Monday, December 31, 2012

Random Thoughts

1.  I finished my goal of 12 sweaters knit in 2012!  Go me! 

2.  Five of them were baby sweaters.

3.  I don't care.  It's still 12 sweaters.

4.  I have a horrendous head cold right now.

5.  That I do care about.

6.  I'm hoping the head cold will leave by the time I go back to work on Wednesday.

7.  How much does the first day of a new year mean to you?  Tomorrow will be the very first day of 2013.  Is it just another day, or is it the start of something grand and exciting?

8.  I miss hockey.

9.  I wish the owners and the players would get their butts together and stop acting like spoiled children.

10.  The same can be said about Congress.

11.  Kudos to whoever it was on SOR that came up with calling Adam Jones an "Awesome Biscuit of Manliness."  I think I shall refer to him as such from now on.

12.  Happy New Year, Y'all.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Book Review: The Whole Story of Half a Girl

The Whole Story of Half a Girl
By Veera Hiranandani

Sonia’s father loses his job, which means Sonia has to switch schools (no more private school for her) and adjust to the unfamiliar world of public education. At her new school, she has to navigate the world of receiving grades, being asked questions about her ethnicity, and who does and does not belong to the “in” crowd. All of this is on top of how she has to adjust to having a depressed, out-of-work parent at home. And then one day, her father disappears….

I really don't know what to think about this book. Sonia's issues of having to deal with a new school and new friends are all too real, and they're things any middle school girl can relate to. And in today's economy, the presence of a parent losing his or her job and having depression are, unfortunately, also things many middle schoolers can relate to as well.

But there just seemed to be too many....details that didn't seem to work somehow. The characterization of Sonia's mother doesn't seem to jive with someone who would send her daughters to a private school that doesn't give out grades. The only thing we ever know about Sonia's sister Natasha, is that she's six, and she plays the drums. Apparently there isn't anything else for the reader to know. And then there's the title. Seriously? This is Sonia's WHOLE STORY?

And sometimes, there are simply characters that, for no good reason, don't sit well with you. At one point early in the book, Sonia's father calls her a spoiled brat. And while calling one's offspring that is certainly not to be emulated, I couldn't help but think the exact same thing as I read: that Sonia IS a spoiled brat, and that all she wants is to go back to her prestigious private school where everyone liked her.

That isn't to say that this book doesn't have merit. As I said, I have mixed feelings about it. And sometimes, logic doesn't always come into play regarding a book.

For someone wishing to read about moving to a new town or a new school, this could be a good read.

As well as someone who just wants some mindless chic lit.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That

Some random I type feverishly to get this posted before midnight so I can have two blog posts for the month of November.

Today is the Feast Day of St. Andrew. Did you ever wonder how those feast days came to be? I mean, did St. Andrew really die on November 30, or was that simply the date the Church assigned to him? And if it's the latter, how did they choose November 30?

According to my friend S, I am evil, because apparently it is her fault that she is now hooked into knitting the Advent Calendar 2012 scarf. Earthling also apparently thinks I am evil, but for a different reason.

There is, apparently, a Maryland Alpacas and Fleece Festival that takes place every year in November at the Howard County Fairgrounds. I am appalled that I did not know this. How could I not have known this? I think my knitting friends have been holding out on me.

I made an attempt to go for NaNoWriMo this year, but, alas, it shall not come to pass. I was 10,000 words behind a week ago, and there's just no way the story could have gotten done in time. Maybe between now and the end of the year, it can get done?

The Birds have non-tendered Mark Reynolds, which means he's probably on his way to another team. *sigh* I can't say I shall miss his strikeouts, but I shall miss his Magic Toes.

Advent starts this Sunday!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Give Thanks

Hands down, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

There's no gift-giving, so I don't have to stress out about what to give people. There's no real religious connection to it, so everyone - Christians, Muslims, Jews, and atheists - can all celebrate it together and can give thanks to their own deity without trying to inflict it on someone else's. And while the holiday does coincide with the beginning of Christmas shopping, the day itself is still celebrated today for the same reasons as it was 400 years ago - to come together with family and friends and be grateful for all the blessings we have in life. And yes, there is a huge dinner, and there is football, and there is Black Friday, and there is Cyber Monday, which in PA is celebrated as the first day of deer hunting season, but when one comes right down to it, no matter what one's ethnic, religious, or cultural background, there is a day to celebrate all one has.

So this year, I am thankful that, when Hurricane Sandy blew through the area, that I didn't lose power, and that no one I knew was seriously injured, and that the rather large maple tree right in front of my house remained upright. I know that cannot be said about many other people.

I am thankful that I have a roof over my head and a job that pays me well enough that I don't have to worry about where my next meal is going to come from.

Even though many people would find my obsession with knitting weird and a fetish, I am thankful that I have the time and resources to have such a fetish.

I am thankful that my favorite baseball team strung together 96 wins and went to the playoffs after fourteen straight losing seasons, and that I was able to go and see them eight times this year.

I am thankful that I have family and friends who love me and understand my obsession with knitting and baseball and have never tried to convince me that I am weird in a bad way (I am weird, but hopefully not in a bad way.)

I am thankful that this past March, Earthling and I were able to spend a week in Ireland, and that I got to experience St. Patrick's Day in Dublin.

I am thankful that I was able to spend a few days in upstate New York this year at the sheep and wool festival.

I am thankful that I just finished a really great book called Enchantress from the Stars and have the time and the resources to read other books.

I am thankful that I live in a country where I can worship however I please, go wherever I please, and say whatever I please.

I could go on and on here, because there is SO MUCH that I have for which to be thankful. There are so many people out there for whom the same cannot be said. The fact that I was able to make such a list - I am thankful for that too.

What about you?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! I cannot BELIEVE that it is almost November already. Where DID the time go?

Is everyone safe and drying out from the hurricane? Power on? Yarn stash dry? Trees near to dwelling places still standing?

The library was closed Monday and Tuesday from the storm. I am sure there were a bunch of people who showed up anyway and wondered why in the world we were closed. Humans are a weird species. (Seriously, why would you go outside? Did you not understand it was a hurricane?)

So my Orioles were knocked out in the Division round of the playoffs, which is sad. (@#$% stinkin' Yankees) But it was an awesome ride just to GET to the playoffs, so I can't bring myself to be disappointed this year. And three of my Birds won Gold Gloves, which is really cool!

Books currently reading: *All Roads Lead to Austen,* by Amy Elizabeth Smith and *The Alchemyst,* by Michael Scott.

Current Knitting Projects: Java Socks and Queen of the Wood shawl.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

This, That, and Some Other

I cannot believe it is OCTOBER already. Really. Where did the time go? I could have sworn that SRP just ended, and school just started. Huh.

If it is October (and apparently it is), then why is it raining outside? Pouring, actually. I thought October was for blue skies.

I don't mind that it's October, though. Because October is my favorite month of the year. And because I'm still high over this past weekend. Since THIS is what I was doing:

The Orioles have a winning record and are going to the playoffs this year for the first time since I was in high school. Yeah. I'm still pretty high over it. No matter how far they GO in the playoffs, this has been one sweet ride, and I will enjoy every minute of it.

However, it would be nice if the BoSox could get their rears in gear and actually win their next two games so that the O's have a shot at winning the division rather than just the Wild Card. So, Marcie and Jen? If you could let them know that, that'd be great.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Random on a Monday

1. For the record, I have absolutely no idea what's up with my formatting. I don't know why it is the way it is (nor do have any idea how to fix it).

2. CCS deserves to die a long, slow, drawn-out, protracted, painful death. Another night like last night, and all I shall ask for will be a jury of my peers.

3. I need another Nevis cardigan.

4. The maple trees have started to turn!

5. What's the best way to care for an African violet?

6. !@#$ soulless Yankees.

Monday, August 27, 2012


School starts today.

Bliss! Joy! Happy dance!

To quote Bruce Springsteen: Summer's [still] here, and the time is right to go dancing in the street.

Join me won't you? SCHOOL STARTS TODAY!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Day Late and a Dollar Short, But...

It's been a year. Flanny, I hope you found the peace you were looking for that you never found in life. Rest in peace. You are missed.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Don't Tell Me What To Do

(With apologies to Pam Tillis.)

This disturbs me. And I mean, REALLY PISSES ME OFF.

Seriously. EVERY woman who feels this way should be troubled?

This isn't about Obama versus Romney, or abortion, or Planned Parenthood. This isn't even about mudslinging political ads.

No, this is about a campaign insisting that because I am a woman who cares about her body, I should automatically feel a certain way.

So here's a newsflash for all those people out there who somehow believe that just because I AM A WOMAN, I should automatically support stuff like Planned Parenthood and Roe v. Wade:

Any support that I may or may not have for PP or RVW is not contingent on what organs are between my legs. If I'm capable of making my own decisions regarding the care of my body, then you can be darn sure I'm capable of making up my own mind regarding PP, RVW, AND the presidential race.

Don't tell me what should trouble me. You can give me facts all you want, but in the end, it's still MY decision what to believe and what should disturb me.


Sunday, July 08, 2012

We Are One More

This morning, we are one more.
My friend M gave birth yesterday to an absolutely beautiful baby girl. From what I hear, both Mom and Daughter are both doing well.

Monday, July 02, 2012

In Which My Laziness is Discovered...'s been I while since I've posted, but I thought it might be fun to show you all how St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in Dublin. Yeah...three and a half months late. Prior to me going over, I was informed that St. Patrick's Day was not a big thing in Ireland. That it was completely different than it is over here -- much more of a religious thing.


I was informed incorrectly. Those were all people standing across the street from me during the parade.

The bagpipers.

The army.

A float answering the question how a rainbow is formed.

These people were talking about the ocean -- I forget the exact question they were answering.

This band was playing "Thriller"

This group was answering the question of how if the world is spinning, why we don't fall off.

This group had something to do with dreams.

This band was playing "Sweet Caroline." I started singing along with them, but discovered that nobody in Ireland knows it.

I forget what this group was all about.

The River Liffey, which they do NOT dye green. The locals were appalled when we explained about the Chicago and the Charles Rivers.

The view up the river.

Christ Church Cathedral in the old city.

St Patrick's Cathedral, also in the old city. Jonathan Swift was dean here.

In the park where St. Patrick's is located is a peace garden.

Dublin Castle

On the other side of the river was another peace garden, this one dedicated to all the people who died in the name of Irish freedom.

And after that, it was back to the hotel for the night. The cabbie teased me for spending the night inside instead of out on the town, but it was cold, so I was glad to be back for the evening.

Next post, Trinity College!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Galway -- Part 2

So after Inis Mor, we took the ferry back to Galway for the night. Friday, we were planning on taking the train back to Dublin, but first, we decided to traipse around Galway some more. Here is the view from our hotel room:

Galway Cathedral was within walking distance of Eyre Square, so we decided to walk around there for a little while.

During the week, the cathedral uses its parking lot as a municipal lot for people working in the city, so as we walked around, we saw many vehicles driving in and out of the lot. There was a mass going on at the time we were there, so we did not go in.

The rose window...

The cathedral from across the street.

A couple of neat views of the older parts of Galway in the area around the cathedral.

And another

And another

This was a neat little shop in old town Galway. It sold yarn, and you know how Earthling and I can't just go past a yarn store and not stop.

Then, it was back to the train station to take the train back to Dublin. Some views from the train:

A view with sheep!

Another view

One of the smaller towns we passed through

This was just a picture I took because I wanted to get a picture of Gaelic writing. Ireland is officially bilingual, and everything, including the signage on the train, is in Irish and English.

And then, we arrived safely back in Dublin and decided to call it a day back at the hotel. We actually made it back to our hotel without getting lost -- not a small matter, as it involved taking the bus in the dark through unfamiliar neighborhoods.

A special thanks to the lovely local woman who helped us out. Next posting: St. Patrick's Day!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Memoriam

It's Memorial Day. Take some time today to remember everyone who gave their lives for this country in the name of freedom. We can never thank them enough. Never Forget.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Inis Mor

The Aran Isles are three islands off the west coast of Ireland, known for fishing and tourism. Inis Mor is the largest of the three, and Earthling and I spent the night in Kilronan, which is the largest ... evidence of civilization is probably the best way to describe it. This was our B&B, which had absolutely scrumptious scrambled eggs and really comfy beds. Probably by best night's sleep during the entire stay in Ireland was here.
This is Guinness, who liked to greet all the guests at the B&B. Our best guess was that he was part Corgi and part something else.
Some views from the B&B:
After breakfast, Earthling and I took a walk along the coast of the island.
There was an artist hostel down this road.
We saw cows...
Some spectacular scenery...
Some quaint farmhouses stereotypical of what I think of when I think of rural British countryside...
Some interesting ruins...
Some horses, who were all quite anxious to come over and say Hi...
Some goats.
There's apparently a seal colony on Inis Mor, but we weren't planning on staying long enough to see it.
After the walk along the coast, we trekked back to Kilronan for some shopping and lunch. The Aran Isles are most known for the creating of intricately patterned fisherman sweaters, and as such, the big tourism draw in Kilronan is the Aran Sweater Museum.
Earthling and I spent some significant time here, perusing the sweaters for sale. The theory of an Aran sweater states that each family has its own unique pattern, and that each individual stitch has a symbolic meaning. I've yet to hear conclusive evidence to that fact (I've actually heard some pretty hard evidence that points to the opposite), but it's a nice theory anyway, and the sweaters there were pretty. Earthling and I bought enough yarn there for sweaters. Lunch was at the pub across the street from the museum. I had Irish stew, which was nice on a raw, rainy day.
Some views of the harbor around Kilronan:
And another:
And another:
And another:
The ferry line that took us back to the mainland:
And then it was back to Galway after an eventful day.