101 in 1001 ~ update the tenth

It’s time for the 10th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

I find it amazing that I’ve been at this for 10 months already. (Well, 9 1/2 if you’re being specific.) In the past, I’ve often gotten bored with my year-long challenges well before the year was up, and this challenge runs much longer than a single year. I think it’s because I’ve been tracking things a lot better this time than I ever have before. (I’m using a combination of an Excel sheet and my Bullet Journal to track my 101 in 1001 progress.)

Here’s this month’s progress:

April 2017

2 items completed this month

30 items currently in progress

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Professional & Financial #73: Find a way to enjoy my day job more, instead of just tolerating it ~ 4/10/2017

I decided that the only way I am going to truly enjoy my day job is to get out of my current field. I am an admin assistant at present, and do. not. like. it. I started admin work because it was easy and I needed a job. And then I would grow within a company and get a more interesting job, and start to enjoy my job. And then I would switch companies (for one reason or another, whether layoffs or the company closing or me quitting) and start all over at the beginning again. And I recently realized that even though I’ve been doing it for most of my jobs, I don’t like admin work. So I’m going to totally switch up my career path – aka actually HAVE a career path – and will move forward from there. And you know what? Ever since making that decision I have been so much happier about the thought of work.

Food #42: Try 5 new vegetarian dinner recipes ~ 4/21/2017

Random stats about these recipes: 2 have contained lentils, 3 have contained quinoa, and 1 has contained chickpeas. (1 had both lentils and quinoa.) 2 were soups. 2 were Mexican-ish flavors (but only one had “Mexican” in the name). 1 was a curry. Of the new recipes, the One Pan Mexican Quinoa was our favorite.

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I had hoped to have one other item finished this month (the Invisalign), but one tooth in my lower jaw was stubborn and so needs some refinement. The good thing is that’s included with the initial cost of the treatment; the bad thing is it means I’m not done with the aligners yet. Ah well, it should be soon! And the difference between where I started and where I am now is amazing. So glad I decided to do this.

Have a great May, everyone!

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Friday Reads ~ in which I DNF a classic

Happy Friday! It’s almost the end of April, yikes! (Just two more days to enter my giveaway for journal stuff. Let me know what you’re most looking forward to about May for today’s entry.)

On to the reading…

WHAT I READ:

I can understand why Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is considered a classic novel. It has that feel to it, and there’s no doubt that Jules Verne was an accomplished and imaginative author. However, can I just say how ANNOYING I find Professor Aronnax? He is supposedly a marine biologist, and yet asks some STUPID questions of Captain Nemo, things that a marine biologist should know! Yes, I realize that there are science facts and theories which I take for granted yet were not common (or known at all) at the time of this book’s writing. However, I can’t believe that a marine biologist would be so completely clueless about some aspects of his specific field of study. Argh. Needed to get that rant off my chest. Also, I am BORED with it. I find myself tuning out the book entirely, and only notice things which upset me. (For instance – spoiler – I heard the part about them killing a sea otter. But I have no idea what happened in the few minutes before or after that.) I am done with this book. If I was reading a paper version, I might skim the rest of it. Since this is an audio book, however, I am just DNF’ing it. Yes, Verne writes classics, but this particular one is not for me.

After DNF’ing that one, I started listening to Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. And I loved it. That was much more worth listening to, in my opinion. (Full review is here.) It is well written, well narrated (by Neil Gaiman), and a much more enjoyable topic. Gaiman even makes a description of the end of the world (Ragnarok) fun to listen to.

WHAT I’M READING:

I’m still reading Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris. I’m over half-way done with it, and have been enjoying it a lot. It’s my lunchtime reading, so I may or may not be done with it by this time next week.

I’m also still reading Kat Among The Pigeons by Lazette Gifford. I’m still planning on reading this one more — but also keep forgetting my tablet. Maybe it will become lunchtime reading once the NPH memoir is done.

And lastly, I just started listening to Time for the Stars by Robert Heinlein. It’s another short-ish audio book (about 6 1/2 hours) but it sounds like a fun story so hopefully will be a good choice.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

My next audio book will either be The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher or The Great Courses’ The Medieval World, depending on whether I feel like listening to fiction or non-fiction. Both are interesting, so we’ll see which I pick.

For paper books, I’ll be reading one of Seanan McGuire’s books next. I still haven’t decided if I’d prefer the InCryptid series or the October Daye series. But both are fun, so either one should be a good book choice.

WIP Weds ~ in which I finish something and start something

Let’s start with the something I started. I couldn’t help it. I got together with my knit buddies last weekend and some of them were having a destash sale, and I ended up bringing home several skeins of yarn. Because yarn. And my friends are enablers. And then I got home, and the new yarn was sitting there being pretty, and I had a new project bag (a gift from one of my knit buddies) and between the two I fell victim to a moment of weakness and cast on a new sock.

New sock!

This is the new sock and the new project bag. And I’ve nearly doubled what you see in the photo since I took the picture. (I’m about to start the heel turn, though there is plenty of yarn in this skein, so I’m also planning on making these slightly taller socks than my usual.)

It’s a fun knit. There’s something about vanilla socks with stripy yarn which is just really appealing. (Actually, the yarn doesn’t have to stripe, but that does make it more obvious how far you’ve gotten since the last picture.) This is Vanilla is the New Black, which I picked because the socks are vanilla socks except for the heel. I am loving them, and hope I enjoy the heel turn as well, because then this will become a great new default sock pattern.

Something else I enjoyed knitting was the Dangling Conversation shawl.

Dangling Conversation - blocking

It was fun to knit, and the yarn is nice and soft and easy to work with. (Though it was a little splitty when I added some of the beads.) Speaking of the beads, though, I did also add them to every edge. They’re written for one of the knit edges and for the cast-off edge, but I added them to the other knit edge as well. And that was a LOT of beading. Looks good, but was annoying. I think if I were to make another one of these, I would not bead the knit edges, but would add beads on the YO rows.

Dangling Conversation - blocking

Blocking it was interesting. With shawls like this, I let the shawl determine the exact shape it wants to be, and I just pin it out based on how the knitting wants to be pulled out. So other Dangling Conversations might not look exactly like mine, and if I make a second one it might block differently, but I am REALLY pleased with how this one ended up.

Dangling Conversation - blocking

I’m really happy about this, and yet am still going to give it as a Christmas gift this year. (That’s 2 knitted gifts finished now. Yay! Progress is good! And it means I don’t feel at all guilty about knitting more socks for me.)

Have a great day! And since there’s still a little time to enter my journal stuff giveaway, let’s talk about today’s entry! To enter the giveaway today, let me know your take on gift-giving. Do you plan ahead, or buy things last-minute? (I do some of both, so I’m not judging.)

Misc Monday ~ in which I join the Hamilton band wagon

I don’t like hype. I am probably less likely to go see an over-hyped movie in the cinema, or to rent it years later. (For example: I still have not seen either “Titanic” or “Avatar”.) So it should be no surprise that I was skeptical about “Hamilton: An American Musical“. And yet, so many friends (and my immediate family) were so excited about it that I decided in this case, if I could get tickets I needed to see the show so I could make my own decision.

Fortunately, I was able to get 2 tickets to the touring show, and at a reasonable-given-all-the-factors price. And so Mr. Wyrm and I went to see what all the hype was about.

Hamilton!

Now, we are theatre people. We watch a lot of musicals, and participate in them (in various capacities) too. We like musicals. But frankly, I didn’t see how “Hamilton” could live up to the hype. There is so much of it. And many, MANY of the people going nuts over “Hamilton” haven’t ever seen the show performed.

Personally, I don’t see how you can judge a musical by the music alone. There are so many factors: the set, the costumes, the acting, the dialogue (in most cases), the staging, the choreography, the lighting, the sound quality… The music is only one part – an important part, but still only one part. But this is exactly what so many of my friends have done. They have listened to the music, maybe seen some photos, and decided they LOVE HAMILTON. Some of them may have not even listened to the entire soundtrack. And I would venture to guess that there are people who haven’t even done that much, but everyone else loves it, and so they do, too.

Well. I was excited to go see the show, but had only heard one song (and a half, because it’s impossible to completely avoid the variations of “not throwing away my shot”) and seen as few photos as I could manage. So I didn’t really know what to expect. (Yes, I knew that the music style was not “traditional musical” music, but that doesn’t really equate to knowing what you’re going to get instead.)

Hamilton!

Our seats weren’t too bad; though we were pretty far back, we were on the Orchestra level and near center. And from where we were, the sound was great. The rows of seats in the Orpheum are completely squished together, though. This is standard for the big professional theatres, but still. Not my favorite aspect of the night.

And then the show started. And I was hooked.

I won’t go into spoilers about anything, in case you are like me and want to experience it as fresh as possible when you see the show for yourself. I have to say, though: wow. It was an amazing show. So worth the time, the money, and the wait. If you can manage it, this is a show to see.

Against all odds, “Hamilton” lived up to the hype.


Giveaway entry: I’m still running my journal stuff giveaway through the end of April 2017!  for today’s entry, let me know what you think of musicals in general or “Hamilton” in specific.

Friday Reads ~ in which Audible has a great sale

I am a sucker for audio books. I love how I can multi-task that way. I can read while knitting, or exercising, or driving. Awesome. (Don’t get me wrong, I also knit while reading paper books and magazines, but the audio format makes it much easier.)

And so every now and then, Audible has a sale that I can not resist. The current can-not-resist sale is their “Spring Cleaning Sale,” which is 50% off “sitewide,” and runs until April 24 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. It’s for members only, but if you’re an Audible member and have a wish list a mile long, like I do, you may want to take advantage of it. As they say in their advertisements, it’s “time to clean out your wish list.” I already picked up a few books, but I might go back before the sale ends and buy more.

WHAT I READ:

I finished Murder Past Due, first in the “Cat in the Stacks” cozy cat mystery series by Miranda James. It was really cute and fun, though not necessarily a new must-read series for me. I haven’t even decided yet if I’ll read Book 2 in the series, though I did enjoy Book 1. My full review is here.

I also took a break from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea to listen to the audio version of Kevin Hearne’s The Purloined Poodle, which is either #1 in Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries or #8.5 in the Iron Druid Chronicles. Way too much fun! I wasn’t going to buy the audio version, but when this was on Audible’s 50% off sale, so it was too good a deal to pass up. I probably won’t do a full review of it, since it’s so short (just under 3 hours narrated) but it was a LOT of fun.

WHAT I’M READING:

I’m still on Kat among the Pigeons for my ebook reading. Maybe if I bring my tablet to work for lunch reading, I’ll actually remember that I can read ebooks on a bigger screen than my phone (which is the main reason why it takes me so long to read ebooks).

I’m still listening to the audio book of Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, too. This is a longer book than I always assumed it would be. (I’m not sure why. The other classic adventure novels I’ve read haven’t exactly been short books.) I’m also not sure I can associate with any of the characters, so it’s not easy to get totally absorbed in the story.

And I’m still enjoying the hardback version of NPH’s Choose Your Own Autobiography. I’ve been reading it straight through instead of turning to the pages directed*, so it means there are times when I get confused from hopping from one career/hobby/era to another, but it’s a bunch of fun. And the writing is perfect, both for the person it’s an autobiography of and for the “choose your own adventure” books it’s mimicking.

*If you don’t know what I mean about turning pages, go find one of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books and read that. It will explain better than I can.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

I’m pretty sure that Gaiman’s Norse Mythology will be my next audio book. I love hearing him narrate his own work, so that’s the direction I’m leaning for books to listen to.

And I think I’ll go with Midnight Blue-Light Special (the next InCryptid book) by Seanan McGuire for my next paper read. I need a good paranormal paper book to balance out the mystery and non-fiction books I’ve been reading.

WIP Wednesday ~ in which the GAL gets some love again

I’ve still been working on my Hyrule sock. It’s still fun. I’ve just about finished sock one – I’m down to just the cuff, and since this is an ankle sock there isn’t much of that. Now I get to hope that I still have enough yarn left for sock #2. Time to weigh the yarn! I think I’m not going to cast off, though. I’ll just put these live stitches on a holder and knit the second sock from the other end of the ball of yarn. That way I can use as much yarn as possible without – hopefully – having to rip out a bind-off. (I hate ripping out bind-offs.)

IMG_2540

I have also picked the GAL squares back up! This one is the caffeine molecule from the original (2014) Geek-A-Long blanket. It’s getting to live in my 2016 GAL blanket (which was not finished in 2016, but that’s okay.)

IMG_2541

I’m really enjoying this knit still, but since it’s not gift knitting it hasn’t been on my radar lately. However, Christmas is still quite a ways away, and even though I want to get my gift knitting done EARLY this year, that doesn’t mean I can’t also knit things for me.

I hope you’re having a great week so far!

(To enter the journal stuff giveaway, any comment will do. Tell me about your craft projects, vent about your week so far, or just say hi! Also, did you notice? I put up a picture of the stuff in the giveaway late Monday night.)

Misc Monday ~ in which it’s still Monday some places

It’s still Monday. Barely.

I wanted to write this post earlier, but I REALY wanted to have the giveaway photo for you, so I kept putting it off. Now, with an hour and a half left to go in Monday, I finally have the photo:


This is what you’re entering a giveaway for. A Spiraldex self-inking stamp, a lined journal, two fountain pens (a JinHao and a Noodler’s Ahab), and some ink samples. I may throw in a few other things, too. If so, though, those will be last-minute additions and won’t be in pictures.

One reminder – I did my best cleaning out these two pens after I tried them and decided they weren’t the weight of pen I prefer, so they should be at least mostly clean. However, I can’t guarantee they are completely clean, so I recommend cleaning them out before use.

To enter the giveaway today, leave me a comment with suggestions for how you conquer procrastination… or, if you’re like me and haven’t learned that yet, some sympathy for the lack of sleep sometimes caused by procrastination would be nice.