Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween from Our House!

Happy Cold, Wet Halloween from Zorro and the Pirate!

Pirate Action Shot

Friday, October 30, 2009

Does this happen at anyone else's house?

There's a young boy child that's racing around the house, buck naked and holding his underwear in his little hands.  He's running and yelling "I'm naked!" as fast as he can while giggling maniacally.  Of course, his elder brother is mortified at this behavior and telling him to stop running around naked, which just encourages the little rascal more.  His father and I are just sitting here watching the show.  Does this happen to anyone else?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Book Review - The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan

I was devastated in 2007 when I heard of the death of one of my favorite authors, Robert Jordan.  He was a superb storyteller who created a work of fantasy that was unlike any other.  His death brought mild panic to my world.  It looked like The Wheel of Time books would have no ending, would leave us readers hanging off the cliff on a rope with no one to pull us up.

I was also aghast that Jordan's wife and manager would pick a relatively unknown author to pick up the storyline and continue it.  Who was this Brandon Sanderson anyway?  I decided to go read his previous works, looking for clues to how his writing style would stand up to Jordan's.  And ya know what?  I wasn't disappointed.  Elantris and his Mistborn series of books were fantastic.  Heavy in detail, magic and politics that for me, are the essentials in good fantasy stories.

Two days ago, The Gathering Storm arrived on my doorstep.  I've spent the majority of those two days reading.  I've neglected everything in my life shamelessly, devoting every second of my day to reading 800 pages.  I finished it, very late last night.  The verdict?

It was everything that I could have wished for in a Robert Jordan novel, and more.  Sanderson has managed to tie his and Jordan's writing together seamlessly.  It was an incredible read.

There are two main story arcs in this book, concentrating on Rand and Egwene.  Perrin and Matt are there briefly, but just barely.  The story line with Rand tends to be quite dark, and the character must deal with having incredible power and unbearable duty.  There's only so much that one person can bear in his lifetime and we get to see if Rand can hold it together long enough to make it to the final battle.  The story line dealing with Egwene however, is much more fun and enjoyable.  She's already fought her demons in previous books and now gets to act, trying to reunite the White Tower's various mule-headed and power hungry factions.

If you are into Perrin and Matt and Elaine, well, you're going to have to wait for the next couple of books.  Yes, there will be two more.  The amount of loose ends that Sanderson must tie up is staggering and will take a while to deal with.  In my opinon, Sanderson is handling that quite well.  Already a few of the questions that have been lying out there have already been answered and I look forward to finding out more.

I'll avoid going into more detail, I don't want to ruin the book for anyone out there that hasn't read it.  I will say this however.  If you have been worried about the 12th book in the series, don't be.  It's that good.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Not One Knit Stitch, but Lot's of Spinning

I took this past weekend off from knitting.  I didn't knit a single stitch.  Not one.    I did, however, do something I haven't done in months:  Spinning!

I have a pile of batts that I have put off and put off some more, mainly because when I did a test sample, the finished product felt like rope, not pretty fluffy yarn.  The culprit in the mix of fibers that's causing the problem is some Corriedale that I knew I shouldn't use and did it anyway.  I thought it would work if it was mixed with some alpaca and faux cashmere.  Nope, didn't work.  This stuff has been staring at me for MONTHS.  I became depressed and just couldn't look at it anymore.  I stored it away in some boxes in a corner under lots of other boxes just hoping that it would change it's mind and become more cooperative, but it didn't.

Until, that is, I had an epiphany on Saturday.  If it wasn't working in a three ply worsted, maybe it was because I had too much twist and it was way too small of a gauge.  So I broke out the spinning wheel  and approached the batts from a different point of view, after I caused an avalanche of boxes, naturally.

The collective "They" say that it's harder to learn to spin big, fat yarn after you have learned to consistently make thin plies of yarn.  Maybe I've been away from it long enough that wasn't an issue.  I did have a harder time keeping in slubs though.  I decided to try for a super bulky art yarn.  This is what I actually got:

More super bulky, less art yarn, but I like it anyway.  The yarn pictured above is approximately 390 yards worth.  I still have a bazillion batts to spin up, but it goes really quick like this.  I've been perusing Ravelry for sweaters that have this gauge yarn and I've found a couple that I might like.

So did spinning it at a larger and looser gauge work?  Yep.  It's much, much softer.  I'm going to keep it as a single ply too.  That way I'll get more yardage that I can work with and it won't lose that softness that I craved when I created these batts.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Anniversary To Me!

Today's a big day around here.  It's the first anniversary of my 39th birthday!   Woohoo!

At this point in my life, I have decreed that there will be no further birthdays, just anniversaries.  I am stopping at 39.  I want my (eventual) obituary to read something like "Shea, passed away today.  She had just celebrated the 51st anniversary of her 39th birthday."

Yep, that's what it's going to say.  I plan on being in total denial for the rest of my life. And, barring something totally catastrophic, it could very well say that.  I have grandparents and other ancestors that lived well into their late 90's!  So, that means I haven't even hit the halfway point yet.  That deserves a big Woohoo! in my book.  :)

Just wait until you see what my boys picked out for me for my birt  anniversary!  We have a tradition around here of letting the boys pick out the gifts for people.  It's way more entertaining that way.  One year, for mother's day, the Eldest picked out these plates that had a summer Hawaiian theme.  He gave me a hint that he had gotten me some "Mexican eatin' thingies."  It's been an endless source of amusement for my mother.

Today's gift was just about as good.  I got a six pack of Snickers candy bars and these lovely skull and cross bone orange-black-gray argyle slippers:

I've been wearing them over my green Wicked socks that my Sis In Law gave me for my "anniversary".  She's in denial too.  She just celebrated the same "anniversary" as me, just 25 days sooner, which makes her older than me.  Ha!

But don't they look lovely together?

Edited to add:  When I wrote this earlier today, in my little obit section I put 49th instead of 39th.  Gee, senility sets in early when you hit the big 39 + 1, doesn't it?