Swappin’

Obscured ghost paws

Ruth’s hosting a Secret Santa Fiber Swap on swap-bot. Sign-ups close December 15.

Don’t forget to play along in my Superpower Blogiversary Contest before 6 pm CST, Tuesday, December 4!

Reading Update
Obsession, Deceit, and Really Dark Chocolate by Kyra Davis. Mystery writer Sophie Katz and her black cat, Mr. Katz, are back in the third book in this series. I really like these, and am already looking forward to the next book!
I’m the Vampire, That’s Why by Michele Bardsley. Since I’d already read the sequel (Don’t Talk Back To Your Vampire) and enjoyed it, what the heck? 😉
Cupid, Inc. by Michele Bardsley. What if Eros and Psyche opened not a dating service, but a fantasy service? This is pretty much chock full of sex vignettes, loosely held together by a bit of plot.
Just One Sip by Katie McAlister, Jennifer Ashley, and Minda Webber. Three novellas by paranormal romance authors – at least one of the stories was really cheesy. McAlister’s story is sort of a follow-up to her novel Sex, Lies and Vampires.
Love Overboard by Janet Evanovich. Like most of Evanovich’s non-Stephanie Plum novels, this is just an ok romance, set in coastal Maine.
Rising Moon: A Nightcreature Novel, Book 6 by Lori Handeland. Blatantly inspired by the Dark-Hunter novels, this was still an acceptable read for a paranormal romance.

Anyone have theories as to what triggered this paranormal romance outbreak that started a few years ago? Do you think it was the success of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels?

Life Update
I realized as I was walking around Lake of the Isles on Sunday (sunny and nearly 50F) that I physically and mentally feel better than I have for nearly two years, even though I’m not in the sort of shape I’m used to being in. Woo-hoo, surgery! Woo-hoo, rediscovered exercise plan!

I had a really good Thanksgiving, hanging out with my SIL’s family. Her parents stuffed one of the turkeys with gf cornbread stuffing, and my dad and stepmom brought me crustless pumpkin pie. Really, I got kinda sniffly about all of that. Until you have dietary restrictions and people go out of their way to include you, that may sound sort of strange to you… (I know Brigitte understands!) Anyway, “only” about 25 people showed up, out of the possible 40+… One of those people, my SIL’s aunt, turned out to an intelligent and dedicated knitter who (of course) had her knitting with her, so we hung out chatting and knitting and scaring the muggles.

MrsPao and Pao sent me a fun box of birthday goodies.

*sniff sniff sniff* -Mayhem

“Doo de doo de doo…” -Chaos

Hmm. Let’s try that again, shall we?

“New mice! New mice! New mice! Mom, put down the camera and free these mice for me.” -Mayhem

Much better. Yummy dark chocolate, a cute black kitty card (how did they know?!), my absolute most beloved favoritest dark chocolate rice cakes (tragically unavailable in the US), the aforementioned catnip mice, some stunning purple yarn that I think is silk (shiny! purple! shiny!), and a V.I. Warshawski novel (cool British printing; known as Blood Shot in the US). Thank you two!

Ok, this isn’t the greatest shot of May, but notice the ghost kitty arms as she leaps for the new mouse?? (Embiggen for best effect.) I was holding the mouse about three feet off the floor, if that helps you envision the difficulties of this photo…

“Ooof!” -Mayhem

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Yarn and books and cats, oh my!

TGIF… *yawn* If you suffer through this epic post, there’s a special treat at the end – one of the funniest birthday cards I’ve ever received (and it features a kitty and yarn)!

It amazes me how long it takes a package to travel between Minnesota and Ontario… and it isn’t just anticipation. But this package from Brigitte and friends was definitely worth the wait. 🙂 From the top, a cute wooden black kitty and Crazy Cat Lady Magnetic Sculpture from Lorraine – thank you! That sculpture is already on my desk at work. Below that is a lovely skein of Colinette Jitterbug (Velvet Bilberry) and a Knit Happens magnet from Rachel H – many, many thanks, Rachel!

The rest of the package was from Brigitte, who is possibly my long lost sibling. We need to talk to our parents some more about the possible details. 😉 From the upper left, a gorgeous skein of Lisa Souza sock yarn in Black Purple, a black kitty Webkinz (with a kinked tail, even!), three books I haven’t read before, a black cat “snow” globe, some very tasty “Kick Ass” coffee from Kicking Horse, Halloween pencils, catnip toys, two tiny black kitty beads, and a book of ChocoCat stickers. Thank you, Brigitte!

Actually, the catnip toys were from Atticus, Mae, and Gandalf for Chaos and May:

The kitties had to check out the nip right away.

“Big kitty! These are from that hottie, Gandalf! Oh! This is too cool!” -Mayhem

“Now, now, Mayhem, these are also from Atticus and the other Mae, not just from Gandalf.” -Chaos

“Whatever. Mmmm… Gandalf….” -Mayhem

Marsha was my Coffee Swap III partner and she sent some great goodies. Gluten-free snickerdoodles, a coffee mug with coffee beans all over the side and coffee-colored yarn in it, Regia Strato (you know how I love stripes), a funny magnet (not pictured, whoops), and enough espresso roast coffee from Porto Rico in NYC to keep me awake for quite a while. Thanks, Marsh!

“I don’t care what anyone says – I have a waist, dammit!” -Chaos

Wednesday night, Jeanne and Deb had a little knitterly birthday party for me (I turn 41 tomorrow – eeep!). Jeanne made our favorite extraordinarily simple flourless chocolate cake and there were presents! New Pathways for Sock Knitters and the 2008 SnB calendar from Jeanne, and The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and two skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in my beloved Black Purl colorway (please use your imagination to picture some black, purple, and grey yarn in the picture) from Deb. Aw, you guys. *sniff* Thank you! (Jeanne has a very, um, interesting picture of me from Wednesday night…)

“Hmm, I detect essence of Pudd, Kreature, Bugman, and Greta.” -Mayhem

“Wait, that can’t be right – I’m sure I smell Tig and Holly. How can this be?!” -Chaos

Mayhem apparently can’t resist napping on everything I put on the floor.

“A cat nappin’ on a Cat. Zzzzz…” -Mayhem

And if you’ve made it this far, here’s the wonderful card Deb gave me – you definitely want to embiggen this one! I can picture Mayhem in the role of the cat and Chaos in the role of the dog…

On the inside, it says “Hope you get all that you wish for” and has this very cute picture:

Thanks again to everyone! Have a great weekend, all.

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Handy Mayhem butt

I’ve mentioned swap-bot a few times recently. Kristi has a great post on how to establish a rating on swap-bot.

Check out the Biteberry yarn in its new habit!

A sign I saw yesterday that amused me – so that’s where preteens go to get rid of pesky parents! Do you need to bundle parents with twine like you do newspapers and corrugated cardboard? 😉

Monday evening I was unlocking my mailbox after work and my (admittedly large) bag fell off my shoulder onto the mailbox key and snapped it off in the lock. Ugh! I could still get the key pieces to work – but so could anyone else with a screwdriver. I was calling a locksmith yesterday when my coworker interrupted me and got me off the phone before I could make an appointment for an expensive locksmith house call (because of course the lock can’t be removed and taken into the locksmith, as it requires a special removal key). Turns out my coworker had a lockpicking kit on him. . . . I didn’t ask, either. Usually it’s best not to know. Anyway, he loaned me a “key extractor” and after a bit of fiddling with the key extractor and a leatherman tool, I once again have a secure mailbox. Make sure you have copies of all your keys for times like this!

“This stuff is too boring to even bother sniffing.” -Mayhem

Is it just me, or does it look like May is mocking Chaos’ tail? Anyway, she wandered off to play ghost paws on the Kitty Casa instead.

“This is much more fun! Whee!” -Mayhem

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Randomly Monday

Congrats to Anne of Paper Tiger Knits who won the Biteberry yarn and thanks to everyone who participated!

Leah is celebrating her one-year blogiversary at her own domain. Leave her a comment with a specific pattern suggestion for the amazingly yummy laceweight yarn she has, and you could be selected to win a fun fibery prize. Leave your comments by midnight EDT, July 29.

Swaps
If you haven’t tried swap-bot before, I have to warn you it can be kind of addictive… although not quite as bad as I Can Has Cheezburger! 😉 Here are a couple of swaps that I’m signed up for:

Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn Swap – If you enjoyed Dye-O-Rama last summer, this could be for you. Currently, I think Jeanne, Deb, and I will just be exchanging yarn, because we’re almost the only people signed up!
Indie Music, Coffee, and CD Cover Art Swap – Now, since I’m obviously a mix cd junkie and a notorious coffee fiend (give me that espresso roast for my soy mocha and no one will get hurt… much), this one seems made for me, although I am a bit nervous about the cover art! But I’ll be brave and give it a try. 🙂

Reading update
“Banshee Cries” by C.E. Murphy (novella found in Winter Moon). Murphy describes this novella as book 1.5 of the Walker Papers and I have to agree. If you can, do try to read this after you read Urban Shaman and before Thunderbird Falls.
Charmed and Deadly by Candace Havens. I really do enjoy this sweet and fluffy series about Bronwyn, a witch who protects the British prime minister. This series is worth reading in order (Charmed and Dangerous, Charmed and Ready, Charmed and Deadly).
Sex, Murder and a Double Latte by Kyra Davis. A light-hearted mystery about mystery writer Sophie Katz and her cat, Mr. Katz. I believe there are two more books in the series so far – and I’m already on the list at the library for them.
Decaffeinated Corpse by Cleo Coyle. This is the fifth “Coffeehouse Mystery,” and I continue to enjoy the series. But really, who knew that owning a Manhattan coffeehouse could be so fraught with danger?! 😉
Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead. It’s not easy being a succubus with a conscience in modern Seattle… This is the first book in what looks to be a promising new series – I’m definitely looking forward to the next book!

A few random images
A business in my neighborhood that I’m sure is much more fun to wonder about than to know about…

At least May seems to recognize that the water might not be so good to drink, right?! And this would be why there’s another water dish in the bathroom…

*crunch crunch crunch* -Chaos

“I think the water looks fine, but I’ll wait to have a drink until Mom’s not looking.” -Mayhem

“Whoa. Maybe Mom was onto something about the water.” -Mayhem

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