Book Frenzy

I am way behind in my Goodreads reading quota for the year. So, to make up for it, I’ve been reading at least two books a day since yesterday to catch up. Any faster and I wouldn’t derive enjoyment from the books. Any slower and I’d get bored with the material, open something else and basically do for books what I do for knitting and crocheting.

 

Thus far, I’m doing pretty well. I’ve read Sonia Sotomayor’s My Beloved World…finally. I started her book in January. I must say, it was an interesting read. I learned a lot about a few things, mainly those elusive Soft Skills I wasn’t taught, just in reading her book. It was heartening to see that, at my age (thirty-six years), it isn’t unique to struggle in this area. Reading through her life story encouraged me to redouble my efforts at all the things I’m currently working on to better acclimate to the changing strata I’m finding myself in as I navigate these new business and volunteer opportunities before me.

 

Then, for a bit of light reading, I picked up Twilight from the Maryland Digital eLibrary Consortium. Don’t hate or judge. I mainly got it because I wanted something that was cotton candy reading after the meatier offering I’d just finished. So, I’m going to finish all five original books, which shouldn’t take long. If I recall my ancient reading correctly, I didn’t mind the Short Second Life of Bree Tanner so much but it has been a while.

 

Once I finish those, I’m going to read Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy by Robert M. Hazen. I also have a host of other books waiting in the wings to be read. Most of them, I’ve read before and I’m just going over them again because I’m playing reading catch up with myself and they’re an easier read. Once I get back to where I should be in my reading list, I have quite a few good ones lined up. L’engle, Atwood, etc., that I just have sitting here, collecting dust for want of a good reading.

 

Onto the WIPs Clearout Extravaganza. I am presently on round eight of the doily for my neighbor. Sustained injuries have not only kept me from this blog for an extended period but have also kept me from doing any meaningful crafting owing to the pain. Nevertheless, I’m going to keep trying. My left arm’s elbow and my right shoulder hurt something fierce right now but, long term, I can’t let that get in the way of all I want to do. I am loathe to make a deadline but I am shooting for finishing this Pineapple Doily by tonight. To be honest, it has been long enough lounging on my desk. The other intended doilies may have to take a back seat depending on factors influencing my getting them to their intended recipients.

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Once the doily is completed, I am going to make a genuine effort at stitching together the In Love With Color throw. At the very least, I can get the sewing aspect out of the way, even if I have trouble lifting the actual throw for long periods or stitching the edging.

 

Getting clear of these will enable me to focus on the volunteer work I’ve picked up with regard to knitting and crocheting. I’m also doing other things but this will be eating up the bulk of my volunteer time. I’m going to do my level best to aim for making as much as my yarn supply will allow. I’m hoping to deplete my worsted/Aran yarn supply completely actually without having to buy new yarn. Though, if I run out of a particular color, I may have to buy one more skein of it but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

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The plant babies are growing fantastically. Everything is so verdant, the mood in my room is definitely a cheery one. The Mega Cherry Tomato and Sweet Pickle Organic Pepper are competing for which can out fruit the other. As far as I can tell, it is a statistical dead heat. I’m looking forward to the first true harvests from both though, I have been sneaking peppers.

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I am, somewhat, in shock at what I’m about to type. After years of avoiding makeup of any kind at all cost, I purchased three tubes (Do they call them “tubes”?) of lipstick. I also purchased some nail polish, base coat, top coat, and remover. I loathe the stuff but it is a necessary function to get by on in business settings. So, I found the least offensive colors to me that were still acceptable to the masses. I hope this works. It seems such a tedious waste of my time.

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I guess the next step would be styling my hair. *cringe*

 

Regardless of my feelings on the matter, I have already mixed the hair stuff from available oils and such that I had around the house. It is only a matter that I use it. When I’m earning expensive tastes money, I’ll consider the Carol’s Daughter/Shea Moisture options. For now, it has to be homemade hair cream and Suave shampoo.

 

I’ve somewhat paid attention to the Natural Hair vloggers and bloggers in passing but, given my utilitarian manner, I normally didn’t go for the styles I saw and opted, instead, for a drawn back puff or two puffs. Quite frankly, it is far easier to deal with and enables me to put on my hat in Winter without worrying about possibly messing up my hairstyle. Crap, I guess the Cornrow obsession is going to start again. At least I have a book, It’s All Good Hair by Michelle N-K Collison, to sustain me, as well as countless YouTube videos.

 

I think that’s about it. See ya next month or whenever I can get to writing here! Yay!

Random Rambling 22 March 2017

I mentioned something about roadblocks in the last post, so, of course, something had to happen to hinder my momentum. My left arm is now hurting for no discernable reason. To the best of my knowledge, I haven’t injured it but it is stiff and aching at the elbow region, radiating outward. So, this puts a dampener on my knitting.

 

Not being daunted from my challenge, I have other WIPs that need clearing out that don’t require the heavy use of both hands/arms. Yay.

 

For the present, until my arm heals, I am working on the In Love With Color Throw I started and nearly completed late last year. At this point, I am weaving in the ends, which is an assignment sprung from the loins of Hell if ever there were one. After that, all that’ll be left to do is to put on the border and weave in those ends.

 

Right now, I have fourteen Octagon motifs sitting on my desk, waiting to be processed. I’ve been bingeing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer while doing this which has helped tremendously with the monotony of weaving in these ends. Got to love Buffy.

 

It has been a lot of fun taking this trip down memory lane in watching these episodes. I was in my tenth grade year of High School when Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered on television. As a side note: Oh, I am so glad to be an adult. Even with the responsibilities adulthood entails. I wouldn’t go back to my school days unless you paid me a lot of money to do so.

 

Freeeeeeeeeeeeedooooooooooooom! Yes. Anyway…

 

Not much else is happening here. My plants continue to grow. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, know that I harvested those early peppers even though they were greenish. Even greenish, they were most delicious. I cannot wait to taste them once they change colors.

 

The tomato, despite only having come up a little over a month ago, has flowers coming in. I’m looking forward to the tomatoes but not the pollen festival between the two plants giving off a considerable sneeze factory in my room. Ah well, one cannot win them all. I get good peppers and tomatoes, so I won’t complain.

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my WIPs and Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes. Take care. Have a fantastic day!

Odds and Ends

I am fifty-eight days into this particular garden’s growth. Not bad, eh? I’m expecting the peppers to arrive at any moment now. I vigorously shake the plant daily and check for signs of fruiting development. So far, no luck but I live in hope.

 

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Further along in my daily journey is my progress with my WIPs. Yesterday, I did something I thought I’d never do. I finally put the fringe on the Sidewalk Shawl I made back in October. Yeah. I even used Knit Picks Diadem yarn to do it. Double yeah. I was cringing the entire time I made it but, I must say, it looks lovely. I am afraid to wear it now. Regardless of my feelings on this project, I can now officially mark it off as completed with no trace of guilt about its status. 

 

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Now, onto some Knitting. I’ve dusted off the gift I was making for the Maternal Parental at the start of the year. Mommy Socks Junior are slowly making progress using the Two at a time method of knitting. I’m not going to put up any deadline for this because, it seems, that’s just asking for a roadblock to come blundering into my progress. So, instead, I will focus on the pleasantries of knitting and enjoy myself in the process rather than try racing against time.

 

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Aside from this, I’ve been baking and cooking. I’ve been baking bread and I’ve also been experimenting with one of Maangchi’s recipes (YouTube) for Dak-kalguksu.  I regret to inform you that the soup was so delicious that I was unable to get a good picture of it prior to it being decimated by our ravenous hunger. However, I did manage to get a picture of the bread. Not that it was any less flavorful, just that it came out of a near 400F oven and needed to cool off first before anyone could eat it.

 

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Though, if you’d like to see a picture of the unrolled noodle dough, have at it.

 

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Take care and enjoy your day. Red rose

This Is The Beginning…

This is the first of what I hope will be many Daily Blog “Topic” posts. Today’s (and every Monday’s) topic is Gardening related. I am, by no means an expert on Gardening, Horticulture, Botany, Plant science, etc. I’ve only studied it, years ago, in High School. This was followed by a brief encounter with the Horticulture program at a local community college before my illnesses started rending me asunder. Anything I have learned since then has been on my own, in my own time, and at my own risk.

 

Recently, as of 9 January 2017, I have installed a new seedpod kit in my Aerogarden. This is a unique seedpod kit in that I am growing my own seeds for a change using a Grow Your Own Seed Pod Kit. They are three pods filled with four Sweet Pickle Organic Peppers seeds each. I got the seeds from Park Seeds on 10 March 2016 and they’re still viable. I am on a learning curve all over again with the Aerogarden and with these new plant’s idiosyncrasies. Regardless, I am happy to be growing these peppers. I’m really looking forward to the coming harvest.

 

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When last I grew peppers, they were Jalapeños and I only grew one plant in the previous Aerogarden via the Salsa Garden kit. I grew it passably well but mistakes were made. At the time, I didn’t know about the docking one is supposed to do when the plants, or in this case plant, gets to a certain height. My pruning skills also weren’t up to my present standards. On top of that, an insect flew in an laid eggs on my precious baby. After that, I had to get rid of it. The infestation was too far along by the time I saw it for what it was.

 

Currently, I’m checking out a few resources to aid me in growing these peppers well. One resource is the Cornell Vegetable Growing Guide specifying Peppers. Another is a gardening forum and website with a plethora of resources called Gardenstew. Between these two sites, all the information a search engine can provide and my driven abilities, I am hopeful in attaining the goal of successfully maintaining these peppers for at least a year, if not longer.

 

I came across three interesting videos on the subject of growing peppers. One is a video on Potted Peppers (Video Link) by BadAssFarmer. Another is a video on pruning peppers called EZ Pepper Pruning For Great Results and Huge Yields (Video Link) by Alberta Urban Garden Simple Organic and Sustainable. The third is a video on pruning the roots of an Aerogarden grown plant called Ep9: How to Trim the Roots of a Hot Pepper | Hot Peppers in an Aerogarden | Update (Video Link) by Pepper Perry.

 

I think that’s about all I have in me for a themed post. This is hard work but very fulfilling getting the information together. See you all tomorrow where, hopefully, I can do better with this writing format.

2017 Weekly Schedule

Provided I’m not doing other things, of course.

 

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I even remembered to put eating in without being reminded to. *grin*

 

Yesterday was mostly uneventful. My Sweet Pickle Organic Peppers are finally starting to come up from the grow pods. I am super excited over that. Once they’re fully grown and fruiting, I’ll take the peppers and put them in soups, salads, and Kimchi for the most part. When I’m not snacking on them, of course.

 

I also baked three Chicken Pot Pies. If the slice I had is anything to go by, they are most delicious. Two are for the Maternal Parental and I and one would be for my uncle.

 

The only thing I forgot to do yesterday was water my plants. I shall rectify that today.

 

I am considering testing a themed blogging format for this blog. Over a set period of time, say a day, a theme would be in effect and I would blog about it. Of course, my normal random posts would probably still be here too. I just think it is the time I start taking this blog more seriously than as an agony aunt. Random sporadic posting has its place on the journey to becoming an effective writer. However, I do need to work on the other aspects.

 

That’s enough for now. I have to study. Later.

New Year, New-ish Things

A modified list of projects. I’ve removed the projects marked completed and deleted. Now, my mission is to finish these off. At the end of last year, I busted out a quick Valentine Teddy Bear with Heart Shaped feet, called Bertie the Bear, for my neighbor, on the occasion of her birthday. I’m not going to include it in this listing as it was finished prior to the New Year.

 

Mommy Sox Junior (Loading…)
Plastic Fantastic socks for myself
AHA Little Hats, Big Hearts Project
Blodeuwedd The Hat for me
Little Boy Blue Blanket (Loading…)
Cosmos Doily Madness: Doily Three (Loading…95%)
Child-bearer’s Cardigan (Loading…messed up but still loading at 90%)
Boba Fett Amigurumi Doll
Yoda Amigurumi Doll
Rose Doily #804
In Love With Color Throw (Loading…90%)
Bigger on the Inside Shawl
Gloves for myself
A scarf for myself
Villimarjatar Shawl (Loading…)
Large Pineapple Doily
Monster Slippers for Valerie
Socks for The Maternal Parental x4
Socks for Myself x4
A Shawl of my own design
Wings for Nightbird Shawl
Dragon egg
Hobbes doll for April
Inishturk Sweater x2
Long Weekend Cardigan
Simple Shells Cowl
Fan Lace Tunic
Revontuli -huivi/Northern Lights Shawl
Scrap Yarn Shiver Stopper 2017

After six months of growing and four months of harvesting, I am taking down the Mega Cherry Tomatoes. Aside from the fact that I’m allergic to tomato plants and have been sneezing up a storm since they’ve grown, I’m just ready for a change. So, I have ordered the needed parts, that being the filters and plant spacers. Everything else, the Grow Your Own kit, the Liquid Nutrient, the seeds, etc. are all here already. All I need do is clean the Aerogarden out on the ninth, when I get the remaining supplies, and set the new garden up.

 

This next garden, I’m planning on leaving in for quite a while. Actually, I may leave it in for upwards of a few years, if the plants last that long. Things in the Pepper family are supposed to last a while and Sweet Pickle Organic Pepper looks like a good plant to have growing for a long period of time.

 

In addition to all the things I’ve been focused on doing, I’m also adding the title of “tutor” to the mix. The Maternal Parental, apparently, wants to learn about computers (again), so I’m going to teach her everything I know about Computer Know-How, Getting on the Internet, etc. She was supposed to take classes at the Library but, owing to a previous day’s extended exposure to the extremely cold temperatures, she was unable to find the strength to get to the class the following morning.

 

Hopefully, I can come up with a lesson plan that is good for her. One that will enable her to learn and take charge of her own learning.

 

As if my plate weren’t full enough, I’m also going to begin attending meetings at a local organization that matches my philosophical beliefs, or at least seems to. We’ll see how much we actually gel once I get there. If we all do get along, it’ll be nice having good, secular voices to talk with for a change. Being agoraphobic and cooped up with someone who is, shall we say, religiously obsessed, is a bit on the tedious side.

 

My problem isn’t with the religious aspect. I’m fine discussing religion as I am fine discussing non-religious subjects. However, when one begins using it as a sledgehammer to try to convert people one feels aren’t living up to the ideals according to ones own beliefs, then we have a problem. I’ve stated myself as plainly as I could regarding not joining a religion, not having a specific belief structure, etc. but it is still attempted, in spite of my kindness or perhaps because of it. I don’t want to be rude or derisive but it is irksome to keep getting that.

 

In trying to understand, I’m guessing that, perhaps, people have an idealized vision of what I should be like, based on stereotypes and assumptions, and balk when I don’t fit the mold of what they think someone like myself should act like. Well, limiting expectations have never been my cup of tea.

 

Another “as if my plate weren’t full enough” thing is actually mentioned in the listing of knit and crochet projects in a sort of roundabout way. I’m getting back into volunteering. In this era of fear and greed, I need to do something brave and selfless with my time to counterbalance the aforementioned. I’m looking for “out of the house” positions but I am not opposed to doing an “work from home” position if it does good works and keeps me busy.

 

Right now, I’m making baby hats for the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts drive. Basically, you make a lot of little red hats for babies, send them in before the deadline, Lather, Rinse, Repeat. I am fully prepared for the making of hats in 2017. I have a skein of Lion Brand’s Pound of Love yarn in Cherry Red and a few patterns with plans to get more of both. I actually love making little hats. Squeeeeeeee!

 

Other volunteer positions I’m looking at but still on the fence about are NAMI, the Library, and a few local yarn shops (if they’ll take me!), etc.

 

Speaking of the Library, I’m upping the ante on my Korean Language learning saga. Up until now, I’ve been learning words and a few phrases. I just put a bunch of language Audiobooks on hold at the Library so I could not only study the language more but also so I could learn sentence structure. My next step, after this, is going to H-Mart to get a newspaper to study.

 

Well, I think that’s enough writing for one day. I have a lot to do and not much time in the day to do it.

 

Have a fantastic New Year. Later!

Random Sunday Updates

Hello Everyone. It has been some time since I last posted here. I have been, admittedly, a bit busy, of late. Instead of focusing on Facebook and goofing off online, I’ve been focusing on myself and developing my potential for future application in the meatspace. I’ll just run through a few of the highlights here, shall I?

 

OK Cupid

 

I have finally gone through on the longstanding promise of deleting my OK Cupid account. The site just stopped being fun. When it first started, there were all kinds of bells and whistles to make you want to stay on the site for hours. Now, it’s more and more like the other sites. On top of that, the avalanche of crude messages I received should have been enough to make me leave a lot sooner than a few weeks ago. Had it not been for the deluge of bad messages, I might have connected with a truly wonderful person I exchanged e-mails with in 2010 a lot sooner than recently. It’s a long story, possibly for another time and another post. Suffice it to say, I haven’t been this blissfully happy in quite some time.

 

The Departure of the Protégé

 

My Knitting and Crocheting Protégé is moving out of state in a few weeks. Not like I got a chance to do more than get him fitted out in hooks and a few needle sets. I had plans for so much more but now, if we both have the time, it’ll have to be long distance and via Skype or something.

 

This leaves a vacancy for a Protégé in my life. I’m going to attempt to recruit the Maternal Parental for the role. She’s been showing an interest in the hook set I bought her years ago. Perhaps we could spend quality time together crocheting and knitting? Who knows? It would be a nice thing to have happen.

 

The Fitness

 

Up through to the present day, I’ve been focused on improving my health through diet and exercise. I’ve finally managed to make headway on this front. I’ve lost thirty-two pounds and several inches thus far. I’m now in smaller clothing, which is nice. I even managed to fit a dress I bought in 2011 that I was barely able to fit then. It’s loose on me now. My routine is pretty brutal during the week and much more forgiving during the weekends (to give my body a chance to rest). I’m hoping that I can maintain this level of activity for a while before ramping things up again for the next phase of fitness. A highlight was when I got in over 100,000 steps this past week.

 

The Container Gardens

 

The plants keep growing. After all, they’re living entities. Specifically the Mega Cherry Tomato in the Aerogarden. Since I last posted, some of the tomatoes have ripened and some have been harvested. They’re very tasty too.

 

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In addition to the tomatoes growing amazingly well, I have an inflorescence in my house. One of my Snake plants has decided to put up a flower spike.

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The Comestibles

 

Aside from the above pictured tomatoes, I had something of a treat a few weeks ago. A dear relative gifted half a bushel of the most delectable Maryland Peaches to the Maternal Parental and I. Below is an example Peach.

 

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So, of course, I had to make Peach Pie. It was practically a requirement that I do this in the name of Science, Asgard, and Loki. It may not have won the Great British Baking Show with its looks but it sure was tasty. *grin*

 

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The Culling

 

In recent weeks, I’ve finally done the Mega Culling I’ve threatened to do for a while now. My books, my precious books. Some of them are up for grabs now. Some have already been re-homed. I hope they give many years of enjoyment to their new Humans.

 

A before and after of my bookcase:

 

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More books may be culled. The decision hasn’t been finalized yet.

 

 

The Old School Gaming

 

Ten years ago, I bought a six in one gaming set from Amazon, it includes a set of dominoes, a deck of cards, a Chess/Checkers board with pieces for both games, a Cribbage set, and a Backgammon set.

 

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I had bought this with the intention of spending quality time with people but, sadly, no one wanted to play. It’s all video games now. So, I’m going to teach myself to play these games, find video games for them, and play by myself. Then, when that glistening, shining moment arises where someone asks the $64,000.00 question of “Do you know how to play…” I’ll be able to say, “Yep”.

 

The Crafting

 

Finally, I can update the world, nay, Multiverse on the progress of these damned socks. The Rainstorm II Socks are Finished. Complete. Finito. My proof.

 

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It only took me from 19 February 2015 until 25 September 2016 to get them completed. As I stated previously on Instagram, this is not acceptable. The next pair of socks I start get finished within a month or I don’t get to keep them. Instead, they’ll go to the nearest Mens 9.5/Womens 11/43cm shoe size wearing person I can find. My knitting is fast enough to have finished these socks within a week of starting them, if not sooner. That’s with ample breaks to rest my finger from the brass needlepoint of my circular needles (Magic Loop knitting). Just because I was able to put it down repeatedly didn’t mean that I should have.

 

Anyway, onto the socks themselves. They’re very toasty warm and deliciously soft on my feet. The yarn was a dream to knit with and I’m really looking forward to making more socks in the other colorways of this yarn, which is Stroll Hand Painted from Knit Picks. The pattern is called Misti Sock Family and the pattern designer’s name is Kate Atherley.

 

Once I completed the socks, I decided to work on a crochet project for someone very dear to me. It’s something I’m presently working on actually. Once completed, it’ll be the second Amigurumi Adipose Baby I’ll have made but the first I’ve made in wool. Let me just say that, but for my cheap nature, if I could afford to work in wool all the time, I would. This project has been nothing short of luxurious on my hands. The wool was actually his request, so I thank him for requesting it. This pattern is called the Amigurumi Adipose and the pattern designer is Jennifer Christensen.

 

This is as far as I’ve gotten:

 

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All I have left to do is crocheting, stuffing, and attaching the feet before weaving in the ends. I hope to get this done in an hour or two.

 

NaNoWriMo 2016

 

I will be participating in National Novel Writing Month 2016. I have no idea what I’m going to write as of today. I suppose this makes me a “Pantser” until I come up with an idea? I still haven’t finished the novel from last year. Some day…

 

This year, I’m going to be a lot more basic with my characters, background, and storyline. I want to finish something tangible by the deadline. What I have from last year is okay, it’s just a lot of writing with more writing to come. I need something that’s going to be less War and Peace and more quick and easy read. It is October now. I really need to get myself in gear.

 

Okay, I think that’s it. My stomach is rumbling and I have a workout to get in, so have a fantastic day.