Category Archives: Life

BloggerAid: Changing the Face of Famine

Yesterday I shared a review, as well as a recipe, from a wonderful cookbook. I hope that whetted your appetite, because I wanted to share a bit about the wonderful organization that provided the opportunity for that review: BloggerAid.

BloggerAid: Changing the Face of Famine, a group of food bloggers determined to help relieve world hunger, is currently involved in a project called the BloggerAid Cookbook. With recipes from devoted and experienced foodies and cooks, the book, which will soon be ready for purchase, promises not only great recipes, but also a way to further the goal of feeding our planet’s hungry. 100% of the proceeds from the cookbook will benefit the United Nation WFP’s School Meals Programme.

To find out more about the UN’s School Meals Programme visit:

WFP’s School Meals

BloggerAid is also running an initiative to help raise $500 from The Cookbook People. For each BACFF member who blogs about their site, they are donating $20. The Cookbook People (CookbookPeople.com) is a company which has created a software solely for the purpose of helping families collect their favorite recipes all in one place. You really should check them out! My mom recently did something similar for myself, my sister and my brother. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to have all of the recipes from my grandmother(s), relatives, friends, and her all in one place

To join BloggerAid or just learn more about them, go to their website:

BloggerAid

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Ravelry to the Rescue

North, ProjectSpectrum

The snow has all but vanished, although the rain chain is still very icy. Yesterday with everything melting, the water was running through the holes in the rain chain, straight through the center of all the ice. It was really amazing!

What I really need to do is learn to crochet, so the ‘Easy Crochet Bag’ from the new version of I Taught Myself Crochet has begun. But. . . here comes the confession: I don’t really like most crocheted pieces. Oh, the horror! I know crochet’s becoming ‘hot’ right now, but the 60’s and 70’s-type projects, granny squares and such, just don’t appeal to me at all. So, it’s most likely Ravelry to the rescue. Any suggestions would be helpful at this point, honestly.

And to the North of Here Lies

This morning the temperature was 21ºF, and the poor barometer just said ‘LO’. It’s cold enough that the snow is still on the ground here in SE Virginia! The view from the front porch, inspired both by Lolly’s photograph yesterday and the icicles still hanging about, is amazing: lovely blue sky and those shining branches. It’s one of those days when it’s easy to feel grateful to be alive.

mar3_northfrporch_09

To the north of me live most of my relatives. Growing up in SE Pennsylvania, the luxury of having grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even cousins from both sides of the family nearby, was mine. I spent most weekends at my maternal grandparents home, and being the eldest grandchild, was often able to have them all to myself. They’d treat me to shrimp (my then —and still often a— favorite meal), and I’d watch black and white reruns of things like The Lone Ranger, I Dream of Jeanie and old movies. Most of the time, I tried to be sure to have my homework finished before I visited, allowing me to spend time freely and without guilt in any way I chose. Visits to Grammy and PopPop’s were so frequent, I knew where the key, an old skeleton type, was hidden to let myself in. How I miss my grandmother on days like today!

Snow and Ice

When my husband and I decided to move to Virginia with our then three year-old daughter, I was in denial about the fact that, while geographically Virginia may be a Mid-Atlantic state, it was in so many ways The South. As a girl who grew up in SE Pennsylvania, I couldn’t fathom that this small city in our new home state rarely received any snow. Now that we’ve lived here for over twelve years, we laugh when the meteorologist predicts snow.

Never Laugh at the Weather Man!

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It’s so very gorgeous, and it gave my ever-hopeful-for-snow-this-winter girl some fun.

mar2_house

Actually, the most amazing thing was our rain chain. That’s the photo for today’s PS Photo Challenge for Project Spectrum ’09. Truthfully, I thought of a million things to say, but now that I’m writing, find that none of them convey quite what I feel today. So I’ll just say: today it snowed and was beautiful; my daughter wore her boots and played in the snow; she smiled and danced all day; she practiced driving; I made bar cookies. We had a good day.

mar2_icyrainchain_09

Yes, I do have an opinion. Thank you for asking!

Nope, still no package. I could cry; I really could. It’s enough to even make the cats head for the hills.

hemi_beam_mar08

That’s our Hemi boy sitting on the beam about 11 feet up. He heads up there once in a while to wander about and perch. And yes, he does purr like a motor, loudly and constantly, even as a big kittie.

Julie from Bookworm blogged today about The lost pleasure of books. I’ll leave a comment I suppose, though answering her questions isn’t nearly as interesting a prospect to me as the conversation regarding adults and reading. Of course no one asked my opinion, but of course I do have one.

Having had some conversation with friends —who hasn’t?— regarding books, participated in critique groups and just generally rubbed shoulders with other writers, I’ve my own theories or at least wonderings on the subject. And of course, because it’s all about me, you know, you’d love to hear them!

Sometimes I wonder if the reason that adults read so little and often fail to derive the enjoyment they once had for reading is because of two general issues, the first being the drudgery reading becomes in school. Of course, not every human has such a natural inclination to reading as others may, however even the smallest child usually enjoys a good story if it falls in line with her own interests. Yet, the increase in ‘required’ reading and change in attitude from reading as enjoyment to reading as compulsory goes a long way toward creating a problem in my experience.

This brings me to the second issue that I speculate could be a difficulty for adults today, even those who say they are ‘readers’. Many of my friends are quite choosy about the books they read, not in itself a bad thing. Most of us are busy people and for some, time for reading really is a luxury. So many of the adults that I know choose books based on a number of things: the NY Times bestseller list, Oprah’s picks, what their friends are reading (what’s in), or similar methods.

As someone who still derives a great amount of wonder and joy from books and doesn’t feel as if my experience has changed significantly from when I was a childhood reader, I would hasten to say that might just be a terrible way to choose a book. This is, of course, my own opinion. But I would argue that the likelihood of something being good because a critic, tv personality or other notable says it is so, is well. . . unlikely. Good writing doesn’t necessarily make a good book; good plots don’t necessarily make a good book; good writers don’t necessarily make a good book. And not having one of those things doesn’t necessarily make for a bad book either.

I think that often as adults we become so caught up in the realm of critiquing things and wanting to read ‘good literature’ that we choose uninteresting or marginally interesting books and try to find something we love about them. Rather I’d say we should read off the beaten path. Avoid bestsellers like they are the plague or at least until no one’s talking about most of them anymore (Really! After all, how many movies have you seen that had fantastic reviews and actually were that good? And how many have you seen that did poorly in reviews, but when you saw them, they were quite enjoyable or even fantastic?). Head for the section of the library that seems the most interesting to you personally. Choose a book not by what is on its cover or what the newspaper/tv/magazine said, but by reading the flyleaf, asking a librarian or seeing what other authors have to say in their reviews on the cover. And maybe, head to a section you thought you disliked and try something from there. You might just find a new love. Sometimes I think people believe they’re reading entirely for their own pleasure, but they really aren’t. They just don’t realize it.

“Knitting?”, you ask. I’ve finished the first sleeve of the Brompton and it’s lovely! I’m so happy with it, and have just picked up the stitches for the second.

The Good, the Bad and the Sad

There are a number of strays around here, and this one got brave one day. It decided that our bird feeders were a buffet!

orangecat_deck_mar08

Well, those lovely Vinnland socks were put on hold for a bit while I knitted a test pattern for a Raveler. Before I started the pattern however, I did finish the first Vinnland. I had the worst time with the bind off, and even once I’d figured it out it came out way too tight. It was tight enough that even had I loosened it further it still would have been too tight. So I just unbound it and bound off again using a stretchy bind-off I found somewhere on the net, then adapted.

K2, PKSO
YO, PKSO
P1, PyoSO
YO, PPSO
K1, PyoSO
etc.

Not hard, but it made a world of difference in the cuff. Plus it looks better, too!

The Good: Now that I’m back to knitting, I’m also back at work on the Brompton. This feels like it’s taking forever, but with hurting my wrist and stopping to work on another project, I suppose that’s normal. I’m almost done though!

brownbrampton09

The first sleeve is practically finished, just a few more rows of basket weave. Then the second, and it’ll just need a wash, block and buttons. I think I’ve figured out the button issue, but for now, I’ll let that be a surprise.

brownbrampton10

The Bad: Now that warmer weather is sneaking up on us here and the trees are starting to bud, I’m having sinus issues again. I was hoping that the trip to the allergist last fall would miraculously make everything fine, but I suppose it hasn’t. I think I’m going to have to make a phone call.

The Sad: I had a package on it’s way to me from a wonderful Raveler (whom I’ve done business with before), and it hasn’t arrived. Stupid DC says it has though, so now I’m in a pickle. What it contained? a double skein of mountain goat, plus a partial, a partial skein of bearfoot, several skeins of twizzle plus some red wool I was going to use for my flag for the 198 Countries Peace Project. Yes, I’m really wanting to cry right now. I’m just hoping a neighbor has it or something and it shows up here in a day or so.

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

This cat right here

hemi_closeup_feb

is trouble. Really, he is. I swear that’s his middle name. He just will not leave the daughter alone this morning! Catnip has only made it worse, and now he is bouncing off the walls and chasing the other two boys. Those of you with cats can, I’m sure, recognize the look in his eyes and the tension in his tail.

hemi_tablecloseup_feb

Isn’t he cute?

Because we’ve home educated our daughter for a long time, we’ve got simply a ton of books that really could use a new home. So I’ve placed them on Ravelry in the Marketplace group in the hopes that someone else can give them a loving home. (Ravelers click here). Should anyone who is not a Raveler —and why aren’t you? sho wouldn’t wish to be a Raveler?— wish to take a look at the offerings, let me know and I’ll list them in the comments, via email or perhaps in a post. There are books for just about any age and parent stuff, too.

I’ve made some real progress on the Vinnland Socks. They’re incredibly simple, not being actual cables, but rather faux. And I love them. I was a bit apprehensive about starting socks with actual sock yarn. I’ve only used worsted and DK weight before, and I keep hearing about the dreaded SSS. That shouldn’t be a problem with these, I hope. I’m almost to the heel turn on this first one!