Category Archives: Reading

Return of the Phantom Paw and Monday miscellania

Insomnia Girl here. What the heck, I’m not going to fall asleep anytime soon, so I might as well post my Monday morning post a wee bit early.

I’m not done organizing my pictures from a big dyeing adventure Saturday evening, but you can read about it at Wound Too Tight. All I’ll say right now is that Deb is an incredibly gracious, generous, and all around damn fun hostess! 🙂

Janna’s knitting a bib for no reason other than to see her cat Simon in it. Go, Janna!!

Craftlilly Jennifer is having another contest! It runs through midnight, PST, Wednesday, July 26. Anne is having a blogiversary contest – what would your superpower be if you had one?

SRP update:
Quicksilver and Shadow by Charles de Lint, 357 pages. This is another book of de Lint’s early short stories. You might remember I wasn’t that keen on its predecessor, A Handful of Coppers, when I read it recently. Fortunately, in Quicksilver and Shadows, de Lint is much more accomplished. I would still limit my recommendation of this book to diehard de Lint fans, but you will find it to be much more pleasant going.
A Circle of Cats by Charles de Lint, 44 pages. This delightful children’s book about a girl who is always searching for fairies in the woods but never finding them is a prequel to Seven Wild Sisters.

Congratulations to American cyclist Floyd Landis, for winning the Tour de France against amazing physical odds!

This sign in the 50th and France neighborhood amused me no end:

Why was I as far from home as 50th and France? I met movie maven Renee of A Good Yarn Friday afternoon to catch a matinee of Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man. Leonard Cohen is a remarkable singer, songwriter, and poet who has been making music for a long time – he’s in his 70s – and has influenced an awful lot of artists. The 1991 tribute cd I’m Your Fan contained covers by R.E.M., the Pixies, John Cale, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The 1995 tribute cd Tower of Song contained covers by Bono (U-2), Sting and the Chieftans, Tori Amos, Willie Nelson, Peter Gabriel, and more. Even if you haven’t heard of Leonard, you might have heard his songs “Bird on the Wire” or “Hallelujah” (perhaps as covered by Rufus Wainright on the Shrek soundtrack, by Jeff Buckley, by Allison Crowe…). Probably the best concert I’ve ever been to was Leonard at the State Theater in Minneapolis on June 22, 1993.

You might have guess that I was pretty excited to see this movie. And I was disappointed overall. Most of the movie focused on the Leonard Cohen Tribute Concert in Sydney, Australia, in 2003. The concert footage was intercut with interviews with Leonard Cohen and with artists talking about how Leonard had influenced their lives and work – most notable were the interviews with Bono and Edge of U-2 and with Nick Cave. The concert footage was the weak point in the film, and since it was most of the film… However, I would suffer through that part of the film again to see the glorious few minutes of Leonard singing his song “Tower of Song” with U-2 backing him!

I have a few more pictures from my early morning purple mouse photo shoot (I wasn’t kidding about chopping off ears, was I?!). Check out the phantom paw in the first picture, and please forgive the blurry second picture…

“Mousie, mousie, roly poly mousie. Mousie, mousie, crunch him up, yum!”

“Doesn’t he look scrumptious, my SPM?!”

The jangling nerves of the Cat Chaotic

A few miscellaneous things…

To humor me, Kat took a picture of her dog Java wearing a bib. Talk about a hangdog expression! Thanks, Kat! Sorry, Java – does it help to know that you look awfully cute in that bib?

MeanGirl Jen is having a contest – you have until Friday to leave her a comment with the posted and forecasted high temps where you live. The winner will be selected by random number and receive a skein of Mama-E’s sock yarn! Susan’s going to have a contest starting on Friday (she’s being very mysterious), so drop by tomorrow and see what she has in store for us.

Send me an email if you’re having a contest (chris at my domain) and I’ll let people know – I love contests! (And I’m so far behind in bloglines that your contest will probably be over before I find out about it otherwise.) In fact, I’m thinking about what to do for my next contest…

Another SRP book completed – Micah by Laurell K. Hamilton, 245 pages. The latest but one in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. I enjoy this series, but it is not for everyone. It is sexually graphic and often violent. If that isn’t a problem, Laurell K. Hamilton always writes an intense, page-turning read that you won’t soon forget. The series should definitely be read in order (Guilty Pleasures is the first book in the series). This book reveals a bit of wereleopard Micah’s past as he travels with Anita to Philadelphia for a zombie raising.

Chaos has been a nervous wreck since Tuesday. While I was at work, the guys who are doing the window installation in my building used a hydraulic lift to reach my third floor windows, ripped out the rotting wooden trim around the windows, put in new trim, and wrapped it with aluminum. In addition to the noisy hydraulic life and strangers looking in the windows (not so common in our third floor condo), they were using a nail gun to secure the wood and trim. All new experiences for Chaos, who tends to be jumpy anyway, and all very loud.

“It was terrible. Terrible, I tell you! I’m sure that I will have nightmares for years,
and probably will require lots of tuna to soothe my jangling nerves.”

I work at home most Wednesdays, so Chaos did get some tuna yesterday, along with lots of petting, brushing, and soothing talk… Until the big thunderstorm, although he’s never been afraid of thunder before. And then the guys came back on their lift to use the nail gun to finish one of my window ledges! And then a jet flew very, very low above us!! Argh. Back to seeing my noisy, saucy, bossy kitty with his tail down and puffed out, quivering and cowering behind the toilet. I’m back in the office today, so when they start that lift and begin driving it around, I’m not going to be there to calm my poor kitty. Hopefully the guys will finish the windows soon and things will be quiet and calm and sunny again for the dusty Cat Chaotic…

Tidbibs

You may have had some difficulty connecting to my blog over the past several days. My blog hosting provider has had a very rough few days. Please keep your fingers crossed that everything is back to normal and thanks for hanging in there.

We went up to the cabin Saturday morning and my brother immediately finished hooking up the toilet, giving us complete indoor plumbling facilities!! (Pause for a moment to consider what using the biff on a humid 96F day would be like – see why we were excited?) We then got the air conditioner installed – ahhhh… My brother and I worked on stuff outside, taking many frequent indoor water breaks. My sister-in-law was supposed to be taking it easy inside, but she managed to get most of the cabin decorated and vacuumed. Not surprisingly, she was a bit tired and sore on Sunday when we headed back to the Twin Cities around noon. But she’s doing great! 🙂

I am spectacularly behind on bloglines again – I usually catch up on the weekend, but going to the cabin prevented that. Sooner or later I’ll get caught up!

Knittymama is having a contest – tell her your biggest “I can’t believe I did that” knitting story in her comments and you could win two skeins of plum Misti Alpaca laceweight! The contest deadline has been extended to Friday, July 21.

SRP Update

Please Do Feed the Cat by Marian Babson, 192 pages. A cozy little English village mystery set in “Brimful Coffers,” where many mystery writers live and discover mysteries in their midst.

A Handful of Coppers by Charles de Lint, 332 pages. This is a collection of de Lint’s very earliest work and is a bit heavier on the sword and sorcery than I generally enjoy. I would not recommend this unless you are a diehard de Lint fan or unless you are interested in a few of the stories that combine Arthurian legend with some bits of the Mabinogen.

No Good Deeds by Laura Lippman, 343 pages. Chicago has V.I., Santa Teresa\Barbara has Kinsey, and Baltimore has Tess Monaghan. The latest Tess Monaghan novel is another enjoyable, suspenseful read.

That brings me up to 22 fiction books completed, for a total of 6809 pages since the beginning of July. Still eight fiction and two non-fiction to read by the beginning of September.

Knitting

I finished knitting my bag for the Knit Sock Kit Swap. Whew! I still have a few ends to weave in and then I should probably line it. But no pictures of it until it’s received by my swappee.

I also finished another bib… Really, I don’t have a problem. What makes you think that?! Tell me if you could resist not only the baby’s parents going on about how great these bibs are, but also the baby’s grandfather?! Yeah, you’d be cranking out bibs, too. Hopefully my friends now have enough bibs to get them through! Although I do have another color I want to knit… Anyway, the most recent bib was knit top down from Sugar’n’Cream, color Jewel – very Project Spectrum!

Apologies to Chaos. I tried one last time to have him model, but it didn’t go so well… At least his fangs didn’t break the skin, right?! Which probably means that I got off easily.

“Run away! Run away!”

Just another Random Wednesday

SRP update: Dating Can Be Murder by Jennifer Apodaca, 275 pages. Obviously inspired by the success of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, but not as well-written or clever. I got the book for $0.69+tax at the thrift store and it was worth every penny. 🙂

Jeanne’s been knitting bibs, bibs, bibs, too! Her four cats were just as unimpressed by bib modeling as Chaos was, but Jeanne might have the only “color true” picture of a Countryside Ombre bib in existence. Sydney (July 5 entry) had the same problem I did getting a decent picture of that color.

Mouse sent me some wonderful stitchmarkers! Her fimo stitchmarkers are extremely cute and clever – you can see them at her new store, Mousie Masala. Check out the the little red mouse, mini-mini Chaos, and tiny red tuna!

The markers received the Furry Black Paw of Approval.

I finished another bib. (Um, is anyone at all surprised?! Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?) This one’s from Sugar’n’Cream color “Playtime,” although I think the color looks more like a tropical sunset.

Chaos quickly took action to prevent any bib modeling.

“Hee hee. I am so tricky!”

We didn’t make it to the cabin…

This was not the weekend my brother, SIL, and I had planned. On Friday night, my brother and SIL were driving up to the cabin. They stopped at a Dairy Queen for supper and were sitting on the tailgate of their pickup, eating their burgers and enjoying a lovely summer evening when a minivan backed up without looking and trapped my SIL’s leg against the truck tailgate. Initially, it seemed likely that she had a broken leg, but so far it’s “just” severely bruised. She’ll have more tests this week to see if there’s nerve, ligament, or tendon damage.

So I spent my weekend at my brother and SIL’s house, helping them out. I got a little knitting done – this bib was knit from the Fiesta Ombre Peaches’n’Cream that Frarochivia gifted me with. Isn’t it wild?! I love it. (And I decided to spare Chaos, so didn’t entrap him to model it.)

I also read Cherry Cheesecake Murder by Joanna Fluke, 342 pages. The latest in this somewhat silly series set in the fictional town of Lake Eden, Minnesota, again features cookie baker Hannah Swensen, her giant orange tomcat Moishe, more romantic entanglement for Hannah, and lots of recipes. I’m a sucker for those Minnesota mysteries. 🙂

Anyway, this is going to be a week or so of craziness, with unpredictable blogging, erratic bloglines reading (I’ll probably never catch up!), and lots of family time. Send healing thoughts my SIL’s way, if you have a few to spare! Thanks.

“I hope you get better soon, Jess! Even though I sometimes hiss and spit at you when you come to visit, I know you took good care of me when I was a tiny kitten.”

In which I read more books and knit more bibs

SRP update:

Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich, 310 pages. I like a mystery series that makes it easy to tell what book is next. Number twelve in the wacky Stephanie Plum series is Ranger, Ranger, Ranger, which to me equals hot, hot, hot. *fans self*
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, 396 pages. Book 7 of the Dresden Files. Both suspenseful and funny – I was laughing out loud at times. As always, many plots twists and turns. If you like well-written fantasy novels, I can’t recommend this series enough.

Monkeemaven is having a contest to celebrate her second blogiversary. Here is my entry for the A category (share a favorite path) – this is another photo of the amazing bridge between Loring Park and the Sculpture garden. I love walking on this bridge. It has spectacular views of downtown and I never tire of reading the John Ashberry poem that graces the bridge.

Chaos is much calmer this morning than he was last night – some idiots in my neighborhood were setting off fireworks (big stuff, not just sparklers and firecrackers) in the street in front of my building until nearly midnight. Plus this morning I had to move all the furniture away from the windows and take down all the blinds, since I’m getting new windows installed! Great for me, but nerve-wracking for the jumpy Cat Chaotic… and the window installers haven’t even arrived yet.

In knitting news, I finished two more bibs… The first was in Sugar’n’Cream “countryside ombre” – a bad name for a lovely variegated sage green and purple yarn. It would be more Project Spectrumish if I had been able to get an accurate picture of the color!

I think my model’s goodwill on the bib thing might be exhausted. I’m sure no one is surprised!

“No!!! Not another bib!! Run away!!”

“Hmph. That didn’t work so well, did it?”

“Well, I did get one leg free. Maybe if I keep running away from it…”

I took it off him at that point. Sorry, Chaos! The extra kitty treats seemed to go a long way toward earning his forgiveness. Plus, when I finished this belated June Project Spectrum bib in a denimy blue ombre and didn’t even menace him with it, he seemed relieved!

Poetic lace

Two more books completed for SRP:

Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters, 381 pages. I have no idea what number this is in the series, but the latest episode finds Amelia, Emerson, and the rest of their quirky family once again in Luxor. It’s the fall of 1922 and Howard Carter is poised to discover Tutankhamon’s tomb…
Dead Days of Summer by Carolyn Hart, 280 pages. The latest Death on Demand mystery sticks to the predictable formula. I’m actually not sure why I keep reading these, but I do… They’re a little choppy (cutting too quickly between too many perspectives) and a little too sweet for my taste.

And now, the The Amazing Lace Challenge #3…

Cabernet bemoans
she is not yet becoming
an Adamas shawl
Chaos lurks and waits
Opportunity will knock
He is sure of it

Pride trekketh

I’ll start with a quick SRP update…

Blood Rites by Jim Butcher. Book 6 of the Dresden Files. 372 pages. Once again, Chicago wizard-for-hire Harry Dresden faces tough enemies and deals with startling revelations. I love this series.
Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson. 284 pages. The latest mystery about Colorado caterer Goldy Schultz – what else can I say? 🙂 It’s light reading with recipes.

Amy of Knit Think sent me an email a few days ago, mentioning that she would working at the Mother Bear Project booth at the GLBT Pride Festival in Loring Park yesterday and that, since I live in the neighborhood, I should stop by and say hi. Okey dokey.

I haven’t ever been to the Pride Festival before. I was amazed at how large it was. Thousands of people and hundreds of booths surrounded the lake in Loring Park – this picture is only a tiny portion of the Festival.

Fortunately, I stumbled on the Mother Bear booth very quickly. I saw Amy (left) and met another local blogger, Julie (right).

The Mother Bear Project has sent nearly 11,000 bears to children in emerging nations whose lives have been touched by HIV/AIDS. There’s definitely going to be some bear knitting here at Casa de Chaos over the winter! It doesn’t hurt that these bears are seriously cute. If you’re interested in helping the project in some way other than by knitting a bear, there’s information here.

I had my purple Trekking socks with me, so I snapped a few pictures in the lovely Loring Park garden. Yes, I finally made it past the yarn vomit!

Out of all the benches in the garden, I was pleased and saddened to chance across this one:

I know you’re all worried about Chaos. He wasn’t too happy with the Pride Festival’s fireworks, but I did come back from the festival with a silly little toy that seems to have puzzled him…

“You’re not going to make me play with this in the tub, are you?!!”

A little bit of everything

Hope everyone had a good weekend! I knitted (another bib almost done…), visited my dad and his wife for Father’s Day, got caught up on bloglines, and read quite a bit. Here’s my SRP update:

Widdershins by Charles de Lint, 560 pages. Some resolution to the events started in motion in The Onion Girl. De Lint always leaves me believing there is hope for the world.
Death Masks by Jim Butcher, 373 pages. Book 5 of the Dresden Files. Chicago PI and wizard-for-hire Harry Dresden searches for the Shroud of Turin and runs into an old flame. Enjoyable as always.

I have a question for you WordPress experts out there. A few people have reported that they’re seeing my sidebar stuff on top of the posts. I moved most of the sidebar stuff to a separate page until I get that sorted out. Does anyone have any ideas about what the problem could be?!

Don’t forget – to leave a comment, click on the number to the right of the post title!

For my Knit Sock Kit Swap buddy, my questionnaire responses are here.

Friday night we had some major storms moving through the Twin Cities. I tried to take pictures out the window, but I don’t think I managed to capture the intensity of the storm. These pictures were taken around 5:30 pm, when the wind was gusting to 65 mph or so.

I’m making slow progress on the moderne log cabin crib blank from MDK. I’m about 1/3 done with square #7, although it’s not easy to tell that from my progress picture below…

“Zzzzzzzzzzz… mmmmm… butt blanket… zzzzzzzzzz…”

Randomly Wednesday

All sorts of interesting little bits and bobs this morning.

Jeanne has a funny post about making some absolutely adorable felted catnip mice.

Jenn suspects her cat Cocoa has been reading about Chaos while Jenn’s at work.

SRP: Sunday I finished reading Treasure Forest by Cat Bordhi, 288 pages. Winner of the 2004 Nautilus Award. I was familiar with Cat Bordhi’s Socks Soar… and moebius books, so when I heard she had also written a fantasy novel, I was intrigued. It’s a sweet story, with bits of spinning and knitting intertwined with spiritual, new agey bits.

Some of you know I read while I knit. I firmly believe that reading while knitting is a skill that can be learned (with many thanks to WildKnits for convincing me of that!). However, it really helps to have the right bookstand. I use a ReadUpon, which is a small pillow with a clear plastic bookholder attached. Unfortunately, the company that made this bookstand appears to have gone out of business. There are some other bookstands that might work – but please note that I haven’t seen or tried any of these, ok?!

The BookGem might work, if paired with a pillow. The Peeramid might work, although I’m not sure that it will hold the book open for hands-free reading. The Reader’s Laplander Lap Desk seems a bit big (and expensive) and I’m not sure it will give you a good reading angle. The Hold-and-Read might work, if paired with a pillow, but looks like it can only handle paperbacks. If anyone has other ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Shannon of Yarn and Chocolate had a contest to collect ideas for thrifty knitting and I won the lovely skein of Mountain Colors pictured below. Thanks, Shannon! (The skein is the bit on the right side of the picture…)

“I’d like to see you try to knit with me. Hmph.”