May 25, 2009

Random Thoughts

I'm not inspired in my knitting.

I went out last week and purchased new yarn. I don't know why; probably because I had been on a yarn fast and, like any bad dieter, was craving something new.

This gorgeous Lamb's Pride Worsted in Silver Streaks at Nite (my god, that's a great name)

I wanted to make a scarf for my dad. Had the pattern picked out of Barbara Walker's Treasuries and everything before I realized that I needed a fingering yarn for the pattern. Worsted is way too big.

I love the yarn. Beautiful...

I also picked up this absolutely gorgeous Shibui Sock in Orchid.

ShibuiSock_Orchid_001 copy

I saw this and automatically thought AKA socks for Stephanie. Her beloved doggy Roc died about 2 months ago and she's been at a loose end. She has a new dog, Dayla, but Dayla isn't Roc.

Roc was half Chow, half-something else big. Roc could've eaten Dayla, a Shih Tzu.

Anyway, I bought the yarn and cast on for the scarf....that's when I discovered that the yarn was too thick.

The lace curtains in #10 crochet thread are not coming out too well either.

I'm exhausted. Not with Knitting, but with being on a budget....I want to buy yarn!!!

May 21, 2009

Swallowtail Shawl, post Blocking

Just for the record, I believe in the wet-bath method when I handblock. I send it through the washer on the spin cycle to remove the excess water, then pin flat.

This is the result.

SwallowtailShawl_010 copy

SwallowtailShawl_008 copy

(Being modeled by my co-worker, Kate)

SwallowtailShawl_011 copy
(Being modeled by my co-worker, Sue Ann)

I think it looks better up against the red.

What a difference a blocking will make.

May 19, 2009

Book Review: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Three Sentence Synopsis: Catherine Crawfield (known as Cat) is a half-human, half-vampire vampire killer who meets Bones, a Vampire Hit man/Bounty Hunter during a kill. In exchange for her life (and help determining the identity of her rapist vampire father), Cat agrees to help Bones with a job of his own. She falls in love with Bones but as the bodies pile up around them, she is forced to make a difficult choice between staying with the man that she loves or protecting her own heart and soul.(Book One of a Trilogy, thus far).

I recommend this book highly. The pacing is fast and the characters are well-drawn and interesting. The plot is mostly solid and well setup for sequels and books for offshoot characters (a book for Spade please!). All in all, an excellent first-book.

I would like to comment on the many reviewers who were turned off by what the perceived to be the main character's immaturity and shallowness. I think most of them forgot that at the beginning of this book, the main character was in her early twenties (like 20-22)! At that age no one's thinking is tied too tight and, when you consider the circumstances of her birth and her maternal family's conflicted feelings about her very existence, she's a lot more mature and clear thinking than a lot of people her age. However, I do feel that the author did a good job of convincingly aging her up in the next book and giving her more maturity without sacrificing her personality.

Main Review:
I will preface this review by saying that I am NOT a big fan of paranormal romance. Vampires, ghouls, the undead, none of that really tickles my fancy; give me a good old-fashioned Regency Bodice-Ripper any day. Normally I would never read this kind of book, but I received it from someone on LibraryThing and it sat on my coffee table for over a month before I offered it (half-heartedly) to a friend who loves paranormal. She was so excited about receiving that I decided to give the first chapter a go; if the book was good, I would loan it to her, otherwise, she could keep it.

That said, this book will be on LOAN only (sorry Nikki)!

Halfway to the Grave sucked me in from the first chapter! Catherine is the product of a rape and is half-human, half vampire. She has been taught from her earliest days that all vampires are evil creatures from hell who must be destroyed; thus begins her early career as a vampire killer. However, while staking out a victim, Cat runs into the most gorgeous vampire she's ever seen and the only vampire who's ever been able to take her out while she's on a job. In exchange for her life (and help finding the vampire who raped her mother and fathered her), Cat agrees to act as bait for a Master Vampire named Bones, who is trying to determine who is killing young human women all over the state of Ohio. Over the next few months, Cat learns more and more about her vampire heritage, embraces her strengths, and turns what had been a obsession into an almost full-time job. She must also confront the fact that, like humans, not all Vampires are evil and she has prejudice issues of her own to deal with. Bones, her new vampire partner, is determined to show Cat the limitations of her thinking while training her to be faster, stronger, agile, and more creative. Together they move closer and closer to the center of an interesting mystery where the guilty party is no one that you would assume and the list of people that can be trusted grows shorter and shorter.

Final Opinion:
After I finished this book, I checked Book 2 (One Foot in the Grave) out from the Library and I'm going to buy book 3 today. It's just that compelling but I sincerely hope that Jeanine Frost gives the side characters (Tate, Spade, possibly Cooper) their own books.

May 17, 2009

The Swallowtail Shawl is done

I'm moving through the Christmas knitting pretty well. I've finished the Swallowtail Shawl.

SwallowtailShawl_002 copy

SwallowtailShawl_001 copy


Now to block...

Bread Baking

Lately I've been looking for new ways to save money. I'm having a great time going through my budget and trying to figure out how I can get the most bang for my buck.

One of the things I've decided to do is try to reduce the number of items I have to buy in stores. I don't think I'll be outside trying to milk a cow anytime soon (and unfortunately there are no sheep within shearing distance of me), but I can try to produce more of the simple items I have to pay for.

Like Bread.

Bread baking was my Rubicon because bread required Yeast. I simply wasn't going to cross that bridge again; I've never succeeded. Those gassy, unicellular creatures have never cooperated with me.

Yeast is SCARY.

But I'm cheaper than I am afraid.

So, here we go. I pulled The Joy of Cooking and read through the recipe.

Then I pulled Alton Brown's website, read through his instructions, and steadied myself. I could do this.

To the Kitchen!!! I measured everything carefully, reread the recipe and got started.

Bread001 copy
This looks promising.

Let's Bake...

Bread007 copy
Ni i i i i ce

I do believe this looks like bread.

Bread008 copy

It slices like bread. It takes like bread.
Bread009 copy
I'm going to eat the hell out of this, like bread.

**Edited because rereading this post in the light of day, I realized that the original read as if I'd written it while drunk.

Umm...I was drunk. Drunk on success. And passed out from the pure carb overload.

May 11, 2009

When it's a bad day...

It's a REALLY REALLY bad day. I'm talking major league bad day.

(cursing ahead)

Don't get me wrong, I love my job.
I love the work I do.
I love/like the people I work with.

I just don't like the people I have to work with.

Last week was a week from HELL! Monday (today) didn't start off that great either.

You know, I pride myself on being honest. I have no choice, since I'm a poor liar.

If I don't have an answer for you, I'll tell you. If I don't know, I'll say, "I don't know, but I'll find out."

What I hate is that honest answers make you look as if you don't know shit. Sometimes I don't know shit. And I'll say it. "I don't know....I really don't know. But I can find out..."

Why is this an unacceptable answer?

And when I find out, why is the answer unacceptable? I have an answer for you. It is based on the best intelligence I have at the moment. If and when I get more information, better information, new information, I'll update the answer.

At the moment, this is the best answer I have for you.

Why is this an unacceptable answer???

You know, I'm paid enough to come to work, but not enough to give a damn.

I have no problem articulating that. I'm going to make sure you feel that.

Please don't decide to be the lazy bastard who wants to make my day difficult. I'm not my co-worker. I CAN and WILL ignore your dumb ass.

And please don't be the hyper-sensitive control-freak bitch who won't calm down long enough to realize that there is not a major problem here.

Your inability to do your job is not my problem but I hate you both.

May 5, 2009