Friday, June 26, 2009

Forbidden Fruit Tastes the Sweetest

Elissa Elliot’s debut novel “Eve: A Novel of the First Woman” swept me away completely. I was impressed at how the author kept me intrigued in a story that most people already know the plotline. Eve is on her deathbed and recounting her life to her eldest daughter Naava. The story is told through the eyes of herself and each of her female children. The novel is mostly about the life of Adam and Eve and their children after they have relocated outside of Eden after their banishment. I was amazed at how normal these characters felt to the reader. So often in literature Eve is made into a goddess figure and in this story she’s just a normal woman with normal personal, family, and religious issues. She is trying to come to grips with her banishment from paradise and from God and at the same time raise six children.

The family dynamics are pretty interesting; Eve wants to go back to the Garden and so lives in her past; Adam just wants to accept where they are and have a normal life; Cain doesn’t want anything to do with God and just wants to conquer the world; Abel just wants to be left alone with God and his sheep; Naava wants to be revered for her beauty; Aya keeps the family glued together; and little Dara and Jacan, the twins, are a little lost in trying to emulate those around them. The children have been told about Eden and how God created their parents but since they weren’t there and God has already left them the children have difficulty believing. To them it’s all just a fairytale and thus difficult to place their faith in. Some of the children believe and some do not.

The story becomes very interesting when the family realizes that there is a city not too far away. Each family member approaches the city with a different perspective. Not only is there a huge culture shock between rural and urban living but also because this city doesn’t worship the same deity. This city has many deities and different creation stories. This juxtaposition creates a great clash of sensibilities.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I Vunt to Suck Yoor Blud….lol!!!

C. C. Humphreys’ “Vlad: The Last Confession” is a very intense novel. It is definitely not for the faint of heart as parts of the book are extremely gory. I almost put it down within the first hundred pages because I was starting to have nightmares!!!

“Vlad” is the story of Dracula, not Bram Stoker’s gothic vampire but the real life guy. Vlad Dracula was a Wallachian prince and warlord that fought in a very violent manner in order to protect his realm and throne and also while on crusades to cleanse his land of Infidels. I love historical novels and so I enjoyed that aspect of this one. However, the beginning of the book, where Dracula is a child and turning into the warped man that he became, was probably the most interesting for me but also the most disturbing. I could have done without some of the graphic torture scenes. Unfortunately from a technical standpoint it was definitely needed to help explain the man who emerged from the boy.

There is also a really touching love story that slips in and out of the progress of the story. The depth of their love was remarkable and acted as a huge juxtaposition against some of the brutality. Also, there is the tribulation between Dracula and his best friend from childhood, Ion Tremblac, as they become men together and also his beloved teacher and mentor from his school days, Hamza.

I learned a lot about 15th century living from this novel but I don’t think that I could read it a second time as it was a bit too gruesome for my tastes. I’m glad this was a library book because I don’t have to have it lurking on my bookshelves ready to pounce out at me. I was surprised to find that I was more disturbed by the real man than by the fiction that was created around him. A vampire seems like a teddy bear next to this monster!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Shakespeare: The Original Mac Daddy?!

We all know that there is not much concrete information on William Shakespeare. Most people know about the question of the actual authorship of his work. However, (I’m ashamed to admit this because I have a degree in English and didn’t know this…) there is a question out there as to the many wives of Shakespeare too. Watch out Henry VIII, here comes Master Shakespeare to give you a run for your spousal money!!!! LOL! Just kidding, Shakespeare didn’t have that many! There is an entry in the Stratford book of marriages for Shakespeare and TWO women. The second woman is Anne Hatheway whom we all know to be his wife. But, on the day before that entry there was a marriage license dispensed for him to wed Anne Whateley. Was this a clerical error? Was he a bigamist? What’s going on here?

Karen Harper’s novel, Mistress Shakespeare, tells the story of his secret life with Anne Whateley. It seems they were childhood sweethearts who were secretly wed before Shakespeare married the other Anne! Oh…the scandal!! LOL! Anne Whateley is his London wife and Anne Hatheway is his Stratford wife.

This is a pretty interesting novel if you’re like me and enjoy all things Shakespeare. It tells of his rise to artistic fame set against the backdrop of the times – political unrest, the plague, etc. It also gives an interesting interpretation of his plays and sonnet series from the perspective of his double spousal relationships and thus his warped interpretation of love.

I look forward to reading more by this author and was pleasantly surprised to find a lot more of her historical fiction at my local library! Yippee!!!! I love summer reading on the beach!!!! I hope my library doesn’t mind when books come back a little sandy…

Friday, April 24, 2009

Feeling Truly Blessed


I can't thank you all enough for all the positive energy that you have sent my way. I feel so blessed to be a part of the blogging community! You all are the absolute BEST!!!!

I'm still packing like a crazy person and feeling a little over whelmed with it all. Our moving day is Monday the 4th of May. Please send more good vibes for nice weather and a speedy moving company! (Wow! Do they ever charge a small fortune to move your stuff!)

Does anyone have any advice on the moving of my pets? The cats have never been in the car longer than the 10 minutes it takes to get to the vet and they scream the entire way! I hoping the cats go to sleep for the three hour journey and I'm also praying that neither of them get car sick!!! LOL! My poor little guys! There's also the birds to think about. I've realised that the cage is too tall to fit in my car on the back seat so they're going to go for a little visit with my mom. My darling mom is going to have to chauffeur them to our new place in her minivan! I wonder how they'll do?! LOL! Can you imagine the racket if I did put them all in the car on the same journey! LOL! My husband and I will need earplugs!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Breathing Through Insanity

My life as of late has been INSANE!!!! My hubby and I are having some real financial issues (the local food bank is our saving grace) and as such are selling our house in order to get our feet back on the ground. It sucks but it's necessary. We're keeping our positivity hats on and it seems to be working out well. We decided to get the house ready to sell and in a complete whirlwind of garbage bags and trips to the local dump, we finished all our work in about a week! Insane...I know! It gets better though...Our house sold in 5 days!!!!! Can you believe it! With all the doomsayers out there who were telling us to prepare for the house to be on the market for about 6 months to a year because of these "tough economic times"!!!! Well, we must have a guardian angel on our side because everything's going well. Now we're madly grabbing boxes from every grocery store in a 10 mile radius and packing all our stuff like crazy people! Where are we moving you ask? Well, Huntsville is calling our name and we're listening! We're so excited to be moving to the country to start over our life! We've always wanted to move up there and we both feel like if we didn't have our back up against the wall that we never would have made the move. Some times things don't occur the way you want them to but your dreams still come true!

Well, that's my life right now but I've still had plenty of time to stitch! I put my Elegance of the Orient on hold for a bit because my husband bought me Ballerina Beauty!!!! He saw it on sale and thought I needed a little pick me up!!! I husband is truly the best guy out there! My digital camera is having some issues right now and so I'm unable to post any pictures but they will hopefully follow shortly. Also, it was my birthday a little while back and my amazing Mom bought me The Mighty Samurai and another one that I can't remember the name of but I'll post that soon too!

I'm all a jumble and thrilled to bits to be posting again! I'm at the library right now (apparently the internet people cut off your service wen you can't pay the bill! LOL!) and I'm trying to remember everything I wanted to share. I'll post again soon and keep you all updated with my crazy life, stitching, and I've also read some AMAZING books recently that I'm dying to share!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Babies When They Were Babies

I found some old pictures on my computer of my tigers when they were little. I'm such a proud Mama and I can't resist sharing them with you all!!!

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend…unfortunately so is Benzedrine

Joyce Carol Oates’s fictional biography of Marilyn Monroe entitled “Blonde” was a bit of a trial for me to get through. I generally read about 100 pages per day but with this one I was more around about 50 pages per day. I’m not sure if it was the type set of the novel or the subject matter but my pace definitely slackened here. This Chunkster took a while to read.

I didn’t know much about Marilyn Monroe before this book. I’ve never seen any of her movies and my only exposure to her is through the remake avenue of things like Madonna’s video where she reenacts “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” or through Anna Nicole Smith’s entire life! I came away from this book with an overwhelming sense of pity for this poor woman. Perhaps that’s why I found the book difficult…her life is so depressing that it’s draining on the voyeur.

“Blonde” gives detailed snippets of her life. Basically her mother was nuts and before she was certifiable and committed, she was still nuts enough to screw up a little girl quite irrevocably. Her father was nowhere to be found and her entire life is spent searching for this man and trying to fill that masculine paternal void through a plethora of lovers. After her mother goes into the loony bin she is put in an orphanage and bounces around through the system of foster care. It seems like all she ever wanted was love and attention. She knew from a young age that she was different because men and women alike would stare at her beauty but she was nonetheless uncomfortable in her own skin.

She was made into Marilyn Monroe (because her agent liked the “mmmmm” sound the name made!) but she was always just Norma Jean Baker and terrified in the limelight. She abused alcohol and drugs in order to deal with her anxiety. She was Norma Jean playing the role of Marilyn and people never wanted her to be herself.

Some men truly loved her but for most she was a doll. Joe DiMaggio wanted her to be a stereotypical Italian housewife; he wanted her to be more like his mother than herself. It was a constant dominance struggle. She left him after he beat her up because of the infamous subway grate scene; he didn’t like his little wife to show the world her knickers!

Her infamous relationship with the President is put under such a negative light that it’s hard to look at him the same way after. He would drug her and pass her around to his friends for their own pleasure; he had her abducted in the middle of the night to perform an abortion; he treated her like meat and yet she was so desperate for a man to love her that she believed he respected and adored her.

Marilyn Monroe’s life was truly tragic. This novel shows the little girl who grew up but was always lost, always a perfectionist because through her acting she felt people would love her. She worked hard because she was terrified of being laughed at.

If you want to read a rawer version of her biography pick up this book but if you just want the glossy highlights where she is a glowing starlet then pick up a different biography because this one is not for you!

Attempts at Sophistication...

Check out the new look of my blog!!!! I LOVE IT!!! It looks so sophisticated! LOL! Better late then never!

I have so many posts to catch up on with you all but that will unfortunately have to wait until tomorrow because it's snowing today and I want to go PLAY!!!

Have a happy day and remember to giggle at least once today!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

“SSSHHH!!!” says the librarian with a scowl…

Scott Douglas’s memoir Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian was HILARIOUS!!! I was honestly laughing out loud as I was reading before bed and my husband kept on looking at me like I was a nutcase!!!

Scott Douglas is a librarian in his late 20s and this book is his journey through the public library system. The anecdotes that he tells are truly side-splitting and I would love to hear from a librarian whether half of these things actually happen! (Douglas assures the reader that all events are true in his Epilogue.)

It starts with him as a library page whose only duty is to shelve books while he is desperately trying to prove he is not a moron. Unfortunately, he learns that the librarians that he works with don’t even read and think that Pynchon is actually Julia Roberts’s new boyfriend! The book goes on to tell funny stories about computers coming to the library, obnoxious teenagers, story time for the school classes, elderly people that come in drunk on electronic wheelchairs, ESL issues, what he actually thought about library school, and library politics with the archetypal librarian characters.

Here’s an excerpt that I found particularly funny:

[…] Hon, an aging Asian woman. She knew little English, despite having lived in the United States for over thirty years and working in a job where English is the only language spoken.
Despite the language barrier, I like talking to Hon – mainly because of our language barrier; not even a week had passed and we already had a morning greeting. Each morning Hon would come in and ask, “How you do day?” I would reply, “Fine. How are you today?” And Hon would say, “Yes.”
About a month into my stay at the new library, Hon got mad at me. I’m not sure why exactly, but she came to me and said, “I mix peanuts in your shoe.”
I didn’t know what she meant, but I could tell by her tone that she was angry. “What’s wrong?”
“Cements in the paper, plus I need a bag.”
I looked at her, confused. She got angrier. “Cements in the paper!” she said.
She walked away from me, and we didn’t speak for two days.

This book is HILARIOUS and everyone should pick this one up if they need a giggle!!!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Two Hands are Better than One

Look at this gorgeous lady!!! I am so thrilled with all the work I have done so far! I really feel like I’m in the home stretch but I know it will be a while before it’s all complete. She now has two hands and I am just mesmerized by the movement in the skirt! Can’t you just feel the warm wind and smell the cherry blossoms just by looking at it! I’m so in love! Check out the second flower; I haven’t done the back stitching for it yet. Can you see the difference in the two? The one without the backstitching looks so two dimensional whereas the other one just pops!!! I love it! I love it! I LOVE IT!!!

Books Set in a Well Known City

To Whom it May Concern by Pricila Uppal was an absolute pleasure to read! It is a modern retelling of King Lear and it must be the most dysfunctional functional family I’ve ever read about! The dad is an Indian immigrant who is also a quadriplegic and he has an array of very interesting homecare workers that scatter through his house. Oh and he’s about to go through a foreclosure on his house. His French Canadian wife left him because she couldn’t handle the changes in life after he was injured in the hit and run accident. His eldest daughter is about to get married. His other daughter is deaf and works part time in a piercing/tattoo parlor after school. His son is in the middle of a master’s degree in anthropology where he studies curses and the occult and just realized he is gay. What an assortment of characters!!! This is the story of “a father desperate to protect his modest kingdom, and his children, tormented by their desire to escape.”

The best part of this book is that it’s set in Ottawa! I went to university in Ottawa and I just adore that city and really miss it from time to time. Have you ever read a book that is set in a place that you know like the back of your hand? It makes the story so much closer to you and somehow less fictional. I was side by side the characters while they studied at Morriset Library on the Ottawa University campus, or had a pint at the Royal Oak, skated along the Rideau Canal and then had Beaver Tails and hot apple cider, or wandered through the Rideau Center at Christmas!!! This book brought back so many warm memories that I had completely forgotten about!

Do It Yourself Insanity

I seem to be on a slight Do It Yourself craze lately! I started with making my own cat litter and I have to say it is still working incredibly well! Aside from the lack of clumping, I really think it works better than the regular stuff because it smells so much less! Next, I moved on to making my own bread. I bake rolls and loaves every few days and I’m having so much fun! The bread I bake is so much tastier, cheaper, and more filling then what I used to buy at the grocery store. But, the best part is that the house smells INCREDIBLE!!!! The smell of fresh bread baking must be one of my all time favorite smells! YUM YUM YUM!!!

I’m trying a new experiment now: homemade wine! Has anyone done this before because any tips would be seriously appreciated!? It’s not necessarily wine but more of a fruity alcoholic mishmash but whatever! I had a bunch of canned fruit that I didn’t know what to do with because I never think to eat canned fruit. Well, it’s all in a giant wine jug thingy with some extra sugar and water fermenting away in the basement!!! The kind man at the Do It Yourself wine making place gave me some wine yeast for FREE!!! I just love it when people give me free stuff! Well, as I said it’s bubbling away in its fermenting process and I’ll definitely keep you posted as to how it works out. Wish me luck!!!

Look at these faces!!!

For those of you that read this regularly, you know that I volunteer at my local Humane Society. I absolutely adore helping out there! It’s such a special moment when I get to be a part of a family meeting their newest member; it’s like being in the delivery room when a baby is born! LOL! (Maybe not quite the same!) Anyway, I am so pumped to go in this Sunday because we’ve got a bunch of new kittens!!! I love it when we get a plethora of new kittens! The last time I was in we got this little guy named Danny. Here’s a picture… can you believe that someone just found this little 6 week old treasure wandering around on his own outside!!! Break my heart!!!

We are a no-kill shelter here in Burlington. We only put down animals when we absolutely have to, like when they have a very serious incurable disease and they are in a bad state with it. Other than seriously extenuating circumstance we never put anyone down. We just rescued this latest batch of kittens from another Humane Society that is not a no-kill facility and that had no room for them and so were going to have to put them down. Would you look at these faces!!! They were going to put them down and we’ll be surprised if they’re not all adopted by the end of the week!!! Every time I come home my husband asks me if I smuggled out a new tiger for us and sometimes I’m seriously tempted!!!

And since I'm discussing kittens in this about some funny pics because everyone needs a giggle from time to time!!!

And here's some for the puppy lovers!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Unearthing New Authors

Ok, so Elizabeth Chadwick is definitely not a new author but she is new to me and so she can still count as a Newbie!

I honestly adored this book and can’t wait to pick up more! I was so thrilled to see that my library has more of her work!

Surprise, surprise… I am back in the world of historical fiction! The Time of Singing is set in 12th century medieval England during the reign of King Henry II. This novel is all about social ties, social climbing, the restoration of family and titles, and medieval life in general. I liked this one so much because it is completely based on the actual Bigod family who actually existed but no one has ever bothered to tell their story before. Love it!

This author seems to only write about this one era in history and each of her novels follows a different character at a different time or place. Perhaps by reading more, it might feel like a series, but I’m not sure so I’ll have to get back to you on that one!

For some reason this novel kept on making me think of Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth which is a good thing because I loved that one too! If you are one of the millions of people who read that then you will love Elizabeth Chadwick!

Also, this book is 517 pages and so it counts as my second Chunkster!!!! Wooo Hooo!!!!

My cats are circling me; it must be time for them to herd me up to bed! LOL! They’re so funny about their little schedules! Are yours like that too? If I stray from their feeding/sleeping/ cuddling schedule by even half an hour they’re on hot bricks! LOL!

Until next time…(and I promise my next post will be stitch related because I can't wait to show you my progress!!!)

Bubble, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble

I don’t normally read non-fiction because I feel like I’m reading a textbook the majority of the time. However, with this one I made an exception and I’m very glad I did. I saw this book in the new release section in my library and something about it called my name! The Enemy Within by John Demos is about the history of witch trials. I didn’t know much about this topic; being Canadian and not American the Salem Witch Trials were never part of my school history curriculum. (Maybe that negation isn’t because of being Canadian…maybe I just went to a bad school? LOL!) This book did discuss Salem and the mystique that it has created through time but it also went right back to the beginning. It discussed the way our idea of God and therefore the Devil came into our lives and ultimately caused the idea of witchcraft. Next, this book came right back to just about the present day to discuss more contemporary forms of witch-hunts such as McCarthyism. This was a pleasantly interesting read. I think what made it feel less like a textbook was that the author chose to have two vignettes of actual specific case stories in each section which were able to keep readers like me entertained as well as informed!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My First Chunkster

Revelation by C.J. Sansom

This is the fourth book in Sansom’s Shardlake series; I have read none of the other three and so parts of this book went completely over my head because of references to past events unknown to me. I’ll have to look up at the library and see if they have any more but right now I’m at my ‘hold’ limit…did you know you’re only allowed to have 50 books on hold at a time! LOL! I have issues, I know!!! But a lot of my holds are on books the library is still acquiring or movies that I’m literally 100th in line for!!! LOL!

This novel is set in 16th century England. I seem to have a predisposition to this era! LOL! Perhaps it’s because it was the age of Pisces instead of Aquarius! LOL! I really have to idea. Anyway, I digress… the novel is set around the time of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine Parr and jointly the religious persecution throughout the city. Meanwhile, the London streets are being ravaged by a serial killer that is reenacting passages from the Book of Revelations. I am embarrassed to admit that I have only read bits and pieces of the Book of Revelations but from what I understand it’s pretty horrifying stuff!

I enjoyed the aspects of rudimentary science and medicine that this book discusses, mainly the first areas of psychiatry in the Bedlam Hospital. There is a woman there whose only ailment is agoraphobia and yet she has been locked up like a common nut even though she is perfectly capable of living normally as long as she stays indoors. I have agoraphobia!!! I’m not a nut!!! LOL!

I am super excited about joining in on the Chunkster Challenge!!! This is a reading challenge whereby you read chunky books. I LOVE chunky books and so I hopped right on that bandwagon! A chunky book is anything over 450 pages. Revelation ranks in at 550 pages and so it counts as my first Chunkster! You’re supposed to put a list on your blog of the chunky books you intend on reading but I’m going to pass with that aspect. I’ve been reading a lot of library books recently and I never know when they are going to be ready. Thus, I’ll tally up my Chunksters as I go!

Happy reading, happy stitching, and happy knitting until next time!!!

My Cooking Skills are Sadly Apparent

The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark

I’m back in Venice again during the 16th century with this novel and completely loving the journey! This novel begins on the streets with a young boy that is on his own and just trying to stay alive. While stealing to quench his hunger, the boy is accosted by the chef of the doge and made to return his bounty. The chef brings him back to the palace kitchens and makes him his apprentice. There are some scenes where the boy, in the middle of the night, tries to create marvelous concoctions to impress the chef. His main rule of thumb is that if all the individual ingredients are tasty then so will be the finished product. I’m personally pretty domestically inept in the kitchen and while the reader is meant to see that his recipes are putrid, it sadly went right over my head! LOL! (There’s a reality TV show… Martha Stewart can come to my house to teach me how to be domestic but she’ll end up helping me put out the small fires in my kitchen while I order a pizza for the family! LOL! I don’t think she’d go for it though… it might give her a small mental breakdown! LOL!)

Anyway, the novel deals with the city’s hunt for a legendary book which supposedly contains love potions, an elixir for immortality, and much other sage wisdom. The novel is a fine bildungsroman. It has a reverence for the mysteries of the kitchen and how food can transform moods and change the course of history. It’s very entertaining and quite funny in portions too!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flower in Random Places and Hockey Pucks No More

Check out my progress with Elegance of the Orient! Just gorgeous in my opinion! LOL! The shawl is over half complete with the majority of its back stitching done and now I’m working my way down the skirt. The flower on the kimono looks absolutely amazing! There are only two flowers on this and I’m kind of wondering about the positioning of this one! LOL! It seems to be in a rather interesting spot! LOL! It’s been quite cold and snowy recently (it’s -30 outside with the wind chill and it’s so cold that the salt they put on the roads isn’t working! I didn’t even know that could happen!!!) And so a lot of my time is spent indoors with my many projects and I couldn’t be happier! I’m already looking through my stash and trying to decide what to do next! LOL!

I was at my Mom’s house yesterday and she was teaching me how to make bread. Everyone says how easy bread is but every time I make try it turns out like little hockey pucks! I made a loaf the other day and my husband asked when the football game was going to begin with the squirrels! Cheeky Bugger!!! Well, I am happy to report that with my Mom’s help I was able to make two quite tasty loaves! I now know what it’s meant to look like at all the different stages and so hopefully I can do it on my own. (What would we do without our Mommys!?) Hopefully soon I won’t be so domestically inept! LOL!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shakespeare's Lost Manuscript

The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber

This story begins with a fire in a rare book store. When one of the workers opens up the bindings of an old novel in order to salvage the pieces, they find in the binding some old letters. These letters tell about spying on William Shakespeare with a plot to ruin him. Amidst these letters there is discussion of an unknown and lost play which deals with the turmoil between Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth. The novel is the story of hunting for this manuscript with mafia and corrupt book dealers on their tail with murders and kidnappings popping up all over the place. This story has two narrators; one is an intellectual property lawyer who is cynical and very witty who speaks directly to the reader in a very unique tone; and the other is a young man who is an aspiring film maker and so everything from him has the undertones of a film (i.e. This can’t be the end because we haven’t had a twist in the plot yet, etc.) This book was a happy find for me and I hope it will be for others too!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Archaic High Class Hookers

I finished reading another book by Sarah Dunant, In the Company of a Courtesan:

This book is set in 16th century Italy and revolves around the life of a courtesan. She had to flee during the sack of Rome to Venice and the story shows her getting back on her feet (no pun intended! LOL!) in a new city. The list of characters is very different: the courtesan, her dwarf servant (also the narrator), a blind and crippled healer, an array of strange servants, and a few real historic figures such as the author Pietro Aretino and the aritist Tiziano Vecellio (Titian). Just like Dunant's other book, Birth of Venus, this is a very carnal book but not to the extent of lewdness. There is a hilarious scene in church where no one is interested in the sermon. Instead, everyone is flirting with each other, either for courtesan services or trying to find a spouse! Very funny!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Free Cat Litter!!!!

I'm trying out a new cat litter! I saw this tip on someones blog and thought it was the greatest idea EVER!!!! I only have two cats but I must spend a small fortune on litter and so this was such a great find for me!

Basically, this is what you do: Take all junk mail, last year's calendar, old bills, scrap paper in general and shred it in a shredder or cut it up nice and small. Next, put it in a pot of boiling water with a bit of dish soap for about half an hour to an hour to get the dirt and most of the ink off. Drain the soggy mixture in an old colander and then with your hands break it up into little pieces and leave it on an old cookie sheet for a few days to dry. Sprinkle it with baking soda or some other smell sucking agent and VOILA!!! Free Cat Litter!!! It makes a kind of pulp which dries to a crumbly mess. But it's FREE!!!!

I've been adding it in to my cats' litter box a bit more each day and so far there are no protests so I'm very pleased. The only negative is that it doesn't clump but that's not the end of the world! And since it's free I plan on changing the entire box every few days with free stuff.

The best part of it all is that now my cats are peeing on my Christmas Visa bill and it feels SOOOO GOOD!!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sweaters, and Stitching, and Lists, OH MY!!!

At long last here is a picture of my lovely white sweater:

It’s she lovely!!! I just adore this sweater and it’s SOOOO warm! LOL! I think it will be my new tobogganing sweater! I wonder what I should knit next… I really need a pair of gloves or mittens and maybe a cute hat to match! I’ll have to go through the patterns that are saved on my computer and see what tickles my fancy next. FYI: I get all my patterns off the free database on the wool websites (Patons, Bernat, etc.)

And, here is an update for my Elegance of the Orient:

She’s coming along so nicely now. I’ve been working on the other side of the shawl and I can’t wait to work on the backstitching for it because it changes the whole look of the project. I really do love Dimensions products because of the detail they provide with the backstitching. I love my Lissandrea too but when I work on her I really miss the precision that my Elegance of the Orient has in its detail.

I just realized that I never did a list of New Year’s Resolutions with you. I usually make resolutions and I’ve usually gotten sick of them by about January 2nd. Do you make resolutions? Do you keep them? How do you do it?! Anyway, here is my list of resolutions for this beautiful year of 2009:

1)Finish all outstanding cross stitch projects
2)Finish outstanding projects around the house (i.e. Painting walls, moving furniture, hanging pictures, organizing kitchen and closets, etc.)
3)Work on reading through Harold Bloom’s western canon
4)Lose the 30 lbs of “Happy Fat” that I found when my hubby and I met a few years ago!
5)Earn $1 million dollars….LOL!

Wish me luck with that list!!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Small Reading Binge and Knitting News

Well, I was up late on New Year's Eve and I brought in the new year with my knitting project on my knee. I got up early to sew it all together and I got it done in time for our New Year's Day party. I was sitting at the mirror finishing my face I realized just how warm the sweater was. We go to my hubby's family for New Year's Day and the whole family is there and we really look forward to it. However, with all those people in the house it gets pretty warm. So, I took off my beloved sweater and put on a t-shirt instead! LOL! It was the right choice because I was even warm in my t-shirt! Sadly, I still haven't worn my sweater because the next day I was doing crafts with my nieces and nephews (we made peanut butter and seed smeared pine cones for the birds...a white sweater would have been a BAD idea) and today I was at the Humane Society for my volunteer shift and you never know what you're going to get on your clothes there! LOL! Maybe I'll wear it tomorrow!!!! I'll try and coax my hubby to take a picture of it so I can post it! It turned out so nicely! I'm so proud!!!!

I've been on a small reading binge lately! I just finished another one: Pompeii by Robert Harris.

I read about this book on some one's blog and it sounded really interesting. I can't remember whose blog I was reading so if it's you I'm sorry I didn't put a link. The story takes place within four days. The first two are before Vesuvius erupts and the next two are the eruption and aftermath. The main character is the new aquarian of the Augustus Aqueduct. He's the first person to notice that there is something wrong with the mountain because the water starts to get sulfur in it. It was a really good read and definitely interesting to see people deal with a volcano back in 79 AD before they even had the word volcano in their vocabulary!!!