WIP Weds ~ falling down

I said that this was the Year if the WIP… and I did really good at sticking to that at first.

But then I cast on a present for a friend who’s having a baby. (No pics in case that friend happens to be reading this.) And then I cast on a gift for a friend who’s getting married. (No pics in case that friend happens to be reading this.)

And now I cast on something for myself.

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This I going to be a pair of Dragonfly socks for me, knit from Ella Rae lace merino. I went in to the LYS (“local yarn shop” to the uninitiated) to buy needles because a knitter-friend of mine was talking up her Karbonz needles and I wanted to try them… and this yarn just happened to come home with me too. Pre-wound. Oh dear.

It’s spring. This must be a case of startitis. I’ll be fine, the prescription is just more knitting time.

Ten On Tuesday ~ Outdoorsy

Today’s Ten On Tuesday prompt is “10 Things You Like To Do Outside.” This is fun. There are a lot of things I like doing outside. Let’s see what I come up with for the first ten of them, shall we?

1. Read. I love reading outside, say in a lounge chair on the beach under an umbrella.

2. BBQ. Indoor grills just aren’t the same thing.

3. Walks. I know that walking on the treadmill is a good rainy-day alternative. So is mall walking. But there’s nothing like a walk outside in the crisp summer evening air, or on a cool spring afternoon.

4. Knit. My ideal place to knit is at an outdoor table at a sidewalk café where I can people-watch, enjoy a cup of tea (especially an iced chai latte) and knit at the same time. It doesn’t have to be either sunny or shady, as long as it’s not the extreme of either so that I can see my knitting properly without too much squinting. Funny how too much sun is as bad for knitting as too much shade, isn’t it?

5. Swim. To be fair, I’ve never tried swimming in an indoor pool, but it seems like it would be weird and less fun.

6. Parties with friends. (Except in the winter. In that case I’d rather be inside.) These can be just in someone’s backyard, they don’t have to be at a park or something. But outdoor parties just seem so much more relaxed and casual. I guess they’re more CALIFORNIA, and so they feel more “right” to me.

7. Shop. I partly mean Farmer’s Market type shopping. But I mostly mean that I prefer outdoor malls to indoor ones. I’d rather walk along a street outside than walk down the fluorescent-lit indoor shopping malls. Maybe it’s partly due to the type of shop you usually find in an indoor mall contrasted with the type you find in an outdoor mall or along a town’s main street.

8. Watch sports. I don’t play them. But I’d rather watch a game being played outside at the stadium than inside staring at a TV. On the other hand, I watch probably one game a year, so does that even count?

9. Daydream. Maybe it’s because I’m a California girl through-and-through… but I really love daydreaming on the beach. (Which is outdoors.) Can’t help it. Sometimes I think we’re just bred this way.

10. Playing with my parents’ dog. It’s just more fun outdoors. (Not as much fun playing with the cat outdoors, even on a porch/patio, because I’m a lot more worried that she’ll panic and run into trouble. My cat is not the kind you can take to the park to play.)

52 Books 2014: Week 15

Insurgent (Divergent #2)
Veronica Roth
(YA, urban fantasy, dystopian)

I have very mixed feelings about this book. I like the series plot, as near as I can tell. I like the world and the imagery. I like many of the characters. But there were many bits about this particular book that drove me a little crazy. (And talking about them will mean there are spoilers. Be warned.)

First: Tris. I understand that she has been through a lot of stuff that most people won’t ever have to go through. I realize that she is only 16. But she spent way too much time in this book getting hung up on issues that I had a hard time believing. The biggest and most annoying one was the gun thing. I found it really hard to believe that she would have that much trouble even touching a gun when she was IN THE MIDDLE OF A WAR. Sure, freak out about it when you have the time to think about it. Sure, have trouble actually firing the thing. But to have trouble touching one when she seemed otherwise perfectly rational? And when she had no problem nearly killing someone with a knife? I didn’t buy that.

I also have an issue with her relationship with Tobias. I can accept that they love each other. I can’t accept that she would have been raised by such a loving (if not demonstrative) couple as her parents seemed to be, and not know how to talk to a boy she liked about important things. Maybe it’s been too long since I’ve been a teenager with a crush on a guy. But up until the end of the book (when things seemed to resolve better) it seemed that her boy-troubles were merely a good way to move the plot along and not character-realistic.

And I think my biggest issue with this book was the writing quality. I enjoy the story. But not all of the actual writing seems necessary. And my arm hurts right now from holding INSURGENT too long while I was reading the last of it. Have you seen the print on the hardbacks? (Which I got because they were a boxed set… I didn’t see a boxed set of the paperbacks.) TOO BIG, in my opinion. Not large-print big, but paper-wasting big. If you’re not going to cut some of the text through edits, at least use a smaller font so that your readers aren’t lugging around a five-pound book. (Yes, that’s an exaggeration, but still. And yes, I know that Harry Potter books had the same length issue. My same complaint stands about those books, with the possible difference that the font needed to be a little bigger on the Potter books because the readers were – marketed as – younger.)

Anyway. Did I like INSURGENT? Yes, mostly. There were moments in the middle of the books that I wondered why I bought them instead of getting them from the library, but I mostly like the book. (You can tell that the author was young, though, I feel. It feels like an early book and not a more polished book by a more experienced writer.) As I’ve said, I like the story a lot. I’m hoping that more polishing time was spent on ALLEGIANT, because I’m planning to finish the series and want to end the books on a positive note. We’ll see.

(Oh – and I stil haven’t seen the movie. I’m curious to see how that changes my take on the books. Kinda want to finish reading the whole trilogy first, though.)

Ten on Tuesday ~ Pairings

So, before we get to today’s Ten on Tuesday, I’m going to review the correct answers for last week’s April Fool’s version:

1. Middle child: false. I am an eldest child.
2. Air Force Brat: true. Though my dad finished his service when I was not yet 2 years old, I was born a Brat (and have been one ever since, hehe).
3. First craft was crochet: false. My first craft was cross stitching/needlepoint. I still love it, but now I love the big projects, and they’re not portable, so I don’t do much of it.
4. Middle name: false. I share my middle name with my mom, not either of my grandmas.
5. Knitted lace only after 2 other kinds of lace: true. I first crocheted lace (doilies, snowflakes, etc) and then I learned to make bobbin lace. Only after that did I attempt knitting lace.
6. Scared of snakes: false. We had pet snakes when I was a kid. They’re cool critters. :)
7. Read all the Pern novels by Anne…: false. I have read most of hers, but not all. Only a smidgen of Todd’s.
8. Favorite WDW park is Epcot: false. My favorite Florida park is Animal Kingdom.
9. Favorite character is Tink: true. I love many of the characters, but when forced to choose “just one,” it’s Tink.
10. First word was dog: true, though my dad fought it. (“Dog” and “Dad” sound very similar when coming from a baby…)

And now for today’s Ten On Tuesday prompt: “10 Foods That Belong Together.” Yum. I haven’t started typing them yet, but I’m hungry already.

1. Chocolate and strawberries.
2. Tea and cookies.
3. (It’s cliché, but) fish and chips. (I’ve only recently developed a taste for fried fish, but I’m making up for lost time.)
4. Chocolate and cherries.
5. Yogurt and granola.
6. Corned beef, cabbage, and carrots.
7. Hummus and carrot or celery sticks.
8. Bologna and cottage cheese. (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.)
9. Spinach and mandarin oranges. (One of my favorite salads is just spinach, canned mandarin oranges, and a teeny bit of dressing – either French or a vinaigrette.)
10. Pancakes / waffles / French toast and powdered sugar. (I think that’s my favorite topping: just butter and powdered sugar. Syrup is good, but it can be inconsistent at restaurants due to brand quality differences. I’m picky about my syrup.)

52 Books 2014: Week 14

Close Knit Killer (Knitting Mysteries #11)
Maggie Sefton
(mystery)

Unlike in the prior book in this series, I didn’t know whodunit. I did know who-didn’t-dunit, but it was nice to be a little surprised as to the real culprit. So in that respect, I liked this book better than some in the series. (A little mystery is good in a murder mystery.) In other respects, though, it didn’t hold my interest as much as it could have. Perhaps because I had just read #10, or perhaps because a series (ANY series) can only go on for so long and keep me interested. I’m not sure why. But I did find myself skimming over sections of this book, which is unusual for me with such a quick read.

I found it interesting that Sefton used the real-life fires in this book. (Spoiler alert?) Granted, she’s been using the real recession for nearly the whole series. But that’s a very general real-life scenario. It was interesting that she used something more specific – and that would show you a little of what her fiction landscape translates to in real Colorado – in the series. I don’t know if I like it, or not. In some respects I want my fiction to tie in to real life, but I’m not always sure. I’m also not positive I like having a cliff-hanger in a cozy mystery book.

Anyway. Will I read the next book? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s been a while since I read book #9, and it was even longer since I’d read #8. So when #12 comes around (which we know it will due to the cliff-hanger) I may pick it up. Or I may wait some few years. Or I might skip it entirely. We’ll have to see how I feel at the time. I can tell you that, enjoyable as I find this series, I’m just about done with the world. And that’s no reflection on Sefton’s writing – I get sick of even my favorite writers when they stick to the same world and same characters.

April Goals

So, this blog post is about stuff that I started yesterday, but since yesterday was April Fool’s Day (and a Ten On Tuesday to boot), I didn’t want to post it then. Today is close enough to the start of April for this to still be timely.

As you may have noticed if you were following along, I didn’t actually post anything about the end of the last Round Of Words (2014 Round 1). This is a standard thing for me, though it’s not intentional and not something I am proud of. But it’s become usual for me to start the ROW all enthusiastic and gung-ho, and then fizzle out by the end of the three months.

And that is why I am not doing the ROW this quarter.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the support group and the idea behind the ROW. I love the way it’s organized. And I love how it keeps me accountable. What I don’t love is how I participate. It seems that I try to do too much. I focus on improving too many areas of my life, and so inevitably only one or two things get proper attention, and the rest fall by the wayside. If I’m going to do this, I need to focus on one thing at a time, until the habit is made. Then I can maintain that habit and work on creating a new one.

So. With all that said, the best thing for me personally to come from the last ROW is that I have been regularly going to the gym 2-3 times a week. (Which was the goal I made for that. I didn’t want to jump in with any more, in the interest of finding something I could maintain.) I got that habit set, so yay for achievements! I think I can easily continue to maintain it, too. And instead of doing what I had been doing for prior ROWs, and then adding more to the existing goal until I eventually fail, I am going to LEAVE THIS AS-IS. No additions to this goal. If I put in more time, great. But that’s not the focus of this month.

This month is for writing. Camp NaNoWriMo style.

I didn’t make any plans going into Camp NaNoWriMo. I hadn’t even considered doing it until over the weekend. (AKA the last three days of March.) Yet here I am. In a cabin with Raylene Barclay and Joely Sue Burkhart and Diana Castle, planning to write my little heart out this month. Pantsing a novel in the most free-style way I’ve ever done, with no plot, no world-building. My main character doesn’t even have a name yet.

The main goal is not to get a story written. It’s not even to get a certain word count (though if you look at the Camp NaNo site, I do have a word count goal listed). It’s to get me in the habit of writing.

And that is my only goal for April. It’s the only one I need.

Ten On Tuesday – April Fools?

Today’s Ten On Tuesday is something slightly different. Today, the prompt is to write ten things about ourselves – but, since it’s April Fool’s Day, some of these things should be untrue. And you guys get to guess which are true and which are not. :) The prompt leaves it up to us to determine how many untruths we include, so there’s no hint there. I don’t even know how many of which kind I want to write yet. I will tell you, though, that there will be at least one of each.

So, without further ado, here are 10 (Possibly True) Things About Me:

1. I am a middle child.

2. I was born an Air Force Brat.

3. The first craft I learned to do was crochet.

4. I share a middle name with my grandma.

5. I didn’t attempt knitted lace until after I had mastered two other ways to make lace.

6. I am scared of snakes.

7. I have read all of the Pern novels written by Anne McCaffrey, though only a sampling of the ones written/co-written by Todd.

8. My favorite park at Walt Disney World is Epcot.

9. Tinkerbell is my favorite Disney character.

10. My first word was dog.

So what do you think? Do you know which ones are true and which are false?

Stay tuned for the answers next week – I’ll post them along with whatever next week’s Ten on Tuesday prompt is.