Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September Reading List

Still no sign of the Green Woman...and as I don't think you want a stitch by stitch description of how I knit basic socks when she's gone I thought I'd go ahead and do the monthly reading report.

Books:

1. Curse of The Wolf Girl, Martin Miller. I'm actually not finished...but thought I'd mention it anyway. I can't decide if I like Miller or not. Some of his books - Lonely Werewolf Girl and The Good Fairies of New York - are just delicious, and wickedly funny! Other's (and I can't remember the title right now) are not at all my cup of tea. This one is somewhere in between. Miller has a very basic subject, verb, predicate style of writing for these books which - when good - lends to the comic nature of his writing. This time, though, it's just tedious and makes the reading a chore. It could take a while to finish it.
2. In The Company of Cheerful Ladies,
3. Blue Shoes & Happiness, and
4. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, Alexander McCall Smith. The clerk at B&N asked me about these books, and in describing them I referred to them as comfort reading with substance. I would consider them light reading if not for two things - the incredible characters and the beautiful way in which the author completely takes the reader into another world. While they are technically 'fast' reads, I refer to them as 'slow' because they make me slow down and savor each word. While technically they are mysteries...nothing much happens except for human nature. It's refreshing...and has been exactly what I needed this month.

Audio:

1. A Little Bit Wicked, Kristin Chenoweth. If you decide to try this book out you really MUST listen to the audio version because it is read by Chenoweth herself. I've been a fan of hers for a long time, and knew it would be interesting to read her autobiography. Besides, it's Kristin Chenoweth...it was bound to be funny! I wasn't prepared for the occasionally profound moments, the lessons along the way and the new respect I would develop for such an amazing woman. It was definitely worth it!
2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Steig Larson. Yes, I read the book a year ago - thanks to a lovely guild member who couldn't wait and ordered it from Amazon UK and then was generous to share it around the guild. However, I still wanted to listen to this one...in large part because my audio experiences with the first two had been so fantastic! I wasn't at all disappointed...the reader was again phenomenal and really lent a lot to the book. In fact, I stayed up waaayyyyyy too late one night because I had come to the exciting part and just couldn't stop listening!

Podcasts:
1. The Riddle of the Sands (finished!) Erskin Childers, Forgotten Classics. Eh. It's billed as the very first espionage book, and apparently it's release caused all sorts of uproar in the UK. For that, I'm glad I listened....but it just wasn't my cup of tea and I couldn't listen to more than an episode or two at a time because it easily bored me.
2. A Connecticut Yankee In King Arther's Court, Mark Twain, Craftlit. Honestly, it's a slog. I like Twain a lot...but every time I've tried to read this book I find that it's just a bit too much for my taste. The characters just wear on you, and you end up feeling like Twain could have been a lot more concise. I'll keep listening, but I imagine I'll be glad when it's over.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Meanderings

The Princess...getting a little bit of love from my dad's Boxer, Joy.

  • Having finished the baby gifts (with mere seconds to spare!) it would appear that the Green Woman has gone on vacation.
  • Seriously...can't find her anywhere....it's got to be a first.
  • Man, the house is VERY quiet without her!
  • As a consequence, I spent my morning quiet hour cleaning up my office space in the basement.
  • And I have no idea of what I want to do next.
  • Spinning? Two projects prepped and ready...so maybe.
  • Knitting? I have Christmas presents I need to do, and lots of other things I want to do...so maybe.
  • Embroidery? Well I haven't started yet, and I do really want to do some...so maybe as well.
  • Or perhaps I'll just take a few days to clean the house, read some books, drink some coffee, ponder the meaning of creativity and the universe....
  • In the meantime, here are a few thoughts.
  • That Geiko commercial with the annoying pig in the back of the car is funny until one's 4-year-old starts weee, weeeing and then announces that she wants to go "Wee all the way home!"
  • BootCamp today was a version of the BodyAttack class. I am not an aerobics kind of girl...and I'm not a loud music kind of girl...so it was just m'eh.
  • I had the worst run of my life yesterday...completely hitting the wall at 1.5 miles. I'm now very worried about the 10K next Saturday.
  • Consequently, I gave myself permission to skip the race if I decide that's what's best.
  • But then I also received some really good support in BootCamp this AM from both our leader and one of my classmates who regularly runs races.
  • So who knows what I'll end up doing?!?!
  • I'm sleepy.
  • Perhaps I should take a nap.
  • The girls' Halloween costumes - which we purchased for the first time - arrived on Friday. It's going to be a very Star Wars Halloween, and both girls are delighted!
  • Actually, it's a toss up as to who's more excited - the girls or their father. (Or me...because I don't have to stress about making them and/or begging my mother to make them...)
  • Which reminds me, I will soon get to endure the annual Halloween decorating extravaganza that my husband delights in. Sigh.
  • Yep, definitely need a nap.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My First Friend

Friends and long-time blog readers will not at all be surprised to hear that my stealth baby gift (mentioned very briefly in recent Monday posts) was another baby surprise jacket in my favorite colors of my favorite baby yarn - Debbie Bliss's baby cashmerino in vintage/dusty pink and chocolate.
They're just fun! I had to laugh at my recent guild meeting because I still remember the meeting during which they discovered that I had never made one of these gems...and now it's practically all I do!
However, this mama to be is extra-special, and she needed more than just a BSJ. Another favorite of mine is Debbie Bliss's basic baby cardigan (My pattern came from Baby Cashmerino 1). I made this sweater for my eldest and for my niece, and both girls wore it frequently. It's just one of those wardrobe staples that a girl needs! Fortunately, I had plenty of yarn and just enough buttons to do both sweaters. Sweet as can be!
And by the way...the BSJ will fit this winter, usually lasting up to about six months or so, and the Bliss cardigan is in the 12-24 month size, so it will be saved for next winter. As usual, the BSJ took about 2-3 days to make. I completed the cardi in 6 days - although it was a near thing and I had to dry it on a fan after washing and blocking to make sure it made it to the shower on time! Wouldn't change a thing, though, because the mama deserves both!
Mama to be is my friend Amy - someone who I've (quite sadly) not seen very often since I left home, but who is always in my heart. Amy and I were to have been born on the same day - but I was three weeks early and she a week late. At the very least, we managed to coordinate our birthdays so that we were both born on the 17th, and since then we've shared many special memories. We were raised together in the same church, and I honestly can't remember a time when I didn't know her. High school was particularly tough for me - but Amy was always kind and always worked to make sure I was included. She was, therefor, one of the only people I kept in contact with after I left home, and I still treasure the letters we wrote back and forth. As we introduced ourselves at the shower, Amy pronounced me her 'First Friend' which meant more to me than she could ever possibly know. She was my first friend, too, and one of the best I've ever had!
And by the way....she is having one of those fabulous, glowing pregnancies which women dream of! Doesn't she look gorgeous!
PS. Amy's mother recently gave her a sweater and hat that my mother made for Amy when she was a baby. Amy is looking forward to dressing her daughter in that treasure, too!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Knitting My Way Out Of The Dark

Picture by the Princess - Thank You Sweetheart!


"Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises."
Elizabeth Zimmermann
And that's just what I've been doing this summer.
I would like to thank my friends and family for hanging in there with me over the last six months as I've struggled through my recovery period and all of the other stuff that it dredged up.
Things are definitely looking up...
So let's get back to having some fun!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Naked No More!

I posted this picture recently....and the children are so cute that only one person noticed an important detail....
The monkeys have clothes!
And the girls are very, VERY happy about that!
Thanks to my Mom for producing the clothes - so far one dress, one twin set and skirt and two pair of undies. (She's working on the rest of the clothes so that both girls have both outfits.)
I think we can put that project to rest now....and be satisfied with a job well done.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm Stepping Off The Crazy Train

24 years

That's how long I've worried about my weight.

24 years....and I'm only 36

And I think if you ask anyone who's known me for any amount of time they would tell you that I really didn't have a serious weight problem until after my first pregnancy. Discounting the second pregnancy and nursing phase, that's maybe 5 years that I should have worried....perhaps 6ish if we count the end of college....

Does anyone else think that's just crazy?

You would really think it was crazy if I showed you pictures from my teenage years when all of this really kicked into overdrive. Perception and reality have never been so far apart, and those years - along with some family issues - set me up for what would become a life of self-cruelty that's quite frankly disgusting.

And I just can't - and won't - live that way anymore.

Several weeks ago, I told you about reading Molly Wizenberg's book A Homemade Life, describing how profoundly the book had affected me. Around that same time I went in for my yearly Wellwoman exam and had a long conversation with my doctor. I've been hinting since then that I'd made some decisions....and here they are.
  1. I will not be dieting anymore. Period, end of story.
  2. I will not be weighing anymore.
  3. I will be listening to my body more carefully.
  4. I will be paying more attention.
  5. I will be focusing on exercise - which for me is the great "I can."
  6. I will be doing what needs to be done to deal with any emotional junk that may come up.

And just to be specific, when I say there will be no more dieting that means that I will not be:

  1. Weighing or measuring my food
  2. Tracking it on My Daily Plate or in any other place
  3. Restricting foods in any way
  4. Making anything off limits
  5. Doing any more research or reading on food/nutrition

It's only been a couple of weeks, and already I've learned:

  1. That I'm not going to go crazy and eat everything in the house if I give myself permission to eat what I want.
  2. I feel best with an oatmeal/fruit breakfast, a big salad with protein for lunch and a carb dinner...with a fun afternoon snack.
  3. When I fully give myself permission, a much smaller amount satisfies.
  4. Cooking is more fun when I don't have to worry about the nutritional break down of what I'm preparing.
  5. For that matter, food is a lot more fun when you don't have to weigh and measure anything - or when you are not feeling guilt because you failed to weigh and measure it.
  6. That I like myself a whole lot better when the scales aren't a part of my daily life.
  7. I don't actually like some of the foods I used to binge on.
  8. I can have a bag of pretzel M&M's in the house and only eat a few every day...or not.
  9. That I do truly love exercise...and now that my head is in a better place the happy endorphins are back when I work out, leaving me feeling great the rest of the day!

I'm definitely a work in progress - and I have a long, long way to go - but I feel that this is a good place to start. And I promise, we won't be discussing this all of the time. In fact, hopefully we won't ever have to discuss it again.

So here's to living life OFF of the crazy train...

Heck, here's just to living.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Meanderings

It's just so pretty that I had to show it off again!
Also, I've been told that blogger was a bit wonky the day I published the FO post. If you missed it, you can find that post here.

  • Yeah, it's actually Tuesday again.
  • We'll call this episode the "I have a crazy deadline for a baby gift, and have been spending all of my spare time knitting rather than blogging" Monday Meanderings.
  • But oh...this baby gift is making me very, very happy.
  • I'll publish the info on this gift next Sunday...the day AFTER the shower.
  • In the meanwhile, I have no other crafting stuff to share with you, so we'll just have to come up with something else to talk about today.
  • Shouldn't be difficult!
  • I totally kicked but yesterday in Boot Camp! Our task for the day was to run up the Forum hill - from the front door of Wilson's to Green Meadows (for those of you in town who know where that is). It's a major hill - 3/4 mile UP! I did very well, and loved it.
  • Oddly enough, I'd far rather run up hill than down.
  • When you run downhill the potential is there to lose control and do a face plant. I overcompensate and slow down too much...making it harder on my joints. I must work on that.
  • Really, I just don't like fast because I'm a big chicken - especially when combined with downhill.
  • Think also "biking" and "skiing."
  • Big chicken.
  • Happily, my running clinic is already making a difference, and my knees feel great this morning.
  • I have two weeks left to prepare for the 10K...and I'm not all that excited about it. Kind of wish I hadn't signed up for it this year.
  • To be fair - I've had some stuff to deal with this last month, and that's made it difficult. We'll be talking more about that later this week.
  • The flu didn't help at all.
  • Anyway. Running is good, but I'd rather be doing it on my own terms right now with no official race to put pressure on me.
  • We're renaming the Pixie. She will now be known as "Tasty" as she can't go outside without being completely chewed up by bugs.
  • Poor kid!
  • Her doctor did warn me because of her hair color and complexion....
  • The Princess is having a growth spurt.
  • Drat her....she's almost too big for my lap.
  • I joke a lot about my kids growing up too fast, but that's the way it's supposed to be.
  • A wise friend told me once that she never mourned her kids' growth because she found that she was ready for and excited by each new stage, and that it did a great disservice to the children to wish they would stay little. She was right.
  • We got a new roof on Friday. Yay!
  • Yep, they did the entire job in one day - and I can't say enough nice things about the crew.
  • For that matter, I can't say enough nice things about the construction company we chose and our insurance agent, who's been helping us coordinate all of this.
  • Besides, our deductible is crazy-low!
  • I can't believe how excited I am about a new roof.
  • If a roof makes me this happy, imagine how ecstatic I'll be when we put new flooring into the living room and kitchen!

All for now...I must get back to work on the baby gift. I have another 20 min. before I need to pack up for the gym!

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Inspiration

Raphaelle Peale, American, c1822
Permanent Collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Kansas City, MO


I first saw this painting as a child, and distinctly remember the shock I felt when I realized that the linen was actually a part of the painting....and not an actual piece of fabric that had been hung in front of the painting for no apparent reason. Since then, I've gone back to the Nelson many times, and am always drawn to this small piece of rather unusual art.

So why do I share it with you today? Well, I'm doing a bit of palette-cleansing as I prepare to move on to my next project and for some reason I've found myself thinking of this painting quite a bit. Perhaps it's the drape which reminds me of how I like to drape my shawls in the tree behind the house....perhaps it's just the novelty of it all....or perhaps it's just because I miss it. I haven't been to the Nelson in years, which needs to be remedied.

Who knows.

I hope you enjoy it, and come back tomorrow for more creative hi jinks at Chez Green Woman!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dreaming of Winter

It began with the simple charm of our winter visitors.
And had a slight hiccup along the way...
And oh...was it ever worth every stitch!







Pattern: Near Solstice by Bridget Rorem
Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr silk and merino laceweight, 5.9 oz.
Needles: Addi Turbo, US 0, 2.0mm
Time to knit: January 1 - September 10, 2010
Mods: I did my regular knit-on/lace cast on edge instead of the provisional cast-on used in the pattern. I just could not imagine having to go back in and do the sewn bind off recommended, and this one is every bit as stretchy and strong. (And takes considerably less time!)
My Thoughts: This was a wonderful knit. I've already spoken about how much I loved working on the pattern - the quiet, contemplative garter and the amusing bird tracks which added just enough of that extra spark to keep it interesting. It turned out to be the perfect balm for a sometimes troubled heart this summer, and I will always treasure the finished piece.
I know there is a mathematical formula out there for determining the total number of items in a sequence - such as the number of stitches in a shawl that decreases two stitches every other row. At one point during this process, I wanted to find that formula because I was burning with curiosity. After all, we started out with 599 stitches! However, I no longer care or need to know. In fact, I think I might be rather shocked if I actually knew how many stitches and how much time went into this project. As is, I enjoyed it thoroughly and value the time spent on every stitch.
My only concern is that the yarn will yellow. I did a store sample with this exact cone some years ago (which is why I ended up buying the almost-full cone when I was finished!). It is absolutely lovely to work with and produces a fantastic fabric that has beautiful drape and holds excellent stitch definition. But. The store sample yellowed atrociously, and I'm afraid this will too. The cone already bares some signs of it, and I'm not at all sure what to do to protect both it and the shawl. Thoughts and ideas?
I doubt this one will ever be worn...but I suspect it will end up hanging on a wall somewhere in my home. It is a true work of art, and deserves to be on display and appreciated!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Getting Over The Flu Monday Meanderings

  • Ordinarily, I would be at the gym right now.
  • Believe me when I say I really would prefer to be at the gym!
  • However, instead I am home - in bed - resting up a bit before I have to go pick up the Pixie from school because I am on the mend from a bout of the flu.
  • I call it the flu because that's what we always used to call an illness that involved a high fever and massive gastro distress - whether or not it had anything to do with influenza.
  • It's just easier than saying "a virus of some sort that involved symptoms x, y and z."
  • I was absolutely fine on Saturday...
  • No need for the details.
  • I can honestly say it was the fifth sickest I've been in my entire adult life. (Why yes, I can list it. I don't tend to be really, really ill often - and when I do it's rather spectacular, and thus easily ranked.)
  • And I am praying that it's actually over.
  • On today's schedule: Take kids to school, sleep, pick small one up, feed her and pop in a movie, sleep, greet older one, sleep, feed them, sleep. Sounds good to me!
  • At some point I might block my Near Solstice shawl. If I'm back to normal tomorrow than I'll be going to my guild meeting and I'd like to show it off.
  • That's about as much energy as I plan on expending today, though.
  • The good news is that I was able to go to a fabulous running clinic on Saturday - held by The Starting Block, which is the store that has changed my life!
  • Lest you think I'm joking....let me remind you that my foot measures a 6.5 E. It's completely abnormal - unless you are a Piepergerdes - and very difficult to fit. Just now I have two pair of shoes in my closet that actually fit - my running shoes and my Birks.
  • And I could be such a shoe girl.....
  • I digress. (Which I'm quite good at!)
  • The running clinic was a two hour class on form, with lots of drills to help us learn proper technique. We did the whole thing barefoot (in a slightly muddy field!) which helped us to focus on our feet and how we were landing. I had a wonderful time, and my knees felt better at the end of that class than they've felt in months! I have a feeling this is going to totally revolutionize my running life - especially as lately I had been worried that I was going to have to give it up because of my knees!
  • Of course, it's going to take a while to apply the techniques. My coordination flew out the window on Saturday as I tried to put it all together. Practice makes perfect.
  • There's really not a whole lot of other news to report.
  • I have made some decisions about the food end of my quest for better health...which I'll most likely write about at some point this week. For now I'll just say that I think life is going to be getting a whole lot better.
  • Hopefully I'll be back to more regular posting now that Near Solstice is done.
  • And with that...I need a nap.

Have a Great Week!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Note From The Green Woman

Dear Readers,

I've locked Kristin up in her room until she finishes her bird foot shawl. Should be sometime this afternoon. I want to wear it. I might steal it from her when she's not looking. I'll let her blog more when she's done.

Sincerely,
The Green Woman

PS. When she is done, I've got some ideas....
(Cue wicked laughter.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Why Yes, It Is Tuesday!

My girls ... sisters and best friends, whether or not they know that yet.

  • I'm thoroughly glad that today is over.
  • And yesterday....
  • We did not have the normal distinction known as a 'restful night' to separate the two, thanks to some sort of nasty tummy bug that hit the Princess in the wee hours.
  • Poor kid.
  • Poor parents!
  • The good news - neither she nor I (because of course I had it, too...although mine was less dramatic in the tummy department) ever had a fever of more than 99.5. SO, with a good night's sleep, the Princess can happily go back to school tomorrow.
  • The bad news - Our Pixie was not at all happy about being the only energetic one in the house.
  • The good news - Sean had today off, so he distracted the Pixie for a while, giving me a two hour nap.
  • The bad news - I may have to skip Boot Camp tomorrow. I really, REALLY don't have time to be seriously ill, and I don't think I'd better push it.
  • More good news - Cupcake and The Boy are parented by one awesome Mom, who didn't even flinch when I called this morning...and who was more concerned with my child this evening when she called than she was about who would be watching her kids tomorrow.
  • Moving on.
  • Near Solstice is flying along now! I'm at row 391/597 as of sitting down to write this post - and I fully expect to get another 10-20 rows done tonight. If I keep this up, I *might* be able to take it to my guild meeting....
  • What I should be working on is a baby gift. I seem to be having some issues with decision making on this one, though. (Unusual for me.....)
  • As I know for a fact that the Mom has peeked in on the blog at least once, you will not hear another peep out of me on that subject until after the shower.
  • Also finished are the merino/tencel singles. I took my spinning wheel with me to my parents' home over the weekend, and that turned out to be a wise decision.
  • I already have my next spinning project selected...the only thing that remains to be decided is whether or not I'll be a good girl and ply my singles first.
  • I'm leaning towards NOT.
  • I set a new personal best for myself at Watkins Mill on Sunday, running two laps around the lake (7.6 miles total) in 1:41:05. Yay me!
  • I've actually run 7.5 miles faster - but that was just prior to the surgery during my half-marathon training...and it was also on a somewhat easier course. I've only run at Watkins Mill one other time this year (thanks to the surgery and the weather), and that run was pretty darn awful.
  • Ergo, my time on Sunday not only sets a new personal best, but it also represents the fact that my ability to do cardio has finally, FINALLY come back.
  • I guess when my doctor said six months...she really meant it!
  • The run also has implications for the near future - One, that I'll easily be able to complete my 10K, and Two, that I may even be able to finish it faster than last year as I had set my previous personal best about three weeks before that race. Yay me!
  • I'm going to attend a running workshop this weekend. I know that I need to correct a few things so that I can continue on with this sport. Also, my knees aren't happy with me, and that definitely needs to be addressed.
  • Ooohhh!!!! I also had a magnificent 9.5 mile bike ride on the MKT trail on Friday!
  • According to my Boot Camp leader, I was supposed to be in a yoga class...but the weather was far too nice for that!
  • Seriously, who on earth would have skipped the opportunity to be outside on such a glorious day!?
  • I Love my bike...and there was a time when I never thought I would ever say such a thing.
  • I hope to fit in one good ride/week - both for fun and to add variety to my workout life.
  • We're not discussing food this week.
  • I'm still processing.
  • The geriatric pets are showing their age. I'm concerned about the winter.
  • The children insist on growing.
  • My brother was just in Seattle on business, and I was jealous.
  • My dad turned 64 this weekend.
  • My mother proved to be a force to be reckoned with in court last week, apparently quite effectively taking apart some big wigs that thought they could run all over her. Kudos, Mom, for standing up for what was right and for doing such an incredible job!
  • My Gram made an incredible pie for Dad's birthday, and once again spoiled my girls rotten.
  • My husband...well, he's just a pretty great guy.
  • And that is all.

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

By The Way....

About an hour ago I completed row 299 on the Near Solstice Shawl, which means that I'm officially 3/4 through the knitting! We're down to 301 stitches per row, friends, which means the end is in sight...and could come faster than I had hoped.

Ahem - this could also be why I distracted you from the lack of posts with a book list. This shawl is eating up ALL of my spare time right now - and I'm happy to let it do so. Hopefully my next project will provide me with more to talk about!

As of bedtime I've worked through row 313, thus successfully completing my crazy challenge to finish page 4 - and 32 rows, I think - of the pattern today. (Page 4 literally took 2 weeks.) Woo Hoo! I can see the end in sight!

August Reading

I had so much fun discussing my summer reading list that I thought I would add a monthly book list to my blog.

Ok, I'll confess...my OCD nature LOVED entering all of my books into GoodReads, but then it occurred to me that I might be forgetting a lot of books (for example my audio books from the library) because I wasn't keeping an actual record anywhere. A quick trip to B&N, during which I perused the shelves for a reminder of all of the books I've given away over the years, and I realized that I would be in trouble if I didn't start an ongoing list somewhere. (The fact that I spent about an hour in the middle of the night during a particularly troublesome bout of insomnia going through all of the audio books available online through the library to make a list of the ones I'd checked out might have also had something to do with that....)

So yes, this is largely for me....but I hope you enjoy it, too!

Actual books that you hold in your hands:
  1. Indigo Springs, A.M. Dellamonica - It's not often that you stumble across a new concept in science fiction or fantasy books. (Although, admittedly there's a better chance of that happening if you read more sci fi....and I don't. I'm strictly a fantasy girl.) Amazingly enough - that's exactly what I found in this book. It took a little while to truly get into it, but now I'm chomping at the bit for the sequel. I had to laugh a bit, though. Rather inadvertently I managed to have an entire summer full of books about Salem and/or witches!
  2. The Lace Reader, Brunonia Barry - I was very, very pleasantly surprised by this book. One of my pet peeves about modern literature is that so often writers rely on abuse as the primary conflict of the story. Now, before you jump all over me, I would like to state that I did work at a home for abused and neglected girls and I am, therefor, fully aware of the extent and seriousness of the issue. However. I will spare you my soap box to simply say that it's just not my cup of tea. Early on in this book I guessed that abuse would be involved...and I'm glad I ignored my impulse to toss the book in the trash rather than keep reading. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, but it certainly was about one of the most complex, interesting characters I've ever come across. (The Green Woman would like you to know that she did her utmost best to convince me to start bobbin lace while we were reading this book. She also seriously tempted me to try reading the future in one of my lace shawls. I resisted....barely.) Loved that she didn't cop out with the ending!
  3. Divine Misdemeanors, Laurell K. Hamilton. Another confession. I love Hamilton's books, for all that they are what we call 'schlock' novels. This is one of her Merideth Gentry novels, which still have a lot of life in them. (Sorry Anita Blake...after 17ish books you're getting a bit stale.) Pure escapist fiction...lots of fun...but no substance whatsoever. Sometimes a girl just needs that sort of book!
  4. A Homemade Life, Molly Wizenberg. We've discussed this one already! (And yes, I'm going to write Molly directly to thank her!)
  5. The Tree Bride, Bharati Mukherjee. This is one of my Endicott reading group books, and I have to say I just didn't care for it that much. The author's writing style was a bit too convoluted - often feeling as if it was complex and fancy for complex and fancy's sake. I appreciate good word craft, but if you lose your narrative in the process than it's just not worth it.

Audio:

  1. Sister Carrie, Theodore Dierser. Couldn't get through it all and gave it up at roughly the half-way point. It's a very well-written book, with an interesting storyline. I just didn't find any of the characters to be particularly sympathetic and so it was difficult to stay with it.
  2. The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Orczy via The Classic Tales podcast. I've read it before and I absolutely adore it. Soooo glad B.J. Harrison decided to serialize this for his podcast! He's one of the best voice actors out there, and I always enjoy his work. It was especially fun because I had the music and lyrics from the musical (one of my favorites, even though it's not well known) playing in my mind the entire time!
  3. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender. I've decided Aimee Bender is one of my new favorite writers. Yes, it's a very odd book.... but it's also rather fabulous. My only complaint is that Bender herself read it...and she may not have been the best for the job.

Ongoing Podcasts:

  1. A Connecticut Yankee, In King Arthur's Court, Mark Twain via Craftlit
  2. The Riddle of the Sands, Erskine Childers via Forgotten Classics.

July Books (The summer reading list was posted in mid-July, and I had already read many of the books on the list. These are the few that I finished the month with, and do deserve a mention.):

  1. The Girl In The Glass, Jeffery Ford This was my first Endicott Reading Group book, and it was phenomenal. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. Bravo, Mr. Ford!
  2. The White Road, Lynn Flewelling. Sadly, this series is loosing steam - as so many series do. It was better than the last, and I still enjoyed it, but I find myself hoping that Flewelling will move on. She's a phenomenal writer, and I want more from her.
  3. The Virgin Queen's Daughter (audio), Ella March Chase. Yep, it was silly. But it was also fun! AND, I was right - it was a nice antidote to having just slogged through The Tudors.

As last time - recommendations for the coming month are always appreciated!