25 July 2014

Fragment Friday

Early morning bouncy-ball session. (We're not fond of the recent heatwave.)
1.  I'm reading as fast as I can - What do you do when your To Be Read list is longer than available hours in the day? How can I read both in my genre and in a different genre without feeling guilty? How about all the literary reviews I need to scope out? Why does the summer make me feel guilty about reading?

2. On the writing side of the house, I had an idea for a novel come to me the other day. Then, my damn muse, being ornery, floated another idea right after the first. Two ideas for novels in a genre I don't even write. But the muse suggests I should. The muse, being fey, would not take kindly to my ignoring ideas. So outlining I shall go. 

3.  My garden is putting out all kinds of edibles. This week it's peas. I try not to let my impatience for tomatoes carry over to the plants. They can sense these things you know. 

4.  I almost slipped up and bought another spinning wheel last week. Because I suffer from SEAD. (Spinning Equipment Acquisition Disorder) Luckily it didn't pan out. I tried to make myself promise not to buy another spinning wheel unless I can sit down and test drive it. Still looking for the One Wheel To Rule Them All. 

5.  What's on the loom? Glad you asked. A shawl made from Noro Kirara yarn. I'm liking the yarn so far, a wool/silk/cotton blend. My warp yarn, not so much. It's broke twice. But hey, they say that's how you learn to repair your warp, trial by fire.  To make myself feel better, I bought some more yarn for a new Windowpane scarf. I now officially have more projects planned than time to do them. What else is new.  
 
 

19 July 2014

Fragment Friday - Saturday Edition

Waiting for the Water Monster to appear.
Time again to let you know what I'm doing out here in the Wild West. 

1. What I'm reading. 
Fiction: I'm up to Book Seven of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. This is an urban fantasy/mystery series centered around the cases of Chicago wizard Harry Dresden. I'm not usually a fan of books written in first person or private eye type novels, so my enjoyment of this series is a testament to the writing. Seven down, eight to go. 
Fiction:  For The Win by Cory Doctorow
This is a rather large and complex YA novel that deals with multiplayer online games, financial schemes, white collar crime, economics and worker's rights. It strays toward heavy handedness in some places, but the characters are engaging. I'm not sure what I think of it yet, since I'm not finished, but I'm still reading so that says something.
Non-Fiction: Legionary: The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual by Philip Matyszak 
This book is a tongue-in-cheek manual for citizens looking to join the Roman legions, how to qualify, different careers to aspire to, the equipment you get to carry-and polish- training, ditch digging and for a break in the monotony, warfare. Scott, knowing my love for Roman history, gave me this book for my birthday and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. 
Poetry: the Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay 
Every now and then I like to touch base with the classics.

Any reading suggestions?

2.  What I'm listening to. 
David Gray - Mutineers
I like this album a lot. Draw The Line is still my favorite album of David Gray's, but this is running a close second. 
Videos - Back In The World & Gulls






3.  What I'm watching on TV/movies. 
Nothing much. Summer tv is usually dismal. I can't even get into baseball because the Rockies are playing so badly. I guess I hold out hope that football starts soon. Any TV shows I should give a watch to on summer reruns or Amazon Prime? Same goes with movies, haven't been in months. Debating going to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, or the fourth Transformers just to see a popcorn flick with no thinking involved. Anybody seen them? Yeah or nay? Any movies out there I shouldn't miss? I do have The Lego Movie to borrow from my grandkids. 

4. What I'm knitting/spinning/weaving.
Knitting - finishing up a pair of ankle socks in wool/bamboo/cotton blend. should be good for the summer. Plotting to knit my first sweater-like object, a vest with decorative stitching in a wool silk blend. It seems like such a big commitment after nice, compact little projects like socks...
Spinning - I continue to wash and card my 8 pounds of Targhee fleece to get it ready for spinning. I'm still spinning the Coopworth and California Red fleeces I got before that. Not sure I like the California Red. It's very sproingy. 
Weaving - I finished a scarf for Scott with some self-striping Cherry Tree Hill yarn I got in my Yarnbox subscription. about 12 inches wide by 88 inches long. 
I started a shawl with some pretty Noro Kirara yarn, and had problems with my warp yarn breaking. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and luckily YouTube has plenty of videos on how to fix it when one or two threads out of 300 snaps in your warp. I won't be using Knit Picks Stroll for warp yarn again, that's for sure.
Woven scarf for Scott.
5. What I'm writing 
Poems, of course. Doing a lot of editing to try and get poems finalized. Whoever said poems are never finished, only abandoned is right. Only so many times you can put a comma in and out of your poem before it makes you crazy. 
The Finished Fantasy Novel. Finished the query letter and synopsis for it. Ready to start sending it out to agents. We'll see how that goes. 
The Next Fantasy Novel. I'd like to be further along with this one, but the poems and Novel One suck up a lot of my writing time. My protagonist waits patiently in the wings, plotting various twists and turns I haven't thought of yet. 

11 July 2014

Fragment Friday - Going To The Dogs

Bruno munches on a cow ear he stole from the Corgis.
1.  Bruno is visiting for a while. He's grown in the past few weeks. Now he can put his paws on the kitchen counter or stove and he's only 12 weeks old. With feet the size of dinner platters, he's going to be a monster. Luckily he's a big, lovable goofball of a dog. He is also being trained young - he defers to the Corgis in all things.  
 
Max, Bruno and Merlin play tag. Merlin is still not sure he likes the interloper.
 
2.  How does my garden grow? Very well, thank you. We had spinach, lettuce, parsley, dill and basil already. The tomatoes are giving it the old college try. Marble sized so far. Peas and beans are starting to climb the netting. Every time the granddaughters come over they have to go see the garden and ask, "Are the carrots born yet?".
 
My square foot garden in all its bloomy glory.
 
3.  The Finished Fantasy Novel has gone through a final edit - well, as final as anything gets with writers. I'll quit poking at it now. Trying to outline the Second Fantasy Novel. I've written about half of it... then realized the story needs to go a different way. That's okay, I learned a lot about my characters while writing. And reluctantly have come to see the value of outlining over pantsing. 

Corgi PushMe-PullYou. Otherwise known as the Pantser-Outliner dilemma.

4.  How's your summer going? Do anything interesting? Go anywhere I need to know about? Did it involve water? Flying? Do you do any spontaneous trips? (The low to no planning kind?) 

Bruno, spontaneously chewing.

5.  More weaving pictures to come soon. I just finished another scarf for Scott with some self-striping sock yarn I got in my Yarnbox subscription. Next up may be something wider, a shawl or bag. Of course I needed to buy yarn for that project, because none of the 149 skeins I had were just right.... Also processing 8 pounds of Targhee sheep fleece into yarn. 8 pounds is a LOT of fleece. Why did nobody tell me how large 8 pounds of fleece was? Not that I would have listened, because - Targhee!
 
 

04 July 2014

Fragment Friday - Five for the 4th

It's the 4th! Run as fast as you can to do everything, parade, picnic, party, fireworks...

What's the 4th without a little fisticuffs with your dad?

Parades are awesome!

Horseshoes get cutthroat when the grandkids play.

The promise of fireworks is almost as good as the fireworks.

27 June 2014

Fragment Friday - Washington D.C. Part II

On our recent visit to Washington D.C. we visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, my all-time favorite museum. Airplanes! Space! Physics! Astronaut ice cream! What's not to like? They even have a collection of artifacts from one of my heroes, Amelia Earhart. Quote - "Adventure is worthwhile in itself."
(Gunboat Philadelphia cannon from 1766 recoverd from Lake Champlain.) We also visited the Smithsonian American History Museum, you know, the one that has Dorothy's Ruby slippers? We concentrated a little more on the Americans at War exhibit where we saw the chairs Civil War generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant used during the surrender ceremony at Appomattox Court House, a Willys Jeep, used during World War II, and a restored UH-1H Huey Helicopter, deployed in Vietnam in 1966
We toured the International Spy Museum (who knew there was such a thing?) where we saw cool spy gadgets through the ages, including this stuffed replica of a WWII spy pigeon. My favorite part was having to memorize a 'cover' as a spy in training, and passing through checkpoints where they quizzed you on your cover. Luckily, I didn't get mine wrong and was let out of the country. The museum even had a wing for James Bond gadgets and memorabilia, including some Bond cars.
On our whirlwind night tour, we did the monuments. This is the World War II monument. It was fairly wide spaced and a tad on the impersonal side, but the fountain in the middle was nice. There was an Atlantic side and a Pacific side, with iron wreathes and the name of the states and countries that participated in Atlantic or Pacific campaigns. The names of battles are carved around the edges of water features, like in the lower right of this picture.  
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. You walked through the cut mountain to get to the sculpted figure. "The detachment of the Stone of Hope from the Mountain of Despair reflects victory borne from disappointment."  All around the area is a wall with MLK quotes on stone panels. It faces the Jefferson Memorial.

Jefferson Memorial at dusk

The Korea War Memorial. It's got 19 sculpted soldiers on patrol – it was kind of eerie at night. The memorial was not well lit. I used my flash, otherwise it was just you and 19 shapeless blobs wandering in the dark.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, statue portion The Three Soldiers. This was placed to the side of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for those who demanded a more traditional bronze sculpture instead of just the Wall. The bronze is by sculptor Frederick Hart. 
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, designed by Maya Lin. This is the first time I had seen it at night, and it was just as impressive. Since you descend down to view it, the noise of Washington fades away and you are left with a calm silence. People talk quietly, not wanting to disturb anything. People were making rubbings of the names, running their fingers over the wall, leaving personal mementos. You can see your reflection in the stone walls, so even at night, the Wall is looking back at you.
Our final stop of the night. The Lincoln Memorial. Even after dark the place was humming with activity - busloads of people were sitting on the steps, climbing to the top, reading the words of the Gettysburg Address on the walls, standing in front of the reflecting pool, loud, boisterous, and celebratory. It was very cool to see all kinds of people treating Lincoln as an old friend. The Rock Star of the Washington monuments.