Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Catching up, again

Sort of hit the nadir of my give-a-shit-itis cycle last night, stayed up until 3 a.m. reading Robert Galbraith's newest Cormorant Strike novel, Career of Evil; went to bed *dying* for sleep - and got exactly none. Oh, I finally dropped off around 5, and something outside woke me at 7 or so. I did get back to sleep and didn't wake again until almost 10, so that was some, anyway. (Grabbed a half-hour nap this afternoon, too.) But I've been putzing around tidying things up, checking things off the list.

So, to catch up with my self-imposed reportage, Monday I did not do a book review, but now I've got one to review: Career of Evil. If anything, it's better even than the first two. I really like her two main characters, Cormorant and Robin, and this story gives us a lot more of each of their life stories and for me, anyway, it was welcome. I struggle to feel empathy with characters who insist on making bad choices, and Robin has seemed in the previous books to cling to that dud of a fiancé for no visible reason. In this book the reason is made visible, and more understandable, and I was able to like her for her positive qualities unhindered by what had seemed like sheer mule-headedness.

This book involves child molesters and partner abuse, and while there is not a lot of cringe-inducing gore (from my POV), it may not be to some readers' tastes. Ol' Cormorant has quite a collection of vile enemies in his past, it was probably inevitable that Robin would end up having to deal with one (or more) of them on her own. Pleasingly, she doesn't collapse and weep and allow evil plans to follow their planned courses entirely.

Descriptions of the landscape, villages, London's gritty alleys and fancy neighborhoods, and characters main and minor continue to delight me. I can't wait now for the next one!

Tuesdays are supposed to bring you knitting yarns hahaha - not much to report this week because yesterday's YMCA workout was hard on my left hand and left it aching to the point I didn't think I should push it harder by knitting. I did get some old knitting magazines sorted out to give away, so that's always good. I think I'll take the Mineshaft sock to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, to keep my hands busy post-feast. Chances are I'll just doze, but I may as well have it just in case. I made a couple of little "yarn babies" - just tightly-wound balls of yarn with a short "tail" - for the two new kittens at the home where I'm going.

ETA: 10:30 pm - I did pick up the Sphinx Hat and knit another set of three rounds on it. One more set and I'll have the first repeat of the pattern done; two more repeats and then the solid-color top of the hat, and it'll be done. For some reason my knitting is really tight on this one. I'm hoping blocking will get it to relax a bit. We shall see!

And, Wednesday, nothing to relate about writing. Haven't done any except letters.  And this.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thursday miscellany

I didn't realize I'd skipped posting since Monday. Well, Miscellaneous Thursday is miscellaneous.

Finally made it back to the YMCA Livestrong class this morning. This cold has been riding me something fierce, which has been very frustrating since ... well ... to back up: When I left the class October 29, I fully intended never to return. Let's just say that I did not react well to one part of the class that day. Flashbacks from high school gym class had hit me like a bomb and I did not respond like a mature, rational adult. It was really good that I had so long before my next scheduled attendance because it gave me time to cool off and reflect and realize it was ALL about my own attitude, and that I really do need this class and what it's teaching me. I mean, seriously NEED it, if I have any hope of living into my "golden years" as an independent person. And my negative reaction was NOT the fault of anyone but ME. (I did get straight with the class teacher today. She's good people and forgave me.) So I basically not only rededicated myself, but strengthened my resolve to go at the class whole-heartedly and with a good attitude. Then I got home and the cold descended, and it's been very frustrating not being able to get back there. But, now I have, so Yay.

I've been knitting mightily on the November Self-Imposed Sock Club sock:

It's ready for the heel flap, yay! Going to try a slightly different heel flap pattern just to stretch my skilz a little bit. I don't think I'll finish the pair by November 30th,  heh, no lie, I'm not quite halfway done with the first sock of the pair. I can't go any faster because my hands won't tolerate more. I've arrived at a good compromise: I knit ten rows on a sock, then switch and do three rounds on the hat, which is bigger yarn and bigger needles and doesn't hurt my hands as much. 

I think the Sphinx Hat is going to be striking:

There is no yarn thread showing because I'm cutting each color (leaving about 8 inches) as its triple round is done. I thought tying them together neatly inside, with a little bit of give, would end up working better than my trying to carry them all in a bundle all the way to the top of the hat. Have to think about it. I don't know if weaving the ends in would be as permanent as tying them together. There's lots of time to figure it out. I've just done 12 rows of the 18 in the pattern, and the pattern is repeated two more times before the crown is to be finished in the tan color. Lotsa time!

As regards the news of the world, well, watching the horrific events in Paris has done nothing for my mood, of course. But what's worse is the absolutely despicable reaction of yahoos here - Nebraska's governor included OF COURSE - turning their backs on the most desperate people on the planet and acting like that is a good thing. I thought once we'd got rid of Dubya I could hold up my head as an American again. Unfortunately the rot seems to have spread all up and down the political hierarchy and there are sociopathic assholes everywhere in government, much worse than ever before in my lifetime (oh wait, then there was the Nixon administration), and plenty of low-information, knuckle-dragging idiots to support them. It's so depressing.

I'm not much one to march or make irate phone calls and I don't plague my friends with political email forwards. All I can do is my tiny bit, sign petitions, email representatives - who here in Nebraska almost without exception ignore people like me totally - and do small things here where I am (I'm going to an open house at the local mosque in December, to which we Omaha Atheists have been invited due to our leaders reaching out to them after the Paris attacks - and subsequent vandalism of the mosque by some of the aforementioned idiots). And to remember to always be grateful for the undeservedly lucky life I've lived, and to try to assist others who haven't had it so good.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday, no book review

I'm having a hard time finishing books lately. Right now I'm in the middle of re-reading Louise Penny's Still Life, her first Inspector Gamache book. I'm doing that because I recently signed up for Acorn's free 30-day free trial period, and discovered that they carry the one & only TV miniseries(or is it a single TV movie; can't remember) anyone's made of her series, made in Canada (appropriately as the books are set there and Penny's a Canadian). Other Gamache fans have said they really didn't like the movie at all; I thought I'd give it a chance. I'm a fan of Nathaniel Parker, who was cast as Gamache, so that was at least one + in its favor.

Well, I liked it. I even watched it twice, and I may just watch it again before I decide whether to fork out the money for an Acorn subscription (they don't have a lot of material and most of it I've already seen, so right now I'm thinking No). I can see where some things were changed from the books - but I can also see a LOT of things they kept in - down to details of clothing, quotes, personalities, events - I was really surprised.

So I thought I'd go back and read the book again and see if I'm remembering right. So far, so good. Yes, there were some changes I could have done without - like making Peter and Clara LL Bean catalogue models-gorgeous, and about 15 years younger than in the books.  But I thought they did a cracking job with the rotten apple in Gamache's team, can't remember her name right now - I can see where they even were planting little hints about things, concerning her as well as other things, to come in future Gamache mysteries.  I liked the portrayal of Ruth (I missed her duck, but that might not appear until a later book, again, I can't remember). Myrna, the bookstore owner, barely had two lines in the whole movie, and they missed a chance to cast a woman of imperial size (that phrase always comes to me when she's featured in the books - a large lady who I would definitely like a lot) but at least they did cast a black actress to play the black character. The plot and clues, etc. seemed to follow the book well.  Penny has said she doesn't see them doing any more of her books. I think that's kind of too bad.

But I have all her books and I will be re-reading them many times in years to come.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Feels like the past week has been a mess.

The worst, of course, being the atrocities in Paris. Infuriating, heart-breaking, inconceivable.

I brought a cold home from CA; yesterday was the "why can't I just die?" phase; today it's the coughing-out-your-lungs phase which is still better than the former.

Despite the grief and the physical discomfort I did work on the Sphinx Hat last night.  I finished the brim and started the pattern part. I got the first set of three rows done. I haven't taken a picture yet because the pattern isn't really readily visible yet. Alternating the colors wasn't as hard as I'd first thought. I've been cutting the ends at the end of a color useage; not sure you're supposed to do that but I can't imagine you want to carry all those ends! It'll still take a lot of weaving- in ... or perhaps I'll give each end an inch or two of play and tie it in a knot to the next one. Try to keep it both secure and neat.

Not doing much of anything today, in fact there may be a nap in my very near future.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Scrambled week

Wednesday's supposed to be a writing update, but I worked very little on the NaNo novel while visiting my family the past 7 days. I did make some notes, and added a few hundred words. Wrote a post-visit précis on the plane coming home last night in my journal. While there we saw "The Martian" and OMG do I love that movie. I may have mentioned that on the blog already, I can't remember. I'm crazy with fatigue. In Omaha time, I got up in California at 5 a.m. Tuesday and didn't get home until 1 a.m. Wednesday. I can't even figure out how many hours that is awake.

I did get a good bit done on the November Self-Imposed Sock Club Sock No. 1 while gone, and it had the added benefit of generating a delightful conversation with a young lady who'd (unbeknownst to me) been watching me knit on it in the airport gate, and who was very impressed (very flattering) and who said she'd only knitted a scarf and was working on an afghan now. She hadn't heard of Ravelry, so I gave her the address for that. So we got to talk about knitting for awhile, always fun. I didn't knit on the plane because the 16 rows I did in the airport about killed my hands. I need to get this trigger-finger fixed!

Got my one kitty home from the boarders, and my stay-at-home cat has finally settled down now that his favorite napping place, the cat-carrier, has returned. He's been driving me nuts since I got home, poor baby. I'm sure he's never been alone that long before. My sweet sis-in-law came over & visited him several times and he had everything he needed - except me and his little sister. Now he's napping, and SHE is driving me crazy. But we're going to have a nap, too, very soon now so she should settle down when she finds that out, too.

So that's it for this post.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Wednesday, writing, got it

I have made great progress on the NaNoWriMo novel today! Erm - not so much the word-count, as the cogitating and coming up with beaucoup ideas! And marking them down. I know, I know, 476 words is pretty paltry - but the night's not over yet, and I'm tellin' ya, if I could count the notes I've made, the word count would be much higher. However, the proof is in the pudding, as always. If I was on-point with my daily goal, I'd have 6,668 words when I close down the laptop tonight. I kinda don't think I'll get there. But I will get closer! And tomorrow's another day. And I have ideas! So don't give up on me yet!