January 31, 2012

Book #14 of 2012...

Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer

From Goodreads.com:

In the sleepy small town of Barracuda Bay, Maddy Swift leads the life of a fairly typical teenager, but while attending a party one night, Maddy is struck by lightning and awakens to realize she has been reanimated and turned into a zombie. While becoming acquainted with her new "lifestyle," Maddy stumbles upon two unexpected undead chaperones, fellow students Dane and Chloe, who begin to teach her the ways of zombie life, including defending the populace from Zerkers—the bad zombies. Together, on prom night, the three teens must ultimately defend Barracuda Bay High from an all-out zombie Armageddon.

My take:

4 out of 5 stars. It says it's a love story but I didn't really get the love story part until the end. It was a fun, easy YA read.

January 30, 2012

Week 4 Long Run...

O.M.G. 10 miles on Sunday for week 4 long run. Where do I start for this run? It was a tough one and I’m very tired today. So tired that I over slept by an hour this morning and that never happens to me. I might over sleep by 10 or 15 minutes when avoiding the alarm clock but his was a holy moly, it’s 6am and I should have been up at 5 for work. Hubbs had to get up, dressed and out the door in 15 minutes so he wouldn’t be late for work. Poor guy, if I don’t get up, he doesn’t get up. It’s been that way for years. He relies on me to be his alarm even though I have begged him for years to get his own alarm clock so I don’t have to wake up when I’m not working but so far nothing doing.

Anyway, since yesterday was Sunday and my time constraints aren’t as tight as when I run after work and I could actually run in the daylight (no headlamp or reflective vest needed) I convinced Hubbs to take me up to Garcia Bend Park in the Pocket area of South Sacramento. From the park you can access the levee. It’s paved on top and goes for miles…or so we thought. Turns out part of it is paved but part of it is gravel and it doesn’t go for miles. They’ve blocked off a section to the north of the park so I had to run the same section several times to get my 10 miles. But it was still a very nice treat to get out of my regular running routes and try something new. Plus another runner complimented me on my favorite hot pink Nike running skirt.

The levee runs along the Sacramento River and it was a beautiful run. We got to see ducks, hawks, humming birds and some huge, expensive houses. There were also a few boats on the river and across the river is a road that is popular with motorcyclists, so we got to see lots of bikes. We didn’t get out to the park until almost 1pm so the temps were in the mid 60’s. I really prefer the temps to be lower in the low 50’s for a good run but there are trees along the trail so it wasn’t too hot.

At about 5miles I tried Gu for the first time. Let’s just say the consistency was…interesting. It was gooey and weird but the taste wasn’t too bad. I tried strawberry banana. I was nervous that it was going to upset my stomach during my run but it really didn’t. I did get a bit of indigestion after I ate it but I’m coming to realize that I have to take pepcid before I run and no food at least two hours before I run, otherwise the heart burn is unbearable. This wasn’t unbearable, just a few burps and some burning in my throat.

I also carried my Amphipod water bottle for the first time in a long time. I don’t like to carry it much because I’m built like Olive Oil on top and have skinny arms with almost no muscle on them. After a while the 12oz of water gets heavy and I don’t want to carry it. Plus most of the time, it’s cold out and I don’t really want water during my run so I just don’t take it. But it has a pocket on it and I need the pocket to put my ID, car key and Gu in. It worked really good for holding stuff and due to the higher temperatures, I actually drank all the water. And then drank 16 more ounces when we got back to the car. I did lean that I have to close the top on the Amphipod otherwise, I end up splashing water all over myself.

During the run, I have to tell you, I was tired after about mile 6 and by mile 8 I was very irritable. Poor Hubbs is on his bike trying to distract me with chatter and I kept wondering if I could keep running and choke him out at the same time. Poor guy, he just wanted to help. After I finished up, did a cool down walk and stretched, we headed over to the nearest gas station because the gas light was on in the Subaru. I think I had enough gas to get us home but since there is no gas stations between Pocket and where I live and it’s about 20 – 25 miles I didn’t want to push it and run out of gas. Across the road from the gas station is a McDonalds. I’m not really a Mickey D’s kind of girl but they have huge iced tea (unsweetened) for $1 and I was so thirsty. And I was starving. I asked Hubbs is he wanted to split some fries with me and was told no, that he wanted his own. Fine by me, I needed salt (and grease apparently)! So we got two huge drinks and two medium fries. After the fries were gone we both agreed we should have ordered larges. They were soooo good. Totally worth the 300 plus calories.

Here’s my splits:
Lap: Time: Distance: Avg. Pace:
Summary 1:46:51.6 10.02 10:40
1 10:19.9 1.00 10:20
2 10:10.5 1.00 10:11
3 10:37.2 1.00 10:37
4 10:34.6 1.00 10:35
5 10:40.5 1.00 10:41
6 10:49.8 1.00 10:50
7 10:41.3 1.00 10:41
8 10:58.1 1.00 10:58
9 10:56.6 1.00 10:57
10 10:49.1 1.00 10:49
11 :14.0 0.02 10:15

Where I went wrong: I didn’t eat a very good meal in the morning, I waited too long to run after I ate and I was hungry for lunch when I went out (read that as no proper fueling) and I didn’t drink enough water before my run either (poor hydration). I know better than this but I did it anyway and really I paid the price afterward. I spent the rest of the night trying to fill my hollow leg. I ate a little of everything in the house. And I had a horrible headache for most of the night. This is typical for me when I get dehydrated.

So lesson learned, I hope. Sometimes it takes a couple of times before I really learn. I’m stubborn that way.

Book #13 of 2012...

Bad Man by Angela Baker

From Goodreads.com:

Messages from the Borderlands are diaries and stories left behind after a series of cataclysmic disasters on earth. These tragic and early survivor stories are uncovered from the debris and shared. Acts of desperation, treachery and violence are the norm in the post-apocalyptic world of the Borderlands, but occassionally, there is also hope.Bad Man is the story of one desperate man and what he has to do to ensure the survival of himself and his daughter. When another survivor disturbs the delicate balance with lies and treachery within one of the last safe places left in the Borderlands, he has to choose life even at the cost of another's.

My take:

3 out of 5 stars. Again, Meh. It's really a short story more then a book. It just didn't grab me at all.

January 29, 2012

Consumnes River Preserve

Yesterday morning, I was supposed to get up early and get some time with my camera. But due to a pukey cat and dogs that insisted on getting up at 4 and 4:30 am respectively, and a late night the night before I didn't get out as early as I wanted for sunrise pictures.

So about 11am, Hubbs and I went down to the preserve. I'm still learning the ins and outs of my new Nikon so here's a few pictures...

Egrets are among my favorite birds and this guy was the only one at the preserve.

This picture took my breath away when I pulled it off the card after we got home. It looks like a postcard. He's so beautiful.

Ginger Teal

A Coot

We're not sure what kind of ducks these guys were but they had spoon shaped bills and Hubbs thinks they're Spoonies. No matter what they are, they were so beautiful. We also saw lots of geese and Pintale ducks.

We enjoy the preserve a lot and in the summer and fall do a lot of walking in the evenings here. This was the first time we've ever gone during the day. We only spent an hour but it was a good way to spend a beautiful and warm Saturday morning in January.

January 28, 2012

Book #12 of 2012...

Zombie Bits by Scott Nicholson

From Goodreads.com:

A collection of eight zombie short stories from best-selling author Scott Nicholson. Includes two stories from "The Best of All Flesh" series, as well as the original post-apocalypse story "A Farewell to Arms" written especially for this volume. Also includes a short story from Jack Kilborn (ENDURANCE) and a "Zombie Apocalypse Survival Scorecard" from Jonathan Maberry (PATIENT ZERO, ROT AND RUIN.)Includes an opportunity to appear as a zombie in the Murdermouth comic book. Nicholson is author of 10 novels, including THE RED CHURCH, THE SKULL RING, SPEED DATING WITH THE DEAD, and DRUMMER BOY. Learn more about his work at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/ or email hauntedcomputer@yahoo.com.

My take:

2 out of 5 stars. Meh, it was ok.

January 27, 2012


When I run during the week, my runs are dark. I don’t get home until after 5pm and by the time I’m out the door it’s almost dark. Don’t worry, I’m dressed for the dark. My running tights have reflective do-hickies on them, I wear a reflective vest and I also wear a head lamp. I’ve had a few close calls with cars and it’s gotten to the point that I will flash my headlight into a vehicle if I think they don’t see me.

Granted I do run in the street but in the neighborhoods I run in the sidewalks are generally a mess and there aren’t enough street lights for me to be able to see if the sidewalk suddenly slopes for a driveway which means I chance a sprained ankle every time I run on the sidewalk. But for the most part where I run is pretty quiet so there aren’t many cars and I stay as much as possible on the shoulder or in the bike lane. I also never wear headphones and I run against traffic so I can see oncoming cars.

I know there are people who don’t agree with the way I run and that’s fine. To each their own. My point is that it’s dark. There really aren’t enough street lights to see by and my headlight comes in handy for the really dark sections where the street lights are often out or just don’t exist.

Ok, so you get the picture. It’s dark, I’m reflective. I told you that story to tell you this story. The other night I’m about 4 miles into a 5 mile run and headed back to the house. Millers Creek Road is one of those dark sections. On one side of the street you have low income housing and on the other side you have an primary school. The school itself is lit up but the part by the road is an unlit field. The low income housing has good lighting in their parking lot but it’s in the middle of the complex with the houses around the outside and along the street. Millers Creek is dark, really dark and I generally go as fast as I can because it’s kind of creepy, especially in the winter when we have fog because it’s really quiet and no one is out at all. Millers Creek = Creepy.

Of course I happen to be on Millers Creek when, in the dark, I accidently kick a rock I couldn’t see…because there isn’t any light. I hear it skip a couple of times not really thinking anything of it. It happens from time to time.. and then Wham! The freaking rock hits a car. OMG! And because it’s so dark I don’t know which car it hit or where it kit. I felt so bad!

I did stop and try to figure out which car it was but after a while I just gave up and finished up my run. I really hope that I didn’t cause any damage to someone’s car. I know how I am about my car and keeping it as nice as possible for as long as possible. So if your car was parked on Millers Creek and some jerk kicked a rock into last week, I’m soooo sorry!

January 26, 2012

Book #11 of 2012...

Th Light at the End by Donna Burgess

From Goodreads.com:

Bill Andrews always ran the north end of the beach on Wednesdays, but this morning starfish littered the sand. Not a few, but thousands. He stood, quietly perplexed, as the winter sun glinted off the Atlantic and the waves lapped gently at the fields of dead and dying creatures. Here and there, pointed limbs flexed slowly toward the endless blue sky as if grasping for some kind of mercy that was not coming.

The news made little of the dying and the article buried deep on page five. However, there was a much larger dying in the wings...

Something dire is coming and the government is keeping everyone in the dark. A strange little countdown clock has appeared in the bottom corner of the cable news networks and people are beginning to talk.

They feel anxious, afraid. What do you do? Hide? Live your life as if tomorrow is promised to you? Do you give up? Do you hope? Turn your neighbors away at the door? Turn the gun on yourself? Turn inward or reach outward? Do you hold your family close and know that whatever happens you are together?

The Light at the End is a 4500 word tale of hope and family during Earth's darkest moment.

Also included: an extended preview of the apocalyptic novel, Solstice.

My take:

4 out of 5 stars. Great short story about what may happen at the end of the world.

January 25, 2012

What I think about when I run...

Due to incredible laziness on Sunday, I moved my long run to last Monday night after work. Normally I prefer to do my long run on Sunday when I have more time and am not tired from being a work all day but since I wussed out on Sunday to watch/sleep through the football play offs, I figured I better suck it up and get my long run done on Monday.

Thankfully, Monday was fairly busy at work which actually helps me stay motivated to run. If it’s a slow, quiet day I find I’m really tired and sleep at the end of the day and just want to crash on the couch. But the busier, more crazy days are the ones I love. I’m more energetic, happier and more motivated to get things done when I get home.

My training is loosely based on a training plan that I got from Runner’s World. I’m currently in week 3 of the plan and my long run should have been 5 miles Sunday. But I like to increase my long runs by a mile each week. First week was 7, second week was 8, so third week was 9. I’ve never run 9 miles before. The last long run I did before I crashed and burned between Thanksgiving and Christmas was 8.5 miles, so I pretty much knew that I could run 9 miles. But I was still nervous about doing it.

I got home from work about 5:15 and Hubbs friend had stopped by, so I said hi and quickly changed my clothes. Hubbs friend asked how long my run was going to be and when I said 9 miles he laughed and said I was crazy. I’m crazy?! He’s a Marine! Those guys are crazy! 9 miles is nothing compared to what he’s done and seen. Of course he asked me what my best 5k time is and then bragged that his was 20:something…7 years ago! LOL

While I was still at work on Monday, I started thinking about what I think about when I’m running. Blank, I’m blank. I have no idea what I think about when I run. I pretty much let my mind wander where it will and try not to dwell on any pain or discomfort that I might be having. I’ll be honest, the first mile to mile & a half are terrible and I wonder every time why I do this to myself. But after that my muscles loosen up and things start to flow and it’s about that time that I start having my “deep” thoughts. But what I think about I have no idea.

For Monday, since I had 9 miles to think about stuff I thought about what I think about when I run. I wondered what I think about. Then I had some great ideas that would make for awesome posts. And then I forgot the awesome ideas. Grrrr. I guess my running is my brains time to just wander around, think about my day, de-stress, go over things that bother me and work out my problems. It’s nothing earth shattering. But when my runs are over, I feel good. Even if it’s a bad run, I still feel good. I’m happier and more relaxed then if I’d had a massage or gone shopping.

The only specific thing I really remember thinking was right about the 5 mile mark. I was thinking about last April when I was first starting the Couch to 5k program. I remember being so intimidated by the 20 min run with no breaks. I was scared. I was scared I couldn’t do it, that I’d embarrass myself, that I’d fail. But there I was, about 9 months later, gliding along, almost effortlessly in the middle of a 9 mile run. At 5 miles I’d already been running for more than 50 minutes without a break and didn’t need a walk break. I was really and truly humbled by what my body can do.

January 24, 2012

Book #10 of 2012...

The Crossing Places by Ellie Griffiths

From Goodreads.com:

When she’s not digging up bones or other ancient objects, quirky, tart-tongued archaeologist Ruth Galloway lives happily alone in a remote area called Saltmarsh near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants - not quite earth, not quite sea.

When a child’s bones are found on a desolate beach nearby, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson calls Galloway for help. Nelson thinks he has found the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing ten years ago. Since her disappearance he has been receiving bizarre letters about her, letters with references to ritual and sacrifice.

The bones actually turn out to be two thousand years old, but Ruth is soon drawn into the Lucy Downey case and into the mind of the letter writer, who seems to have both archaeological knowledge and eerie psychic powers. Then another child goes missing and the hunt is on to find her.

As the letter writer moves closer and the windswept Norfolk landscape exerts its power, Ruth finds herself in completely new territory – and in serious danger.

THE CROSSING PLACES marks the beginning of a captivating new crime series featuring an irresistible heroine.

My take:

4 out of 5 stars. I don't normally read mysteries but this one was offered on Amazon for free for Kindle a while back so I snatched it. I figured even if I didn't like it, at least I could try something new for free. If you have a Kindle, you should check out the discussions area. Every day there is a thread with lists of Kindle Books they are offering for free for a short period of time. Because of this my reading list is out of control.

Anyway, back to the Crossing. Great mystery. I loved it. It was complicated enough to keep it interesting for me but not so complicated that I couldn't follow it (not that I'm dumb). I did guess who done it before the end of the book but I really loved finding out I was right. The main character, Ruth is warm and believable. I really enjoyed this book and would consider purchasing the next book in the series.

January 23, 2012

Weekend Recap...

Or lack there of. It was very stormy here over the weekend, so other then getting out to run on Saturday (4.06 miles, 39:07, 9:38 pace) and running a couple of errands durring a break in the storm, I didn't do anything.

Sunday was the same thing. We watched both play off games. I predicted a Pariots/Niner's Superbowl but the Niners lost so I was half right. I spent most of both games either reading or working on the second sleeve of Gnarled Oak Cardigan. But I didn't even come close to finishing it.

Today is back to work. The wind is blowing a lot this morning and I'm hoping that it is going to die down enough tonight that I can make up my long run.

January 22, 2012

Book #9 of 2012

From Goodreads.com:

Bringing his family home to Little Valley, Wisconsin, Allen Young thought that this move was the chance for a new beginning, a new job, a new town, a breath of fresh air. Little did he know that the very home he had lived in as a child held more than the memories of his father and grandfather. It held their very souls.Built by loving hands a replica of Little Valley sat in a room on the second floor of Allen’s new home. With loving care every tree, every building, every street was placed on the model. And, day by day, whatever happened in town showed itself in miniature detail before Allen’s eyes.Then one by one his children vanish within the house. Their soul’s caught in the battle between the living and the dead, a battle of those wanting to be brought home to an eternal rest, and a soul wanting them to stay locked in an eternal embrace.

My take:

4 out of 5 stars for this one. I downloaded this on my Kindle for free. I always check the daily listing of what's free for that day, and this one was listed there. For being a short book, only a couple of hundred pages, this was a good story. Reminded me of early Stephen King. I would be interested in reading more by this author.

January 21, 2012

I was Curious...

I figured I'd use Runner's World's Finish Time Calculator and find out what I could expect to finish my Half in...

I used my last long run of 8 miles and the time I ran it in, 1:23:41 as the base and their calculator came up with:

Based on a split distance of 8 miles at 01:23:41, this race participant's projected finish time for a half-marathon will be: 02:17:02 Projected half-marathon finish time

My goal is to not die, first and foremost but after that I'm hoping to keep it under 2:30 over all and this is really giving me hope that I can accomplish my goal. All I have to do is stay in front of the 2:30 pace setter and I'm golden. If I can do more tempo runs and stay in from of the 2:00 pace setter...man! I can't even think about that. I don't want to kill myself, I just want to run my race, enjoy myself and be able to work on Monday after the race.

January 20, 2012

New Toy...

For Christmas, Hubbs and the family all went in together and got me a new Nikon D5100. I am so in love with this camera. Here's a few pictures from right after new years. The pictures are so amazing.

16.1 mega pixels. Just clear amazing photographs. I'm in love and I can't wait to travel in 2012 and take some amazing pictures.

January 19, 2012

Training Report

Training Update for The Shamrock'n 1/2 Marathon...

I started training for my 1/2 a few months ago when I signed up to run Shamrock'n on 11/1/11. I signed up the day the it became available. I trained diligently for the first 4 weeks and even ran a 10k on Thanksgiving morning. But then stuff with my family went sideways and work pushed me even further off course. I was traveling back to the bay area twice a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas either for my family drama or for Hubbs family drama and work was super busy and I never got off at the same time twice. I was working late, going in early...and really didn't have the energy to train between the family drama and work. So I didn't, I didn't train one little bit. I think I got in two runs for all of December.

My longest run prior to all the happy fun time was 8.5 miles. I was pretty happy with those 8.5 miles. They were long but I did them and I was looking forward to longer runs. My goal was to run about 20 miles pre-1/2 marathon so that 13.1 miles would be a cake walk. But life got in the way. Stupid life.

Since Christmas, family drama and work have died down to a more manageable level. I started my training back up at the first of the year. My long runs are scheduled for Sundays. First Sunday back was 7 miles and I wasn't sure it wasn't going to kill me. But it didn't and while it wasn't great, it wasn't horrible either. I am not designed to be a speedster, slow and long are my style. But I just couldn't get into the rhythm of the run but I didn't give up and I got through it.

Second Sunday long run was just this last Sunday. 8 miles. It was good, really good. Before my break I was running my long runs at about an 11 minute mile. Not horrible but long runs are supposed to be long and slow. The point is to teach your muscles you can go a long ways. I get that. But after last week when I really tried to push my pace time more toward 10:15 pace on my short runs and actually do tempo runs, my pace was a bit different for my long run. My average pace for the 8 miles was 10:28 per mile. That's 30 seconds faster then normal. And I felt good for the entire run, despite the wind coming in out of the west.

I guess those tempo runs are paying off. I'm loosely following a training schedule that I got from Runners World and this coming Sunday is supposed to be a short run because they have a 5k race scheduled for Saturday. But I won't be racing. Right now I can't afford to pay to race and I'd rather push the schedule so that I'm running further then the 10 miles the plan calls for before the race. I don't want to over train but I don't want to surprise my body with an extra 3 miles it's never run before on race day. I've always trained further then the actual race I'm running. That way I feel more prepared then I have to be and I tend to enjoy the race more...I hope.

13.1 miles is kind of scary. Honestly, race day is scary for me. Even for a 5k I find myself standing at the starting line wishing I hadn't signed myself up for this torture but after the first mile, I generally start to enjoy myself. And I'm sure that history will repeat itself for this race too.

January 18, 2012

8th Book of 2012

This is the second book I finished over the MLK weekend...I love a long weekend. Lots of relaxing, reading and knitting. But they're never long enough...

Dropped Calls by Mateo Hellion

This was more of a short story then a book. But if Goodreads counts it as a book, then so do I. Plus who wouldn't want a short story to count for their goal of 100 books in 2012?

From Goodreads.com:

Carla finally located what she had been looking for and placed a slender metallic black cell phone on the desk and slid it to him, “here, try this.”“Thanks, but I already have a cell phone and it’s anything but a stress reliever.”“I’m sure, but this isn’t just any cell phone, it’s special, it will allow you to get back at those S.O.B.’s that keep wrecking your life.”“Yeah right and there’s a million dollar check waiting at home in the mail.” Henry replied.“Oh Henry, such doubt,” She turned the phone on and the screen glowed a devilish red, “It drops the people you call.”…And so Henry Lockmann’s nightmare begins, with the simple game of revenge. He only has to place a call to who he’d like dropped and the phone would drop them. It would then randomly choose a contact from his address book and drop them too, tit-for-tat. It doesn’t take long for Henry to realize that his new cell phone isn’t just dropping cell service, its killing people, and their dropping like flies.Drunk with the power to play God, Henry plunges into a hell he could never imagine possible.

My take:

4 out of 5 stars. For a short story, it was pretty good and I could have used a few more pages of it.

January 17, 2012

7th Book of 2012

Since it was a long weekend, I finished a couple of books over the weekend. One review today and one review tomorrow. And hopefully an update on Gnarled Oak Cardigan sometime this week and an update on my training.

Oops. I just realized I listed both Breakdown and What I talk about when I talk about Running as book 4 for 2012. So that makes this book 7 not 6. Oh well..

Any way, the book...

This was two of Scott Nicholson's books in one. It contained The Red Church and Little Drummer boy. Two stories with the main/secondary character is Sheriff Littlefield. Both books are set in the same county in West Virgina. Both are scary thrillers. I wouldn't call them horror storys but thrillers for sure.

From Goodreads.com:
A two-novel collection featuring Sheriff Frank Littlefield, whose tiny Appalachian community has its share of supernatural mysteries.

THE RED CHURCHBook I in the Sheriff Littlefield SeriesFor 13-year-old Ronnie Day, life is full of problems: Mom and Dad have separated, his brother Tim is a constant pest, Melanie Ward either loves him or hates him, and Jesus Christ won't stay in his heart. Plus he has to walk past the red church every day, where the Bell Monster hides with its wings and claws and livers for eyes. But the biggest problem is that Archer McFall is the new preacher at the church, and Mom wants Ronnie to attend midnight services with her.Sheriff Frank Littlefield hates the red church for a different reason. His little brother died in a freak accident at the church twenty years ago, and now Frank is starting to see his brother's ghost.The Days, the Littlefields, and the McFalls are descendants of the original families that settled the rural Appalachian community. Those old families share a secret of betrayal and guilt, and McFall wants his congregation to prove its faith. Because he believes he is the Second Son of God, and that the cleansing of sin must be done in blood."Sacrifice is the currency of God," McFall preaches, and unless Frank and Ronnie stop him, everybody pays.

DRUMMER BOYBook II in the Littlefield SeriesOn an Appalachian Mountain ridge, three boys hear the rattling of a snare drum deep inside a cave known as The Jangling Hole, and the wind carries a whispered name.It’s the eve of a Civil War re-enactment, and the town of Titusville is preparing to host a staged battle. Sheriff Frank Littlefield doesn't want to believe the local legend that a ghostly troop of Civil War deserters is stirring in the Hole. But one dead soldier is intent on returning home.And one misfit kid is all that stands between the town and the cold mouth of hell…

From bestselling mystery, thriller, and paranormal author Scott Nicholson (Speed Dating with the Dead, Disintegration, Liquid Fear). Nicholson has also written seven story collections, four screenplays, two children's books and three-comic book series. Includes the bonus ghost story "The Endless Bivouac" from the collection Ashes. DRM-free

My take: I gave it 3 out of stars. I enjoyed the stories but I didn't love it. It wasn't enough to keep me up at night, not wanting to sleep so I can keep reading. But good stories and I will read other books by this author again.

January 16, 2012

5th Book of 2012...

The Always War by Margaret Peterson Haddis

From Goodreads.com:

In a war-torn future United States, fifteen-year-old Tessa, her childhood friend Gideon, now a traumatized military hero, and Dek, a streetwise orphan, enter enemy territory and discover the shocking truth about a war that began more than seventy-five years earlier.

My take:

3 out of 5 stars. Decent but not great. It just didn't do much for me.

January 15, 2012

4th Book of 2012

What I talk about when I talk about Running by Haruki Murakami

From Goodreads.com:

In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he’d completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, not to mention triathlons and a dozen critically acclaimed books, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and—even more important—on his writing.Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon and takes us to places ranging from Tokyo’s Jingu Gaien gardens, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston among young women who outpace him. Through this marvelous lens of sport emerges a panorama of memories and insights: the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer, his greatest triumphs and disappointments, his passion for vintage LPs, and the experience, after fifty, of seeing his race times improve and then fall back.By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is rich and revelatory, both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in running.

My take:I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars because it wasn't terrible but it wasn't really about running that much to me. The author kept going back to his writing and I was expecting more about running. Basically it was...meh to me. I wouldn't read it again.

January 14, 2012

I Love Getting New Yarn!

It's like getting a new car every time I get yarn in the mail. I ordered my MadelineTosh, Tosh DK from Webs on January 2nd and it came last weekend. I was a bit nervous opening the package because you never know what the color is really going to look like in real life vs. a picture on the Internet. But it's beautiful and it's going to be perfect for Gnarled Oak Cardigan.

It's green, brown, yellow and blue all at once. And soooo soft! I love Tosh DK. I knit my Honey Cowl with it last year and have worn it a ton. After almost a year of wear the stitch definition is still beautiful and the yarn is soft with little to no piling.

I can not wait to swatch this up and start my Gnarled Oak Cardigan. Fingers crossed it will be done in time for Stitches West.

January 13, 2012

Second Finished Object of 2012...

I'm calling this scarf Baa Baa Black Sheep but it's really called Eatons Scarf by Jennifer Refat. I wanted a scarf to go with my beautiful red, black and gray wool jacket that I got a few months ago while on a spur of the moment trip up to Reno. I have lots of scarves but nothing that would look fantastic with my jacket.

When it got really cold here at the beginning of December I knew I need to knit myself a scarf to go with the jacket. One of the things I love the most about knitting (and sewing) is that I can create the perfect accessory to go with a piece of clothing that I love.

It took over a month to finish the scarf because I bought 3 skeins of yarn at my local LYS, Anna's Yarn Shoppe but when the yarn ran out the scarf wasn't long enough for my liking. I went back to the shop and they were out. I figured I'd just order another skein from the Internet but never got around to it until I ordered my yarn for Gnarled Oak Cardigan. The yarn came over the weekend and I wanted to finish my scarf before I started on my Cardigan. Otherwise, I was afraid that I'd never finish the scarf.

Pattern: Eatons Scarf by Jennifer Refat
Yarn: Berroco Lustra in colorway 3134, Ebony (4 skeins)
Needles: US 8
Mods: Added 2 extra repeats of the pattern to make the scarf wider and used more yarn then called for in the pattern to make the scarf longer.

I love this scarf with the jacket. It's perfect and it's long enough that I can double it and then wrap it around my neck. I love the buttons on this coat. They are one detail that really makes it special.

I also love the hood on this jacket. It's nice to not have to carry an umbrella to avoid getting my hair wet when it's raining or when we have heavy fog.

I love this scarf. It was perfect pre-holiday mindless knitting. I would totally made this again for gift knitting. Non-knitters would be totally impressed with how lovely it is and not have a clue about how easy a knit it was.

January 12, 2012

First Finished Object of 2012

And my first piece of color work! I give you...Muckle Mitts!
Pattern: Muckle Mitts by Mary Jane Mucklestone
Needles: US 3 & US 4
Yarn: Lion Brand Lion Wool Solids in Pearl Gray and Ebony (1/2 skein of Ebony & 1/4 of Pearl Gray)
Mods: Moved thumb hole to row 12 instead of row 11. Did 6 repeats of the finger ribbing instead of 4 & did 8 repeats of thumb ribbing instead of 6.

I love any pair of mitts that has a thumb. I never liked the pairs that has just a hole for the thumb.

One of my goals for 2011 was to learn color work. I know it's not 2011 anymore but I'm marking it off on my goals since I still have 2011's listed in my side bar. This pattern was really easy to follow and didn't really need any mods. The only reason I did mods was because my hands are long and I wanted them to cover more of my fingers. They fit really well and I only had a couple of places where the stitches could have been pulled tighter or where the colors don't match up exactly. But all and all, I'm super proud of these mitts. My first try at color work and I actually walked away with a use able and beautiful pair of mitts. I can't wait to wear these!

January 11, 2012

4th Book of 2012

Breakdown by Katherine Amt Hanna

We all know that I have a love of post-apocalyptic/dystopia novels. Just look at my reading list 2011. I love them a lot. I read pretty much anything I can get my hands on...well, and zombie books too but that's a different post.

Breakdown was great! Six years after a pandemic devastates the human population, and the subsequent loss of much of the world's technology, Chris Price finally makes it from New York to Britain to reunite with his brother. But unresolved grief over his dead wife and baby and the horrors he witnessed as he traveled through a changed world have damaged him. He struggles to let go of his past, accept the healing kindness of those around him, and let love back into his life.

There is a lot of mystery sounding Chris and his journey from New York to Bath. I would have liked more of the story about what happened to him in the US but the author conveniently says that Chris doesn't remember it except for small parts. I didn't love that, it was too convenient. But it really didn't take away from the story. It's kinda like his wife and kid died and he went crazy and doesn't remember. It doesn't detract but I would have liked more of that part of the story.

I loved the ending, which I won't give away. Sadness and happiness. I just wonder if the author is going to write a second book about Pauline's brother. I'd like to know where he's been and what he's seen.

I gave the book 5 out of 5 stars on good reads. The things that bothered me didn't detract enough to take away from a really good story. I'd like to read more by this author.

January 10, 2012

I Guess this is What Happens...

when you fall off the face of the earth. You miss that the Winter 2011 Twist Collective came out. Where was I?!

I always love the photography in Twist Collective but this time I doubly love it. The mix of the fancy fabrics with the rusticness of the wool is beautiful.

Lots to love in this issue but two were my favorites:

Bellevue by Robin Melanson

Last years Stitches West sweater was from Twist Collective, Roheline. It got lots of attention at Stitches and I still wear it all the time. This year my mom and I are going and we're taking one of my mom's friends that is part of her sewing group. I am really looking forward to going again this year. I got a copy of Cookie A.'s Knit. Sock. Love. for Christmas and I NEED sock yarn!

January 9, 2012

3rd book of 2012

Plague Year by Jeff Carlson

From Goodreads:

The nanotechnology was designed to fight cancer. Instead, it evolved into the Machine Plague, killing nearly five billion people and changing life on Earth forever.

The nanotech has one weakness: it self-destructs at altitudes above ten thousand feet. Those few who've managed to escape the plague struggle to stay alive on the highest mountains, but time is running out-there is famine and war, and the environment is crashing worldwide. Humanity's last hope lies with a top nanotech researcher aboard the International Space Station-and with a small group of survivors in California who risk a daring journey below the death line...

My take:

This book lost me with all the Nanotech gargon. I gave it 2 stars. It just couldn't hold my attention for long.

January 8, 2012

2nd Book of 2012

Fighting to Survive Book 2 by Rhiannon Frater

From Goodreads.com:

Katie and Jenni have found new lives with the survivors of their makeshift fort, but danger still lurks. Nothing is easy in the new world where the dead walk and every day is a struggle to keep safe.As the elements, bandits, and the zombie horde threaten their safe haven, Jenni and Katie join the other survivors in fighting to survive as the world dies.

My take:

Great zombie book. Has all the elements: zombies, bad humans, peril, fight for survival, interesting lead characters. I won the 1st book in the series from Goodreads and the second one was just as good as the first. I gave it 5 stars.

January 7, 2012

Kings Win!! Kings Win!!!

I mentioned to Hubbs a while back that we should try to see a Sacramento Kings game at home before the Maloofs move the Kings to another city. So Thursday night we got tickets to see the Kings play the Milwaukee Bucks. I've been to see major league baseball but never basketball.

We had pretty decent seats behind the hoop. After seeing the game, I think next time we should try to get tickets from the side. I spent a lot of time trying to see but the back board was in the way.
They had a very nice opening with the national anthem. And during the game they had dancing girls and break dancers.

Of course I wore a hand knit, Roheline. It was the sweater that I knit last year for Stitches West and the sweater I wear most of the time.

Jimmer Frebette, I guess he's a big deal. They had all kinds of shirts that said, "Got Jimmer?" He was a good player and made lots of baskets. The game was really exciting even if I didn't really know what was going on most of the game. I'm pretty sure I asked Hubbs a thousand questions. But the game was fast paced and fun.

In the last period the game was really exciting becuase it was so close. There were lots of fouls and we finally pulled it out in the end for a win. The crowed was going crazy and everyone was on their feet. Right at the buzzer the Bucks shot a 3 pointer which would have tied up the game but it bounced off the rim. Everyone was screaming and hollaring. It was a great game and a very fun way to spend the evening. I defenitaly want to see another one.

January 6, 2012

1st book of 2012

11/22/63 by Stephen King

From Goodreads:


In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King—who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer—takes readers on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

It begins with Jake Epping, a thirty-five-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away—a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than fifty years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life—like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963—turning on a dime. Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading eventually, of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful, and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

My take:

Interesting story of how time travel could tear a world apart. Best part was revisiting two characters from It in the first part of the story. I gave it 5 stars if only because Mr. King doesn't write himself into this one.

January 5, 2012

Gnarled Oak Cardigan

When I first found out on Alana Dakos blog that she was co-writing a pattern book with Hannah Fettig called Coastal Knits, I was so excited. I've knitted patterns written by both of these ladies and met Alana last year at Stitches West. So of course I pre-ordered Coastal Knits. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out on Ravelry and then order the book. Lots of really cute patterns for sweaters and accessories.

Two of the sweaters that I really fell in love with were Wildflower Cardigan and Gnarled Oak Cardigan both by Alana Dakos. I was trying to pick between these two cardigans for a sweater to try and knit for Stitches West this year. I finally decided on Gnarled Oak because it has longer sleeves, not that I couldn't have made the ones on Wildflower longer.

I love this sweater. It's a bottom up, seamless pattern with lots of stockinette so I'm hoping that I will be able to finish it in time for Stitches. I ordered 7 skeins of MadelineTosh, Tosh DK in Filigree to make this sweater. This is going to be the most expensive sweater I've ever knit. Tosh DK isn't cheap. But I do love the color, Filigree, that I chose. It's green with brown accents. I'm thinking it's going to be perfect for this pattern. But of course, I have to wait until the yarn gets here before I decide if it's going to work.

Normally I order all my yarn either from Knitpicks or from Jimmy Beans Wool. I always get good, fast service from both of these companies. But I placed my order with Webs this time. I've never ordered from them before but they had enough skeins of Tosh DK in Filigree and Jimmy Beans didn't. I ordered it over the weekend, so I guess I'm going to have to wait a while before it arrives. I've gotten so spoiled with having Jimmy Beans so close that I get things almost next day. I hate waiting for yarn to come in the mail. I guess this is where I learn some patients.