely and then a long over due cal to my sister and then my parents!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Welcome to the new week ya'll!

What would a week be like if it didn't start with Monday....who knows.  We all look forward to Friday but I really do like Monday.  It sets the tone for the rest of the week, so if you make it good, the week will go relatively smooth.  Or so I like to believe.

Friday was a fun day.  I had lunch with the every funny Christine.  We ate at Taydo Chinese Vietnamese Restaurant at Highway 6 and Westheimer.  I love good Vietnamese food and Christine knows where to get it.  I agreed to let her choose since we were meeting near her job this time.  I had the Lo Mein....YUM!  It was a quick lunch but we always have so much fun.  We get caught up in no time and laugh the whole time.  Can't wait to the next time!

The afternoon was slow but then evening flew past.  It seems like one moment it was 5:30 PM and then I blinked and it was 9:45 PM.  I know that we watched TV but I really couldn't tell you what was on.  I was knitting on the Clementine and I guess I was so engrossed in it that I really did tune out the TV.  I managed to get all 46 rows of Chart A and the first 20 of Chart B done Friday.

Saturday was an odd day here at Chez Ruby Ringz.  SF has started back up the diet she was on before we met and had to weigh in at 8:00 AM.  We are up by then most Saturday mornings anyway since we "normally" get up at 4:00 AM on weekdays.  I fixed a strong cup of coffee and enjoyed it poolside while she was gone.  After breakfast, we ran some errands and then we worked on the pool.  The rains have played havoc with the chlorine (salt provided) and we had to take a water sample to the pool place to get detailed instructions.  We could test it here ourselves, but they do it for free and tel us EXACTLY how much of each chemical and salt we need to add so we don't have to guess.  That took the swimming prospect out of the weekend, as we had to add the muriatic acid first and then double shock it yesterday.

That left us with plenty of time on our hands and we decided to read.  I don't think it was a spoken thing.  I was drying my hair after my shower and when I emerged squeaky clean SF was reading a book for a class she will be teaching soon.  So, I chose to read instead of knit.  I managed to finish The Beekeeper's Apprentice.  I had forgotten how much I did enjoy Sherlock Holmes mystery stories.  It was a delightful book and I fear that I will be acquiring the remaining nine books in the Mary Russell series.  SF puttered around between chapters in her book, as it is printed in font size 9 and gave her fits.  The book is far more technical than educational and I had to get the dictionary out a few times to help her with words.  I knew their meanings but I didn't want to cloud the content with my context clues so I read her the verbatim definition from the dictionary.  Yes, Saturday was one of those days when I know things were accomplished but it felt like they were in an alternative universe.

Sunday was just a slight bit better.  We had a spot in the back yard where we have tried to grow a few plants.  She has tried a few varieties of palms and we had two plumeria plants there last year.  The plumerias grew and bloomed last year but the BIG freeze and snow did them in.  The spot has been bare this entire time and we were in route to buy some sod when I remembered that there was a plant that I have always had at every house I have lived in since arriving in Texas, a Hummingbird Bush.  I did not have my A Garden Book For Houston with me, so I had to explain to SF what I was wanting.  She likes tropical stuff and we both wanted LOW maintenance since we have  the pool and the motorcycle that we like to play with on the weekends.  We headed to Houston Garden Centers in Missouri City to see what they had since they are running their 1/2 off sale.

Jackpot!  They had a bout 25 plants to choose from and we settled on one that was already about two feet tall and brought it home.  I promptly put her in the ground and dripped water on her roots for about a half hour.  The butterflies and honey bees have already found her.  I can't wait to see her in a few weeks after she gets acclimated to the new digs and her next wave of blooms appears.  I'll grab a picture of her when she is ready.  I love the flowers but the color of the leaves is just as dramatic and I think that she will actually survive the variety of weather that this particular corner of the yard seems to encounter.  She is a hard one and the space is ample enough to hold her if she does ever decide to get the 12' x 12' expanse that they can attain when they have the perfect conditions.  So I was able top get a burst of color and a low maintenance plant that should not be of any concern to the pool maintenance all for ten bucks!

I am back on my eating program as well.  I don't really ever diet.  I have moved all of the heavy carbs back to breakfast and lunch and will be getting more seafood for dinner.  I love tuna (yellow tail) and SF can have a variety of fish on her diet.  Bonus for both of us.  I am also eating more veggies again.  Asparagus and artichokes are plentiful at the moment and I love both of them.  Corn on the cob freshly roasted on the grill is a bonus this time of year as well.

I will be posting about the wine tasting from last week a bit later.  It was fun and I am looking forward to more.  This week is reds, so i will skip, as I prefer reds in the cooler season and whites in the warm weather.

Make the most of your Monday and get your week off to a positive start!