Monday, November 28, 2005

Weekend Report

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I really enjoyed the long break, had a great time at my parents', and ate way too much. Everybody was pleasant and it was really good to see my extended family.
Kevin came in from Africa on Saturday and I drove to Dallas to pick him up. His flight was delayed so I had time to stop by a cool yarn store called The Shabby Sheep in Dallas close to the West End. It was such a cool little store in a bungalow type home with different yarns in each room. The people were really friendly and there were people just sitting around knitting. I chose that one because I fell in love with this Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton that I saw in Atlanta at Why Knot Knit and Shabby Sheep was the only store in Dallas that carries it. So I got 2 skeins of that, and also saw this amazing Noro Kureyon colorway yarn (I'm about to finish that and it's turning out fabulous, looks much harder than it is- I'm also working on one with the Manos I got in Atlanta), and I had seen a really cool knitted checkerboard scarf that Crazy Aunt Purl made, so I got 3 skeins of that and found some really cool knitting needles, Addi Turbo, in circulars because I hadn't tried those before. And I also got 3 skeins of the amazing Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk in a soft, aqua color.
It was so good to see Kevin, we really enjoyed having some time to ourselves in Dallas before heading back. We got some Christmas shopping done and went to a big outlet mall close to the airport before we left.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A few more quizzes and Happy Thanksgiving!

Your World View

You are a happy, well-balanced person who likes people and is liked by others.
You question whether many conventional views on morality are valid under all circumstances.
You are essentially a content person.

Sometimes, you consider yourself a little superior.
You are moral by your own standards.
You believe that morality is what best suits the occasion.

Your Birthdate: September 18

You are a cohesive force - able to bring many people together for a common cause.
You tend to excel in work situations, but you also facilitate a lot of social gatherings too.
Beyond being a good leader, you are good at inspiring others.
You also keep your powerful emotions in check - you know when to emote and when to repress.

Your strength: Emotional maturity beyond your years

Your weakness: Wearing yourself down with too many responsibilities

Your power color: Crimson red

Your power symbol: Snowflake

Your power month: September
What Does Your Birth Date Mean?

Here's a bit more information I'm sure you were dying to know about me.
I'm heading back home tomorrow to spend the holiday with my family. I'm missing my husband like crazy. And it's been a wild week.

I've had problems with my TMJs for about as long as I can remember. Things had gotten worse lately, had surgery last May and things aren't much better and I was told Mon. by my specialist that there is some pathogenic organism in my joint breaking it down, that he could see the progression over the last year from the x-rays. So now I'm completely torn with what to do.

I've made an appointment to get a second opinion (my current specialist wants to inject antibiotics in my joints not even knowing what kind of "organism" it is that is present by doing blood tests or anything) and he said that any kind of surgery will only make it worse. And if we let it go the joint could almost be destroyed in a year or two.

So I called to get a copy of my records and it will cost about 200 DOLLARS! to get a copy of my paper file and x-rays. That is such a crock! How are they allowed to do that?

I did some research today and it seems somewhat common for bacterial presence and TMJD to go hand in hand. There is a lot of research coming out of Baylor, so I could go down there if I need to for a consult. But what a shock, I was blindsided by this enews and it is crazy not having my husband here or being able to talk to him.

So enough for the most depressing post yet, have a great holiday!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Creepy Hispanic Guy to the Rescue

How is it that Desperate Housewives has trance-inducing powers? The show is so cheesy and dumb, but when it's on the TV I have to watch it. So note to self, next time you get in the car of a known convicted felon, check to make sure there are door handles and a window turner thingie. But it all turned out well.

Had a pretty good weekend. My husband left yesterday for Africa again (didn't mean for those to come so close together). Went to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert last night, it was absolutely phenomenal. I wasn't sure I would really enjoyed but they are some incredibly talented musicians.

Spent the day today cooking stuff for work tomorrow, we're having a big pot luck lunch. I made some gingersnaps and pumpkin dip and pecan pie. So far it looks like it all turned out okay. I actually enjoyed doing the domestic thing.

I finished another of Deneen's felted bags in chocolate and blue. But I made it a bit bigger and used a different stitch for the accent color. Will show pics as soon as I can figure out how to load the pics on the camera my husband didn't take.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

All Bagged Out...

Here are a few other finished projects. The top is the Marvelous Felted Tote. The color didn't show up that great in the pic but it is a pretty deep burgandy color of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. I made it in about an hour and it felted really quickly and evenly.
I want to make another one soon with more of the Knit Picks stash.

The second, in all its wonky glory, was an attempt at the Felted Tote from the latest Family Circle Easy Crochet. It was easy to make but about a jillion rows of single crochet. And for some reason, it got all twisty when it was felting and the tab and handles moved and are now way off center.
Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

See, I Do Finish Things...

Finally, some pics of finished stuff. Okay, they're all pretty small, but still.
Can't get the pics to move where I want so here they are.
I finished the baby blanket a while ago and the squares were for a few comfortghans.
I got my swap squares in the mail today so I should have pics of them to post, oh about two months from now.
I still have pics of the special felted tote I finished a while ago that I need to upload.
I am still working on the 63 squares ghan, still have 9 done.
Did finish Deneen's Marvelous Felted Tote (love that bag!) Will hopefully post pics of that soon.
Ooh, when I was in Atlanta I got to run in to Why Knot Knit in Buckhead (love that place and wish I could move it here) and found some fabulous chocolatey Manos del Uruguay that I'm attempting to knit into a scarf.
Also got to fondle some Blue Sky Organic Cotton, that stuff is amazing. Wish I would have bought some now. We don't have a retailer in the state that sells it and I can't find it as easily on the net as I thought I'd be able to.

Things have been pretty uneventful. Had another presentation last week for work and then on Monday and I didn't break out in hives or spontaneously combust. But thanks to Crazy Aunt Purl, the phrase "Don't say porn" just kept repeating in my head (See the 9/15 post). She really cracks me up. So does this site.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Book Reviews

Nope, still no new pics to post. New pics, just none ready to post.
So here are a few book reviews of some books I have read in the past month or so:

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
This is a beautifully written story of a party in South America that was raided by a group of terrorists. The story follows the goup of people who are left as hostages in the house, along with the lives of the terrorists who invaded, and chronicles their lives both before and during the incident. And maybe after, but you have to read to find that part out.
I am a huge fan of Ann Patchett's writing style. She has the ability to make the plainest things poignant. She always develops amazing characters and does an excellent job of showing character transformation throughout the story.
I picked this book up several times in bookstores this summer to buy, but was turned off by the quick review because it didn't seem like my kind of book.
I would highly recommend this book.
Oh, and last summer when my husband and I were on a train from Prague to Munich, we sat across the isle from Joey Pants and he was reading this book.
(and in case you were wondering, no he can't sing, so you don't need to waste your time watching that crappy VH1 show. Why don't they just give it to that hot guy
from One Tree Hill and call it good?)

Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
So when I find an author I really like, I tend to read everything they have written that I can get my hands on.
I was not dissapointed with this book.
This is the story of a woman who marries young and realizes when she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant that she has misinterpreted several signs in her life and winds up at a home for unwed mothers. The story is broken into three narratives, each broken up into a different section, and each picking up where the other left off. I don't normally like the effect this gives, but it really works in this story.
This is another well-written story with a divine sense of grace and healing. It has the same powerfully plain feel that Bel Canto had, but the story couldn't be much more different. I would highly recommend this.

Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
This is another book I have picked up several times at book stores and put back thinking it might not hold my interest. I am not a huge sci-fi fan and I couldn't tell if this was really about time travel or if was one of those books that makes painful attempts to seem like it is about something like time travel, when really it is a bad case of some horrid mental health condition.
The plot seems questionable: the main character can only remember the future and the story chronicles his love for a woman that doesn't share the same affliction. But Niffenegger artfully weaves this tell of a bizarre but strong relationship between two people that on some levels connect from the beginning, and on other levels have extreme difficulty connecting.
I feel that the characters were very well developed and melded together in a way that didn't seem a bit artificial.
It is a love story but it is also much more. My husband read it and liked it and he normally shoves aside anything of this sort. I would highly recommend this book.
(Another side note, this is the book that Joey Pants's wife was reading on that same train ride. Apparently the Pants have great taste in books.)

Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy
I picked this up because I wanted a short, mindless read for a long flight. It met my expectations. I am not a huge fan of Maeve Binchy, I just have little interest in what she normally writes about.
This story is set in a Greek island and starts with several people who happen to be in a local restraunt when a small boat catches on fire and several people are killed. The story follows the people as their lives weave in and out and their stories slowly unfold. The story is pretty campy, but the characters were somewhat loveable, and yes, there is a little romance action.
I would recommend this if you have a long afternoon and absolutely nothing else to do. Otherwise, not so much.

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
This book is along the lines of DaVinci Code, but not nearly as well written. It is fast-paced, but goes way too smoothly to be even a bit realistic.
The story is about a man who is searching for meaning in his life and several events cause him to leave his job and search for this mysterious manuscript that describes nine insights which are key to the world evolving into a new age, more spiritual, environment.
I do believe that the crux of the book, the nine insights, do ring true and I think if everyone shared similar views the world would be a much more peaceful place.
I gained from this a sense that every being in the world puts off energy and our interactions always involve either the sharing of or the sucking of the energy of others and we alone determine which way it will go.
That said, I could have gotten that message out of a one page blurb describing each of the insights.

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
This book is the memoir of a disturbed childhood from the perspective of an adult who lives through it and has the ability to laugh about it. The book is raw and presented in a child-like way, just stating the facts around this crazy family he grew up with and not interjecting much psychobabble or passing judgment. It is a warped coming of age story.
I was simultaneously laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes and disgusted by everything the author went through as a child. Overall, I would call this a story of perserverance.
I found this book hard to read at times (because of the content, not the writing style), but I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who isn't bothered by this sort of story. I definitely want to read his next book, Dry.

The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer
This book had so much potential: a recent college graduate in a stale relationship when her boyfriend dives off a pier and becomes paralized. It all goes downhill from there. Carrie, the main character, whimsically picks up and leaves town for a prolonged period, just doing nothing but not really depressed or anything, then floats through a few more decisions that make no sense (and not in a good way). The characters are all one deminsional and not too interesting.
I'd skip this and just watch the Lifetime movie if you really want to find out the ending.

Currently reading:
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About

Plan to read:
Salt: A World History (c'mon, it sounds really good, read the description)
The Divide by Nicholas Evans, one of my favorite authors
Black Elk Speaks
The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck

I had a lovely weekend- I was in Atlanta for a conference in the woods in a room with no TV. It was kinda peaceful, kinda creepy, but the conference speakers were good and I got a lot of crocheting done.

I recently started the 63 Squares Afghan from Leisure Arts. I thought this would be a good way to learn some new stitches. Couldn't decide on color so I picked black, tan, and cream in Caron Simply Soft. That stuff is so soft, when I was winding it on Thurs. before I left it just kept launching off the yarn winder. Took a good three tries to get it to stay put. I finished squares 1-8 and 10 for that. Hope to get more done tonight.

Got my Knit Picks yarn in last week, so I have lots of Wool of the Andes and some sock yarn.
I've started the Button Top Socks, my first attempt at socks, from Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet and started a felted tote last night.

Hope to get some pics up soon! As soon as my husband shows his technically challenged wife how to get pics from the digi to the computer (yup, it's that bad).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Africa Pics

I still haven't gotten a chance to upload new project pics, but I thought I'd post a few travel pics. These are from my trip with my husband in August to Africa.
The first pics are in Namibia, the country just north of South Africa, where we stayed on a game farm. The top one was one of the two pet lions on the farm. They were in a huge fenced cage and we could hear them roaring at night. The next is some purple-eared waxbills on the game farm and the last is a beautiful sunset in Namibia.
The next two were in Cape Town, South Africa. The fourth was taken on top of Table Mountain looking down on the city.
And the last is my favorite- of the Winelands outside of Cape Town. It was beautiful there.
Can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A few Quizzes...

You Are A Lily

You are a nurturer and all around natural therapist.
People see you as their rock. And they are able to depend on you.
You are a soothing influence. You can make people feel better with a few words.
Your caring has more of an impact than even you realize.
What Flower Are You?

WooHoo! Just successfully learned how to post a quiz!
But I would hardly consider myself a lily...

You are Mohair
You are Mohair.
You are a warm and fuzzy type who works well with
others, doing your share without being too
weighty. You can be stubborn and absolutely
refuse to change your position once it is set,
but that's okay since you are good at covering
up your mistakes.

What kind of yarn are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Mmm... Mohair!