31 October 2013

Crochet Along: Snood

I have missed the last couple of Alicia's Crochet Alongs for one reason or another.

But I could not pass up this months project, a snood!

I had recently been gifted some yarn from a friends mother-in-law which included a couple skeins of Lion Brands Wool-Ease sportweight. Sorry for the lack of information about it, but according to Lion Brand's website this is no longer available, which is quite sad. I really liked working with this yarn and LOVE the colors. It has such a different look to it based on the light (as you can see in the photos) that it is perfect for fall, winter and dare I say even spring.

The pattern Alicia's picked for this project is by Oombawka Designs. It was actually quite easy to follow and I loved that it included a stitch I had not previously used. But in the end, because I was using the lightweight yarn, ended up using a totally different stitch for the project.

I LOVE the way it turned out though. I've already worn it to work and received a number of compliments on it. I've even had a friend asking about learning to make one for herself.

Happy crocheting!
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29 October 2013

Read: Gone Girl

I have put off reading this book for quite awhile.

Numerous friends had suggested it and for reasons I am going to keep to myself, I avoided it.

This past weekend, though I decided to finally give in to the prodding and suggesting and give it a try. To be honest, I didn't have high hopes. My disinterest in books had kept me from actually finishing one since August (yes, it's been two months since I had finished a book) and my previous experiences with Flynn's books always left me a little rattled (her books have been packed with far too many triggers for my liking).

It took me less than 24 hours to finish reading Gone Girl.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Synopsis: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer? 

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

This book had me hooked from the start.

Nick, the psuedo-picture perfect guy I had imagined in my own future and Amy, a female character I actually (if only for a few short moments) liked and found myself relating to. A couple that was so perfect in their flaws as people, a couple, it was hard not to like them. But then the story started to unfold, to envelope me (the reader) in their lives.

There were so many twists and turns in this one, it was hard to know which end was up. But Flynn's style of writing doesn't lose you in the confusion of the story. It holds you close, but not so close you can see what is coming. It's a book that really does demand your time because it is so hard to walk away from. At the end of each chapter, I found it kept pulling me back in for "just one more before bed".

I can count on one hand the number of books that have left me feeling different for having read them. This one left me rattled at the end. Gutted. Trying to figure out the answer to so many questions of "Why?!" "Why did that happen?" "Why would anyone behave that way?" "Why would anyone treat another person so horribly?" and "Why would anyone think that was o.k.?".
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28 October 2013

Music Monday: Lou Reed

I had something else lined up for today, but then I read this from Rolling Stone:

Lou Reed is among a great number of musicians and band whom I don't remember listening to for the first time. They are part of my history that has just always been there. Because well, the music has always been there.

I do however remember popping in my copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico's cassette tape and melting into the floor while listening to it. I must have been 15, an age when I was starting to really understand and appreciate the power of music. There was something magical about the way the music came out of the speakers. There was a perfection in their imperfections that left me feeling hollow because I felt like I had missing out of the songs for so long.

Perfect Day continues to be one of the most perfect songs (for me) that has even been written. I will be the first to admit that the reason I like the idea of sangria has everything to do with this song.

RIP Mr. Reed. May your music live on in the souls of your fans forever.

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27 October 2013

Sunday Confessions

Simplify: I'm not sure one could really tell based on the current state of disarray of my house, but I'm in the process of a major simplification. Getting rid of EVERYTHING I don't need, use and/or want has been a big undertaking but has left me feeling pretty darn good.

Book Fetish: I finally, FINALLY found a book that has grabbed my attention. So much so I couldn't WAIT to get up in the morning to start reading it. I'll have a full post on it on Tuesday, but until then, if you haven't ready, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Gone Girl. Such a good read. And I'm am finding myself not feeling bad even in the slightest that I'm not a fan of he lead female character Amy, any version of her.

Starting Over: I've toyed with the idea lately of abandoning Miles from Ordinary for something else. Something new. It's felt a little stale. And staleness doesn't exactly breed creativity or inspiration of any kind.

Misunderstood: I've been reminded (again) many times over that there are things my friends will just not understand about me and I need to let that go. They were a giggling mess when I tried telling them about Glitter. There was a resounding "NO!" when Random's name came up in conversation. And the idea that I have to, for a lack of a better term, "dumb down my vocabulary" (their words not mine) because they don't understand what I am saying is beyond frustrating. And yes, bitching about "personal things" that "people in my real like might read about" is breaking blogging rule number 18693 but this isn't anything they don't know.

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26 October 2013

Waxing Poetic

Inspiration has been pretty hard to come by these days.

It seems like I get up, I go to work, I come home, I go to bed.

Little has been able to hold my attention for more than a few moments. A movie, a drawing, a book. I feel like a bit of a hummingbird flitting from flower to flower, terrified that if I stay a moment too long something will go horribly wrong.

Some would blame this all on a change in the weather. Winter, yes WINTER seems to be knocking on the front door with a vengeance. Begging, no demanding to be let in despite the fact that it's a month early. Some would say it is this drastic change that has thrown me into a bit of a tailspin that I am powerless to stop.

They would be right, but not for the reason they think. Yes, technically it's the change in the weather. The change in season bringing along something new. Something that has my head swirling as I try to make sense of it all.

But it's not a thing or what and at the risk of completely outing myself it's a who. It's a reminder that things don't always go like we want them to go. That life doesn't always play fair. And that despite the overwhelming feeling that it's impossible, that it just isn't in the cards, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe, just maybe the tiniest bit of hope lies in the belief that there are surprises around every corner and we just need to be open to accepting them. And then remembering not to fuck it up when it does happen.

Honest to Blog is a series where I let my pen glide across the paper without letting my inner editor know what is going on. Some posts might be controversial. Some might be a bit boring and some might be downright ridiculous. But they will all be open, honest and 100% me.
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20 October 2013

On Baseball

This is more than a slight departure from what I normally write about, so hang with me.....

Baseball is a funny sport.

It's a game that can be decided on one swing, a misstep, a bobbled ball and yes, I'm going to go there, on an umps wandering strike zone.

Last night was Detroit's last game for the 2013 season. It's been shall we say, an odd season for the Tigers. Unlike other fans and sports writers (please note, I am NOT putting myself in the same category as a sports writer--I don't know enough stats or random information for that) I refuse to call it a disappointing season.

I've been a fan of the game for as long as I can remember. I know I've talked about it before, but I don't remember a time when I wasn't a Detroit Tigers fan. And any fan will tell you there are ups and downs with your favorite team, things to cheer about and things to groan about. But I'm one of those who goes for the cheers, no matter how dismal things may be.

On paper, this morning the Tigers should be preparing for the 2013 World Series against St. Louis. On paper Justin Verlander should have had another lights out season, with one of the highest win to loss ratios, highest numbers of strikeouts and lowest ERA's. On paper, Miggy should have won the Triple Crown again, Prince (along a few of the other guys) should have had a +.300 avg season been one of the leading RBI's guys in the majors and Peralta's post-drug suspension performance in the post-season should be guaranteeing him another year with the Tigers.

Instead, Verlander had an o.k. season by his standards, Miggy was more of a liability because of his injuries/lack of speed than he was helpful down the stretch. Prince, well, I think we all know how hard it can be with personal matters even if there is a job to be done. Peralta’s future with the organization is up in the air. And instead of getting ready for the seven game set with St. Louis they are packing their bags and heading home for the winter.

But that lack of success isn't the whole picture.

Expectations are hard. Anything short of a World Series win for this team would be a disappointment. They were SUPPOSED to win it all this year. Who cares that there are 20 teams that didn't make it to the post season. Or that they won the AL Central Division for the 3rd year in a row. Or that Scherzer will likely win the CY Young this year (side note: if he doesn't win, I will lose what little faith I have left in the Universe). Sanchez led in the AL with lowest ERA and Miggy had the highest batting average, on-base plus slugging percentage, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

It would be ridiculous to say that I don’t have an “off-season wishlist” for changes I’d like to see made for this team. They need a closer. I appreciate Benoit’s attempt at filling this role (how the front office thought they could get away with NOT signing someone in the off-season last year is beyond me), but it just didn’t quite work out in the end. A left with a good, consistent bat would be great. And a new lead-off man. Jackson hitting lower in the line-up the last few games was one of the best moves Leyland could have done and it showed in Jacksons patience at the plate. I’m not sure putting him back to lead off would be a great move. There will be many who feel I have left off “a new manager” from my list but on this area I’m torn. I like Leyland. His players like/respect him. I like some of his moves. I like that he is willing to change things up (i.e. the line-up shuffle) and I like that he takes responsibility when things don’t go as planned. I’d be o.k. with him back for 2014 and yes, I am likely the only one.

Last night Justin Verlander posted the following tweet:
All I can say is “Thank you” back. It’s not the season we wanted, but it was still a good one and I am counting down the days until the 2014 season begins.

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14 October 2013

13 October 2013

Sunday Confessions: I'm All Over the Place

It has been a gloriously relaxing few days. I had taken most of this past week off of work for what was originally a legitimate reason but ended up turning into a bit of a staycation. I've spent most of my time has been spent doing homework and watching baseball and The Walking Dead. Totally my version of "perfect downtime".

Running: I haven't been out for a run in MONTHS. In fact I don't even remember the last time I went for a run. But I miss it. Boy oh boy do I miss it. My hip has been fantastic that last two months (no pain!! whoop! whoop!) so we're going to give the Couch to 5k Program another try. Hopefully the stretches my physical therapist gave me will help, but I'm still terrified the pain is going to come back. So there is that.

NaNoWriMo: This is happening in 18 days. EIGHTEEN DAYS. Each year I say I'm going to do it and each year I fall well short of my goal. But, I'm a glutton for punishment and I'm going to try to do it all again his year. 30 days. 50,000 words. Conquer it I shall.

Birthday: Not that I'm ever really excited about it, but this year feels weird. It's not a "monumental" birthday but it's a number I don't really want to admit to. But on the flip side of that, I did have a security person tell me that I "really, really don't look as old as my actual age" so that is all kinds of awesome.

Babies: I spent much of this weekend with friends and their kids. I've written about it before, but each year that passes, I feel like I'm losing a bit of my hope that someday I'll be a mom. I know that should that time every really come it would be an extremely difficult road, but I'd really rather have to deal with it than not getting the chance to deal with it at all.

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12 October 2013

A to Z Book Survey

I saw this survey on Unabashedly Me via Nerdy Katie, and immediately decided to fill it out. Despite my apparent inability to read ANYTHING right now, I still love books and reading. Who knows, maybe this will result in an end to my current quest to find something, anything, to hold my wandering attention.

Author you’ve read the most books from:
That would be a toss up between JK Rowling (Harry Potter, obviously) and Deborah Geary (A Modern Witch series). I think they are about even in the number of books I've read.

Best Sequel Ever:
I'd have to go with Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich. I'm slowly making my way through the Stephanie Plum series and absolutely adore Plum's character.

Currently Reading:
I am bouncing between Eight Girls Taking Pictures by Whitney Otto and Rock Island Rock by Eyre Price.

Drink of Choice While Reading:
I guess whatever is handy. I don't typically seek out a certain drink while reading.

E-reader or Physical Book?
As much as I love my Kindle for traveling, I definitely prefer reading a physical book.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Either Mark Darcy from Bridget Jones's Diary or Jamie from the Witch Central books. I don't tend to read many "romance" or "fun loving" books so having a crush on a character isn't likely to happen.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. This book is packed full of triggers but was such a well written book, I'm glad I stuck with it.

Hidden Gem Book:
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia. I was anticipating on this being a pretty bad rewrite of Twilight (there are SO many of those out there) but was pleasantly surprised by how well the story flowed.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
I'd have to say reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I must have been a freshman when we were assigned it as our required reading for English class. I've always written and loved books, but always struggled to get through them "in a timely manner", but I remember not being able to put this one down. This was the first book I remember that actually made me feel something. Finishing that book was the moment I fell in love with writing and in love with how an amazing book could change you.

Just Finished:
My Summer of Southern Discomfort by Stephanie Gayle. It was a quick read. Nothing too memorable about it.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
I'll read just about anything unless it is heavy on religion (unless it is non-fiction, then I'll read it).

Longest Book You’ve Read:
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. 944 pages.
** easy way to find this out. Go to your Goodreads “read” list, don’t scroll down but where you are on the screen there will be this little tab on the bottom that lets you choose how you want to scroll or how many books you want display. There is also a sort option with a drop down and you can sort by page.

Major book hangover because of:
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I was a wreck after reading it the first time.

Number of Bookcases You Own:
Five, but I need more.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. I adore this book. So dark. So creepy. So good.

Preferred Place To Read:
Either in bed or curled up on my super comfy couch.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.
Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” 
― Oscar Wilde

Reading Regret:
Fifty Shades of Grey. This was such a crap book. If anyone EVER takes me advice on anything it would be to avoid this series like the plague. It reads like it was written by a bored housewife who did a shit job Googling BDSM. Ladies, we deserve so much more when it coms to "lady porn".

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):
The Beautiful Creatures series. I really enjoyed the first book. I just haven't been able to bring myself to start the second one.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
To Kill a Mocking Bird, American Psycho and She's Come Undone.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Ummm......I've really got nothing for this one. Dresden Files maybe.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
Again. Nothing.

Worst Bookish Habit:
I tend to go on massive reading binges and then won't read anything for months.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
Run with the Hunted: A Charles Bukowski Reader

Your latest book purchase:
The Cuckoo's Calling by JK Rowling.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
Ummm.....even though it was WAY back in March, I'm going to go with Shantaram. 

07 October 2013

Music Monday: Arlo Guthrie

Greetings fine readers!

First off, I just simply must share I am typing this post from my shiny new MacBook. I must say, it is a brilliant piece of technology and I am very happy to have finally made the leap from a PC to a Mac. I shall never go back.

Now that that little announcement is out of the way, time to get to the reason ya'll clicked on this post. A little music for your Monday!

Friday night my mom, dad and I went to see Arlo Guthrie in concert. It was my second time seeing him perform and just like last time, I was reminded why I love folk music. The stories, the people, the music. It's all amazing and reminds me of being a kid hanging out while my parents had a sing-alongs with their friends.

Here are some of my favorites from Mr. Guthrie. Even though he didn't do the song, I had to include Alice's Restaurant. I  wouldn't press play until you have a good 25 minutes or so.

City of New Orleans

Alice's Restaurant

Motorcycle Song

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03 October 2013

Oh, It's Happening: October Baseball

I know it technically started with the Wild Card Playoff game on Tuesday, but for me, tonight is the night!

Playoff baseball is here.

Who's excited?!

I will fully admit to being one of those fans that doesn't really know a whole lot about the game. I know just enough to hold my own during a casual conversation at the bar and to annoy my friends. But when it comes to my team? I know all about them. Everyone else? Not so much. But that doesn't take away the fact that I love the game of baseball and will watch it any way I can get it.

It also didn't stop me from making my post-season predictions which are:

  • American League: Detroit beats Oakland in four/Boston beats Tampa Bay in five. Detroit then beats Boston in six games to win the American League Title. 
  • National League: Los Angeles beats Atlanta in four/Pittsburgh beats St. Louis in four. Los Angels then beats Pittsburgh in five games to win the National League Title. 
  • Detroit beats Los Angeles in six games to win the 2013 World Series.
These were made using a very scientific approach called "my gut". AND they were made prior to both Wild Card Playoff games which I think is kind of awesome. 

If anyone needs me for the next couple of weeks, I'll be glued to post-season baseball broadcasts and cheering on my Detroit Tigers!
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01 October 2013

Oh....Hey there, October

Holy geez.

October 1 got here really fast.

I thought I'd do a super quick recap of the last couple of weeks which have kept me M.I.A. from this place.

  • October baseball is here!! O.k.....so really it starts today, but the last couple of weeks have been equally as stressful as they were exciting. My preseason predictions didn't pan out quite like I wanted them to, but including the two teams in each wild card game, I had 5 out of the 10 potential teams correct. One might consider me a dang genius since I know next to nothing about the National League. Of course my Tigers won the AL Central but I'm not terribly confident in them winning the ALCS, but I do love to be proven wrong.
  • School started and I'm kind of hating it. This whole "You MUST participate in online discussions at LEAST 5 times a week" is really annoying. I mean. I get it. But I don't get it. I have nothing to say and NO I don't want to explain my long winded answer that I already posted. No explanation needed. Just go with "Because I'm awesome, that's why."
  • I've killed my other blog, you know the one where I was going to talk about health and wellness. Yeah. I'm not going to explain the why. It's not really worth it, but I may (or may not) just do what I wanted to do there here.
  • I went CRAZY cleaning up my social media stuff. Deleting contacts I don't contact anymore. Removing blogs and twitter feeds. It was insanity but I feel better for it which is really all that matters. 
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Thanks for reading!

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