Jun 30, 2010

Beware the Twihards

  • You might be a Twihard if you have all the books in the Twilight series - especially if you have more than one copy of most of them.
  • You might be a Twihard if your copies of the books have tabs in them - for the good stuff ya know.
  • You might be a Twihard if you have special issues of magazines that discuss the Twilight serie in depth.
  • You might be a Twihard if you've see the 2 previous movies.
  • And if you saw either of them at the midnight showing - you could be a Twihard
  • You might be a Twihard if you have both of those movies on DVD and watch them over and over and over...
  • You might be a Twihard if you have t-shirts, posters and other Twilight tchotchkes.
  • You might be a Twihard if you spent the days leading up to the premiere of the latest movie watching the movies back to back yet again while rereading and comparing the books.
  • You might be a Twihard if you went to the midnight showing of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse last night.
  • You are definitely a Twihard if all of the above apply AND you went to a special invitation only showing at 9pm last night before going to the midnight showing.

And if you're the parent who transported the 4 loudly hysterical Twihards on the 20 minute drive from one theatre to the other then this morning you are still laughing at how ridiculously excited (and loud - did I mention loud) they were.

Ask me how I know.

Jun 29, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Books on Your Summer Reading List

If ever there was a timely list - this is it since I just picked up a few books on my list from the library and I'm ready to dive in since last night I finished reading Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham. It was the second book I read by the author, the first being The Painted Veil which I picked up after reading a review on another blog. I really enjoyed the writing style and the stories in both and I will certainly read more Maugham in the future.

I'm an avid reader and I'm always looking for ideas on new authors and books to read. I keep a little book filled with books that sounded interesting to me and the titles come from all over. Many are found in the People Magazine book reviews but others come from listening to authors on the radio, the NY Times or the blogs. They rarely steer me wrong.


1. 13 1/2 by Nevada Barr - People featured this as one of their "Thrillers For Fall" last October and it sounds very promising. It's set in New Orleans and is centered around a woman who marries a mysterious architect who may have a homicidal past.
2. The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny - In the same issue they reviewed this book at length and gave it 3.5 stars. It's set in Quebec in a town the reviewer describes as being "as improbably intrigue-filled as Murder She Wrote's folksier Cabot Cove, Maine." I loved that show.
3. Dexter By Design by Jeff Lindsay - I read the earlier books in this series and I've seen the cleaned up, network broadcast of the show based on them. This is my kind of story. A little twisted and very entertaining but not for the faint of heart.
4. Sophie's Choice by William Styron - this is one that I intend to finish by the end of the summer. I started it a while ago but it's heavy and slow so I put it aside in favor of a mystery that caught my eye. I do that a lot.
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain - Another one I started and put aside but I'm even more likely to finish this one.
6. 1776 by David McCullough - A little non-fiction to even things out. I bought this a while ago and I still want to read it. I hope that this summer provides the time to do it.
7 & 8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson - I've heard a lot about these and they sound like something I'd like. I'll give them a try.
9. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - In truth I probably won't get to this until the fall but I'd like to think that I'll read it soon. It's one of those books that I feel like I ought to have read and I think that reading it will make me a bit more well-rounded.
10. Mysteries!!! In all truth this list could go off the rails at the drop of a hat because I am a huge mystery lover. I could easily go into the library to drop off a book and come out with something by Michael Connelly, Lisa Gardner or Linda Fairstein. Did I mention that Carl Hiaasen and Laura Lippman both have new books coming out! And if all that wasn't enough there's a new Stephanie Plum book - Sizzling Sixteen. Like I said, it wouldn't take much for my plans to go off the rails in a really good way.

So what are you reading and, maybe more importantly, where do you get your best suggestions for what to read next?

Jun 28, 2010

Dancing Queen

The centerpiece of this past weekend was DQ's recitals. I'm happy to say that she did really well and I enjoyed the recitals this year more than in years past. That doesn't mean that I love spending 2 plus hours (for each) sitting through recitals but it wasn't awful and my girl made me proud.

LFR Dance 6-25

Now I'm back at work and it's amazing fow much catching up there is to be done after taking one day off. Just one. Ugh.

Jun 25, 2010

ECF - Yet Another Lily Edition

I wish I could say that I'll go on and on posting lilies from my yard for Eye Candy Friday but, alas, I think this is the end of them for this year. At least for my yard.


Have a great day and a great weekend. I'm home today for DQ's recital. It'll be long but it's air conditioned.

Jun 24, 2010

Too Hot To Think

Enjoy the picture.


Jun 23, 2010

Kai-Mei... Finally

A while back I was fortunate enough to score 2 skeins of Wollmeise. I know there are many of you out there who know exactly what an accomplishment that is.

Anyway, after expending such and effort to get my hands on the stuff you can bet that I gave careful consideration to the pattern worthy of such a precious skein and came up with Kai-Mei by Cookie A. You really can't go wrong with any of her patterns and this is no exception. It was clear and easy to follow.


Here are the socks in the wild. Isn't it cool how they blend into the background? Bruce took the pictures of these because they are mine, mine, mine and I don't want to tempt my girls by letting then try them on even once... no, not really. Bruce did take the pictures and I did do the modeling but that's because my usual models are way too busy lately. Can you believe that?


So, what about that yarn? Is it really worth all the hype? I really can't say. I do like it quite a lot. It was nice to work with and the fabric it produced is lovely. Really, really lovely and smooth and even. The thing of it is that this isn't the most exciting skein of Wollmeise I've ever seen. I do love green and this one is rich and dense but it lacks the colorful punch that Wollmeise is known for. My bad. I could've chosen a more exciting skein and I didn't.


The bottom line is that these socks are a win. I adore the color and the asymmetry. I can't wait to wear these but not right now. It was 95 yesterday and it'll be 97 today. As if that's not bad enough they're predicting 100 for tomorrow and let's not forget the famous DC humidity. Step outside and you'll feel like you're melting.

I'll just go put these in my sock drawer and dream of cooler weather.

Jun 22, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Ways To Entertain a Child

My husband wasn't the only one who enjoyed the beautiful, sunny, day on Sunday. Frankie got to play in her pool too. In the summer we let her out in our daughters old wading pool to soak up the sun and spread her legs even more than usual. She loves it so here's a rare shot of our Frankie.


On to the Ten on Tuesday topic for today - 10 Ways to Entertain a Child. This is an interesting topic since it really varies by child and by age. Let's mix it up a bit. Shall we?

1. Boxes - I think we've all given a baby a gift at one point or another and noted that they're more interested in the box than the carefully chosen gift that was in it. As they get older they hide in them, build with them, and can find endless things to do with them.
2. Books - My girls still like to be read to on occasion.
3. Museums - not all museums (my girls recently advised me to leave art museums off my list of places to take my nephew when he visits) but if you are careful to match the museum to the kid it can be great. Air and Space. The Spy Museum. The Newseum.
4. The Pool - Stinkerbelle can spend hours in the pool - especially with a few pool toys.
5. Cooking - My girls have always loved to cook and so do the girls in my GS Troop. It's not just the cooking either. They love choosing the recipe, and gathering the ingredients, and of course the tasting what they made.
6. Crafty stuff - My girls love anything messy. Stinkerbelle's newest hobby is beads. I will be sporting some very nice new bracelets soon.
7. Puzzles - I've recently become mildly addicted to jigsaw puzzles (JigZone anyone?) and Stinkette wanted to get in on the fun so now we're doing old fasioned jigsaw puzzles together.
8. Bike rides and hikes - I can't say I do this a lot but I'd like to and I'm working up to it.
9. Board games - Stinkette never misses an opportunity for a family game night.
10. Playgrounds - I can remember when DQ was little and I had more time on my hands and we'd drive for miles to get to our favorite playgrounds. The ones with the biggest and best slides.

How would you entertain a child? Let's say its a nearly 9 year-old boy. My nephew will be visiting in August and I'm compiling a list of ideas since I don't have a lot of experience with boys.

Jun 21, 2010

The Bear in the Bathingsuit...

...Or Happy Father's Day. Some things just don't need any further explanantion.


Obviously we finally got to the pool yesterday. It was the perfect day for it. The water was even wram enough to get me in there. It was grand! Predictably I got a little burned but not too bad.

Here's another picture from our time at the pool. Bruce was playing catch with Stinkette and I love the way you can see the water droplets flying through the air.


This is a busy and important week here. The girls will finally finish their school year, my M-I-L will be here for a visit, DQ has her dance recital and so much more. It's all good!

Jun 18, 2010

ECF - White Lilies Edition

Two weeks ago I featured red flowers for ECF and I said at the time that I knew I had the same flowers in another color. Well - here you go. Asiatic lilies in white!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Jun 17, 2010

Knitty Malaise

Did you check out Interweave's hurt book sale yet. I don't mind telling you all to go on over and check it out now that I already placed my order. My rather large order. Now I have to figure out where the hell I'm going to put the new books. Oy!


I'd love to be showing you a pair of finished socks today but I still don't have pictures yet - 2 weeks later. I'm hoping that this weekend the schedule and the weather will cooperate. Maybe I'll finish the current socks too and make it a double photo shoot. Wouldn't that be nice?

Debbie Bliss RialtoI wish I had other things to share but truthfully I'm feeling a little knitty malaise. I bought this very pretty and soft Debbie Bliss Rialto DK to knit a certain small sweater but now that I'm ready to cast on for that sweater, the pattern(#1) no longer appeal to me. So I found another pattern(#2) that I love but it takes more yarn... which I don't have.

So I got different yarn, Berroco Comfort DK, for the newly chosen pattern and it should've worked but I had a bad feeling about it. I did a gauge swatch for once and I'm Right! The gauge is off and knitting on larger needles wouldn't give a pleasing fabric. Humph!

So I went back to trolling Rav and found yet another pattern(#3) and while I don't love it like pattern #2, I think it's a winner. Even better it's been knit before in the new yarn. Now I'm waiting to get my hands on the book that the pattern is in and I'm thinking that there may be an even better pattern out there. Or maybe I can force pattern 2 to work with something I already have. Or I can get another yarn that will work with pattern 2. Or...


Anyway, my knitting is stalled but my crocheting isn't. The pictures in this post are of the second potholder I made for the potholder swap and it's going to be on it's way to Canada today. A little late because I forgot to block it but I think it's worth the wait. The colors work well, especially on the swirl side which really pops. It's also not wonky at all although it looks that way in the picture. The pattern I used for that side is Stir Me Up and I love it. Really I do.

Now I'm ready to start the 3rd potholder for the swap and I feel inspired. I've got another pattern in mind to try and I think it's gonna rock! If only I could get as excited about a larger knitting project like the Que Sera that still needs a sleeve. Maybe I'll just cast on some new lace instead.

Jun 16, 2010

The Fair - 2010

Last Saturday Bruce and I celebrated our 16th anniversary. That's a reall long time and it's been filled with ups and downs but we celebrated it with the thing that makes it all worthwhile - family time. Bruce, the girls and I went to Celebrate Fairfax. It may not be the most romantic way to celebrate an anniversary but it made me smile all day long.


There was actually quite a lot to make me smile on Saturday. Like these two who were dancing (if you want to call it that) to Carolina Liar. The band played a great set that we all enjoyed.


Killing 2 birds with one stone also makes me smile. We got Stinkette's hair cut - really well - at the fair. Although she looks sour in the picture she was actually pretty happy about it.


Here's something that made her super-happy - riding the swings. Bruce joked that she didn't really need the hand stamp to ride ALL the rides, she needed a swing pass. She went on them 10 times that day. It wasn't quite the 12 that was her goal but it was plenty for her.


Playing with my camera and my new-ish flash was also fun.

Jun 15, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Reasons To Participate in 10 on Tuesday

It's inevitable that taking pictures of my daughter outside in her dress would lead to pictures of other pretty and promising things like buds on my crepe myrtles. It's just a mattter of time before they're in full bloom.


It's that time of the week again - time for Ten on Tuesday and today the topic itself is Ten on Tuesday and why we should participate. Good question!

1. It's an easy source of blog fodder - let's just get that out of the way right up front.
2. It saves to all from having to read about how many loads of laundry I did last night (2) and how the corn is growing - oh, wait, that's a post for another day.
3. It makes us think about different things. Having to put together a list of 10 of anything can be a little challenging.
4. From the reader perspective - it is a great source of "new". New authors, new recipes, new places to go...
5. It provides inspiration.
6. It's a great way to provide little insights into who we are without going way overboard into the TMI zone. Structure is a very good thing.
7. It's a post that doesn't really need pictorial accompanyment.
8. It's a post that is greatly enhanced by random photos that don't really fit in any other post.
9. A blog cannot exhist solely to discuss socks. Or can it?
10. You know you wanna.

Jun 14, 2010

Waving Goodbye to Middle School

DSC_0563DQ's school is a secondary school that goes from 7-12th grade so there really isn't a middle school graduation. In fact there's very little difference between this, her last year as a middle schooler and next year, which will be her freshman year in high school. Different teachers, different locker, different wing of the school but that's about it.

The biggest thing they do to mark the passage is 8th grade day which was last friday. All day long the 8th graders played games and hung out instead of attending class and that night there was a dance to cap it all off. Here is DQ all dressed up and ready to go. I think she looked fabulous in her new dress.

Of course getting her ready for the dance was half the fun. This dress was one of 10 that I bought during lunch last Monday and shlepped home from the city for her to try on. That's what happens when you realize less than a week before the event that you still don't have a dress and, even worse, that you have no time to go look for one. In the end we kept 3 of them so DQ will be ready for anything and look damn good doing it. Of course I'm horribly biased and I think she's amazing all the time.

Jun 11, 2010

ECF - Lily Ridge Edition

Look! It's another lily from my yard. This is one of the few that I didn't plant. Most of the landscaping done by the previous owner of our house was pathetic and I removed it long ago but there is a lovely ridge of these in my back yard that I've retained. I usually miss their bloom so I don't have many pictures.

The Fairfax Fair is this weekend. Carolina Liar and KC and the Sunshine Band are playing and I'm sure that I'll find lots of stuff to amuse us all weekend. Happily, I will finally have a totally unscheduled day on Sunday. Of course it'll be filled with errands like the grocery shopping that hasn't been done in weeks but... it'll be done at a more liesurely pace and only after I sleep late into the morning.
Have a good one!

Jun 10, 2010

Whose Socks Are Those?

Today's post is proof that I still knit and I even finish stuff. These are just basic Koigu socks with picot edges that I knit toe up. nothing new or exciting but they did get me thinking a bit.


Socks are my go-to knit. I always have a pair in progress in my bag and I often have 2 pairs in progress or, at the very least, a second ball of yarn is with me - just in case. It's easy to have a perpetual sock when your stash grows to a certain point. In theory you've chosen all the sock yarn because you like it so there is usually something in there to catch your eye and suit your mood. Occasionally I buy with someone in mind (or at the behest of one of my daughters) but most of it was bought strictly on a whim and it's all stuff I like.


The patterns used to be the driving force behind my sock knitting but that's not so anymore. Whereas I used to find a pattern I liked and then search for the right yarn for it - these days I often grab a ball of yarn and it's not unusual for me to start knitting a toe before I have any idea what the finished sock should look like. There's a freedom in knitting a sock and just seeing where it takes you.


So it's kind of funny that people are always asking who the socks are for. Since most of my socks start on a whim, I have no idea who will wear the socks. I suppose I start most socks assuming that they'll be mine but somewhere along the way it changes. The pattern takes a turn or inspiration strikes and suddenly hits me that they're just perfect for someone else or my daughters see them and claim them. Usually it happens before I hit the halfway point on the first sock.

That's why I thought that these were mine right up until I started to cast of sock 2. At that moment, half way through binding off sock 2 Stinkerbelle finially noticed the socks and fell hard for them. It was all I could do to get a few pictures before they were spirited off to her room.

Now I'm wondering about how the sock knitting has evolved for others. What about you? Is it still pattern driven or is it a more organic process? Are the endless possibilities freeing you or are they overwhelming?

Jun 9, 2010

All Hail the League Champs!

Yesterday I had a migraine like you wouldn't believe so I hid in my office with the lights off all day. It wasn't the most productive way to spend the day but there were far more important things on my mind... like the game yesterday evening. No, I'm not talking about the major league debut of Steven Strasburg - I'm talking about the league championship game that featured Stinkerbelle's team as the winners of the West division.


I was there with the newest sock* on my needles but I can't say I got a lot of knitting done. I was too busy jumping up and down and screaming my head off. Oh, is my throat sore today! The fans of our team went especially wild when my girl hit a double in one of our most productive innings.

Our whole team played really well and in the end we came up with a 7-4 win over a team that beat us by 1 run in both of our previous meetings. It was so satisfying to beat them when it really mattered!


Doesn't she look happy?

*The pattern for this sock is Spring Forward by Linda Welch and the yarn is Neighborhood Yarn in a gorgeous blue shade called Georgetown.

Jun 7, 2010

Ten On Tuesday - 10 Favorite Children's Books

The Ten on Tuesday topic today is children's books, something I love. My list is a combination of books I loved as a child and those I've enjoyed wth my girls.

Firts a picture I took on my way to an appointment during lunch the other day. Doesn't that flower look like it's been unnaturally enhanced? I don't believe that it was.


    1. Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin - So whimsical and fun. It still makes me giggle.
    2. But not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton - I cannot even begin to count how many times I had to read this to Stinkerbelle. I enjoyed it each and every time.
    3. Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - my favorite book EVER. My signed copy sits on my bedside table
    4. The Dorrie Books by Patricia Coombs - I always loved Dorrie and her black cat Gink
    5. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein - I still love these poems. They are timeless and wonderful.
    6. The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan - Thank you Mr. Riordan for writing books that my daughter cannot put down because she see's herself in them. You're turning my dyslexic daughter into and avid reader and I love you for that.
    7. Scat by Carl Hiaasen - Stinkette and I are reading this right now and enjoying every word. It's clever and meaningful and we both enjoy it equally.
    8. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein - such a beautiful story.
    9. The Magic Treehouse Books by Mary Pope Osborne - DQ loved these when she was little. She just couldn't wait to see where the next one would take her.
    10. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister - I think i got sucked in by the pretty pictures.

    Smithsonian Sleepover

    Saturday evening, Stinkerbelle and I engaged in our second overnight adventure in less than a week. We traded the bugs and oppressive heat and humidity of our camp out for the cold, hard floor of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. At least here we had indoor plumbing.


    Stinkette and I had a great time at our Smithsonian Sleepover. We were with some really good friends and had a blast. We did crafts in the Rotunda including one that involved a mud cake made of top soil and glue. We took a tour of some exhibits by flashlight which lent an especially creepy dimension to the bones within.


    Another highlight of the evening was a scavenger hunt through several exhibits including the dinosuars. It was all topped off by seeing an IMAX 3d movie on the Galapagos Islands.


    Eventually we settled down to sleep and it was so weird listening to the museum noises. It isn't cheap but it was so much fun. I highly recommend it to anyone with kids between 8-12 (the only ages allowed). Sadly, no adults are allowed without kids so you may have to borrow one of the proper age if you want to attend. Do it! This may be the best visit to a museum that my daughter has ever had and I bet it's the one that she'll remember most.

    Jun 4, 2010

    ECF - Wet Flowers Edition

    It stormed yesterday just as rush hour started and arriving home I found these flowers just beginning to bloom in my yard. It should be no surprise that I don't know what they are. I do recall planting them last year (or the year before) with my girls in this and one or 2 other colors.

    Isn't that a gorgeously rich looking red?

    Jun 3, 2010

    Garden Report - June 3rd

    It feels like forever since I've had a real knitting post and this won't be one either but rest assured - they're coming. I just haven't had a lot of knitting time lately but, even so, in the past week I finished 2 pairs of socks and I hope to have modeled shots to share really soon.

    In the absence of knitting to share let's turn to the garden again. Here's the corn. It'finally starting to look like something. I put it in a slightly different spot than last year and the formation is different too. Last year we had 4 stalks in a row and I learned that corn needs to be planted in tight groups to cross pollinate so this year I have 8 stalks in 2 rows side by side. It's also right next to my lavendar which is quite popular with the bees. Lets see how it does.


    Here is a zucchini plant with 3 blossoms on it already. It looks like it should do really well this year... just like it did last year. Yup, this plant is a return from last year. I did plant new zucchini seedlings this year in a spot near this one but they're not quite at this point yet. When I saw this plant poking through the soil I suspected that it could be zucchini so I didn't pull it when I weeded and now I'm glad I followed my instincts.


    Jun 2, 2010

    Beyond Barbeques

    I have had plenty of rest now and pleanty of time to recover the weekend. Although I'm not sure I'll ever be able to look at a hard bench without shuddering again and I've got quite a few bug bites I'm otherwise ok.

    We did have a big BBQ on Saturday. It was not the same cast of characters that we usually invite (we like to mix it up occasionally) but it was a good group and we had some *ahem* lively conversation. As usual I made a bit more food than was needed but that's a good thing because I was a little preoccupied with preparing for the other big event of the weekend and didn't do much food shopping for the house. Leftovers for all!


    Here are the fancy accomodations where I spent the balance of my weekend. Girl Scout camp out! Woot! Ok, ok so they cabins we stayed in weren't that fancy. They were way better than the bathrooms. Ew. So glad I brought an air freshener spray for my girls to use. They're a little princessy.


    This was my first camp out as a leader and I think it went very well. There were a few snags like the girl who missed her parents in the middle of the night, and the endless stream of girls who cut themselves while cooking. Thankfully nobody had anything that a normal bandaid couldn't handle and after a while the girls thought it was funny that they all had small injuries. It could be so much worse.

    The best part of the trip was having both my girls with me. I am Stinkinette's troop leader so I stayed with her group but DQ was there with her troop too. They're pretty tight and have been camping together for ages. They envisioned spending the weekend sleeping late and relaxing around the campsite. Unfortunately the other adults looked at them and saw a few extra pairs of semi-adult hands to help out. The girls were pretty good about pitching in when they weren't napping.


    It was exhausting but really fun. I love camp fires and the songs the girls sing. I loved seeing my girls grow and do things they never thought that they could do. And at then end I was more thankful than ever for my little house with indoor plumbing and hot showers and comfy seating that didn't make me ass hurt. It's the small things.

    Jun 1, 2010

    Ten on Tuesday - 10 Things You Would Tell A High School Graduate

    It's incredibly convenient that I'm making my return to the real world on a Tuesday because my weekend was so packed that I'll need a day or so to recover. How nice to have a pre-determined topic for my first post after the long weekend.


    This week is a great topic that touches Carole and I very differently. While her daughter is about to graduate from high school, mine is poised to enter. It's a very odd time - both exciting and a little bittersweet. So what are the 10 Things I Would Tell A High School Graduate?

    1. Congratulations! You Rock! - making it through High School is definintely an accomplishment to be proud of.
    2. Enjoy whatever comes next - Hopefully what comes next is college but whatever is in your personal plan you should savor every minute.
    3. If you are going on to college then make the most of it. Learn all that you can. These foundational years will be gone before you know it. Squeeze everything you can out of it.
    4. Don't ever feel that you are locked in to a specific plan. If you feel like the path you're on isn't right for you - it probably isn't. Don't be afraid to make the changes when you need to in your personal or professional life.
    5. Watch for opportunities. You never know where or when an amazing opportunity will come along.
    6. Hold on tightly to your close friends and family. Those who were there for you then will be there for you again and again.
    7. Be fiscally responsible - these are trying times and our economy is likely changed forever. The only person you should ever rely on to provide for you - is you.
    8. Don't be in such a hurry to be settled. You will never have the same freedom that you have right now. backpack around the world! Do an internship in your dream company. Volunteer with the Peace Corps or some other group doing good works. Try the things that a person with a house and a car and children they're responsible for can only dream of.
    9. Take pictures, keep a journal - it all seems so crisp and unforgettable right now but someday your pictures and written observations will help bring the memories to life.
    10. Have fun!

    *The picture at the top is of t-shirts that my GS Troop made over the weekend.