Monday, December 29, 2008


I think my "New Year's Resolution" (I don't usually make any whatsoever, so take this with a grain of salt!) is going to be to post more on my blog...especially about my return to Connecticut, and what it's taken for me to settle back in here. For quite some time I was loath to even admit that I was back here, a state I never really wanted to end up in, and newly single again after four (long) years. However, I've decided to start 2009 with a clean breast and a fresh slate and all that jazz (did I mix up those metaphors? hmm). It's been really a very difficult year for me, but I'm growing used to being here, and really giving it my all. I'm trying to find a niche for myself here. I don't plan to stay here for good, certainly, but for the time being it's been nice to be able to save a little bit of money and slow my life's pace down a bit (sometimes too much for me, though!). It's been a time of self-discovery, as I try to figure out Big Questions, such as where I want to live next (fun) and what I ultimately want to do be when I grow up (librarian, perhaps?). Everything is still seriously up in the air; maybe I should have started documenting all of this sooner, but oh well. Here I am now. And you all will get the exciting opportunity to watch me make big decisions (eep) and, hopefully metamorphosize into much more of the woman that I want to be.

Wish me luck??

Currently Reading:

AUTHOR: Bob Greene

TITLE: I Want That!: How We All Became Shoppers
AUTHOR: Thomas Hine

TITLE: Bleak House
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens

Monday, December 22, 2008

ghost parking lot

Spurred into curiosity by villagecharm, who recently posted about Connecticut, er, curiosities, I was doing a bit of reading up on such things, and stumbled across this gem, which I am so upset that I never got a chance to see:

Ghost Parking Lot
(photo courtesy of: wonderland of awesome)

Boy, that must've been a sight to see...even if it doesn't appear to have been kept up very well....

Currently Reading:

TITLE: The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
AUTHOR: Bill Bryson

TITLE: Bleak House
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens

TITLE: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
AUTHOR: Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, December 01, 2008


...look what I did:

No, that's not some sort of optical illusion - we have mug hooks under our cabinets, and while putting dishes into the dish drain this morning, I accidentally hit one of the hanging mugs and knocked it down. It did some impressive falling and cracking, such that it split evenly into two almost precisely-halved pieces. I'm more impressed with myself and my "breaking skills" than anything else, especially because I don't much care about those mugs - they were passed on from my mother's overstock, so they weren't particularly close to anyone's heart.

I'm just glad I won't be cleaning up pottery shards for the next several days! xo

up all night

Thanks, coffee.

I definitely learned a valuable lesson this weekend. On Friday, Augie & Luke had a really interesting discussion about Augie's plans to go home (it was already into the wee hours of the morning, so I suppose I should say "Saturday" instead) and drink some coffee before going to bed, so that when he woke up a few hours later, he'd be good and awake to drive to NY to pick up his friend. I was shocked - drink coffee before going to bed?!

But, I understood it all too well tonight.

After watching Music Within (really good!) at Sarah's, then stopping at Target to pick up a gift for Frosty's Friends (my sisters & I have made this a yearly tradition), I headed to Borders for the Central CT Knitting for the Greater Good meeting (wow, it was such a giving evening...), for which I am working on this blanket. I stopped at the coffee counter to get a gingerbread latte (I love seasonal drinks), as I normally do. I didn't even make it through half of the drink throughout the course of the evening, so I was not surprised while on my way home to find myself yawning. I was pleased by this, though, because I was feeling slightly run down, and I was hoping to get to bed early. My evening company had postponed to Monday night, so I finished watching Akira and then read a few pages before turning off the light to go to sleep. It was quite early for me - around 9:30 or so. I had a bit of trouble nodding off, but that's not abnormal for me no matter what time it is.

What was out of the ordinary was waking up at 3:45...and not being able to go back to sleep! I finished a book, I played around on my phone, I read more of another book, I caught up on my blog reading, I lay around thinking about all the things I should be doing while I was so awake and alert...and finally, I gave up the battle for sleep. My upstairs neighbor, who works construction and usually gets up around 4:30 or 5, was up after I was. Ugh.

I don't feel tired, and my body doesn't feel exhausted, but...I do feel like my eyes could close, if I were able to get my body to want to sleep. Blah. I just had a little snack (bad, I know, if I'm planning to try to catch another few minutes, but I was hungry!), and now I'm contemplating getting back in bed with a book. I probably won't sleep again (unfortunately - or fortunately? - all of the books I'm reading now are quite engaging), but at least I'll be "resting".

Bah. Coffee. Now I get why people drink decaf. I mean, I'm not going to anytime soon - I largely drink coffee for the caffeine, not for the taste (although it's certainly grown on me - but I'm more apt to pick up an energy drink if it comes down to that) - but, I can understand it now. Haha!

Hope everyone else out there is well-rested for the start of another week...xo

Friday, October 10, 2008

toothbrush, toothbrush, you've come back to me!

(Thanks to The State for the unforgettable title reference....)

Okay, so: I have purchased three new toothbrushes in the past month. Unbelievable, right? And this coming from a girl who buys once once every...maybe year? (Sorry, Liam.) It appears to be due to some odd mental block of mine - well, the first one, I bought because I needed a new toothbrush and actually thought to buy one. Okay, good start. The second one, I purchased because while I remembered every single other thing I needed to pack to house-sit for my sister, I managed to somehow forget a toothbrush. --Have I mentioned that my brother-in-law in a dentist? I don't know how I didn't think "dentist...toothbrush". But also, you'd think a dentist would have extra toothbrushes all over his house, right? My theory is that he hoards them all for himself.

In any case, the third I had to buy today, because I once again packed everything but the toothbrush. I guess it kind of makes sense; when I go through my bathroom gathering all the things I'll need - shampoo, conditioner, razor, face cleaner, moisturizer, etc. - I don't generally look at the toothbrush holder, since it's in its own separate place. But it's frustrating, because clean teeth is the one thing I absolutely must have. So, now I'm totally stocked up on toothbrushes for the next...3 years? :)


Thursday, October 09, 2008

busy week

This week has been so busy that I feel like my head is swimming from everything I need to remember to get done! I love it, though, in my own masochistic way; I'd missed that feeling from my days in Boston, when I'd have a meeting or rendezvous of some sort every night, and would find the nights when I got to stay in the rare - and cherished - occasion. I'm still working on finding a good balance here - unfortunately, there are very few groups that I can or want to get involved with in CT - but, it's getting better. I am keeping an eye out and certainly trying to be more social; I had needed that, too. Mostly right now I'm connecting with old friends, but it's been nice to come across the occasional very interesting new person, too.

A look back at my week thus far:

Friday: Birthday celebrations for Sarah K, at our group's favorite It's Only Natural! Complete with pumpkin ale and a sweet potato tart entree, so delicious.

Saturday: I cleaned Sarah & Liam's house before their arrival back from Spain, stopped at Mom & Dad's, then met up with Ant for what was supposed to be an On the Drop show, but ended up being pizza and watching a movie (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) at home. Following that, it was Girls Night at Tanya's with her, Adrienne, and Kirsten - we drank wine & watched Baby Mama. Both of this day's movies But, I guess I hadn't expected anything more.

Sunday: A visit to the Atheneum with Renee, which was great! And FREE, thanks to the monthly Bank of America program. We parked a few blocks away in Hartford and ended up walking through a biker's festival (yes, motorcycles), which was kinda neat, too. It's interesting to see Hartford events, compared to those that take place in Boston or New York. Much quieter and low-key, although always there are those enthusiastic about their subject, no matter where it is. It was cute. And, the museum was lovely - I had forgotten some of the amazing pieces that are on display there. Plus, there was a special exhibit on quilts, which was really neat! A nice, cultured afternoon - and it was good to remind myself what depths of culture Hartford can have, as well. I'd like to take more advantage of that as I continue on here. (And later that evening, some wine and catching up with my housemate, which was lovely.)

Monday: Dinner, a quick stop at the craft store, and shoe-shopping with Sarah. An early night, but fun nonetheless.

Tuesday: Dinner at Aunt Yvonne & Alan's, in order to learn what was necessary to know for house-, dog-, and cat-sitting this Columbus Day weekend. We ordered delicious takeout Chinese and Aunt Yvonne and I had a lively discussion about books, which I always love. I am looking forward to spending time with Molly (the dog) and Corky (the cat). Great animals. I left around 9:30, which unfortunately was too late for meeting up for wine & sushi-making at Adrienne's, so we decided to reschedule. That worked out okay, though, because I got to catch some of the presidential debate when I got home.

Wednesday: I took Jen out for her birthday to our favorite Thai place, in West Hartford. Yum! We both ordered our favorite, pad thai with shrimp. Then we picked up a bit of ice cream and hung around at her house with her dogs, talking knitting and (of course) boys.

And, coming up:

Today: It's going to be kind of crazy: I have to go check on the pets all the way in West Hartford before I can return to Bristol for our first spinning group meeting...I'm talking wheels, not stationary bikes (and yes, I am an old woman at heart, I fully realize this). Then I plan to race over to Sarah's for our weekly The Office viewing...and I hope to catch a bit of the SNL prime time presidential special right afterwards, as well. That will be followed perhaps by some mah jongg, as per usual on Thursday nights (yes, I already told you, I know I'm an old lady). So, essentially, I have to hit the ground running the minute I'm done with work at 5 tonight. Oy.

Oh, did I mention I still also have to pack for staying at my aunt's? Yeah.

Tomorrow, I'll work at my aunt's and then a small group of us are thinking Dessert Night (live music & delicious cakes) at Sweet Harmony in Middletown...we'll see if we actually get up the energy for that, haha. Otherwise, I'm looking at a pretty quiet weekend compared to this week, which is unusual, but I'll definitely enjoy. I am looking forward to cozying up with the pets and some knitting or a book in my aunt's beautiful house.

For now, though, I've got to finish up work & then figure everything out for tonight! xo

p.s. Also, I know it looks like I'm reading a ton of books at once, but you have to understand my system: one is for reading at home, and that's usually a dense and or huge book that I don't feel like carrying around (right now, that'd be Anathem); one is for carrying with me everywhere in my bag, so I can read snippets of it here and there (in this case, Class Matters just replaced Consuming Kids); one I am audiobooking (Bleak House, which is beautifully read); and the fourth is my first experience with DailyLit, which I'm really enjoying thus far...especially with this current pick (Beowulf).

p.p.s. Sorry, I realize this was kind of a boring entry interesting to perhaps no one but myself...I'll try to post more interesting stuff soon. I have been getting better about posting, though, right?? :)

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Anathem
AUTHOR: Neal Stephenson

TITLE: Class Matters
AUTHOR: The New York Times

TITLE: Bleak House
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens

TITLE: Beowulf
AUTHOR: Gummere

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I don't really know why I'm posting today, as I don't have much to say, I don't think. But, knowing me, I'll write a lot anyway.

I'm currently housesitting for my oldest sister, while she and her husband and brother-in-law are adventuring in Spain. (I'm jealous. Need to plan a vacation soon. SOON!) The house is very pretty and I'm quickly getting the hang of all of its little quirks. Mostly my jobs are small: empty the dehumidifier, take in the paper and mail, water a couple of plants. There are no pets, so this is very easy. I think they figured I'd enjoy the time in a real house instead of an apartment, rather than that they actually needed someone here, haha. I'm taking advantage of the big screen TV to watch movies (last night it was - finally! - Shaun of the Dead, which was hilariously awesome) and a very little bit of cable, although I'm (only a little) surprised to find how uninterested in most of it I am. I watched several episodes of The Cosby Show one evening, and The Simpsons and Family Guy on Sunday night (interspersed with 21 when shows I didn't want to watch were on), but other than that, I haven't even been watching much. I was hoping to get a lot more reading done this week because I thought it'd be a quiet one, but I've been surprisingly busy. Unfortunately, some events were less pleasant than others (a friend lost a loved one, which makes me tear up every time I think of it), but there were some lovely nights spent with Tanya (crafting & drinking together) and with my parents (we watched I, Robot). On Sunday, we celebrated my grandparents' 61st anniversary (I can't even fathom that...61 years of anything). And I baked up a batch of Rice Krispie treats last night on a whim. And um...what else? I think that's mostly everything. No wonder I'm tired right now.

Oh, and I am well on my way to becoming a professional house-sitter! Haha. In August it was my parents' house, this week it's my sister's, and my aunt wants me to housesit for her condo and pets (yay!) over the long Columbus Day weekend. Score - now, to just get the word out that I'm trustworthy & leave everything as I found it, so other people will think to ask me. I love these "mini vacations". It certainly does help that I can work from anywhere.

I've gotten a lot of knitting done here; I had brought over this huge bag of various projects, and the bag is almost empty! Crazy. I usually worry too much and bring way too many things to work on (same with books when I go anywhere), but this time I seem to have been justified in my overzealous preparations. I finished up a felted bag (all except for the felting) and have just a little bit left on an adorable baby vest - maybe I'll make that tonight's goal, as I will actually be alone in the house for the entire evening for only the second time, I think. I've also whipped up a ton more squares (maybe 20?) for our blanket project. And, I'm also working on a top for which I've got most of the back done. I'm here until Saturday; I'm thinking I may have to either go purchase more yarn, or stop back at home to pick up some replacement projects!

Hmm. What else? This week holds the weird honor of containing 4 of my good friends' birthdays, all in a row: October 1-4. So happy birthday to Jen, Julia, Sarah, and Abby! Best wishes for 27 and 28! :)

On that happy note, I'm going to leave y'all here. Sorry for the ramblings; I felt the urge to post today, but I suppose there wasn't really a point. I hope everyone is well & enjoying the lovely fall weather (if they are getting any where they are). xoxo

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

hip to hike

I went to the Bristol dog park yesterday night to meet up with Amber, Aaron, Kyle, and Joe, and I was surprised to find that we were going hiking through trails in the woods instead of just standing around while the dogs ran around in circles. Surprised when it was too late to go back and get my cane, which worried me briefly, but then I just gamely traveled on. And, to my great surprise, my hip didn't bother me at all! Not during the hike, not afterward, and not even this morning when I woke up. I hadn't even remembered to take my normal 600mg of ibuprofen yesterday, either, so I was expecting some misery. But things are good. Which is strange, because a few days before, I'd gone on a couple of walks around my parents' neighborhood with my mother and sisters, and my leg did hurt me then. I am wondering if the difference truly is between the impact of concrete on my joints compared to the relative "softness" of packed earth. Just something I've been thinking about....

In any case, last night was a lot of fun. I hadn't seen Amber or Aaron in something like 4 years, but they are fabulously easy to pick back up with like no time has passed at all. They're good people. We took a nice long hike (it felt so good to be exercising), then Aaron & I went grocery shopping together, and we all cooked dinner together back at Amber's apartment. I'm really disappointed that Amber is moving to FL next month, just when we've finally gotten back in touch! Things like this seem to happen all too often in my life. Blah.

In other news, work told us yesterday that we're no longer going to develop the product that I've been working on since January! But, luckily, I'm able to transfer to another product within the same group, so it'll be a bit of a transition, but hopefully not too difficult to get used to. I'm looking forward to seeing what this change'll be like.

Speaking of which, I should go back to reading the manual to familiarize myself with the new software.

Have a good Wednesday! xo

Friday, September 19, 2008

10 happy thoughts

Because I've been having a really bad week, and because I am a pessimist by nature, I figured Wendy's idea of listing 10 things that make me happy right now was a good way to cheer myself up:

  1. the sunny-but-chilly fall weather

  2. feeling productive with my knitting (although still somewhat overwhelmed...)

  3. a warm cup of French vanilla coffee

  4. my cozy new Urban Outfitters shirt (that I'm wearing right now)

  5. the anticipation of a good book (I'm enjoying Anathem thus far)

  6. my new shelves

  7. having cleared the air a bit with some people

  8. making plans with other people that I haven't seen in ages (and was being lazy about contacting...hopefully I'll get to everyone soon)

  9. Talk Like A Pirate Day, of course

  10. and last but certainly not least, plans to have dinner with my family for Sarah's birthday this evening, at a lovely teahouse in Middletown (I'm especially looking forward to the cake!)

Oh and I have to add: 11. feeling like I've been organizing and purging a lot of the stuff that plagues me every day...I love the calm that I get from not having so many things. I am really trying to get rid of useless crap (and things I just don't use, even if I think I might someday...) and I've gone through a lot this past month. I hope to continue to clear our the clutter.

Um...otherwise, really not much going on with me. As I said above, I had a really bad week, emotionally and physically draining, and I am just ready to get some sleep this weekend. I am also looking forward to having some sisterly fun, as Bethany will be in town to celebrate Sarah's birthday, so we'll be hanging out a lot. Luckily my sisters tend towards more quiet-time activities, too, so I hopefully will feel rested after this weekend (since clearly last weekend I did not).

I hope you all have a great weekend, and that all of you feel rested & relaxed afterwards. xo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Anathem
AUTHOR: Neal Stephenson

TITLE: Consuming Kids
AUTHOR: Susan Linn

TITLE: Bleak House
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens

Monday, September 15, 2008

cupcakes & curry

It was my oldest sister's birthday this weekend, and because of that (and because I've been wanting to try out the cookbook that Sarah K gave me), I was excited by my plan to bake up a batch of vegan orange creamsicle cupcakes:

They turned out just lovely, as you can see - I am very pleased with the result. They were moist and pudding-filled and the frosting was unbelievably delicious (if I do say so myself; I feel I can, since it was the recipe that made it, not my following the steps of it!).

However, I didn't factor in how exhausted I'd be come Monday morning, because my weekend consisted of:

  • going out for a late dinner + drinks on Friday evening, while listening to a fun Irish band perform late into the night

  • getting up early to squeeze in a stop at a local charity tag sale my friend was working (which I was unable to locate) before zipping as quick as legally possible down to New Haven to meet up with Sally for a brief visit, which included:

  • some shopping at Urban Outfitters & a lovely lunch at the burrito place across the street, and once Sally left, was followed by

  • visiting Ikea solo, which was such a bad idea, but I didn't want to "waste" a trip to NH and not stop in!

  • hating crowds of slow people more than usual

  • deciding on a smaller set of shelves than I wanted because I wanted something I could fit into my car

  • struggling to fit the boxes into my car (in flipflops!)...and then realizing that my GPS was wedged underneath the boxes and that there was no way in hell I was going to be able to lift them in order to reach it

  • finding my way successfully home, although there were harrowing moments, as in when I attempted to go from 91 to 691, and just blew right past the exit, which would've been okay had I had my GPS...

  • realizing it was probably better that I took 9 instead

  • making a quick run into Price Chopper to pick up ingredients for the above cupcakes...and feeling slightly better that at least I had the foresight to bring the cookbook with me when I left for New Haven that morning

  • getting home, opening the cartons that contained the shelf pieces in order to bring them in one by one...and realizing I had gotten the WHITE ones instead of the BLACK that I wanted!

  • getting over that, and

  • hauling the shelves inside piece by piece, bruising myself mercilessly in the process, and sweating like I'd just run a marathon

  • attempting for quite some time to put the shelves together & swearing a blue streak until I was finally successful (usually I am awesome at following directions!)

  • feeling in a slightly better mood once I had shelves up & was able to put things on them

  • making orange pudding on the stovetop to prepare for cupcake-making on Sunday

  • collapsing into bed...only to realize I was unable to sleep, and stayed awake until around 3 or 4 in the morning...

  • waking up early to successfully complete the cupcakes - here they are fresh out of the oven:

  • making a quick grocery store run to pick up ingredients for a double batch of Curried Sweet Potato & Apple Pilaf

  • going to my sister's to celebrate her birthday with cupcakes & ice cream cake (while chopping vegetables for the pilaf)

  • stopping at my parents' to drop some things off & have my awesome father help me with my car

  • running back home to cook & shower before heading over to Jenn's

  • finally arriving at her potluck dinner party with a successful pilaf & a few cupcakes in tow

So, there you have it: my unexpectedly whirlwind weekend! I had no idea it'd be like that. I had expected a somewhat slowly-paced couple of days, and had been looking forward to some relaxing smattered with seeing some good friends here & there. No wonder I'm exhausted today.

Plus, I didn't get much sleep again last night.

Can I have another weekend to recover from this one? Please?


p.s. Very sad to hear about David Foster Wallace...I have been meaning to read Infinite Jest for years (really enjoyed A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again - bits of it still stick with me years later); now when I finally get around to it (perhaps after Anathem?) it'll have to be read in homage....

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

just for you, Neal

Well, it looks like I'm giving up on my all-female reading list...finally!

I hit 10, then 50, and kept going...I didn't realize how many books by women I had on my to-read list! So I've been reading women almost exclusively for over a year now. I never thought I'd be able to stand even a few months, let alone an entire year! Well, maybe it was something I needed at the time....

However, I have recently been struggling with wanting to return to male authors, yet having such a difficult time deciding when and how. As in, should I wait until I hit a good round number, like 75 or 100? And what book should I start with? I felt like it should be something monumental, some work that was seminal in the development of literature, or else it wouldn't be such a poignant change. I considered Tolstoy, Proust, García Márquez. I felt like the decision was impossible to make. I want to read all of those, yes, and many more: but which first? Maybe it isn't even that important of a decision, but it feels like it is. I realize that I've been "cheating" a bit and reading some male authors, but for the most part I've been restricting that to book clubs or audiobooks. So I do feel like this is an important turning point for me.

So. I decided today, hell with it - why not my favorite author's new book? I know I'll enjoy it, it comes out today, and it's an easy decision to make. I don't want to wait on this new one like I've waited on others, because "a convenient time to read" this or that never actually happens, for me. I just have to pick it up and start reading. Which I'm eager to do - I do occasionally enjoy reading books that are à la mode so I can sometimes have conversations with people who aren't classics dorks like me, haha. (Not that I don't read other stuff...but usually I am at the very least a few years behind on whatever I read, largely because I tend to get books from, I'd rather hear from people that a book is worth my time before picking it up, hah.)

Plus, I'm currently working on female-authored-books 68 and 69...and, after all, 69 ain't a bad number to end up on.... :)

And, buying it today gives me an excuse to visit Ant at work, which is an added bonus.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Martha's 100 declutter

I came across this Martha Stewart article on Unclutterer today, and although it's from a year ago, it's still got some great references for those of you looking to thin out the stuff in your life. I don't agree with some of the items, but for the most part it's a pretty nifty & comprehensive little guide. I found the information on preserve to be of particular interest...granted, some places (Boston included) do recycle all types of plastic, but I know that many places don't, so this is a neat way to keep #5 plastic out of the trash. I did a bit of searching the website, however, and while I had hoped they would offer discounts on their products for mailing in materials for their use, they do not - but they do offer postage-paid mailing labels, at least. So really all you would have to provide (besides your time & energy) is a box. Not too bad, but they still are reaping the benefits financially...still, I suppose I'd rather see the plastic used than tossed. Maybe it's just (crazy) me.

Thanks, Mom, for raising three recycling-obsessed daughters! (Well, I suppose that it's better than us being more ways than one, hah.)


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

book meme

I saw this on Stariel's blog; I am changing the rules a bit because I don't have many books that I've started and not finished:

Instructions: Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you’ve started but haven’t finished you'd like to read someday, cross out the ones you hated, and underline the ones on your book shelf! Combine indicators as appropriate.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert

This is a very curious mix of books...I wonder if they are all someone's favorites or something. Odd.

But, always glad to see my favorite book (Cryptonomicon) listed.


p.s. I'm well aware that this is probably interesting to no one else but me...but I wanted to post it, I'm sorry. :)

Currently Reading:

TITLE: The Bug
AUTHOR: Ellen Ullman

TITLE: Consuming Kids
AUTHOR: Susan Linn

TITLE: Bleak House
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens

Monday, August 25, 2008

hilarious blog

After laughing out loud several times just today at posts on The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, I thought it high time to share this with my beloved blog readers.

I think what I love most are the terribly-amusing-but-oh-so-brief comments that the author adds to "clarify" (yes, quotation marks were necessary there, shush) the situation for her hapless readership, hah. Priceless.

I was up in Boston yesterday having a lovely time with Jeanette; I will try to get off my lazy arse and post about that sometime before 2010! :)


(Oh, and credit goes to Bethany for pointing me in the direction of that blog. Thanks!)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Stephenson strikes again

Not that many people will care about this, but, yay, new from my favorite author!


Now, if only I could stop the saving-the-best-for-last mentality I have about books (and many other things) and finally finish off his awesome Baroque Cycle trilogy....


Monday, August 18, 2008

sunny day, chasing the clouds away...

Okay, has Sesame Street always been this awesome and I just failed to notice because I wasn't aware of celebrities when I was 5? Or is this a new thing, all of their cool guest stars? In the past month, I've seen Tina Fey (best EVER: "Read read read read / We're pirates who like to read!" - they were the Bookaneers), NPH (who played the Shoe Fairy!), and it looks like today features Will Arnett as a magician (not a far cry from his Arrested Development days, but hopefully he's more successful at it here than he was there...). This is the coolest thing. It makes me, as an adult, just as excited to watch Sesame Street as my 2-year-old housemate Kaelyn is. Awesome.

p.s. How cool is it that entering "NPH" into the search lands you directly on Neil Patrick Harris' page, instead of search results? Score one for Doogie.

Currently Reading:

TITLE: The Bug
AUTHOR: Ellen Ullman

TITLE: Mating in Captivity
AUTHOR: Esther Perel

TITLE: Bleak House
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens

Friday, August 08, 2008


So I recently signed up for YouMail, and I just love the service. It reminds me I have voicemails both via email and text message, which really helps me remember much better who I have to call back. Plus, I have an inbox where I can listen to or delete messages in any order, instead of having to worry about the linearity of normal phone voicemail systems or how quickly messages expire (they don't seem to on YouMail).

But what I am actually posting about is the transcription service they currently offer. When someone calls, they try to translate voice into text, and offer you that so you can scan the message if you can't immediately listen to it. However, voices are so diverse and voice recognition software is not quite yet up to par, so currently it's all just ridiculously amusing instead of all that accurate. But, I don't mind - I'm laughing my ass of in the meantime.

For instance, my sister Sarah called and left a message to call her back. I saw this: "Illuminating hey had a question for you mean column by. Do this."

My friend Kyle called (albeit, with laryngitis) and left a message that started off translated to: "Oh no no. Oh Regina. Shouldn't. Element lotus that's kind of." and ended with "A number isuzu for 6 it's ##### children to that. But producing but." (The number signs were actual numbers, but I didn't want to give away too much of his personal information!)

Yesterday, Ant and I tried to trick the voice recognition, but surprisingly his voice was one of the most recognizable. But we were highly amused when he tried "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and it gave us "super cal fragile as the x-p-l Delicious" (complete with the capital "d"!). Now I can only say the phrase the latter way, haha.

There have been numerous others, but I won't bore you with them all, haha. (Especially because they are probably funnier when you know what was actually said!) But definitely I'd recommend signing up for this free service! It's been absolutely worth it for me. And not just because of the amusement factor. xo

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


I feel really awful today because I'm being really bitchy, due to being extremely overtired. Which is ridiculous of me, because the reason for me being exhausted makes me really very happy. But unfortunately the happy didn't manage to cancel out the feeling I had of being walked all over by a friend. When I realized that I was overreacting, it was too late, the damage was done. Now, I just am feeling crappy for how I acted, because I realize it was really irrational and unfair. I think sometimes my social anxiety kicks into overdrive, and I lash out because I'm not sure how to be. I know I should be friendly & happy, especially to people I don't know well who have no idea why I'm in a lousy mood, but unfortunately sometimes I even take it out on them. And when I'm tired, I don't always have the energy to put on the requisite super-friendly act. I try always to do so when it comes to complete strangers - people in the service industry, for instance - but I think I can sometimes be terribly unfair to acquaintances who have never had to deal with an angry me before. Sometimes it comes out of left field and really throws people for a loop - because 90% of the time, I can be upbeat and cheerful as necessary. But when I'm off, I'm off - and unfortunately, people pay. I'm sorry.

I'm going to try to catch up on sleep tonight so hopefully I'm not quite so cranky tomorrow, but it'll be hard what with it being Tanya's birthday, and having a friend in from out of town for one night only! xo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: The Brambles
AUTHOR: Eliza Minot

TITLE: Bleak House
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

down South(ish)

Ah-HAH! You all thought I had disappeared, didn't ya? Yeah, I haven't been blogging much, I know. Not much time to write, mostly. And things are just...going. It's good. Right now I'm down in Virginia with my friend Tanya; we've been visiting friends of hers - big brothers, kind of - who have also adopted me, haha. We arrived Friday afternoon, and then spent 3 nights at shows in a row! More live music than I've seen in a long time. It was really fun. And all were either the guys' bands, or their friends, so it was all really comfy, too. Over the weekend we also got a chance to hit the beach - we saw dolphins! - and the famous Virginia Beach boardwalk, where this Neptune statue resides:

(Sorry the image is so dark; it was taken on my phone.)

Mostly we have been seeing people more than seeing sights, but it is our second visit down here (in 4 months), so that makes sense. I of course made a point to stop at the one local yarn shop I spotted down here, and chatted with the small knitting group there for a little while (before, of course, purchasing several skeins of sock yarn - although, unfortunately, nothing locally produced). Otherwise, I've been working during the day and the past couple of nights have been (self-imposed) quiet ones in, since we were so exhausted from the weekend, haha.

All right, I should get back to work for now, I just wanted to stop in & say hi. Hooray! xo

Monday, June 16, 2008

delocate yourself

Just wanted to share this very cool website: Delocator. It helps you find locally run and owned bookstores, cafes, and movie theaters in your area, so you don't have to give all your money to The Man. Instead, you can keep it invested in your own community. Yay!

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Daughter of Fortune
AUTHOR: Isabel Allende

TITLE: How to Kill a Rock Star
AUTHOR: Tiffanie deBartolo

overdue (knitting) update

I suddenly encountered trouble just as I was about to post this over at Sweet Potato Knits, so I figured I'd post it here for now...apologies to those who read both blogs & might end up seeing this twice - if the SPK errors aren't fatal. xo

Hi. So I've been knitting, of course. And posting some things on Ravelry. But unfortunately I haven't been keeping up with SPK, nor have I really taken a ton of photos. I thought I'd quickly share a few here, though, for those of you who don't see me knitting every day:

Here is an in-progress shot of a piece I've had hibernating for quite some time now - the Trellis & Vine that was once found on Magknits:

If I can find a link to it being hosted somewhere else (it's not even currently on Ravelry), I'll be sure to share. For now, you can use any of the links listed at this Wayback Machine page.

Oh, and I'm knitting that in Brown Sheep Co. Cotton Fleece, color CW-900 Perry's Primrose.

Here is a pair of Jaywalkers (another Magknits pattern; this one's on Ravelry, and Grumperina also hosts a page with ways to find it here) that I've knit for one of my best friends; her favorite color is green:

These will be a birthday gift for her. They were knit in KnitPicks Gossamer, a laceweight yarn, but I really like how they turned out! Especially the bottom one; I don't love how the color pooled on the top one, but the striping on the bottom one worked out really neat.

Let's see, what else? Oh, here's an in-progress shot of the alphabet-block baby blanket I'm currently in the middle of:

All of it has now been knit, and about half has been sewn (well, crocheted) together. Right now I'm working on blocking the last few pieces before they go in. I should have a finished product photo soon, and with that, I promise "instructions" of a sort. I'm not too pleased with how this turned out, actually, which is why I'm glad I'm not too worried about what the giftee will think of it, heh. But next time I plan to do it with white in place of the "background" stitches to make for more of an alphabet block look. But, this was a fun & simple project to kind of work on piecemeal.

Otherwise, I'm in the middle of a few other things - another pair of socks (the second to the one I had to rip out because of the super-long foot!), and I just did a gauge swatch for a toddler hoodie I'm knitting out of cotton for my current housemate (who's 2). Oh, and I finished a scarf, but I'm not gonna post it here just yet.

Mostly, I'm trying really hard to knit up my stash and to finish up WIPs and hibernated pieces. I'm excited to feel pretty productive in both those areas (although I have to admit I've made purchases recently that sort of balance out the stash-busting...le sigh).

Hope everyone's well. I'll try to post more often here. Miss you all. xoxo

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

birthday books

I have been meaning to post a list of all the awesome books I received for my birthday this year; some were on my Amazon wishlist, and some were purchases made with me in mind. All were very appropriate, and they're on my to-read-in-the-near-future list. I hope against hope to get to most of them this summer:

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero)

Given by: Sarah K.
Unaware that it was recently added to my Amazon wishlist, Sarah K. mailed this to me entirely out of the blue! It's, clearly, a vegan cupcake cookbook. I can't wait to try some of the recipes.

The Knitting Circle (Ann Hood)

Given by: Sarah (sister)
Because I love books & knitting!

The Friday Night Knitting Club (Kate Jacobs)

Ditto above. This one I've already read; it was an enjoyable, light, chick-lit-ish read, and would be even for those who don't knit, I think. And luckily it wasn't quite as tepid and fanciful as some knitting novels I've read in the past...but we won't get into that right now.

The Killer Angels (Michael Shaara)

Given by: Mom & Dad
On my Amazon wishlist because Dave recommended it a few years ago (I forget why). It's a historical novel, about the "four most bloody and courageous days" of the Civil War. My one issue with it right now that it's the mass market paperback version. Ugh. I wish they'd never invented that format. Those don't ever feel like real books.

Sin and Syntax (Constance Hale)

Given by: Mom & Dad
On my Amazon wishlist because I think I saw it on someone else's...? It's subtitled "How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose." I don't know much about it; I'm looking forward to cracking it to see what it's got to say.

Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi)

Given by: Mom & Dad
On my Amazon wishlist because of a review in Bust magazine. It's an autobiographical "graphic novel" (how do you describe this format without calling it a novel? - it isn't one) about a girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

The New Penguin History of the World (J.M. Roberts)

Given by: Mom & Dad
On my Amazon wishlist because my friend & coworker Karen highly recommended it after we had long discussions about history (and how we wanted a comprehensive, over-arching understanding of it) over microwaved lunches in the atrium. I plan to read this in small, digestible bites over a long period of time, somewhat like Zinn's A People's History.

Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary (Vivian Cook)

Given by: Bethany
This title was difficult to type. Bethany knows of my love of proper grammar & orthography. The book looks to contain photographic examples of many common mistakes in everyday writing (mostly images of signs) as well as thorough notes on history, historic mistakes (some by very famous authors), other problematic spellings, etc. Also: I thought it was written by a woman, but Vivian is in fact a man.

Thanks, everyone, for such thoughtful and such appropriate gifts! You know you generally can't go wrong giving me a book (my to-read pile continues to grow out of control...), but these were just so spot-on. I'm excited for each & every one of them.


NB: These books were listed by order of receipt, not by order of preference or order I intend to read them.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

i'm a peach

I have never in my life lived on Limmer Lane in Cairo, GA. In fact, I've never lived anywhere near Georgia! So why in the world is my credit card apparently now being billed there? I'm very nervous about this. I don't know if it's fraudulence, or if it's a mistake made by my credit card company. I called immediately when I noticed the problem, but I'm keeping an extra-close eye on my account for the next week or so. It doesn't look like there have been any suspicious purchases yet, but you never know. Sometimes they take a while. I'm so scared to have to go through the hell of sorting out fraudulent purchases once again. Ugh.

I'm thinking that maybe this was actually a credit card company mistake. The only information I can find online for the above address is an outdated real estate listing, which means that maybe someone recently moved in, and applied for a new card. Could they have reissued my number or written over the wrong database record, though?? Is that even possible?

Oy. Wish me luck that this isn't yet another few months of Credit Card Hell. I hate this stuff. There has to be better way of making things secure. Bah.

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Daughter of Fortune
AUTHOR: Isabel Allende

TITLE: Drinking: A Love Story
AUTHOR: Caroline Knapp

Friday, May 23, 2008

ah, sunshine

Working outside today, because it is warmer outside than in. What is with this weather? It's been so cold. I don't know why I expect hot temperatures in May, though. Maybe just 'cause we've seen them in recent years. Aside from the cold nights, though, I don't really mind - I prefer daytime weather like this (at least the outside temperatures) rather than extreme heat & humidity. I like t-shirt-and-jeans-and-sweatshirt weather; I've always preferred it. I just hate when I dress for warmer weather during the day and then am not prepared for the almost-freezing temperatures at night - so I walk around huddled in my thin jacket and wishing I'd worn socks.

I am totally digging warming myself in the gorgeous sunshine right now, though. Yay for laptops and wireless Internets. :)


Currently Reading:

TITLE: The Friday Night Knitting Club
AUTHOR: Kate Jacobs

TITLE: Daughter of Fortune
AUTHOR: Isabel Allende

Monday, May 12, 2008

treat your mother right

Just thought this was appropriate for yesterday...yay, Mr. T!

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Special Topics in Calamity Physics
AUTHOR: Marisha Pessl

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

ugh, tests...

Well, I've decided it's high time for me to take the GRE. I keep putting it off, but I figure that's the first step in getting me anywhere on the road to grad school. I've been seriously considering (again) studying NLP, because I do love computers + grammar, but I want to do something that actually makes a difference. That's what I've really been struggling with a lot lately. So I need to do a bit more research into ways research into that field might actually help make the world a better place, someday. I'll keep y'all updated on any further developments in this vein.

For now, I'm looking into GRE books. I was thinking taking classes would be fun (mostly for the social aspect, as I kind of hate the whole marketplace of "here's how to get the edge on standarized testing!"), but they cost a whopping $1200, so that's been counted out. Besides, I know I can do fine on my own; I just need a little brushing up. It'd be fun to find a community of people to study with, though. Give each other flashcard quizzes and whatnot, haha.

It feels nice to have some sort of direction. But, I've said this sort of thing before & it's gone absolutely nowhere because of my lack of motivation. I really need to get my act together. I'll be 27 very soon. I want to actually feel like I'm at least on a path to somewhere good by 30.

Wish me luck? xoxo

Friday, May 02, 2008

free & cool

Dave is probably already all over this one, but for those of us who aren't such avid comic book readers, I thought some of you might be interested in hearing about this: Free Comic Book Day! Free is always good, and comics definitely don't seem to get enough recognition these days. I may go for a beloved Archie tomorrow (if Jughead were real, he'd totally be the guy I had an irrepressible crush on, a la Big Ethel), but...I may also branch out and try something new & exciting. I don't give comics enough of a fair shake, myself.

Have a good (and comic-filled) weekend, everyone! xo

(Thanks to Liquid Treat for the notification on this one.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

who knew?

Granted, I wasn't paying much attention to the economy at 10, but I had no idea that the "alterna-grunge" fashion movement had anything at all to do with the recession, as this article indicates:

Economists say this teen spending slump could be the worst in 17 years, when teen frugality led to the demise of once-hot Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc. and ushered in an era of flannel shirts and torn jeans.

I guess it makes sense - my friends & I were doing most of our shopping at Salvation Army stores throughout high school, although we definitely weren't of the Abercrombie norm where I lived....

I am just picturing the early-90s fashion icons of Kurt & Courtney. Babydoll dresses weren't quite something you could buy secondhand, but I guess things like plastic hairclips (I totally rocked those) and torn tights weren't too difficult to obtain or upkeep.

I'm also definitely glad to see this closing sentence:

Block noted that buying second-hand is also appealing to a growing eco-friendly sentiment among teenagers.

I sure hope to see that trend continue!


Currently Reading:

TITLE: Dematerializing
AUTHOR: Jane Hammerslough

Monday, April 21, 2008

let's go Bruins

Win that 7th game!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

etymology simply fascinates me.

Well...I was going to write something out, but I don't think I could say it any better than Wikipedia -- this is about the Friars Minor Capuchin, an order of the Catholic Church:

The order arose in 1520 when Matteo da Bascio, an "Observant" Franciscan friar native to the Italian region of Marche, became inspired by God with the idea that the manner of life led by the Franciscans of his day was not the one which St. Francis had envisaged. He sought to return to the primitive way of life in solitude and penance as practiced by the founder of his order.

His superiors tried to suppress these innovations, and Friar Matteo and his first companions were forced into hiding from Church authorities, who sought to arrest them for having abandoned their religious duties. They were given refuge by the Camaldolese monks, in gratitude for which they later adopted the hood or capuccio worn by that order--which was the mark of a hermit in that region of Italy--and the practice of wearing a beard. The popular name of their order originates from this feature of their religious habit, and after this the Capuchin monkey and the cappuccino coffee are also named by visual analogy.

Here are some fun visuals to cement the idea for you:


capuchin monkey


p.s. This is a capuchin monkey too, but it's mostly included for your entertainment.

p.p.s. Another word for cappuccio is chaperon, which is the headgear that protective escorts once used to sport...which also explains where that word comes from, too!

Currently Reading:

TITLE: The Poisonwood Bible
AUTHOR: Barbara Kingsolver

TITLE: Bleak House
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens