Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

First let me say that I really love this story.  No matter what I say in this review, remember that I love this story.  I think that Amanda Hocking is a brilliant story teller and she is very bold for self-publishing.  (Although Amanda has recently had a series bought by St. Martin's Press.)  I'm going to start with the "worst things I found in the book" and then move on to the "best things I found in the book."  The worst thing I found is that the book seemed to lack a professional polish.  Perhaps this is due to not having an editor when Amanda first decided to self-publish. (I do not know that she didn't have an editor.  I am completely assuming she didn't.)  I found the book littered with over used words ("just" being the top of the list), over-repeated words (using the same word over and over in the same sentence, paragraph or page), and incorrectly used words (rod for wrought).  They all seemed to be common errors that an editor would have easily caught and corrected.  Not surprisingly, the biggest problem I ran into was that I was reading this on my Nook and I couldn't make editing notes in the book as I do with my paper copies.  (That's the former editor in me that insists that I can't leave a mistake unmarked.  I've even corrected grammar and spelling in a Tom Clancy novel - ooooooooo.  It happens.  Even to the best. But this is an e-reader issue, not Miss Hocking's issue.) 

Now for the best parts.  This is a wonderful story.  It is fresh, alive and unique.  The story moves you quickly through what is happening and Amanda doesn't let you forget about things left behind.  I was fascinated by her use of imagery and could easily envision the details in the book.  As I was reading I wasn't given unimportant information that didn't relate to the story.  So many times I am given far too much detail in a book and wondering why I needed to know that there was a bowl of grapefruit on the coffee table.  What does it mean?  Why grapefruit?  Amanda never once did that.  Every detail she offered was relevant in the story even if you didn't come back to it for several chapters.  I also loved reading a new look at an old idea.  I've gotten tired of vampires and werewolves that all seem to have the same sort of story as to how the creature came to be, how they live and how they die.  So many young adult paranormal stories have turned into watered down romances that just happen to have a vampire in them.  Switched is completely different.  I like this world Amanda has created and I look forward to finishing this series and moving on to some of her other work. 

If you are looking for a good quick read for the summer, this is an excellent pick.  Plus, most of Amanda Hocking's books are available through Barnes and Noble or Amazon e-books for the low low price of $2.99 and even 99¢ each.  So not only are they good, they are also very affordable.  Go support independent literature!

Currently reading: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Twisted German Cast On

I have fallen in love with a new cast on technique.  I had done it in the past on one or two projects, but never truly liked it.  This past Sock Madness competition had a sock that started with this cast on technique and amazingly I fell in love with it.  I'm not sure why, but I did and I've been using it ever since.  Perhaps it was all the Scandinavians who said, "Oh, that's the cast on we always use" or maybe it is because I realized how much stretchier it is than the regular long tail cast on.  Although, do be aware that this is a variation of the long tail cast on and takes just a wee bit more yarn than the regular long tail cast on. 

I have found that by using the Twisted German Cast On I don't fall too hard into the "Ooops, I cast on too tightly ... again" problem.  I also think it gives a much nicer look than the ordinary long tail cast on.

This is the long tail cast on:

Notice the bottom is kind of wimpy looking and not very stable.

Here is the Twisted German Cast On:

See how the bottom edge looks like a lovely braid or a row of knitting and the base is much more stable. Yet it is fairly stretchy.

Here's a wonderful video on how to do the Twisted German Cast on:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: Independence Edition

Next Monday is the celebration of the Independence of the United States of America.  I need to say something right off the bat: I'm not an "oo-rah Go America USA USA kind of person."  Don't get me wrong.  I love this country and the principles on which it was founded, but I've been to other countries and I don't think that we are "number one."  I think that we have a lot going for us, but I don't think that we are supreme above all other countries.  If that makes you hate me or quit reading the blog, have a peaceful journey as we aren't made for each other.  I am an unrepentant liberal and for that I will never apologize.

Ten things I like about the "Fourth of July"

1. Fireworks  (I love fireworks.  Any fireworks.  They are so pretty!)
2. Waffle House will be open (I know, my foodies, but this Southern Girl loves Waffle House)
3. That red, white and blue (and their related colors) go well together
4. Yankee Doodle Dandy with James Cagney (I love musicals and George M. Cohan wrote such memorable songs that are short and fun.)
5. Apple pie (but I also like it on July 5th and September 19th, and February 23rd)
6. Grilled hot dogs (normally I'm not a hot dog person, but on Independence Day I feel this urge to eat a hotdog with sweet relish, catsup and mustard on a white bun with a side of baked beans)
7. People seem a bit kinder to each other in this country on that day
8. Baseball (Go Cubbies!)
9. That we live in a country where we are free to worship (or not) any god (or goddess or nothing) that we feel called to worship (or not) without federal or state persecution and that I have the freedom to say that as well
10. That I will be working in a bookstore on this day where people are free to write and read books of their choosing. (So go read a banned book just because you can.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Twue Love!

This past week I have had a couple of reminders about my favorite movie.  This is not a cinematic masterpiece.  It doesn't have an astounding (or even surprising) plot.  It has no major wonderful special effects.  The dialogue is cheesy, the costumes impractical and the cast was virtually a bunch of nobodies or half-knowns.  However, if I were stuck on that proverbial deserted island with only one movie to watch (no one has told me yet how I would play it) it would be Princess Bride.  Yep.  The movie with fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles... (Doesn't sound too bad.  I'll try to stay awake.) 

This past week Peter Falk died.  He was the grandfather who tells the story to his grandson, stuck at home sick.  And yesterday on TeeFury Fezzik was the subject of their daily shirt. (Buy it so the artist won't hurt.)  (If you don't check out TeeFury on a daily basis you should because they only release a single design each day for one day only and then it's gone.  The topics range from Firefly, Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, TMNT, LOTR, POTC, Harry Potter, Buffy, comics, basically anything that strikes a fancy with current or nostalgic pop culture - today it's Calvin Ball.)  And from that (I'm assuming) there was a flurry of tweets on Twitter quoting Princess Bride.  It also didn't help that the question of the week last week was "If you had a million dollars what would you buy?" and someone wrote down "Andre the Giant's left hand."  (Don't ask.  I don't know.)

So if this movie isn't a cinematic masterpiece, what is it that makes it my favorite movie?  Simple.  It's brilliant.  It has fantastic witty and quotable dialogue that can be used in so many different situations.  I can't think of another single movie that has so many quotable lines than Princess Bride.  Off to the store to do a little swim suit shopping?  The line that chases you out is "Have fun storming the castle." To which you are then obligated to call back, "Do you think it will work?"  It will take a miracle.  As you wish is the exact same in our family as I love you.  And I have learned over the years to never end a sentence with "I mean it" because one of my children will respond with "Anyone want a peanut?"  Even when I am angry and about to explode.  In a hurry to leave for something and the others in your party are not fast enough for you?  Out comes the fake Spanish accent and "You donna suppose you could speed things up?"  That guarantees the response, "If you're in such a hurry, you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find something useful to do."  When the oldest teen sleeps in until afternoon they are usually greeted with "You've been mostly dead all day." 

I love the score for this movie.  There are lots of Dun-dun-dun-duh's that are so reminiscent of old westerns.  It's climatic when there is fighting and swoony when it is romantic.  And there is kissing (They're kissing again.  Do we have to read the kissing parts?)  A movie with kissing can't be all that bad and because the kissing is generally made fun of in this movie even a seven-year old boy can watch it without being grossed out. 

There is much to be learned from this movie as well.  For instance if someone is all dead then the only thing you can do is go through their pockets and look for lost change.  There is nothing better than true love (except for a nice MLT where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomatoes are ripe).  Life is pain (, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something). There are no R.O.U.S.'s in the Fire Swamp (Rodents of Unusual Size?  I don't think they exist.  THUMP!  And there always has to be a thump after I don't think they exist otherwise it isn't funny).  Mawwiage is a bwessed awwaingement.  (Do not try to quote the Impressive Clergyman unless you can do it correctly.)  And always remember: never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Thunk!

Need a new insult?  Princess Bride has got some good ones including:  you wart-hogged faced baffoon,  miserable vomitous mass, unemployed in Greenland (I mean really, that would be so horrible!) and my favorite "Humperdink! Humperdink! Humperdink!" 

If you have never seen it, I pray you, get a copy.  Invite some of your most silly (or better yet serious) friends over and eat chocolate (it makes it go down easier) and drink a bottle of brandy.  Learn the lines. Quote the lines.  And above all live for True Love!  It's inconceivable that someone wouldn't. 

Share with me some of your favorite quotes.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Spiritual Sunday: Rain

We've been having a drought where I live.  Days and days without rain in an area that normally has rain almost every afternoon this time of year.  It makes people grumpy.  While they say that they are enjoying all the time that they have to get out and go play in all the sunshine and that they don't miss the rain, they really aren't having any fun and they are getting grouchier with each passing day or no rain.  Our cars are dusty.  Our yards are dry and brown. We have to water our gardens to get the little produce we can.  The berries aren't as sweet.  The air even feels dry, which is odd for living along the Gulf Coast as we do. 

Then on Wednesday night it started to rain.  We had a really nice storm come through and it rained throughout the night and into Thursday.  It even was raining Thursday night and I didn't have to play my white noise machine (which is programmed to play rain with thunder) to go to sleep.  I had the real thing playing outside my house.  And while the air felt wet and heavy and it became steamy on Friday when the temperatures started rising again, it felt fresh and new outside.  Things seemed cleaner.  Even the houses seemed fresh from the new rain.  It was simply lovely.

It's odd how weather affects our mood.  And it is different for each of us.  I love rain (and snow for that matter, but we don't get snow here in the south often - which is a good thing).  On rainy days I feel fresh and clean.  The rain is soothing and the thunder's rumbling is peaceful.  I've never been afraid of thunder.  My grandmother told me that I was born during an extremely violent thunderstorm and that when I was a baby they could always count on me taking a nap when a storm would roll in.  I like that story.  I don't know if it is true or not, but I like to think it is.  None of my children are afraid of thunder either and rarely will they even wake at night from a storm.  If they do, they simply sigh and snuggle deeper into their blankets and are lulled back to sleep. 

Rain, for me, means a good day or reading.  It is curling up in bed or on the couch with a new book or an old familiar and letting the rain play the soundtrack for the book I'm reading.  Since beginning work at Barnes and Noble (a bookstore for those who don't know) I have found that rain also makes other people become readers.  When it is raining outside people tend to stay longer in the bookstore.  On Thursday I found all the over-stuffed chairs filled, the cafe full and people curled up on the floor throughout the store with books propped, enjoying the forced captivity and the time to enjoy a book. 

Rain has played a role in many different religions.  In the Judeo-Christian story of Noah's Ark, God cleansed the earth with rain.  He washed the impurities away.  The ancient Aztec had a rain god called Tlolak.  He wasn't a very nice god, but he was revered because the sacrifices to him were thought to bring about the rains needed for a plentiful harvest.  Zeus is the god of thunder (and with that comes rain) as are the Roman Jupiter and the Norse Thor.  The Inca has a god of rainstorms called Pariacaca (which when you say it almost sounds like rain pitter-pattering on the window).  The Egyptians had Tefnut who was the goddess of rain.  Many cultures had devotions or rituals they performed to their gods and goddesses to plea for rain (and in some cases to stop the rain).  Rain has even played a role in our religious structures.  Masons knew that water running across mortar would weaken it and cause structural damage, so gargoyles were built to divert the water and thus save their work.  (It should be noted that gargoyles date back to pre-Christian cultures and are found throughout the world including Greece, South America and Japan.)

Rain is important.  We need rain to fill our rivers and reservoirs.  We need it to grow crops, to clean, to cool, and, especially, to quench our thirst.  Rain may inconvenience at times.  Weddings have had to be rescheduled or moved because of rain.  Ball games have been called due to rain.  Rain has caused floods and when paired with the winds of a hurricane has been known to devastate cities.  Rain isn't predictable.  We can't forecast very far into the future when we will have rain or when it might stop.  Our powers of prediction are truly limited to just a few days at best.  Yet as infuriating as it is and as fickle as it seems, we still should be glad when we do see it as living without it would be a terrible world that would be dry and parched. And I don't want to live in that kind of world.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love a good simple cookie sometimes.  Chocolate chip is just that perfect cookie.  There isn't too much chocolate, just the right amount of vanilla cookie and, when fresh out of the oven, speak to my inner child.  Over the years I have toyed with a variety of cookie recipes.  Through a process of trial and error I have mished and mashed several recipes together to get the best dough and my favorite cookie.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup of butter softened
1/2 cup of vegetable shortening (although I usually make them with all butter.  Half shortening tends to make them a bit more chewy)
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar packed
2 eggs
2 T. milk (trust me on this)
1 t. vanilla extract (if using artificial vanilla use 2 t.)
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
2-1/4 c. flour (although this varies anywhere from 2 cups to 2-1/2 cups depending on humidity)
1-1/2 c. mini chocolate chips (although you can use any, I like the way that mini chips spread through out the dough)

Using a mixer add all the ingredients in order, mixing well before adding the next.  You can add 1/2 - 1 cup of chopped pecans, although I seem to be the only one in the house that likes nuts in my cookies, so I rarely get to have them.)  When the dough is thoroughly mixed, using a spoon.  Eat it.  OK, don't.  OK, do.  OK, technically you aren't supposed to eat cookie dough that has raw eggs in it, but in all my forty-something years of eating cookie dough I have never had a bad reaction.  And cookie dough is just so yummy.  But if you insist on baking cookies (which you really should because if you ate that much cookie dough you will get a tummy ache and it won't be because of raw eggs) heat your oven to 350°F and bake them on a baking stone for 12-14 minutes.  If you don't have a baking stone, then I recommend using parchment paper on a metal sheet.  It won't be as good as on a stone, but it will make clean up easier and you don't have to worry about your cookies sticking to your pan.  After they have baked eat them as fast as you can.  Have a glass of ice cold milk with them or a cup of tea.  It's best that way.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Today I shall write

Today I shall write.  I shall write the most stunning prose ever.  My words will rival those of Milton, Mitchener, Rowling and King.  Sentences will flow with ease and every word will appear as though it was meticulously planned when in reality they spilled onto the page to tempt and delight.  My characters will be so well-formed that the reader will feel as though they are their best friends.  My villains will be heinous and my heroes strong, bold, and deliciously beautiful. The heroine will be no femme fatale, but a confidant and capable woman who is still sexy and alluring.  The plot will be riveting and the reader will languish in bed captivated by each chapter or, sadly, the reader will be stuck at work wishing the hours to whisk away so that they can get back to the book that is calling to them from their coffee table.  It will cross gender lines and be adored by both staunch conservative and radical liberal alike.  My writing today will be hailed as this decade's most entertaining and important work of fiction.  The Washington Post will announce that it is a
"Must Read!"  Yes! Today the words themselves will be my muse!

Actually I'm probably going to write a whole lot of shit today that will be edited and slashed and rewritten tomorrow, but the above paragraph is how I want to write each day.  I wake up with the intention of writing well and when I review it later I wonder what idiot sat at my computer and put that stupid drivel in my book.  But that is what the writing process is about.  I am sure that there are few authors who are a pleasure to edit.  Whose manuscripts are clean and polished and ready for the world.  I have had the pleasure of talking to quite a few published authors (some of them even well-known and well-read) who have griped about having to go through the editing process.  The authors I follow on Twitter remind me daily that writing is not something we do, but something we perfect.  It is a continuous work in progress until it has been printed and delivered to stores.  And by that time there is more work to be done on the next book.

So today I most likely will not channel Shakespeare or Goethe or even Austin.  Today I will regurgitate a couple thousand words and hopefully they will form some kind of sentence structure and arrange themselves into paragraphs and when I look at it again tomorrow it would look like a two-year old pounded on my keyboard.  And I shall be thankful for spellcheck.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

First let me say that I adore Hannah Moskowitz.  Break broke my heart (and squigged me out at the same time).  Sometimes I think this woman sees right into my very teenage soul.  I was hesitant to pick up her newest novel.  It's that fear that the Breakout Novelists Breakout Novel will be their One Hit Wonder.  I kept passing it in the Young Adult Contemporary section.  I think I was a tad put off by the cover as I was afraid that somehow Hannah had fallen into the genre of "Contemporary Teens Having Lots of Sex Books."  However, after reading countless Tweets about how wonderful her book was, I  picked up Invincible Summer.  I am so glad that I did.

Invincible Summer is the story of a family.  A quite broken and passive aggressive family.  Sort of resembled my own growing up (though with fewer siblings).  The story is told from Chase's point of view.  Chase is the second born and the second son.  He idolizes his older brother. He puts up with his younger sister.  He absolutely adores his little brother who is deaf. And he shares his birthday with his baby sister.  He loves them all.  He worries about them all and for all different reasons.  Each year this misfit family spends their summers at the beach with their seasonal neighbors, the Hathaways and their three children, Melinda and the twins, Shannon and Bella.  The McGills and the Hathaways.  The Hathaways and the McGills.  Every summer together. Every summer the same. Or at least that was the way it had always been.  But for the four summers of this book, each summer seems jarringly stepped apart from that sameness, held together only by the clever intertwining of Camus's quotes. 

I found myself understanding almost every character in the book at some point in my reading.  I identified with Chase because I always felt like it was my responsibility to worry and care and take care of the members of my family.  It was my duty to keep them all together.  I worked hard at that for many years.  I associated with Noah, the older brother, because I always wanted to run away.  I always wanted to leave.  It was easier to leave and forget than to stay and deal.  I even associated with young Gideon and completely understood how he felt to not be able to be understood even though he was always being heard.   I especially related to Melinda in a big way.  Being a rape survivor and acting out sexually in very unhealthy ways is not uncommon.  Each month for several years I was thankful I didn't get pregnant and when I was older I was even more thankful that I had never picked up any STD's.  I kept thinking if people made love to me then it would void the rape somehow.  I equated consensual sex with making love.  It took me a long time to understand how those things were different.  I hope that Melinda figures that out sooner than I did.

This book made me laugh.  It made me cry. It made me even blush.  It made me cry a whole lot more.  I loved this book and glad that it is part of my collection.  Thank you Hannah for opening your heart and pouring out those words for us so delightfully, so lovingly and so honestly raw.

Currently reading:  Switched by Amanda Hocking

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The problem with UFO's

I honestly think sometimes that aliens come and abduct not our bodies but our knitting patterns when we are half finished making something.  I started fantasizing yesterday about a new knitting project.  A nice vest with waist shaping that buttoned in the front or perhaps it was a pullover with a deep neckline that would be perfect to wear over a crisp shirt.  I even think that the gorgeous silk/wool blend that I got at Stitches would be the perfect yarn for such a venture.  I went as far as to go to Ravelry and search for vest patterns.  I doodled a bit.  I looked through my own library to see what I already had.  And I considered swatching to see what gauge I was getting.

And then I came to my senses.  The aliens had come back and stolen my patterns to all my UFO's  (For those of you who are not knitters, UFO's are UnFinished Objects as we have FO's as well ... sometimes if we actually get to finishe something prior to alien abduction.)  I tried to reason with myself that I didn't really have that many UFO's.  In fact I went over to my Ravelry project page and counted them just to prove it.  See?  I only have my second Little Slipped Stitch sock, the second My Little Bit of Lace sock, the second Kimono sock, the second Rick sock, my second Regency sock, the Argus Panoptes socks, the Pea Vines shawl and the green cabled summer sweater which is 45% finished.  I could lie and say that my way of dealing with socks missing their mates in the wash is to not knit their mates, but the honest truth is that I have every intention of knitting their mates because they are beautiful socks and deserve to be worn in pairs.  I could just wear Dobby socks, but again, these are great socks and as much as I love that mischievous adorable House Elf, I like pairs of socks. 

I have decided that I will not cast on anything new until I am caught up with what is already on the needles.  Well, except the shawl.  That's a Big Project and complicated so I may end up having that as a work in progress even after I have finished everything else.  Oh and maybe after I finish the cabled summer sweater I will cast on another sweater project because one can't have just socks to knit.  And while I really shouldn't, I may end up casting on something with some of that sock yarn I got at Stitches before I forget all the cool things that Anna Zilboorg taught me in the sock class I took from her. 

See?  This is why I really think it has to be aliens!  No knitter in her right mind would have this many UFO's hanging around.  What is that green glow I see on the horizon.  Quick!  Hide your patterns.  The aliens are here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

10 Books Recommendations to a Friend

This week's 10 on Tuesday is 10 books you would recommend to a friend.  Just 10?  OK, I'll try this, but 10 is going to be a hard number to stop at.  (All links are to Goodreads.)

1. Little Women (only because it is my comfort book that I always end up going back to)
2. To Kill a Mockingbird (love it love it love it)
3. The Red Tent
4. Tuck Everlasting
5. The Time Traveller's Wife (I hated it, I loved it, I hated it, I really loved it)
6. The Harry Potter Series (only because it is the best children's literature written and I don't want to waste seven of my spaces)
7. The Very Quiet Cricket (Because every reading list needs a good bedtime story)
8. The Hunger Games Trilogy (they should be read together)
9. The Handmaid's Tale
10. Knitting a Boyfriend Sweater (OK, you can't buy this yet.  I wrote it and it isn't published, but I'm working on it.  I smile when I read it because I enjoyed writing it so much.)

What's on your list?

Monday, June 20, 2011

A brand new job!

Each Monday night I go to my local Barnes and Noble bookstore for knitting night.  We are one of many groups of "Noble Knitters" who meet at their bookstores to share our love of knitting, drink a beverage from the cafe and surround ourselves with books.  I don't know about the other "Noble Knitters" around the country, but I can say that our group of knitters loves books.  Adores them in fact.  We often share books around or recommend new books or break out into mini book club discussions while sitting with our knitting in hand. 

Recently a sign was posted at the store that they were looking for a new bookseller, particularly for the Digital Section.  In other words they needed a Nook salesperson.  My daughter immediately said I should apply.  Three people in the group asked if I had.  I mentioned it to my spouse and he said I should definitely go for it.  So, oddly, I did.  I wasn't looking for a job.  I don't need a job.  Somehow, though, I have found myself employed.  So tomorrow is my first day of real work.  I have already been to the New Employee Orientation, wherein I learned what to do if I am robbed at the cash registers, what to wear, and gave them the name of who to call in case I fall, bash my head open and have to go to the emergency room.  (That isn't as funny as it seems as I am a complete klutz. The likelihood of that happening are greater than you would expect.) 

My biggest concern hasn't been if I will do well at my job.  I love books.  I've been a librarian and have worked in a bookstore in the past.  I adore my Nook.  When the cat knocked it off the table and cracked the inner screen I cried (and bought a new Nook and now I have insurance for it).  I am not afraid to cross train to help in other departments.  I'm not even worried that they will like me as I know most of the employees and they know me.  None of the normal things that a person is worried about when beginning a new job are much of a concern.  My big concern was "What am I going to wear?"  Yep.  My wardrobe.

Now if it were winter I wouldn't worry too much as my winter wardrobe is much more work-friendly than my summer wardrobe.  My summer wardrobe is made up of flowing skirts, camisoles, lightweight shirts to layer on top of the camisoles and espadrilles.  Not really bookstore friendly clothes.  So I went to my favorite clothing store chain (aka thrift stores) and spent under forty dollars to spiffy up my wardrobe.  I came home with four pair of nicer slacks, three buttoned tailored shirts, and a new purse.  OK, I didn't need the new purse, but it was brand new, never used, and met all my needs (a place for my Nook, a place for my knitting and a place for all my other crap that I have to carry with me).  Surprisingly (or maybe it shouldn't be) I had all the grown up shoes that I could possibly need for work.  I have hemmed the two pair of pants that were too long and ironed everything nice and crisp for this week. (The down side to having grown up clothes is that so many of them require grown up work like ironing.)
I will say that Project 333 really helped in making this wardrobe as I was able to think of the things I was purchasing in terms of how they would work together to create a bigger looking wardrobe than what I actually have.  How do the pants, shoes, and shirts all tie in together to create more outfits than just four?  It helped me limit what colors I aimed for at the store and kept me looking for things that could cross over seasons as well.  I'm looking forward to experimenting with this new wardrobe to see how much I really did learn from that experiment.

The big challenge is going to be remembering to blog.  Hopefully work won't get in the way of my fun times.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers and families and fairies

In case you missed all the signs in the stores, the sappy (or funny) television commercials, the reminders on the radio or Google's doodle of the day, today is Fathers' Day.  There is controversy over who is to get credit for the first Fathers' Day, but we can pretty well agree that it came after the first Mothers' Day.  Woodrow Wilson was the first President of the United States to actually declare it a holiday.  Fathers around the country were honored for one day for all that they do all year long.  Children knelt at the knees of their fathers and basked in his wonderfulness.  And then the retail industry got involved. 

Personally I loathe these Hallmark holidays.  It's like someone had the bright idea that we would give dad a special day wherein we buy him lots of (sometimes useless and often times cheap) things like ties, aftershave, soap-on-a-rope, and rotary saws which will go unused, become dusty or slice a finger off.  (By the way all those things happened to my dad and his gifts when I was a child.)  Fathers don't have to cook, do the lawn, or wash the car on this one Sunday of the year.  They can sit in front of the television and hope there is at least a baseball game on.  Who thought that the middle of summer was a good time for Fathers' Day?  Hockey and basketball are over, Football won't begin any time soon and baseball is just getting started.  There isn't much exciting going on sports-wise.  (No, do not mention golf.  That is the. Worst. Sport to watch on television, much less in person.)  Where I live it is already too hot to go outside and do anything really fun (our heat index today is supposed to be over 105°F).  Which boils down to aside from a card and some "OMG I need to buy dad something" gifts, today is pretty much like any other day.  Except it is Fathers' Day.  Like that is supposed to mean something.

In the Judeo-Christian scriptures it says to "Honor thy mother and father."  It doesn't say to "Honor thy mother and father on one appointed day of the year."  Nope.  It just says honor.  Perhaps if we honored our parents more throughout the year we wouldn't have this need that we need to do something special one day out of the year to make them feel like we care about them.  We wouldn't have to single them out for the work that they are doing all year. 

Now granted many of us have dysfunctional families.  Some of us have not just dysfunctional families but ones that are so broken and hurt that they resemble a jigsaw puzzle where the dog has chewed on a few of the pieces so they will never fit together correctly again. My own family (that being my parents and siblings) are more like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces missing (I'm afraid the dog might spit them out later, but that has yet to be verified.  My baby brother could be hiding them in his pocket so he can be the one to put the last pieces on the board and thus "win" at the family puzzle.)  My created family (that being my spouse and three children (and four cats and one hamster and a tiny elephant named Tippy)) are more like a new box of puzzle pieces.  All the pieces are there and we even have the border built now and most of the fun parts are done, we are just working our way through all the sky.  There are a few pieces that fell on the floor and the cat batted around so they are dusty and one one has a little crease on the corner, but they all fit.  I like how we have worked together.  We are comfortable with each other and like being together. 

One of the things that we have done has been to basically ignore Hallmark holidays.  We don't really celebrate Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day and Valentine's Day.  Why?  Aren't we supposed to honor and love each other all year?  Does it really prove we love someone when we buy them flowers or boxes of chocolates or soaps-on-a-rope just because some industry said we should?  We joke in our family that we have a Valentine Fairy.  She comes on February 15th bearing clearance chocolates.  (She's almost as closely loved as the Easter Fairy who comes bearing clearance candies and 25¢ egg dying kits which is then used to dye fabric and yarn.)  We generally greet each other on those "special days" and give each other a kiss.  However, that is how we begin most of our days.  "Good morning.  I love you." Smooch. Smooch.

And that is how I think it should be.  Honor each other every day.  Honor your mother.  Honor your father.  Honor your lover.  Honor your friends.  Honor your family.  Respect each other.  Be good to each other.  Love each other.  And then we don't need to feel that we should go out and purchase stuff.  Stuff. Stuff. Stuff.  I really don't like stuff.  I want relationships that work and people I love surrounding me.  Not just on the third Sunday in June, but every day.  Now go be good to each other.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


No, not the Pixar movie.  The food.  What exactly is ratatouille?  Basically it is peasant stew.  Sometimes made in a pot sometimes baked in an oven.  Most people associate ratatouille with eggplant.  Why?  Eggplant is nasty and slimy and putrid.  (Apologies to those of you who like eggplant.)  There is no hard and fast rule that ratatouille must be made with eggplant.  It's not Eggplant Parmesan which, by virtue of its name, would imply that eggplant is a big part of the pot. 

Ratatouille is a French Provencal stew.  And guess what grows really well in Nice?  Yep. Eggplant.  It is Nice's answer to the Pacific Northwest's zucchini. When I lived in Oregon, I used to wake up to find that someone had gifted me random zukes on my back step quite often.  People had so much of it that you had to actually either pay people to take it off your hands or gift it to people, thus making them feel obligated to use it. 

They key ingredient in ratatouille is actually the tomatoes.  Everything else is whatever you have on hand.  It can be eggplant (although I never have random eggplant just hanging around in my refrigerator).  But it can also be onions, garlic, zucchini, summer squash, carrots, bell peppers, celery, and mushrooms.  Go look in your pantry and see what you have available.  It probably can be made into this tasty stew.

There is also a big debate over whether ratatouille should be made from vegetables thinly sliced and layered or whether the vegetables should just be cut into chunks and all jumbled together.  Personally I prefer the thinly sliced variety of ratatouille, but I am not opposed to something that more resembles stew.  In fact I would bet that most housewives in Provencal France had more glop than layers. 

Here is my recipe for ratatouille:

6-7 medium sized squashes (this can be all one variety or a mix of zukes and summer squashes or if you so decide to eggplant)
1 pound of mushrooms, sliced

1 - 28oz can of diced tomatoes. (I prefer the petite diced, but have no prejudice to regular diced)
1 small onion diced
1/2 a head of garlic (I like garlic.  You may decide that this is too much garlic for you.)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
herbs  (whatever you like although basil and thyme are nice as are oregano and rosemary)

Slice your squashes.  I like using my mandolin (which I call my guillotine) for nice even thin slices.

In a medium sautee pan, heat your oil and add your onions and garlic (this would be an ok time to throw in celery as well).  Cook until the onions are tender.  I actually like to caramelize them just a bit, but that's up to you.  The important thing is to cook them so that the onions lose their bite and are sweet.  Add the entire can of tomatoes to the pot.  Do not drain them. Just open the can and dump.  Stir and add in your salt, pepper and herbs to taste.

Grease a 9x13 baking dish (I like to use my Pampered Chef baker, but whatever you have will work).  When the tomato mixture is hot, spoon some of it into the bottom of your prepared dish.  Layer your squashes and mushrooms.  You can make them all neat and prettyful or you can just put them in there so that they are all just all flat.  This is peasant stew.  Don't stress about it.  Pour the rest of the sauce over the squashes and mushrooms.  Cover (I prefer using parchment paper, but if you must you may use aluminium foil).  Bake at 350°F for about 25 minutes or until the squashes are tender.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Words for Friday

According to my self-appointed schedule, today is supposed to be about writing.  I like writing (duh).  I've been asked many times why I have a blog, though, that isn't just about writing.  Well, to be perfectly honest, that would be boring.  No, seriously.  Do you know how many blogs there are out there about writing?  I don't know either, but there are many.  Maybe even too many.  I follow or am subscribed to quite a few of them.  I probably get around to reading about ten posts a week.  That's on a good week.  Usually it is more like three.  It isn't that I don't enjoy the blogs.  I mean I followed them initially for some reason.  It really boils down to not having enough time to read all the blogs I follow.  To be even more painfully honest I tend to skim more than I read.  I glance through them to see if there are any interesting words, look at the tags to see if they are of interest to me and sometimes it is as brief as reading the title.  Ouch.  I know.  Sorry. 

The other Big Reason is that I am more than just about writing.  Thus the name of my blog KnitCookWrite.  I'm actually much more than those three things, but those are the three most prevalent things in my life after my children and trust me, you do not want another Mommy Blog talking about snotty noses, dirty diapers, and five hundred ways to upcycle a used paper towel tube into children's art.  (Fortunately my kids are all teenagers - or will be on June 30th, so I wouldn't talk about snotty noses or dirty diapers and we  merrily recycle our paper towel tubes.) 

I've also been asked why I don't have three blogs: one for knitting, one for cooking and one for writing.  Please!  Have you seen how difficult it has been for me to keep up with one blog?  How the heck do you think I am going to remember to update three blogs let alone one?  I would be constantly referring to things from my other blogs in each of the other ones because my life is so much more than just about writing or knitting or cooking or even snotty nosed non-diaper-wearing teenagers waving glitter-encrusted paper towel tubes.  Plus I would have to put on my Big Thinking Hat and come up with three witty blog names and it was not easy coming up with this blog name. (Do not remind me that it is my Twitter and Ravelry name.  It was hard I tell you.  Hard!) 

I was also encouraged by Kristen Lamb's recent blog about why writing blogs are fairly boring and not helpful to writers.  I don't have to worry about being too diverse because my blog is about me and I am diverse.  I can't blog just about writing because that is not who I am.  I feel very justified in my decision because of Kristen's blog. Thank you Kristen! 

You may be saying to yourself, but today is Friday why isn't she talking about writing?  I will.  Maybe not as much today as you might hope.  This week has been an exercise in getting used to a new blog schedule (which is now further compromised by the fact that I just got a job at my local Barnes and Noble Booksellers).  Introducing myself and my readers to what is coming up in the next few months.  And while Friday is Writing Day, I may not blog about writing as an art, but more about what I am writing and my journey to being published. 

However, if you feel that I must say a few words on writing, then here's my Big Idea on Writing: What are you doing reading this blog? Go write something. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Review: Shades of Grey

Shades of Gray by Jasper Fforde Genre: Dystopian (Young Adult Appropriate)

I enjoy dystopian novels.  I believe part of it is because they play into my biggest fears. What would happen if there was a nuclear war?  What if the religious right were to take over the world?  What if our government collapsed?  In Jasper Fforde's novel Shades of Grey, the question is: What happens when people are subjugated to a certain lifestyle because of the colors they can perceive? 

I found this theme quite unnerving.  We already deal with discrimination based on what color a person's skin is, but what about when we further discriminate because of what colors a person can actually see.  The idea that one could only see shades of blue, or green, or yellow, or purple, or, Munsell save us, grey was eerie.  I can't imagine my world being limited to seeing 72% blue.  Not even the full blue spectrum, just 72%.  And what makes someone who can see 29% purple better than my 72% blue? 

I enjoyed following the changes that Edward Russett (even your name is delegated to your color perception) as he begins his journey as a compliant follower of the Great Munsell.  He is poised to marry up-color and is on a pointless task to make up for a practical joke at school.  He follows his father, a healer, to a town on the outer-edges of their world where he starts to see things differently out here further away from the big city.  And lo and behold he has to go and fall in love with a Grey!  Oh the shame!  But Jane Gray (love the name) doesn't just steal his heart.  She infects his mind with new thoughts and challenges his way of thinking.  Soon young Edward finds that life isn't so black and white.

Tinted with fabulous double entendre using color words to not only describe people, but also to help the reader see what life would be like with a limited color spectrum, Shades of Gray is a fabulous read, even for people who don't normally pick up dystopian books.  About the only thing that I can say that bugged me about this book's writing was the use of "artificial color."  I am still having a hard time understanding how if someone has a limited color spectrum how they can see "artificial colors" but not real colors.  But then my world is surrounded by color and my eyes function as they should (provided I am wearing my glasses!)

What I'm currently reading:  Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Knitting in my office

My office is my writing space.  This is where I come to pen words.  I have a variety of dictionaries (my favorite being the Merriam-Webster's Compact Visual Dictionary - is very useful for answering the question, "What is that thingy called on a bell that makes it ring?").  I have books and magazines on the art of writing.  I have character development workbooks and books of quotations.  I have sticky notes for plot development.  My calendar is even one of women reading. 

Intertwined, though, in all these words are parts of my other life.  My knitting side.  For instance in the cup of pens, markers, pencils, and other office supplies are a pair of knitting needles and a crochet hook.  There is a ball of yarn on the desk as well.  I have a painting that my son made for me of sheep grazing on a field and I own a Sheep Incognito print (Silence of the Lambs) which hangs on my wall.  And then there is my Intwined Pattern Studios software on my computer.  It is the best knitting design software I have found on the market and Heatherly is one of my friends, so I love supporting her creation.  It is a great break sometimes from when I am at a loss for words.  I pick up my needles and will go cast on and try a new stitch or new cast on technique that I read about.  The other thing that I find myself doing in my office is watching movies on my laptop while I knit. 

Sometimes I think that I should limit my office to only writing, but this area has always been a space of art long before I decided to seriously put my stories into print.  When we first moved into this house I was deep into rubber stamping and so the remains of that craft are all over the shelves in this room.  I rarely use them anymore and keep thinking I'm going to drastically pare down the rubber stamp, inks, paper (oh the paper), and the plethora of embellishments and turn this little nook into a "real office and fiber arts design studio."  It's just hard to let go of stamps that I fell in love with.  I have Very Much money invested in all those wood mounted rubber stamps. 

I have this vision of having my stamps confined to a small area while the rest of the office is dedicated to books and knitting.  I'll have baskets of yarn on the shelves instead of paper cutters.  There will be all my needles, neatly organized instead of a jumble of colored markers.  I will replace the tool-turn-around full of spritzers and bone folders with knitting implements.  And the back wall will house even more books.  I should do it.  I have too much unused crap as it is.  Books would be used (I pull down my aforementioned visual dictionary at least daily).  Fiber would be used.  This space would become a place that fulfills me in so many ways than just writing and feeling peered down on by neglected and spiteful Past Crafts. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: Love Songs Edition

Love songs.  Le sigh! Love songs are old.  They date back to, well, a really long time.  The Greeks and Romans wrote love songs to their lovers.  Unfortunately, they didn't have a good way of recording or notating their music, so we don't know the melodies, but we have some of the words left behind as poetry.  The Song of Solomon is one big love song written almost one thousand years ago.  In fact Solomon apparently loved to write love songs.  The French troubadours went around singing their little love ditties (and probably breaking hearts everywhere they went).  Sort of like medieval Beatles. 

Most of the love songs I love are fairly old as well, although not as old as Solomon or the troubadours.  I just don't have many current songs on my list of ten favorite love songs. So brace yourself, you are heading to Retroville:

1. Michelle by the Beatles (Hey, if my spouse had Paul McCartney sing Michelle to me I would be so thrilled!)
2. As my Guitar Gently Weeps (the Beatles)
3. In My Life (yep the Beatles again)
4. And I Love Her (Do you see a theme here?)
5. Love Me Tender (Elvis, although Norah Jones' cover of it was very good too)
6. Only Fools Rush In (Elvis)
7. Don't (Elvis - can't you just imagine those words being pleaded in your ear :shiver:)
8. When I fall in Love (Nat King Cole - I also like Linda Ronstadt's version is good, too)
9. Have I told you Lately that I Love You (Van Morrison version, although Rod Stewart will do in a pinch)
10. Anything for You (Ludo - hey, it's from this century - even this decade!)

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Sweater Survey

Alrighty roo cowgirls and cowboys! Here's a link to the survey. Please fill it out and pass the link on so I can get more sizes. For those who don't remember, back on April 25th (you do not need to remind me that that was nearly two months ago) I ranted about how sweaters didn't seem to be any kind of real size, so I wanted to know what people's sizes were.  Real people, not what Brand XYZ said a size is.  I was frustrated at how patterns for knitting never seemed to match up with what real people wore.  And that sweaters (in particular) seemed to be built around some odd formula that was applied to one size without test knits being done on other sizes.  So now I'm wanting to collect people's measurements.  You can remain anonymous.  I'm not going to come hunt you down with a measuring tape to verify, but I would appreciate if you are honest (you should be anyway because otherwise you knit sweaters for yourself that don't fit correctly). 

If you get a message that says something like "exceeded monthly limits" let me know and I'll send the survey to you another way. 

Thank you!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Spiritual Sunday

Everything I know about religion I learned from Star Trek.  OK, not really.  But Star Trek was a huge influence in my spiritual beliefs.  I was raised as a cradle Episcopalian.  Have a mother who is an Episcopla priest.  I like to think that I put her through seminary.  We would have long theological discussions based on various papers she was writing or classes she was taking.  I had never really questioned my beliefs until I started truly paying attention to the themes of Star Trek and not just the plots.  The plots were essentially the same.  Kirk pokes the snake with a stick.  An intergalactic space being threatens to unleash cosmic power which will end all life as we know it.  Picard rushes in and saves the day and Reiker gets the girl.  But the themes were what started making me question what I really believed. 

Over the years I called my self a Star Trekian philosopher.  I believed that there could be all kinds of truths in the world and not just the one I had been raised to accept as truth.  It wasn't until one day when I friend of mine asked me what my spiritual beliefs were that I found out there already was a "Star Trek" religion.  It was called Unitarian Universalism.  Wow.  There were entire congregations of people all over the world who were living the Star Trek philosophy that I thought I had discovered.  (Silly me.)  It wasn't until after September 11, 2001 that I actually sought out a UU congregation.  I had lots of questions and mainstream religion wasn't helping.  I was told I was wrong for speaking out against the President of the United States and for daring to say that was was not the answer.  (Despite my Star Trek background, I am a pacifist.)  Fortunately, in the UU church I found others like myself who felt the same way, including members of the US military. 

As the blog progresses I will expand on how my beliefs meld in with my writing and knitting because I do see my beliefs on the pages and in the yarn that flow through my fingers.  I can't imagine how one can't be influenced by their spirituality.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Birthday Cakes!

Today is my birthday. My forty-sixth birthday. I'm not afraid of "growing old" or reaching a big number like fifty or sixty or ninety. In fact if I reach ninety I'll be tickled pink. Although my goal is to get to my eleventy-first birthday and then I'm going to have a hobbit birthday party and give everyone presents. But today I am just forty-six. It's just a number. Saying I am twenty-nine is not going to make me twenty-nine. And besides when I was twenty-nine I had a two-year old and was pregnant, so it wasn't very fun. I like being where I am. I've enjoyed growing in maturity, wisdom and understand (stop laughing) and still retaining my youth and frivolity.

Cakes and birthdays go hand in hand. And I love birthday cakes. I would have to say that my very favorite birthday cake is actually yellow cake with a traditional real buttercream frosting. Although yellow cake with a creamy chocolate frosting is pretty high up on the enjoyment list. I'll never refuse chocolate cake, though. In preparing for this post, I wondered what kind of cakes are made around the world and throughout history. I went to that compendium of never-failing information, Wikipedia (yes; you may laugh at that) to see what it had to say about birthday cakes. They're pretty old. In fact there are references that date back to the Greeks and Romans. I knew about medieval birthday cakes, but the recipes I have found for medieval cakes are more like sweet breads rather than what we think of as cake today. They were yeast risen and contained fruits and nuts. Think more German Stolen than Betty Crocker. It wasn't until the the middle of the eighteenth century that we started getting cakes that actually look like what we envision as birthday cakes today. Tiered cakes dripping in icing and floral decorations.

When searching for literary references for birthday cake, Google was somewhat a failure in producing anything truly useful. Although there was a Wiki question asking what color Bella's Birthday cake was in New Moon (It was pink.) And I did find this quote: “Birthdays are nature's way of telling us to eat more cake.” So go eat cake. (BTW, cake wasn't referring to cake when Marie Antoinette suggested that the peasants go eat cake. The actual word was brioche not gateau. Brioche was a savory bread made with eggs and milk rather than starter and water. Both, though, require flour, which the bakers had none of, but Marie did not know this and thought one was just a substitute for the other. And it is also doubtful that Marie Antoinette actually uttered the words.)

This is my favorite recipe for a good basic yellow cake:

1 cup butter
2-1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups buttermilk
3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Bring the butter, eggs and buttermilk to room temperature!

Grease three 8" or 9" pans. I like to sprinkle mine with a little flour as well. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Using a mixer, cream your butter and sugar together until it is soft. Next add in your eggs one at a time and beat this for a good 5 minutes. You want a nice light fluffy cake. Add your vanilla and buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk you can substitute regular milk, but add a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream to add just a pinch of tartness to it which will work well with the amount of sugar that is in this cake).

While your wet ingredients are beating away, sift together your flour, baking powder and soda. You do not need salt because everything you need is in your powder and soda. Trust me. It will be fine. Slowly add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, scraping the bowl as you go. Let it mix for just a few more minutes. Evenly divide the batter into your three prepared pans and bake for 35 minutes or until it tests clean.

Remove them from the oven and let them sit for 5 minutes before removing them from the pans and letting them cool on racks.

Sometimes I like to add a bit of orange or lemon zest to this recipe just because it is so darn good. In those instances I will sometimes bake this as a loaf and slice it, toast it and put butter on it. No frosting needed. But most of the time I put frosting on it.

What kind of frosting you ask? OK, here's my favorite recipe for that: Go to the store, look for the tub that reads, "Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate." Spread liberally. But when I do make my frosting from scratch this is what I use:

1/4 cup butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

It's pretty easy and fairly foolproof. Just mix the first four ingredients adding the 2 tablespoons of milk a bit at a time until it is spreadable. It's simple, basic and so delicious on cake.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Catching up and a new challenge

I keep thinking about really cool things that I want to blog about. I'll even make a note about it. Sometimes I'll even find the perfect graphic to pair with it. And then you know what? Nothing. That's right. Nothing happens. I think about blogging, but thinking about it and actually doing it are two different things. So I'm challenging myself for the summer (starting today) to blog every single day, even if it is just a line or two. And since I love lists and schedules are like lists, I've decided that I am going to have a schedule so even my readers know what I'm supposed to be blogging about. Radical, eh? Not really, but I'm pretending it is.

What's your schedule? I'm so glad you asked. Here it is:

Mondays: Mindless Ramblings (this could really be about anything)
Tuesdays: 10 on Tuesday (I get these e-mails so I might as well utilize them, right?)
Wednesdays: Adventures in Knitting
Thursdays: Book Reviews
Fridays: On Writing and/or Publishing
Saturdays: Sumptuous Saturdays (look for recipes or cooking tips)
Sundays: Thoughts on spirituality and how that relates to my love of knitting, cooking and writing

But, today is Friday and this doesn't look like a post on writing or publishing. You are so write (write - as in writing, get it, hahahahaha - I'm so lame). Seriously, though, yes; today is about writing and/or publishing and my journey there.

What is going on? I'm back into that wonderful flurry of writing where I have a million book ideas all screaming to get onto paper first. I love when this happens because I find that I am creative in other aspects of my life as well. For instance I get knitting patterns in my dreams (that actually can work, not the abstract three-dimensional hat knit on seven needles and needing two other sets of hands to accomplish). I have also finished a major re-write of the first book of my witch trilogy and have a few friends who are beta reading it for me. I'm working feverishly on a synopsis and good query letter for it. I think it is one hundred times better than the previous rendition. I've also finished a major edit on my NaNoWriMo book and have started a sequel to it which is going very well. This book also deserves a synopsis and a query letter.

So why aren't you writing these synopses and query letters? Because I suck at writing synopses and query letters. They always seem lame or I feel like I'm rambling. I've read probably twenty books on writing query letters and mine always look either cookie cutter or really lame. Sometimes I think of writing a really bad query letter with all that agent's pet peeves written in a very sarcastic-yet-understand voice, but never send it because I doubt very seriously the agent would ready it with the same voice that is going through my head.

Are you doing anything to try to remedy this lack in your writing skills? I am. It doesn't mean that it is getting any better, but I am trying each day to write a two-paragraph synopsis of my book. It usually ends with me deleting the entire thing before I toss my laptop across the room, but I am working on it. I was supposed to go to a writing workshop this weekend, but there weren't enough participants and it was cancelled. I signed up for the one in July and hopefully it will make.

Can you tell us about the book(s) you are working on right now? Kind of. As I mentioned earlier I am writing a sequel to my NaNoWriMo book which was about knitting a sweater for a boyfriend. This one is about knitting a wedding veil. The other book I am working on is written in the voice of a dystopian man who lived through the changes that happened in his world and is now dying.

That's about it. Tune in tomorrow when I will be talking about Birthday Cake! (Because it will be my birthday and cake and birthdays go together even though I'm having tacos and margaritas tomorrow and not sure if there will be any cake at all, but that's a post for tomorrow.)