Showing posts from June, 2014

From the Bookshelf: Woodsburner

I finished reading Woodsburner last week by John Pipkin.

The book's premise centers around the moment in time when Henry David Thoreau (of Walden writing fame) and a friend accidentally burned down a huge tract of wooded land outside of Concord during an abnormally dry bit of weather.  The fire spread rapidly and almost reached Concord, where it would have destroyed the town.  The fire was fought by locals - townspeople and farmers, as well as Thoreau himself.

In theory, this is the kind of historial fiction I'd like.  The sort of thing where there's a moment in time expanded on and brought to life.  Sadly, I didn't feel this book did that.  First off, this author used what I call my "word of the day calendar" approach to writing.  Does an author feel like the book is more educated-sounding if you use a bunch of big words?  I dunno, but if big words are your thing, there are plenty of them in this book.  I don't have a problem using big words necessarily …

Weekending: 06/22/2014

I had a lovely weekend here - hope you did as well.  We didn't particularly do anything special, but it was nice and relaxed.

I finished up a sweater for The Book I had been working on.  I need to get the pattern graded, but the sample is done and ready to be photographed.  I did a couple of hours of work in the dye studio to get the final few skeins done for the next Heroines club kits which will ship out this week.  I'm still working on another sweater for The Book, and have been focusing on the back (one sleeve is done), figuring that's the biggest piece to tackle and once that's done, the fronts and remaining sleeve will see like fairly quick knits.  I also worked on shawl pattern that will be an indie release for next year.

While I didn't have oodles of time to devote to my sewing, I did get the center vines and leaves appliqued onto the first of the two Block 3s I'm working on for the quilt.

I was pleased with how these came out.  I have the second Block …

10 on Tuesday: Top 10 movies to watch again and again.

1.  Pride and Prejudice.  The Keira Knightley/Matthew MacFadyen version.  That scene of Mr. Darcy walking across the field with the sun coming up behind him - oof.
2.  Always.  John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Richard Dreyfuss.  I cry at the end every time.
3.  The Black Stallion.  A kid and his horse who win against the odds - how could I not love that one?
4.  It Happened One Night.  Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable.  Witty, clever, funny.  I adore this film.
5. The Three Musketeers.  With Michael York, Oliver Reed, Faye Dunaway, Richard Chamberlain.  A fun and funny entertainment.  Kind of hard to not enjoy this with the amazing cast!
6. Gone With the Wind.  A classic.
7. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  Redford and Newman together - perfect.
8. LOTR - I'm most partial to parts 1 and 3, but I'm happy to watch the entire trilogy.
9. Cold Comfort Farm.  Kind of a sleeper film, but I grew up in this movie plot during my summers as a kid.  It's funny but also a sort of no…

Weekending: 06/15/2014

D and I had a really nice relaxing weekend.  We tried out a few new grill recipes.  He took a long bike ride and got his new GPS system for the bike installed and made sure it was all in good shape for another big ride this week.

I did (not surprisingly) a lot of knitting.  I finished up a small shawl which will debut first of the new year, once it goes thru the tech editing and test knitter process.  I also got most of a sleeve knit for the next sweater I'm tackling for The Book.  My plan is to start the body of the sweater tonight after work.  In conjunction with the knitting, a lot of which was stockinette and/or ribbing, I finished up Woodsburner, and I'll have a post on that later this week.  I'm trying to decide what to start as my next read.  I have Wolf Hall in print that my folks sent along (as well as Bring up the Bodies), but I also have a Jane Austen mystery to read, which sounds a little lighter on the brain cells.

Finally, I took a bit of time yesterday to w…

From the Bookshelf: House of Evidence

I finished reading House of Evidence this week, by Viktor Ingolfsson.

If you are a fan of BBC's Wallander with Kenneth Brannagh, you'll probably enjoy this book.  A sort of "locked room" mystery, it actually follows two parallel murders that happened in the same house, but decades apart and which appear to have no motive and no likely suspects.

Tons of red herrings and a gloomy bleak mood are trademarks of this tale, which begins with a man being found dead in his house, shot in the head.  As the police investigate, they found that this man's father was found shot to death in the same room in the house almost 30 years earlier.  That mystery was never solved.

As the story unfolds, we are given glimpses of the father's life as a young man, at school to become an engineer, through the years of World War I, his marriage, and his quest to bring a railroad to Iceland.  We are also introduced to the uncle of the younger victim, a talented violinist who has a story t…

Ten on Tuesday: Top 10 Summer Drinks

Today's 10 on Tuesday is my Top 10 Summer Drinks

1.  Iced tea:  I'm totally groovin' on a watermelon/mint iced tea blend from the Republic of Tea.
2.  Smoothies:  I wind up having one for breakfast even in the colder days of winter, but frozen fruit blended up in the morning sure tastes good in the hot weather.
3.  White wine:  Lighter wines are my choice for the summer.  I like slightly fruitier ones to go with summertime grilling.
4.  Spritzers:  Half and half sparkling water and fruit juice over ice = very refreshing!
5.  Nice cold water with lots of ice.

I'm stopping at 5 today.  Almost everything I love for summer drinks has either sugar or some kind of thing I can't drink in it (like Coca-Cola, Beergaritas, and Mai Tais, for instance).  Boring, I know!

From the Bookshelf: The Last Queen

I finished up The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner.  This is the kind of historical fiction I love - Lots of facts and details that breathe life into a person.

The book is centered on Juana of Castile, who was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella (yeah, THAT Ferdinand and Isabella - of Columbus fame).  There were a lot of "OH!" moments in this book for me.  I mean... everyone knows the story of Ferdinand and Isabella funding the voyage to the new world.  But did you know that Isabella was Queen of Castile in her own right, and if the description of her in this book is anything like the truth, the woman was a force.   She wielded more power than her husband (who was ruler of Aragon) and rode into battle 8 days after giving birth to one of Juana's younger sisters.

Juana, as a middle daughter, had been groomed to be the wife of some important political alliance.  Her older brother was to inherit the joint thrones of Castile and Aragon.  By all accounts, Juana was a lovely young…

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Bands (or individuals) You've Seen In Concert

OK - I'll come clean and say that my list is really long.... BUT... I used to work in various venues where we hosted concerts, so I'm not entirely sure it counts if you are working the concert in tech, but I'll hit some highlights.

1.  James Taylor - I actually paid for tickets for this one!  Great show, gorgeous voice, entertaining performer.  One of my favorites.
2.  Pat Benatar - THAT gal has some pipes.  A nice tightly run show.  She and her band had been together a while at that point, and it definitely showed in their performance.
3.  The Kinks - These guys were fun.  They gave a great show and were friendly and approachable backstage.
4.  Huey Lewis and the News - Some of my favorites to work with.  These guys were SO polite and helpful, even to us working minions.  The show was PACKED and they managed to make everyone feel like they were having the best time ever, but also were aware of crowd control and managing the pace of things.  A good group of professionals.


Since I'm working on Sundays now, Thursday thru Saturday are my weekends, so you get early blogging about my weekend this week.

D was away with some friends for a guys' weekend.  I have to admit that I did do a fair amount of chore-type things (like steam-cleaning the downstairs carpets.  ugh!), but I then got to enjoy sitting in the nice cool downstairs to knit after I finished that up.  (Sidebar:  Our HVAC system is dead.  And of course, it was the first really HOT weather we've had so far this year, and I avoid the heat like vampires avoid the sunlight, so until it gets replaced - hopefully this week - the upstairs in the mid-80s is too hot for my tastes!).

As you'd expect, I knit quite a bit.  I'm about a third finished the border of a shawl I'd like to get done by mid-June.  It's not a hard knit, but it's beaded, so it takes some focus and concentration and it's not really TV knitting for me.  I had put a new sweater on the needles on Wednesday…