And so

Dumbledore
Having turned this thing on again, I ought to use it, eh?

I am swoon-y with happiness over two books I've read this month, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance and Among Others. Really really different books that both reminded me of why I so love reading.

And I'm v. amused over the vorkosigan titles, since it seems to me that they've all had double meanings for quite a while now. A Civil Campaign is about Miles' campaign to woo, but it's also about other campaigns. Kareen's campaign for independence, Dono's campaign to inherit. Diplomatic Immunity is about (literally) biowarfare but also about Miles and his diplomatic efforts to smooth over the mess created by the navy, and about how Miles and Ekaterin carry out an odd sort of diplomacy to stop a Cetagandan war.

Among Others really appealed to me in part because the main character is close to my own birth year. Mori is four years younger than I am, so most of the things she reads are things I read at about the same time. And her reactions and judgements being back so many memories and are making me want to reread lots of things.

Enough for today, time to enjoy a normal weekend in my normal rut of routine without extra worry! More naps, less cleaning the kitchen floor.

Update

Dumbledore
Yay! Thanks to an unexpected cancellation today, mom was able to see the ( excellent) neurosurgeon today instead of next month. The tumor is a menengioma, almost surely benign, and may have been there for 20 years. Slow growing. Surgery isn't worth the risk at all and not needed. Either watchful waiting with regular MRIs, or Gamma Knife, which is a single high dose of targeted radiation.

Ok, so two weeks ago this would be bad news, but at the moment we are all thrilled.

100 Things

Dumbledore
The 100 things meme sounds fun (if daunting).  And doing 100 things I'm Grateful For would be a good thing for me for various ways, since there's some stuff in my life right now that is making me grumpy.

So.

I'm grateful for late spring.


Read more...Collapse )

Sweet Home And Such

Dumbledore
Back from Chicago -- it's sort of mindblowing, seeing tulips blooming in Chicago at the end of March!  My conference talk on Friday went well enough, and it was lovely to have the weekend with my fambly.  My brother's new dog Scout is adorable; very very sweet and calm and a total cuddlebug.  He's going to be a big guy, so it's a good thing he's soaking up the lap time now!

Jennifer and Claire and I worked on a Project (a fleece SW throw for me), I got to wander around Evanston a bit, Mom and I enjoyed every morning with coffee and lounging around in pjs, and we all talked about the Hunger Games alot.  Except for Bob and Hans, who couldn't care less.

In which I speak of innards and life

Dumbledore
It's March -- and that means Colon Cancer Awareness Month.  So here's the PSA:

You've all read this before from me, I think.  I posted a link to the most recent news on Facebook a few weeks ago.  Anyhow, screening is really important; colonoscopies save lives.  The details of who should get screened when are all online at lots of good sources.  I wish I'd known enough (back in the late 80's) to bug my dad about getting scoped.  It might have made a big difference.

I had lots of questions before my first scope that were sort of well, odd.  After all, I don't usually ask my friends about poop :-).  I'm happy to answer questions if anyone has them anytime, and happy to hand out the tips I've gotten via some other people for making the prep more comfortable.  The bottom line (heh heh, a pun!)  is that it's not a huge deal because the exam itself comes with good drugs.  Oh, and IMHO ignore the ads for virtual colonscopies for ordinary screening.  You have to do the same prep, and if they find a polyp you'd need a normal colonoscopy to remove it.  Why bother?

In life:  The Big Secret that I do not officially know (but am about to find out) is that my brother's family is going to pick up their new puppy today from the shelter.  This is HUGE.  All three kids, especially Claire, have wanted a dog forever and their dad has held out.  I still remember how excited I was the night before we picked up my sweet Maggie when I was 13, so I'm very happy for them.  His name is Roscoe and he's a spaniel mix.  The other candidate would have been named Scout (Katie's reading To Kill a Mockingbird).  Great name,but I'm secretly relieved,  She's a border collie/boxer mix and that would be A Lot Of Dog.

My mother, as you can see, doesn't always do a good job keeping secrets.  Anyhow, I am sure I will be skyping with Roscoe later today :-)

In other news:  for various reasons (none bad), we've got lots of people leaving my work group.  This means lots of job candidates coming in for positions ranging from my team's junior assistant (just out of college) to my boss.  We're interviewing two-three days a week right now, oh joy!  I'm behind on everything as a result, but this too shall pass.  I've finished an actual pair of pj pants and am starting a second pair that will hopefully be a skosh less roomy.  Working on a sweater, reading the new Temeraire (go get it, it's good!) and mulling the possibility of an iPad. 

After all, I need to be able to see the new nephdog in HD :-)

Four!

Dumbledore
Good morning, flist!  This week has been work and fighting a virus.  Such excitement, I don't know how to tell you.

Seeing TPM again yesterday was fun.  We were at the early afternoon show, and nearly all of the audience was dads with small kids; very few over 10 years old, lots of five year olds.  They were all absolutely riveted (and it's a long movie!) which was really fun to see.  I could even cope with them laughing for JarJar.

The Duel of the Fates still makes me gulp.  We thought there might be some tiny differences in the movie -- no blood spray when Maul falls away, I thought the cut away from the robe drop might have come a little earlier.  Visually the movie looked great;  as everyone else has said, the 3d (and maybe digital?) meant that all sorts of details were clear.  This included Obi-Wan's many haircuts and the nasty nasty wig. 

Afterwards we went to dinner to celebrate Diane's birthday with Tish and and Diane's friend Angela.  Alsatian food FTW!  I really enjoyed the evening. 

Oh, and this week's cooking:  nothing new, just my favorite weird pumpkin muffins, which are dead easy to make even if you're home sick with a cold.  One great big 29 oz can of pumpkin.  One box cake or muffin mix; I buy Dr. Oetker's' oatmeal muffin mix because it has no trans fats, but other people use spice cake or fiber one apple cinnamon muffin or whatever.  Half a cup of water and a lot of pumpkin pie spice.  Stir it all up, dump it into a muffin pan, bake at 325 or 350 until the muffins are looking browned on the too and your house smells wonderful.  The muffins will rise in the oven but settle back down as they cool.  The insides are very very moist and sticky and dense because of all the pumpkin, sort of like a pumpkin brownie. 

Look! Three Weeks In A Row!

Dumbledore
No enormously new things here, so how about another stream-of-my head?

Nieces Jennifer and Claire have qualified for the state swim meet, yay!  I decided to play around with some of the Star Wars fabric that's been in deep stash; I'll finish cutting the first pair of pj pants this morning, so I'm likely to pull the sewing table in front of the TV for the Super Bowl (well, some of it maybe. I'm watching Downton.)  I still have to figure out what I'm cooking for this week -- maybe just a batch of pumpkin muffins, but I also could start playing with the griddle/grill thing Hans gave me for Christmas. 

One of my friends tells me that she decided to hire someone to do the 'finishing' on her sweater (seaming, button bands, etc) when she found herself picking up stitches for third time because the first two attempts had failed.  This made me snort a bit, because I think 3 times is pretty much par for the course, and the sweater I'm working on now did indeed take three tries.  I''m also considering another trip to the store for buttons because I'm not thrilled with the ones I have.  Such is obsession!

I installed Tetris on my phone this week, which may have been a big mistake.  I'm deeply amused that Leonard Cohen is advertising his new CD on. . . CBS Sunday morning.  Where else?

Hey Paula/Beth/quilters:  Anybody want my scraps of black-and-green yoda print flannel?

And Here I Am

Dumbledore
A small look inside my head this morning:

It's not quite noon and I'm doing ok for someone who slept until nearly 9am.  I've had breakfast AND lunch (food is important, after all), I'm dressed (what, yoga pants and a Dr Who tee doesn't count as dressed?) and I have this week's recipe in the crock pot (I'm trying to cook once a week.  This time it's the WeightWatchers slow cooker lentil soup, adapted a bit.  I am hoping it will come out vaguely like my much adored linsen mit spaetzle, except without the spatzle.   And the hot dogs.  But with canadian bacon.  And if you don't know what linsen mit spaetzle are, then you are obviously not Swabian, but then again none of you are so why is this going on so long?)

I've reset the router and started prewashing the SW flannel I bought at Jo-ann's yesterday plus some of the SW flannel I bought at Joann's in 2005?  2003?  Flannel + long legs = pj capri pants, so I'm prewashing twice.  This stuff is leaving VAST amounts of lint everywhere and I've already vaccumed twice.  I am trying to decide if I should watch the rest of Die Harder while I work on the buttonbands of the cardigan I'm knitting or whether I should go run the usual grocery store errands and come home to watch skating.

My Jo-ann had obviously already sold quite a bit of SW fabric, since there wasn't much left on the bolts of the cottons.  Yay!  I am guessing CJ helped to make this happen in a small way because who else in fan blogging cares about SW fabric news?

Oh, and I am deeply in love with the reviews of The Grey, the new Neeson movie.  Just google Liam Neeson Fighting Wolves and see what you get:  Slate  talks about "Hot Neeson On Wolves Action", Myspace's entertainment reviewer says "There are some things in live we can never get enough of: chocolate chip cookies, sunny, summer days, and Liam Neeson fighting wolves with his bare hands."  An NPR blogger asks "What Should Neeson Punch Next?"  It goes on and on.  Ahhhhh, sometimes life is good.

Also, I'm glad that Rachel Flatt is attending Stanford, truly.  But Scotty?  A full load when you're on quarters is not three classes + Zumba.  

Reading

Dumbledore
I have always always been a bookworm.  I still remember the triumph when I read my first pages on my own, and books are simply a given in my life.

But I haven't been reading as much as I'd like for a while now (too much time surfing, not enough time with books) so last year I thought I'd try to keep track of what I read all year, with a vague 52 book goal.  It worked.

Here's the list, in case you're curious to see what was rattling around in my head all year.  Lots of these were re-reads.  And this list will put paid to any claims that I'm really an intellectual :-)

1) Rilla of Ingleside, Lucy Maude Montgomery
2) An Old Fashioned Girl, Louisa May Alcott
3) Eight Cousins, Alcott
4) Rose in Bloom, Alcott
5) Anne of Ingleside, Montgomery
6) Rainbow Valley, Montgomery
7) Louisa May Alcott, The Woman Behind Little Women
8) Knit The Season, Kate Jacobs 
9) The Firm, Penny Junor (this one is about the British Royal Family)
10) William and Harry, Ingrid Seward
11) Fate of the Jedi
12) The Last Season (1939 debutante season in London)
13) London 1945
14) How To Knit a Heart Back Home, Rachel Herron
15) At Home:  A Brief History of Domestic Life, Bill Bryson
16) Peony In Love, Lisa See
17) Coming Home, Rosamund Pilcher
18) The Last Empress, Hannah Pakula (about Mme Chiang)
19) The Diana Chronicles, Tina Brown
20) Mother of the Monarchy, Alison Weir (biography of Kathryn Swynford)
21) The Greatest Knight, Elizabeth Chadwick
22) September, Rosamund Pilcher
23) The Vor Game
24) Falling Freee
25) Clone Wars:  Wild Space
26) The Queen Mother
27) Winston Churchill:  The Last Lion
28) Citizens of London
29) The Narnian, Alan Jacobs
30)  Fate of the Jedi:  Conviction
31) Five Children and It
32) Commencement, Courtney Nesbit
33) A Life in Stitches:  Knitting My Way Home, Rachel Herron
34) My Year with Eleanor, Noelle Hancock
35) The Penderwicks
36) Eleanor and Franklin, An Extraordinary Marriage, Hazel Rowley
37) Eleanor Roosevelt as I Knew Her
38) Wishes and Stitches, Rachel Herron
39) Grandmere, David Roosevelt
40) Too Close to the Sun, Curtis Roosevelt
41) The Sunday Philosophy Club
42) Eleanor Roosevelt vol 1, Blanche Wiesen Cook
43) Operation Mincement
44) Hit by a Farm, Catherine Friend
45) FOTJ again
46) Sheepish, Catherine Friend
47) No Ordinary Time, Deloris Kearns Godwin
48) Austenland
49) Seven Seasons In Siena
50) Museum:  Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
51) Snow Crash
52) Making the Mummies Dance, Thomas Hoving
53) Cod
54) The Pirate King, Laurie King

So . . . I go on reading jags, and many of them are triggered by some event during the year (Royal Wedding, visiting the Roosevelt sites in Hyde Park, spending a day at the Metropolitan Museum).  I will buy the Kindle Daily Deal if it looks interesting/cheap.  I like quirky memoirs and have a fondness for chicklit/women's novels/knit lit as comfort reading.  I read biographies.  I'm slowly re-reading Vorkosigan books.  It can take me FOREVER to finish a book (Wild Space, I'm looking at you) but sometimes I am surprised because I end up really liking the book. 

Getting There

Dumbledore
Yesterday was a good day.  Sort of exhausting, but good.

There's a button that says "I spin because knitting isn't weird enough".  And if spinning is odder than knitting, spinning for competition has to be the strangest of them all.  Of course that means I'm in ::vbg::  Yesterday was the July Fiber Farmers Market at the local community center, sponsored by my LYS.  So lots of fleece, roving, yarn from the vendors, lots of spinners, and another chance for the team to practice fleece-to-scarf before September's competition.  (I still can't believe I spin for a team.)

I don't have copies of the pics yet, but this time around went more smoothly than our first attempt in March.  We were only 10 minutes over time (we'll have 2 hours to complete the scarf when we're competing), and the four of us spinning finished waaay early, so we should be ok with the regulation two-spinner team.  One more practice next month, some silly prep stuff  (each team has to have a poster with info for spectators about the team and the process), and we're done.  One of our friends will be doing the Komen 3 day that same weekend, so we're going to go for the pinkglittersavethetatas thing as a costume theme, use a pink warp for the scarf, and donate the auction proceeds to Kathie's 3 day team.  (After judging, the scarves get auctioned off.  Since Kathie's team is made up of Fairfax County 911 dispatchers, we're hoping to lure a cop or two to bid :-))))).

All in all it was definitely a much needed mental health break, and I collapsed in a happy pile at the end of the day.  

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