Sunday, September 30, 2007
As yet, I have 8 boxes of books packed. That's about it. I do not yet have an apartment, a moving truck, or an official moving date.
I'm about a week away (I hope) from getting a new design contract, I am busy with both of my current contracts, and today I agreed to take on a major research assignment. The clock ticking for delivery of what will probably be a very important presentation is will expire in 16 days. It might involve me flying to Washington DC--if I can figure out how to squeeze that in.
Also, trying to see all of my friends here before I leave and finish at least three knitting projects--mostly so I don't have to move them.
So if I'm quiet, please just understand that I'm running pedal to the metal.
And I got the same result twice...must be telling me something :)
You are every one's favorite furry bouncing blue beast. Just as comfortable performing feats of physical prowess as you are disserting on Dostoevsky, you have a body strong and agile with a mind to match. Oh my stars and garters!
Which X-Men character are you most like?
You are Beast!You are brilliant and extremely clever. You can handle almost any problem swiftly and efficiently. You are devoted to philosophy and are always up for a good discussion. Sometimes, though, your anger gets the best of you and you upset those whom you care about.
Take this quiz!
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Saturday, September 29, 2007
Because I have an amazingly special ability to waste my own time.
So far today I've managed to fold down two loads of laundry, tidy a couple of drawers, pack half a box of summer clothing, finish Sherrilyn Kenyon's latest (not her best but fair enough), have dinner with Chris and Jen, and now...sit in front of YouTube glutting on Harlot and then realizing--I can read the entire backlog of her blog--starting in 2004 from the day the blog went live.
I've made it through two months and several inches of the extremely basic scarf I'm working on. I have to go database now.
Guilty hedgehog shuffles off towards the waiting databases...
Friday, September 28, 2007
I've also, because of him, gotten into Erin Hunter and the Warrior Cats. I finished Into the Woods on Wednesday and I'm about halfway through Fire and Ice. I'm not sure the rest of the series will live up to the first book but it's fun quick reading and helps to pass the time and allow the brain to rest. You should be a cat fan, I think, to enjoy these.
Meanwhile, the furry little dingbat that lives at my house has discovered that she fits rather nicely in a large fabric shopping bag that was laying on the floor. For a while all I could see was nose but she's stuck most of her head out now. Crazy cat. I took a picture and if I ever get the film developed--I'll pass it on. (Yes, I have a point and click that requires *choke* film.)
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I'd heard of music mash-ups but the Curmudgeony Librarian--the man behind my infamous "Shush" bag, pointed this out to me tonight:
Wow! What an amazing version! It takes a very throw-away late nineties bubblegum and spins it in such a fashion that I could easily imagine it doing well on airwaves today.
So I wandered about YouTube and found this one also, which I like.
I thought about just scrapping it. We weren't making progress and was it worth the frustration when I am leaving? The kids don't know that yet though and I'd promised them another two weeks--so after rolling into work a full two and a half hours early to possibly cover a coworker who might call out (she didn't)--I drug out the yarn and needles.
We'd been getting hung up on casting on so I decided that this week we'd skip that and just work on knit stitch. We can go back to the other another time but for right now, I wanted them to see progress. I lost two more girls--one because it's boring and the other one refuses to slow down long enough for me to demonstrate anything.
We've tried sitting around tables and in a circle without success. This time I had needles with stitches cast on laid out and some books open showing the basic knit stitch. We awkwardly stood/sat around the table. I moved from one side to the other, demonstrating, prompting and mostly--praising. Tonight FOUR young women learned how to knit and were doing it successfully.
The older girls worked with one color of yarn but my two little ones found it easier to see how to pull a loop through if they could work with a different color yarn that the color than the stitches on the needle. Whatever works....seriously. Both were SO much less frustrated and were picking it up so much faster. There were problems. One girl was having trouble separating her tail from her working yarn. One of the little ones is so unsure that she's convinced she's doing it all wrong--when she isn't. But it was the most rewarding ninety I've had with them yet.
I started with eight young women. Five will complete and will get to take needles and yarn home to keep, along with a list of local yarn stores. I'm very proud and told them I'd be bragging about them. So here I am, celebrating my new knitters.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I'm not exactly sure how I came upon this book, it just seemed to appear in my book bag one day. I apparently put it on hold from another branch, it's not from my local collection. So if anyone wants to take credit for suggesting the book to me....
*we pause for a brief moment of Dinah going insane and sprinting about the apartment haphazardly*
I'm not familiar with Hoffman's other older series, Stravaganza, but after this delightful tale I may have to grab and read them! Or, at least they'll go on my reading list until I move.
Hoffman starts with a variety of people's stories: Chiara, who is being put into a convent against her will; Angelica, who is being courted by cute young nobles despite being married to a sheep farmer; Silvano, under suspicion for killed said sheep farmer; Isabelle, a woman who loses an unloved husband--but to murder in a friary? Chiara and Silvano, despite a lack of vocation, both find themselves at side-by-side convent and friary. Each is involved in colour making, preparation of materials to be used by famous artists working in the churches in Assisi. While Silvano is hiding out as his father searches for the murderer of Angelica's husband, more murders begin to occur at the friary.
The story lines start out very fractured and twine together slowly, making one bounce about for the first hundred pages wondering where Hoffman is going. Truly a storyteller--she fuses them all together for not entirely neat but realistic endings. Much time and detail is spent describing the processes used to create paints and used by artists during the time period, providing a wonderful depth to the text.
Although 300 pages, the book moves very quickly and leaves the reader curious to find out what else Hoffman has crafted.
I'm making slow progress though on getting things entered. If you have a look in my library right now you'll see quite a lot of romance novels, a healthy stack of comics, nearly everything fictional that Tom Clancy has written by himself (not those horrific "Tom Clancy's Net Force" things--bleah), a tall pile of Barnes and Noble Pocket Sized Classics (perfect for the purse and subway!!), and some miscellaneous other stuff.
I still have two bookshelves to go--there will be more, I promise.
Monday, September 24, 2007
It was my first time through the book, beautifully illustrated by Garth Williams. Williams is best known, to me at least, for his work on the Little House books and has a very distinctive style which translates into a beautiful and whimsical set of mice.
Sharp tells a tale of Prisoner's Aid Society, a group of mice based in the UK who offer comfort to those imprisoned. The mission in the book is the rescue of a Norwegian poet who is confined in an impossible to break into/out of prison that is beyond wastelands. And they need a mouse who speaks Norwegian.
A British diplomat's son has a white mouse, a Miss Bianca, who travels "by Bag" to Norway and then returns to England with a Norwegian sailor mouse, Nils. The Aid Society reaches out to a pet mouse, Miss Bianca (who normally never leaves her palace), through the humble Pantrymouse Bernard. Once back in England these three friends then journey to the castle prision, live there for a month and outsmart both guards and the vicious prison cat to rescue the prisoner.
It's a casual tale with months passing between one thing happening and another. This is more realistic but gives an impression of things moving slowly. But at the end the prisoner is rescued and headed home with a "Captain who asked no questions" and the mice head back to their very different lives: Miss Bianca to her lap of luxury, Nils back to Norway, and Bernard back to the pantry.
Cut to Disney...who read the book, liked the names and the idea of mice rescuing people and then called in someone to write a completely different story.
The Prisoner Aid Society has become the Rescue Aid Society and Miss Bianca is an active part--and she's Hungarian (courtesy of her voice probably--Eva Gabor). Oh, and it's set in New York. Bernard is promoted from brave pantry mouse to superstitious janitor. And now they're off to rescue an orphan from a jewel-stealing villainess.
Coming out only 4 years after Robin Hood, one sees a very similar artistic style in many of the animal characters--particularly the turtles. Also, some of the same voices were used--though Eva Gabor and Bob Newhart pull the focus on the leading characters. Altogether this is a touching story of a rich diplomatic mouse and a more humble mouse working together to save a child. Madame Medusa is a frighteningly evil character whose passion for her alligators is only outweighed by her desire for the Devil's Eye Diamond.
The setting in the Devil's Bayou is simultaneously creepy and fantastic--with the alligators right at home waddling about and the other helpful animals on hand with their moonshine and rolling pins to save the day. Ending with Penny being adopted, it's a touching tale about friends from different lifestyles coming together to help someone as well as a lovely story about adoption. And Miss Bianca and Bernard are charging off to help someone else as the film ends.
I won't try to drag in Rescuers Down Under, mostly because I don't have it. But it made for an interesting afternoon and I would recommend both book and film--though perhaps not together.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
|You scored as Belle!, You love to read and are known around town as quite a beauty, but they also find you a tad odd! (Belle is my personal favorite, so congrats!)|
Take Quiz at: http://quizfarm.com/test.php?q_id="5913N'" created with QuizFarm.com
Your Score: The Wicked Queen
You scored 45 Kindness, 41 Morality, and 43 Wisdom!
Even royalty can go sour, just like a poisoned apple. Although you are a Queen and therefore already have power, you desire to be the best. You seek to eliminate those more beautiful than you. You have a moderate sense of morality and would have the potential to be a strong ruler. Just be aware that your vanity could be the death of you if left unchecked, try to be content with what you have and look for a handsome beefcake, like Gaston, to make you happy.
|Link: The Which Disney Character Are You Test written by dakotaguy on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test|
|Which Disney character are you?|
You can become paranoid and stressed quite easily, but your great work habits make you a responsible person.
|Click Here to Take This Quiz|
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The short version: Someone put a hedgehog through a wash cycle--and it lived.
I can understand how this happened (burrowed in the laundry) but don't you notice as you dump handfuls of clothing into the washing machine? Apparently she pre-sorts better than I do.
But here is an adorable set of photos showing proper hedgehog bathing
I have accepted a position in Youth Services for La Crosse County Public Library! I'm very excited about the move, have started apartment hunting, and my mother is making me move many things out of her house.
I had never officially "moved out"--I just went to grad school, so this past weekend was some purging of college papers, high school papers and four boxes of books (with another four boxes following me to WI). It felt good to get rid of some of that stuff and to purge myself of stacks of 3x5 cards on which my undergrad thesis was outlined.
And now I'm packing. Anyone in the Chicago region want an unopened bread machine?
[Greetings to everyone from La Crosse who has wandered over for a read!!]
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Some women buy makeup for the free lipstick-- I buy books for the free tote bags. And I hit the kid lit section--which normally has not been an area I glut in purchasing. This time...Erin Hunter and James & Deborah Howe were calling my name.
But turning our thoughts to food, courtesy of the elder sibling:
|You Are Strawberry Ice Cream|
A bit shy and sensitive, you are sweet to the core.
You often find yourself on the outside looking in.
Insightful and pensive, you really understand how the world works.
You are most compatible with chocolate chip ice cream.
Your Score: BROWNIE BATTER!
You scored 77% SWEET, 51% CHUNKY, and 62% UNIQUE!
brownie batter ice cream with a rich brownie batter swirl
Mmmm....you are a very sweet mix indeed! You are warm, loving, and caring to all those around you, but you're not boring in the least! You have a wild streak and a creative, unique streak, too. You are a great friend, an interesting person, and you know how to have fun without ending up crouching over a toilet bowl. Nice!
|Link: The Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Flavor Test written by weered on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test|
Thursday, September 13, 2007
So after a morning spent trying to diffuse personality bombs and bring peace, harmony and lightly amusing commentary to the world at large--I now had eight balls of energy to try and bring to heel and knitting.
Okay. So, first we looked at some knitting examples that either I or my roommate had made. They liked some of the stuff, I think either a shawl that I made or my roommate's ruffle scarf probably would have tied for most popular. Then everyone was given needles and got to pick out a colorful yarn. Now we get to create those first few stitches--a knitting technique called casting on. I'm told that I do it in an unusual way but as far as I can remember, it's the way I was taught and it works. I've taught adults this method with success--usually in five-ten minutes.
The girls took 40 minutes to grasp the concept. Apparently making a loop around one's thumb with a piece of yarn is difficult. All but one finally managed to get it--with one girl taking it to it like a fish to water (her needle was stuffed with stitches.) Then we moved for the last twenty minutes to basic knit stitch. I have never seen such disasters.
I'm sure my grandmother did--when she was teaching me to knit when I was seven. But by the time I was 10 and older--which is the average age of the girls I have--I was the lone kid in a knitting class as my local library and while not fast, I was pretty good at ye olde basic knit stitch. And after they figured out what I was doing wrong whilst purling and put an adult on me for an hour to watch my hands...I had that one too.
I ended up working in the auditorium for an hour after the class. Until about 6:15 I still had my full complement of girls. Slowly they trickled out until I was left with the two youngest and most frustrated. With one in a chair on either side of me, we went over and over and over the steps: push the empty needle in through the bottom of the stitch, making an X with the needles (empty needle in back); now hold both needles in the X with your left hand (no, your other left hand); the yarn attached the skein is behind the needles and you can pull it out to the right--now wrap it counter clockwise around the back needle (pause to explain counter clockwise) and between the needles; let go of the yarn; Pick up the yarn and the back needle (empty needle, right hand needle--whatever) with your right hand; spread the needles apart a bit--see the yarn you wrapped is now between them? ; Okay, pull the right needle down and make a new loop with that yarn that's in between it (This stage takes FOREVER); Now slide the old loop/stitch off the left hand/full needle.
Both were incredibly frustrated--one complaining with loud regularity that it was too hard. I kept saying that no it wasn't and she could do it. Interestingly--while she complained, she also was the most vigilant about wanting to try again. Finally--when she had two needles that were nowhere CLOSE to the same size as each other--she could see how to make the loop. She managed four knit stitches by herself. The other young girl was less vocal but just as frustrated. When I was able to demonstrate to her though without the noise and rambunctious energy of the other girls, she picked up a little faster and said it was much nicer with just us.
Both told me it was "getting easier" and they'll be back next week. I have four weeks to try and get these girls to make it through a couple of rows of knitting. I told the girls that if/only if it's dead quiet in the library we'll add in some extra knitting time other than Thursdays.
Angels and ministers...
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I knew it was coming up and for whatever reason had this miserable vision in my head of standing in line at the DMV, waiting through tons of people on my day off, and of course it was going to be hot, sticky, boring, and amazingly stupid. [For some reason the DMV in my imagination is not near food places and doesn't have air conditioning--which the DMV in reality does.]
I got home and the renewal slip was in my mailbox. Oh right! You can renew by mail. Fantastic. Popped it open--I can renew online! Even better! Getting to a mailbox is a bleeding nuisance these days.
What a fabulous use of our online tools. It speeds up the process exponentially, which allows the DMV to spend their employees' time on people who need extra assistance as opposed to me--who would just get crabby and irritated in line.
The only thing I don't understand is a processing fee that is paid for paying online. It's worth the $1.75 to mean I don't have to fill out the form and mail it nor stand in line--but shouldn't they be encouraging people to do it this way? Errors could be caught faster and things should be processed more quickly, so why charge people to fill out the online form?
Anyway--it's done and it's one less thing on my mind.
So neutral slacks and a colorful but reserved top are kind of par for the course when dressing. Today it's ice cubic in the building so I'm in a relatively heavy sweater that I'd not planned on dragging out for another month.
And then there's one of my regulars. Nice guy though I don't really interact with him often. Late teens/early twenties. Computer functional although literacy beyond social networking is questionable. A couple of inches taller than I am, he's slim but not scrawny, and has neat cornrows that stick out at the bottom a couple of inches.
He's wearing jeans that are an undefined number of sizes too big that swim around his legs--making him look lost inside. The bottoms of said jeans are hoisted up (probably with rubber bands--I haven't asked and getting close enough to look wouldn't be discreet) to look like they are elasticized. I can see almost all of his pristine white socks (adorning what now look like the scrawniest ankles ever) and have a lovely view of relatively normal black sneakers. It reminds me of the "court wear" they put on the guys for Three Musketeers--only those were satin puffy pants and the guys were in period dress. (Kind of like this--but the pants were a little longer--less calf, more ankle)
The rest of his person is dwarfed under a white button down that looks like it almost fits and a dark XXXX-L jacket that pretty much swallows him whole and hangs off his shoulders like a really dumpy cape.
While I'm sure there's meaning behind all of it, or perhaps emulation of a rap artist that I'm unaware of...he looks like a marshmallow on two toothpicks.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I was living on Long Island at the time, attending college, and came out of my morning class--Italian Renaissance History--to find history being made and my world terribly shaken.
Images used are public domain, available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11,_2001_attacks
Monday, September 10, 2007
They've made a slight change to Google Reader. Up until now, it's always just had a total count of 100+...and then last week I reeled in the face of 342 items unread. Ouch. Apparently they've decided to make it so we can figure out exactly how many items are waiting for us.
I try, usually rather unsuccessfully, to keep my "to read and comment upon" list to under a hundred. Now I'm not sure if I feel more or less overwhelmed. And then there is the curious part of me that goes "well, but what if I'm gone for a weekend, will it be 1000+ or will it be 1438?"
I'd rather not find out.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
What breed of cat are you?
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Old Yeller gave me an understanding of protecting not only myself but also the many dogs and cats we had over the years. I didn't particularly like the book but it made a poignant point and it upset me that the dog had to die. Apologies if I just ruined the ending for anyone. It also carried a strong message that explained why one doesn't just walk up to strange, foaming at the mouth animals.
But perhaps that is now a thing of the past as I see in the news today that US Declared Canine-Rabies Free. This of course is only until someone brings an infected animal into the US but still, rabies is no longer a major consideration when I pass 20 dogs on the street. I doubt they'll be recommending that we forgo vaccinations anytime soon---at least I hope not for a few more years.
It's amazing the changes as we overcome disease. I grew up not knowing Mumps and Measles as my mother did, nor polio as my grandmother. My generation was one of the last to have the Chicken pox--though that was still prevalent when I was teaching at Gymboree a couple of years ago. I wonder what else my grandchildren (should there ever be any) will no longer have to face.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Five Bloggers Who I Find Interesting:
1. Discovery News Always interesting news from a scientific perspective. After all the current news that I read it's cool to see what the last thing coming in archeology is or a new discovery about birds.
2. The Yarn Harlot-- Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's chatty and amusing blog about knitting. The queen of knitting humor offers advice, hope, and the trials and tribulations of being a knitter, spinner, author, mom and more.
3. Research Buzz-- Tara is always on top of her game, calling out descriptions of the latest thing to hit the block and finding new ways to make reference a little easier, or at least more interesting. Always lots of neat links in her weekly rss or newsletter.
4. Librarian In Black -- Sarah is fabulous! Her stuff gets marked "unread" over and over in the reader so I can go back and enjoy what she's pointing out as a new tool I should be aware of.
5. Shelf Check -- the new library cartoon. Wit, joy, and pithy tackling of everything facing the library world du jour. Lots of fun!
Happy Blog Day (waving a small flag)
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
So there are two new and rather giant bags of yarn in my living room, the majority of which I will never knit.
I'm starting a knitting circle for the kids at work. Class size is limited to ten, they have to be over the age of 8, and I'm only doing it for the next month. But since my kids are not particularly financially endowed and heaven only knows I don't get a supplies budget, it was off to JoAnn Fabrics with my cash to get some knitting needles and yarn.
I'm starting them with Caron Wintuk, which is a 100% acrylic that's a few steps above Red Heart insofar as how it feels. I have this slight addiction to really good acrylic and also 100% merino wool. This stuff I picked more because it was the bright colors that appealed to me as a young knitter. Choice based on "Look! It's ORANGE!" (of the Day-Glo variety no less) probably isn't the wisest way to choose yarn for projects but hey, you have to try everything once.
So now I have another 7 sets of needles that had better follow someone else home and two bags of yarn that will not be coming back to this apartment after tomorrow morning.
Wish me luck--I expect that Miss Hedgie's going to end up stabbed with a knitting needle next week if she's not really really careful.
Monday, September 03, 2007
But for now and until I can get caught up, I leave you with some quizzes.
You are Uhura
|You are a good communicator with a |
pleasant soft-spoken voice.
Also a talented singer.
Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Test
Which Fight Club main character are you?
You are Tyler Durden. You are the Anarchist, Not against the system. But against the mercantile way of living, being written up as a statistic. You're sick of it and you are gonna let people know it. You are a Human being. Smart,Funny,and Sexy. But sometimes you fail to grasp the larger picture. You tend to screw people over with your attitude and not even realize it, Or maybe you do. Well whatever the case you are a lunatic. But you don't care...Your house is still relatively in one piece.
Take this quiz!
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