Baby Tuckoo

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo. . . .   – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce

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Baby Moo Cow?

Just so y’all know, that’s my favorite first line of a book, EVER.  I still want a dog named Baby Tuckoo.  It’s an autobiography.  I don’t generally care for first-person narration, because, well… it’s very limited by what the narrator sees, hears or thinks she knows, but this was one of my first nearly-adult book loves, and it helped me on my way to a love of biographies of any sort.

Why am I sharing this?  Well, I haven’t re-read A Portrait… in a few years, but I found myself thinking about Joyce’s writing style as I was reading Fight Club.  (I’m guessing that there are no more than two possible readers who have read both books… if you have, I’d love to hear your opinions!)

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Fur girl fight club?

I didn’t love Fight Club, but I plowed through it quickly.  I hate to give spoilers, so if you don’t want me to spoil the movie or the book, skip the next paragraph.

I knew I had to see this dark, depraved novel to its finish.  I just felt in my bones that there was going to be a sharp twist and big message, and I wanted to know what both would be.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Sure enough, short of Marla (the love-ish interest-ish), our narrator was the last to put the pieces together and figure out who Tyler really was.  I didn’t see it coming, although with hindsight…  If you read Fight Club or saw the movie (I haven’t, but that same twist has to be in there), did you figure it out before the big reveal?

Because Chuck Palahniuk’s style isn’t like most things I read, I’ve already started Survivor.  His use of in medias res requires me to pay attention from the start, and makes me think more than a lot of books do.  There’s no easing into his works.  Like Jodi Picoult, his happy ending void is going to keep him from being a favorite of mine, or even someone I can suggest y’all need to read.  However, if you like dark themes and appreciate an author who makes you think, you’ll appreciate his work.

I’m also reminded of a very heated discussion I had more than 20 years ago about Stephen King.  I’ve written one rather brutal, no-happy ending short story that I’m very proud of, even though I wrote it in high school, so I don’t think twisted tales or sorrid subjects come from a warped mind.   I think we’ve all had a gripping nightmare or two, or witnessed a scene that really made us question the compassion of humanity.  I like to be challenged as a reader, and Chuck does that, to be sure.

Another book that came to mind while I was reading Fight Club was Life of Pi.  I truly HATED that book and had to make myself finish it, and was then VERY sorry I saw it through.  Maybe I’m in a different frame of mind now, but I liked the last part (once we found out who Tyler really was) of Fight Club best!

What are you up to this weekend?  What are you knitting?  My knitting mojo tried to return Wednesday, but it was stiffled by my inability to do a simple two-stitch repeat 240 times per row.

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Gretchen wants to know if you'll come throw the ball for her because she's B.O.R.E.D.??

One Wood to Another

Vera Bradley Wildwood Park Collection Tote

I am smitten.  I’m counting the hours until I can get to my local Vera Bradley retailer and hold the Wildwood Tote in my own little hands. 

I live in the woods, remember?  And I love a big ol’ tote.  Microfiber should resist Sissy slobber pretty well, right?  And blue and brown?  What’s not to love?!

Why no, I don’t need another bag, but what does that have to do with anything?  I’m  craving another bag anyway…

There’s also the Bangle Wristlet from the Crossroads Collection.   It SAYS I can use it to carry my phone, and I’ve yet to find a small accessory that has room for my Nextel Blackberry.  It’s slightly thicker than most.

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What do you think of the new collections?

(And to Jessi…  Nope.  I can’t use the text center buttons in WP in HTML.  Top photo was done by just importing from my ‘puter and bottom photo was done the way I described…  which for the rest of you is just all a part of our frustrated pursuits of pre-Flickr “improvements” blogging!)

Maidens’ Maiden Voyage

Happy Dogs on Thursday and little friday!  Sis has given a quick, happy status check on their blog, and before I launch into my post, there are two other doggy bloggies you have to see today.  Firstly, our pal Rudy and his mama kindly honored my request and honestly, you’ve never seen such cuteness.

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The fur girls and Rudy (and his humans) May 2009

Next, you have to check out this post today.   I am so taken with the potential for a similar local fundraiser that I’ve already emailed a friend…  What do you think?  Have you seen anything like it in your area?

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View from the driver's seat

Now, about the title of this post…  Today, the fur girls go their first ride in my new ride.  We’ve had it for three weeks now, and the light interior gave us the motivation to explore new doggy travel accessories.

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Sissy kinda' shows you the zip-up, tie to the grab handle side

We’d long considered a hammock-style cover for the back seat.   The Knight found this model on eBay, so I’m afraid I don’t have much information, but I like some of the unique design features. 

(Dear Flickr:  You have mess up my blogging zen.  This paragraph exists SOLELY because you changed your format and I can no longer drop photos where I want them.  I know I’m not just being a techno-novice, because several of my bloggy pals are singing similar songs.  Hope this allows the following photo and paragraph to appear kinda’ as I want them to, but if not, at least my readers will know why… )

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Better photo of the design

Each end zips on each corner, and that webbing loops over the grab handle or whatever you might call it above the back seat door.  It does make loading take longer, and while Sis just looked things over and leaped in, Gretch can’t make the big jump and can’t make her previous “loading technique” of jumping into the floor board, then into the back seat, work now.  She is NOT amused.

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Gretchen is trying to show you the pad

At the Knight’s suggestion, I grabbed the large, long crate pad we used in my previous car and dropped it in.  The fabric is slick inside, to repel stains, so he thought they’d appreciate something softer that would prevent sliding.  They seem happy enough, which translates to Sis settled down right away and Gretchen survived the trip and didn’t try to figure out how to escape.

The jury’s still out, but so far, so good.

Thankful Thursday?  I’m thankful we got some much-needed rain.  How ’bout you?

Best Wishes…

… and birthday kisses to Anita!   The fur girls got their wishes up earlier, because Gretchen is still miffed that I didn’t even tell them today was Auntie ‘Nita’s birthday until this morning.

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Anita isn’t crazy about this photo, but I am.  I have it as her profile photo in my Blackberry, so every time she calls, that’s what I see. 

Have a great day girlfriend, and I’ll get your package in the mail soon, because I can’t stand it when Gretchen is worried. 

In other news, I finished Pillars of the Earth.  896 e-pages, and I loved at least 700 of those pages.  I did skim the sex and rape scenes, and frankly, while I happen to love cathedrals too, my eyes glazed over a few times…  Still, Follet is no Michener,  so the descriptions only dragged on SO long.

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There's spinning in Pillars... wonder if the wheel looked like this? Anita Fall 2009

If you’re a fan of historical novels, the Middle Ages, Catholic Church history, witchcraft or just good vs. evil and like me, you missed the book the first 20 years it was out there, you really should read this epic saga.  It’s not light reading, but it’s right up there with the Gaiman and Russell books I’ve LOVED this year. 

I can also now answer the villain (#39) questionWilliam Hamleigh is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most despicable character in the history of EVER.  I think I can explain without spoilers, but if you haven’t read the book or don’t care, maybe you can skip the next paragraph.

What made him so vile for me is that he was a MEAN, violent bully (so was Alfred, but I just disliked him) with a conscience.  Little Willy’s awful mom and a priest or ten did strike the fear of Hell in him, but he just couldn’t stop the high that came from overpowering others – physically of course, because he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer either.  I kept waiting for the redemption that a few of the bad guys did have, but William just didn’t have it in him.

I’ve already purchased the kinda’ sequel, World Without End, and will start it as soon as I finish Fight Club and the other “Chuck” novel Amy loaned me yesterday.  I have to tell you…  I’m already hooked on e-reading.  I found myself rolling my eyes and groaning when I had to find a bookmark and then move it while I was brushing my teeth…

Piddledeedee

Oh, what a little monday here at work…  Thank goodness Amy and her hubby are going to be in town for lunch! 

While the clock moves backwards and all kinds of (boring, work-related things) go wrong, I’ll distract myself by flashing you with photos of my latest Piddleloop bags.
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First up is my triangle bag.   It’s a custom item, made from really darling fabric Jen found just for her dog-lovin’ friends!  I think Gmarie also bought a bag in the second special doggy fabric, but don’t quote me.
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Isn’t the little pouch wonderful and cheery?!  I can’t decide whether it wants to hold notions or live in my handbag with a few necessities within… 

Jen and her sister Wendy are so very talented and kind.  It’s truly a pleasure to do business with them.  They also tuck a couple of goodies into every package.
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Have you ever seen anything cuter?!  Just so you know, the blue lid pops off to reveal a hidden treasure.  (Why no, I can’t show you the candy because I ate it.)  I really adore cupcakes and the colors, so this just delights me to no end.

Hmmm…  If I end up on the downtown mall, I might need cupcakes…  How do you sweeten up a bad day?

Four FOs

I am completely unmotivated to knit (aside from a fascination with the Wendy Knits Shetland Pi Shawl KAL, not that I’ve cast on yet…) but that doesn’t mean I’ve been idle.  I’m about 500 pages deep into Pillars of the Earth and I’m wondering why it took me ten years to read it.  It’s right up my alley, aside from the rather graphic rape/sexual stuff.  (Skim, skim, read…  and honestly, some of the building details are blah, blah, blah to me too…)

I’ve also been on a bit of a crocheted cloth tear.  I generally knit a bunch of cloths about this time of year, when it’s too hot to tote wool around, but I’m blaming it on my crochet murder mystery reading and hooking away.

First up is my first granny square, courtesy of Hooked on Murder
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Pattern:  CeeCee’s Granny Square Washcloth, listed in the back of said book.   It was easy enough, especially since I didn’t bother with color changes.

Yarn:  Peaches and Cream’s Peppercorn. 

Hook – J, but if I make this again, I’ll use H.

Verdict:  I’ll try another one of these days…

 

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Project: Lanscape Daisy Cloth.

Pattern:  Daisy Cloth, from Lily’s Bright Idea booklet.  According to Ravelry, this and the Primrose pattern (below) are/were available as a free flyer at Michael’s.  I liked them both a lot!

Yarn:  Sugar ‘n Cream in Landscape.

Hook:  H

Verdict:  I’d make this or the Primrose (below) again in a heartbeat.

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Project:  Peppercorn Primrose

Pattern, hook & verdict: same as above

Yarn:  More of the Peaches & Cream Peppercorn

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Project:  Carefree Mod Flower Cloth

Pattern:  Mod Flower Dishcloth, also from Bright Ideas.  I’m not sure there isn’t an error or two, or maybe I was just too tired when I was doing this one, but…  It also took FOUR tries to get the center right.  I’m guessing it was me there too, because I really am a crochet novice.

Yarn:  Red Heart’s Carefree Cotton.  I think the yarn might have been part of the problem with the funky, inability to get square results.  There’s a lot of acrylic in with the blend, and while that makes it soft to work with, evidently it’s too pliable for this pattern.  I think this yarn would be better suited for clothing.

Hook:  I used the Addi H on this one.  I really liked the slightly bulkier grip.

Verdict:  Meh.  I might have to try it again with a truly utilitarian cotton.

What did you do over the weekend?

Carder to Cloth

The concept of sheep to shawl is part of what drew me to spinning.  Today’s “finished object” is exciting for me because while I don’t think you have to worry about me starting AT the sheep with an unprocessed fleece, I did enjoy creating a batt far more than I should admit.
June 2010 020Back at our spin-in, I had my first drum carder experience.   I made a purdy mostly mohair batt, and knew it was small and precious and would just have to sit and wait for the right little project.

Sorry I don’t have a photo of the yarn itself.  It was roughly sport weight once it fluffed up.  It was navajo plied, which for the non-spinners means it was three strands thick, with about 80 yards.

I don’t want to say too much about the project because it’s supposed to be a bit of a surprise for a Ravelry friend who needs some friendly gestures, but teal is one of her favorite colors, so as soon as I remembered this batt was sitting on a bobbin waiting to be wound into a skein…
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Project:  Special square

Pattern:  Citizen Kane by our own Grace!  She designed it as a cloth pattern, but while my photo above isn’t strongly blocked, it does make a pretty pattern that is easy to block to 8 x8 or whatever dimensions your group is using.  Good thing it’s an easy pattern, because we lost internet and I’d never bothered to print the PDF file… 

Yarn:  See above.

Needles:  I did use US #5 straights to get the lightly blocked 8 inch x 8 inch square I needed.  You could use #9s and get a very lacy 10-inch square… and no, you don’t need to ask how I know.

Verdict:  I’ll be doing this project again very soon, in cotton.  I like a dishcloth with some texture.

So!  What’s up for your weekend?  I don’t know what we’ll end up doing, but Dog House Yarns & More is  having its first sale…