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.

Friday Reads ~ in which nothing much happened

My motivation seems to have fled. Has anyone seen it?

Reading-wise, I haven’t gotten much done. That’s partly because I’ve been working on my magazine pile, and have been going through those and (of the magazines I kept because they look interesting) determining which ones are interesting enough that I’ll actually read them. So not much book reading. Anyway…

WHAT I READ:

I don’t think I finished anything this week. I’m close on the Higgs Boson audio book, but it’s dense and so I haven’t quite completed it yet.

WHAT I’M READING:

I am still working on the aforementioned Higgs Boson and Beyond Great Courses audio book. It’s fascinating, but I don’t know how much of it I actually get. It makes sense at the time, but I don’t think much of the information will stick. I think I’ll be listening to this one again at a later date and see if I can absorb more of it with a repeat listen.

I am also still reading Choose Your Own Autobiography by NPH. I’ve decided to read it straight through instead of doing it adventure-style and flipping through the pages as directed.

And I’m still on Kat Among the Pigeons in ebook form. I’ve made the most progress on this one this week, because it’s easier for me to read ebooks while I knit than paper books. (No pages to keep track of.)

As far as magazines go, I’m reading a Discovery magazine from… last year? (I didn’t check the date before writing this.) It’s amusing me.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

Next paper book will be Murder Past Due, because that’s checked out of the library at the moment. I might actually start it before I finish my current paper book so that I don’t run into trouble with the due date.

And… that’s all I’ve decided on. But I do know that this time my next audio book will be something fun. In a not-going-to-melt-your-brain kind of way. (Because learning about particle physics from an audio book is fun too, just a different kind of fun than I’m talking about right now.) Maybe more Jules Verne. Classic adventure fiction is usually a good romp.

AND NOW FOR CONTEST ENTRIES:

If you want to play along with my journal goodies give-away, just leave me a comment with what you’re currently reading, or want to read next! Details on what I’m giving away are in this past Monday’s blog post. Also, I don’t think I mentioned it yet, but I will ship anywhere, so you can live on the other side of the world and I will still ship to you (if the Random Number Generator picks you).

WIP Weds ~ in which there is good news and bad news

Let’s start with the good news: I finished the second Circle of Love lace cowl! This is the beaded one, and I knit until I ran out of beads. Fortunately, I had just enough beads to (almost) finish a round. I was missing a bead for the very last double-decrease, which was much better than trying to figure out how to deal with, say, only 3 beads remaining when I needed 9.

Circle of Love lace cowl #2

Anyway, I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and now I just need to wait until it’s cool enough again to actually wear it. A mohair cowl is not something I’m going to wear with the weather getting warm again.

Circle of Love lace cowl #2

And now for the bad news.

Remember my Hedera sock? I was enjoying it, but working on it sporadically in between projects that I’ve decided are Christmas gifts. Well, those projects have both gotten just a little too big to take places, so the Hedera sock got to come along as travel knitting. And that’s when I discovered something unhappy.

Hedera sock blues

Something has been snacking on my yarn. Or at least, that’s my assumption. I went through the project bag, and didn’t find any bugs or corpses or larvae casings. No evidence of who was snacking on my yarn. Also, the ends are generally very smooth, so it also looks like it could have been an accident with scissors. But since no one at home messes with my yarn except me, who would have been having scissor accidents with this yarn? And I wound it into a ball just before casting on, so I know that the yarn was intact when I started the sock.

The realization that my yarn was in more pieces than it was supposed to be led me to look at the sock itself. And that showed an even unhappier thing:

Hedera sock blues

There is a big hole in my sock, too. And unfortunately, this is not in the stockinette section which would be easier to fix.

I’ve thought about all of the options I have for this, but I’m leaning toward frogging the sock and re-winding the ball of yarn to try to assess the damage. I’m not happy about it, but I think I would be even less happy trying to repair the sock before it’s even finished. I think I might cast on something new in the meantime to make myself feel better. (Yarn therapy. It helps.)

For today’s give-away entry (or just to be a nice person), please leave me a comment with some happy thoughts or sock suggestions.

(Reminder: the give-away is for journal-related stuff, details in this past Monday’s post. Pictures of the items being given away should be in next Monday’s post, provided I take the pictures before then. You can enter up until 8am Pacific Time on Sunday, 4/30/17. Each blog post you comment on will get you a new entry, unless you don’t want to enter the give-away. In that case, your comments just make me feel better.)

Misc Monday ~ in which I have a giveaway

Happy Monday, and Happy April! I feel like doing a giveaway today… sound okay to you?

So, I’ve only made a little reference to it, but I’ve been using the Bullet Journal method for organizing for a little over the past year. I’ve been really enjoying it. I’ve also been using the Spiraldex time tracking system for a while, too. (I got the Spiraldex info from here, but here are some other good links about it.) After using print-outs of the Spiraldex for a while, I decided to make a stamp out of it. And then I realized that I wanted to modify the stamp I’d made, so I made a second one and now have one to give away.

I also have picked up some fountain pens that I decided to try which I decided I wasn’t going to keep for one reason or another (though both still work just fine; they’re just not for me). So in addition to the Spiraldex stamp, I’m also giving away a JinHao 250 fountain pen and a Noodler’s Ahab pen. (The JinHao just didn’t feel right in my hand, and the Noodler’s pen is plastic – which makes it a lighter weight pen than I prefer. So it’s entirely personal preference.)

I’m also running out of room in my ink sample storage, so I’ll throw in a few ink samples I’ve picked up from Goulet Pens. And, I have several blank journals (and some lined journals) which I have no current use for, so I’ll pick one of those later and add it as well.

I’m going to have this give-away run for the rest of the month, and will pick a winner on the last day of the month (which conveniently happens to be a Sunday). Entries will be open until 8am Pacific Time on Sunday, April 30th. I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner later on Sunday, and will post the winner in May 1st’s Misc Monday blog.

So, to recap: you could win a care package including a Spiraldex self-inking stamp, a JinHao 250 fountain pen, a Noodler’s Ahab fountain pen, some ink samples, and an as-yet undetermined blank journal. (It might be lined, or blank, or grid. I don’t know yet.) How to enter, you want to know? Well, give me a minute. Let’s talk about Bullet Journalling a bit first.

For the best explanation of it, check out the official website. But a quick summary of it is as follows: you use a blank journal as the base for a journal-slash-diary. (Some people modify other planners, but I don’t do it that way.) You then use whatever combination of monthly, weekly, daily, and specialty spreads you like in order to track your tasks, events, etc. People use the Bullet Journal to track all kinds of EVERYTHING, from daily to-do lists to weight loss spreads to financial savings goals to vacation planning lists. It’s truly amazing how people have adapted the Bullet Journal. I have pictures of a few of my own spreads to share, though I have hidden some of the more personal information for the purpose of sharing the pictures. You can also see areas where I have made mistakes and resorted to white-out to fix the errors.

Here’s a picture showing how I use the Spiraldex. I have a color-coding system that I use for basics (work, sleep, knitting, etc) and then I write in the day’s additional colors below the Spiraldex. (This is the newer one that I’m keeping. The one I’m giving away looks like this one, but with blank circles instead of circles with the hours filled in.) This is also an example of how I use my daily spreads. (I use monthly, weekly, and daily spreads, since the to-do list aspect is what I appreciate most about the BuJo.)

Bullet Journal

This is my monthly spread. By the end of the month I will have filled in the top section with another quote or stickers or something – whatever speaks to me at the time. (Also, the picture cut off the “April 2017” header. Oops.)

Bullet Journal

Some people do a small habit (etc) tracker. Mine is a full 2-page spread. I track EVERYTHING I CAN THINK OF – in addition to habits and medications, I have a section for weight tracking, sleep tracking, and step tracking. New this month I added a notes section, where I can write down things like headaches, cramps, or whatever else I didn’t plan for.

Bullet Journal

This photo is of my cat tracker and misc. monthly stuff. I like tracking what recipes I tried each month, as well as what knitted (or crocheted, etc) objects I finished in a month. This is also where I track my progress on my 101 in 1001 Challenge. And last, but certainly not least, this is where I keep track of my monthly books read. I used March’s here instead of April, so that you can see how I use it. I write in the title of each book as I start it, and then color it in when I finish it (or cross it off if I DNF it). And for the cat stuff, I track what I feed her, when I feed her, how much she weighs, and any other random stuff I need to track. Vet visits and hairballs are two examples of these other things.

Bullet Journal

And finally, here’s my weekly spread. This is where I’ve been tracking my meal plan, my water intake, my blog posts, and the mileage for my goal to walk from Hobbiton to Rivendell. (So I track official walks here, not whatever walking around I do at the office.)

Bullet Journal

So that’s my Bullet Journal in a nutshell! Do you use the BuJo? If so, what are your favorite spreads?

And, the part of this blog post you’ve been waiting for: how do you enter the contest? Well, leave me a comment on this post (and be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win). For today’s entry, any comment is fine! There will be additional ways to enter during the rest of the month, so stay tuned!

Edit: I forgot to mention that I will ship anywhere. If you are picked in the drawing and have a mailing address, I will send you the package of stuff!

Ten On Tuesday ~ Grateful

Before we get to the regularly scheduled 10 on Tuesday blog, I want to take a moment to congratulate the winners of my birthday/wedding/blog milestone contest! I used Random.Org to select the winners:

The winner of the yarny prize is L-Squared!

The winner of the booky prize is Kathy B!

Both winners have been emailed. Congrats, and thanks to everyone for helping me celebrate!

Now on to the weekly list…

Today’s 10 on Tuesday prompt is one that’s rather appropriate today. It is “10 Times You Felt Grateful Last Week.” This is more appropriate than usual because last night I attended the memorial service for a friend who succumbed to cancer last week after a couple years of battling the disease. So while it was a sad week, I did also spend more time than usual being intentionally grateful. Apologies, but you may need a tissue for this one. I did. (They’re not all sad, though, and I’ve tried to intersperse the melancholy with the happy.)

10 Times I Felt Grateful Last Week

  1. When I hugged Mr. Wyrm after work the day we found out about our friend. I felt selfish, too, but very grateful that I had him, and that we both have our health. It makes the minor health issues we have been dealing with seem very petty in comparison.
  2. When my cat sat on my lap over the weekend, purring as I knit, and didn’t try to eat the yarn.
  3. When I thought about the memories of good times my friend and I shared. There might not be as many of them as I’d have liked, but they were good ones.
  4. When I got on the scale and saw that I’m down my goal of 15 pounds! Now to keep it off. 🙂
  5. Every time a friend of mine responded to my post on FB ranting about cancer, and when I saw the number of people reaching out to my late friend’s husband. (I was also one of them.) Nothing can make this time easy for him, but hopefully our support can make it easier.
  6. When I remembered that whatever else, my friend is no longer in pain.
  7. When I got to sleep in over the weekend, and woke up only to roll over and snuggle with Mr. Wyrm.
  8. When I sold some things on eBay. (Though I’m not sure if I was more grateful that they sold, or that I was getting them out of the house…)
  9. Every time I spoke with a family member. We found out about my friend’s passing early in the week, so I’d been thinking about untimely death for most of last week.
  10. When I realized that I like my new metallic blue nail polish. (Sometimes a girl’s just gotta wear funky shades of nail polish.)

I hope your experiences last week were less sad than mine, but still. Reminders to be grateful for this thing called life are important. Here’s to a happier time this week.

Contest Time!

Today is Wednesday, and Wednesday is normally for knitting WIPs on this blog. However, today we’re going to do something different.

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Today I want to celebrate my birthday hobbit-style. Or I suppose I could celebrate my wedding hobbit-style, since I have two prizes to give away. (No, I did not get married on my birthday. And no, I’m not telling you the actual dates of either. But we’re celebrating both today on the blog.)

  • For the birthday: this is not a milestone birthday for me, but it is a birthday. And I kinda like birthdays, especially now that so many friends are on Facebook. People come out of nowhere to wish you a happy birthday on FB when it’s your birthday, and it’s nice to touch bases with old friends even for just a moment twice a year.
  • For the wedding: we got married in the Disneyland area (surprise, surprise) and spent our “reception” inside the parks. It was great fun, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I know we did! If you want more details than that, I’m not really feeling like sharing them here just now, but if you let me know in comments I’ll email you with a link where you can read more about it. I just don’t currently want that information up on the blog. This is also why the pictures in this post are not of us, but of scenery.
  • For the hobbit-style celebration: as you may recall, hobbits give other people presents on their birthdays, instead of receiving presents themselves. Well. It seems there was a blog milestone a short while back, and though I forget what it was, I remember that I had promised a contest.

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So, in order to celebrate ALL THE THINGS, I am holding a giveaway on the blog now. There will be two prize packs up for grabs, since there are two major events. One features knitting, one features reading. You can enter the contest for one or both of these prizes.

Knitting prize includes: a skein of yarn picked by me, along with some other fun goodies.

Reading prize includes: an ebook copy of the story I reviewed last Friday, Seleste deLaney’s GAMING FOR KEEPS, along with some other goodies. (The ebook will be sent electronically, while the rest of the things will be sent by mail. I will be in touch after the winner is selected to determine the best ebook format.)

Sound fun? And how do you enter? There are three ways. Here’s how:

1. Comment on this post specifically stating that you are entering the contest AND which prize(s) you want to be eligible for. Congratulatory comments, while appreciated, are not automatically assumed to be contest entries.

2. Re-Tweet the contest information. Please provide a link to the tweet in the comments on this post so I can go cheer you on.

3. Mention this contest in your blog and post a link to your blog in the comments on this post.

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The winners will be selected by a random number drawing. The same person cannot win both prizes unless there are no other entrants. As with any contest, I reserve the right to modify the rules or end the contest early, blah blah blah. All the legal stuff that you’ve heard before. You know.

The ebook is due to be released on June 10, 2013, so that’s how long this contest will run. ALL ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED BY MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME ON 6/10/13 IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE CONTEST.

Book Blog Tour: Summer Break Blues

I am fortunate today to have the wonderful Julie Campbell joining me as a part of her blog tour! Please join me in welcoming Julie as we celebrate the release of her new book, Summer Break Blues.

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From Julie:

Thank you all for joining me in celebrating the book release of my second young adult urban fantasy, Summer Break Blues. This is the sequel to Senior Year Bites and picks up a few months after it left off with Meg’s graduation from high school.

Today we’re going to catch up with the guys, Gary, Tad and Gage.

Tell me about yourselves.
Gary: Well, I was born in the New England states. Didn’t go far for college. I became interested in the supernatural when I met Tad. I thought he was a vampire. Of course, I was ten, so…
Tad: Yeah, not a vampire. Sorry, Gary. I obviously grew up close to Gary, though I was born in California and lived there until we moved out here when I was ten, shortly before I met Gary. We both met Gage in college. He’s actually had experience with werewolves before coming out here, so we started our little club to keep an eye out for supernatural weirdness.
Gage: That’s how we met Megan and her friends. I’m from Montana. I hunt and fish and camp and I’m studying wildlife biology. I saw a werewolf when I was out fishing. You’d better believe I’m lucky to be alive. I pretended I hadn’t seen anything and somehow managed to escape with my skin intact.

Favorite foods?
Gary: Steak.
Tad: Pad Thai
Gage: Elk steaks.

Favorite colors?
Gary: Strawberry blonde
Tad: Black
Gage: Green

Ever been in love?
Gary: Steph is amazing.
Tad: I was in love with Wonder Woman. Does that count? Meg is great, but I’m not in love with her.
Gary: Got a girl back home. She’s something special.

What’s it like being friends with Meg?
Gary: She’s a very important part of the Buffy gang. Without her we’d be toast several times over.
Tad: She’s really hot when she fights. Well, when she’s not moving too fast to see.
Gage: I’m just glad she’s on our side. I’d hate to have to kill her.

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About the book:

Meg managed to survive her senior year of high school as a vampire, and now she’s looking forward to a relaxing summer with her friends before trying to tackle college. Unfortunately, some unfinished business from the previous year rears its ugly head and Meg is forced to deal with the Sidhe who are distinctly unhappy that she killed one of their kind last winter. Then Ann’s parents vanish while they are on their annual summer vacation in Maine and it’s up to Meg and the rest of the gang to come to the rescue. Though she is still trying to figure out who, and what she has become, Meg and her friends feel they are up to the challenge. That is until things really start to fall apart.

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Buy Links:

Bono Books
Amazon / Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Omnilit

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And we also have a giveaway!!

And now for the good part. Julie and Decadent Publishing are giving away several books on this tour. You could win your choice of any Decadent/Bono Books ebook including Summer Break Blues, or Senior Year Bites. All you have to do for a chance to win is leave an email address and what format you’d like your book in. (PDF, Kindle or Nook). Julie will contact the winner to find out what book you’d like. She needs this info so she can pass it on to my publisher so they can send you your book and to notify you that you won.

Please enter the contest within a week. The contest will run from today until midnight on Sunday, December 9th. Julie will randomly select a winner on Monday, December 10th, and will contact the winner at that point.