Saturday, December 29, 2007

Holidays are done

And I'm really happy about that. I was a total Grinch this year until a good friend gave me an unexpected gift, then I was happy and comforted by it until after Christmas was over. Christmas itself was busy and packed with people. I got some nice stuff. So did Peanut. Hubby got jipped by his parents, but got a nice one from my parents.

But now it's all done and I'm relieved. My appetite dipped low and the day after the family get togethers were done, I didn't eat anything at all. I just didn't feel hungry. I also spent too much time on the computer. It seems that the holidays threw me into a little depressive trench, which was bad. Hopefully the need for clean clothes and errands to get my meds and wedding ring back from the jeweler will drag me bodily out of the funk, not to mention the fun Movies and Mahem Day at Rachel's tomorrow. Knitting, movies, Peanut, and friends--what could be better?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Done!!! Sorta...

I made scarves for my mom, dad, and sister in law, a shawl for my sister, decorative pillow covers for my brothers, and a flax seed hot pad for my brother in law. I crocheted more snowflakes and starched them. The spray starch works great, by the way.

I have seven shirt boxes, all filled and wrapped except for my younger brother's box. My mom is going to do some last minute sewing for me on that one when she gets the package. I'm sending them this afternoon. My side of the family is DONE! *happy dance*

Except I have to do a couple more things: Peanut's name was in the family gift drawing and I have do find/make a gift for a little boy about her age. I'm thinking a simple scarf, maybe out of Homespun. Or I can just dig in the stash and see what I find. I still need to do more snowflakes. They are my all-purpose gift. Everyone is getting one, basically. And I need to do gloves for Trin, fingerless with a mitten attatchment. There's a pattern on Knitpicks, but I have one in my Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns that I can fiddle with and make it work just fine.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Holiday gift projects

I have been knitting and crocheting up a storm! Next year I'll try to start my gift knitting early, but right now I am showing off my mad procrastination skillz. Despite that, I have several gifts done or nearly done, including:

1. A few crocheted snoflakes
2. Dad's knitted gray scarf
3. Brian and Cameron's decorative pillow covers (gotta sew them together still, but the crocheting is done)
4. Naomi's jewel toned gift (she sees this blog, so I don't want to give a lot away)

I started Mom's cabled scarf that I designed myself. It's reversible and I'll post the pattern as soon as I write it up. I'm not a design diva and I'm not anticipating anyone actually making this besides me, but having the pattern written out and published somewhere is a good thing. I spend valuable minutes designing that scarf and I want the copyright!

All I have to do after Mom's scarf is make something for my sister. The one who freaked when I told her I was dying my hair blue. The one who has (to me, at least) become an insufferable square. Hmmm, square.....I can crochet her a small lap blanket with granny squares and tell her why I did it. Hee hee hee.

I also have to do more snowflakes and starch them to hell and gone. And I got some 2 inch metal rings that I can single crochet tightly around to make little wreaths. The ornaments won't take long at all, though. If I can get the family projects done quickly, the ornaments will be done shortly thereafter.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. This will be my first holiday making a lot of knitted/crocheted gifts and I am determined that they will be done to my satisfaction. I can do it, I know I can!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


That is the name of a German rock band that has been making music for going on 15 years. I'm a big fan of rock, especially hard-hitting guitars and drums. The leadsinger is uber attractive, I think. This is Dero:
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He's a little insane, but he's got great vocals. He's also the drummer.

And this is the whole band:
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Flux, who does the guitar, sampling, mixing, and producing, is on the left. Then Dero the insane frontman and drummer. Last is Crap (yes, his actual stagename), who plays the bass guitar and keyboards.

The first song I heard of theirs was Augen Auf, which means "eyes open." I adore this song and the video is kinda disturbing, which I think adds to its charm.

My favorite song of theirs (from what I've heard so far) is Brennende Liebe, which means "burning love." It's a love song (kinda) and the video is dark and theatrical. The female voice is a guest vocalist and their fans think this is one of the best vocal collaborations they've done.

I also like Traumst Du, "do you dream."

And Dero sounds just as sexy in English:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Gratuitous Kiltage

For your viewing pleasure: Gerard Butler and a few other kilt pictures. I was telling G about them on Thursday and had to share. Oh, and I don't know if the sword is a claymore. I thought it was, but then I wasn't sure. Either way, this particular bekilted Scotsman can wield his sword for me anytime.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Like my new look?

The pink was getting annoying. I like this new one. Do you like it?

Not as girly as I thought

You Are 32% Girly

You are a pretty hardcore tomboy, and a very free spirit.

Gender roles be dammed, you like to do things your way.

Monday, November 5, 2007

What Part of Thanksgiving Am I?

You Are The Cranberry Sauce

A little sweet, a little sour - you've got the flava!
Though, you do tend to squish in people's mouths...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm Done!

I finished the crocheted blue granny square afghan last night. All I have to do is block it, take a picture or two, and get the address for my cousin and I can send it off. It's turned out great and will look even bettern when it's blocked.

I love that charge you when you finish a project, don't you? Such a nice adrenaline rush comes with the sense of satisfaction. Does good things for me. :)

In other news, my therapist gave me a coupon for a one hour massage at Massage Envy. I scheduled it for this Thursday so I will be loose and pliable when next we knit. If I have sufficiently recovered from the lovely languor, I'll be starting the sleeves for my blue sweater. With the weather turning chilly, I really want to wear that thing. It'll be great.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ha! I updated!

Okay, okay, my lovely knitting buddies, I am finally updating my blog. Trip was great, all the authors except one were frantastic, meeting Maggie and other online friends was the absolute best. JR Ward loved the black slippers and is an absolute dear.

Current projects: The Unseamly Sweater in Stitch N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. All I have to do are the sleeves, then assembly, then edging. I think I'm going to modify the sleeve and lower hem edging from what's in the pattern. New project: A crocheted granny square afghan blanket for my new little cousin Charlie. I'm using a Pound of Love by Lion Brand in heathered blue for the most part with a light blue accent yarn by Red Heart called Soft Yarn (creative name, huh?) I also bought a skein of purple Lion Microspun so I can do a hat for Peanut. Not sure if I want to knit or crochet, but I'm leaning toward the latter because she needs a hat now and crochet is faster.

I don't know if I want to knit/crochet Christmas gifts. If I do, they will have to be fast and cheap because I'm lazy and frugal. And I need to get that issue of Crochet Style or whatever it was that Rachel had because it had fantastic patterns in it, including that tree skirt with the reindeer which totally rocked.

Therapy is just getting started, but I'm optimistic and I know that with the right help, support, and medication, I can beat back the black cloud of depression currently plaguing me. My prognisis is good despite having all the signs of a "major depressive episode", according to my therapist. I kinda think that having a major episode of anything is disturbing, but I'm brushing it off as jargon and not worrying about labels. My first focus will be to eat more even when I don't feel hungry and incorporate more movement in my daily life so I can increase my energy level and get back up to a weight where I'm comfortable in my own skin.

I hope this was a satisfying update because it may have to last a while. I'm terrible at this blogging thing, aren't I? *wink*

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'll Be Back

Tomorrow morning, I'm leaving on my trip to Kentucky. RAW 2007 promises to be a fantastic time--many of my favorite authors, friends I meet face-to-face for the first time, and time away from home. I'm nervous about leaving Peanut, though; I'm not worried because she'll be with her daddy and my mom is coming up to hang out with her while hubby is at work, but this will be the first time she and I have been apart for more than a few hours. I know she'll be fine, but I'm just a little jittery.

I got some bookplates, adhesive blanks that authors can sign when the book isn't handy, for a few friends. I'm going to surprise them with personalized bookplates signed by JR Ward when I see them later.

I have a 13 hour drive tomorrow. Long time in a car by myself. I hope I don't get lost. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nalini Singh's Caressed By Ice

The time has finally come to review Caressed By Ice by Nalini Singh. I must confess I'm a little nervous; I've never written a review before and I'm afraid it might turn out more like all-out hero worship of Nalini's writing than a professional-sounding review. But I am neither a professional reviewer nor do I hero-worship Nalini's writing (okay, I do worship it a little because she's just that damn good), so hopefully I can manage to find a happy medium

The third installment of the Psy-Changeling series, Caressed By Ice, was everything that I wanted it to be and more. I read Slave to Sensation and wondered how Nalini could top that. She did top it, though, when she wrote Visions of Heat and I was certain that CBI would be just as wonderful as VOH.

I was wrong. It was better. It was so good that I was sincerely disappointed when I was done with it because that meant it was over.

*insert hero-worship of Nalini's writing here*

CBI takes us along the rocky, passionate, and often tender ride as Judd Lauren, a Psy telekinetic (Tk) who is no longer connected to the PsyNet, and Brenna Shane Kincaid, a wolf changeling who was brutalized by the serial killer Tk-Psy taken out in Slave to Sensation, work to be together. We meet both of them for the first time in STS, so I highly recommend starting from the beginning with this series so you get the most out of it.

Judd was an Arrow, an elite and highly deadly assassin, while he was in the PsyNet. As a dangerous subdesignation of Tk, he has very valid reasons for not wanting to break Silence. He is drawn to Brenna, helped with her recovery from her psychic torture, but he values her safety over his need to engage more fully in a relationship with her, a relationship he grows to want and need more and more as Brenna refuses to take no for an answer.

As a wolf changeling, Brenna is a sensual creature with a need for touch, for physical contact and affection. She knows that the chances of Judd breaking his conditioning for her are slim, especially because her inner wolf doesn't recognize him as her mate. But fire melts ice and Brenna knows in her heart that Judd is capable of giving her what she needs despite his insistence that he can't.

Brenna and Judd face obstacles that are neither minor nor easy to overcome. A murder within the wolf den and glimpses into the mind of the killer make it apparent that Brenna is in danger, but not exactly why. During their quest to find out, through Judd's need to protect this woman, and in Brenna's need to return to a normal life after her horrendous ordeal with a serial killer, the Man of Ice and his relentless changeling grow closer and closer. Judd slowly realizes that it is impossible to ignore feeling what he does for Brenna despite his need to maintain Silence for the safety of everyone around him. On an intimate level, sparks fly whenever these two are around each other. Despite the icy Silence he tries to maintain, Judd is every inch the hot, sexy male to match Brenna's changeling sexiness.

There is this one scene where they barely touch, where they basically stay on opposite sides of the room, but the sexual tension between them made me need to stop and just breathe. Nalini is a master at communicating the hunger, the need, and the pure and raw sex that these two create. When Judd finally gets to the point where he no longer fights what he's feeling, be prepared to need either a cold drink or time alone with your significal other.

Their is revolution rumbling in the PsyNet. The Council is worried. We get to know the newest Councilor, Kaleb Krychek, who fascinates me to no end. Where do his loyalties lie? Why was he so determined to be on the Council? Who is the "Ghost" in the Net that Judd is affiliated with? Can Protocol I be defeated? The story arc of the changes in the PsyNet, in the Council's actions, and in the advancement or retreat of Silence is taking turns I never would have guessed but am irrevocablly intrigued by. I can honestly say that I have little in the way of speculation as to how all this will turn out. Nalini is keeping us guessing and I can't think of anything better than this lack of predictability.

Caressed by Ice will be available in stores on September 4th. Buy it at Amazon and discover more about the Psy-Changeling world at Nalini's website. If you enjoy masterful storytelling, touching lovestories, and flawless worldbuilding, run to your nearest bookstore and immerse yourself in this series. You will most definitely not be disappointed.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Countdown to RAW 2007!

As many of you may know, I'm going to an event in September where I'll get to meet a bunch of authors I read. RAW, or the Reader Appreciation Weekend, will be a blast because I'll not only be meeting all my favorite authors, but I get to meet Maggie, my best friend who lives in Delaware, and several of the women I talk with on JR Ward's message boards. I'm so excited, I made a countdown ticker:

So I need to take my car in for some maintainance, get my eyes checked for a new contact lens prescription (my last one ran out in February), and a couple other things. This will be a blast!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vampire Humor

Many people know I have an affection for vampire romance, so when I saw this posted on JR Ward's message board, I had to put it here, too. I thought it was hilarious, but that's just me.

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Friday, July 6, 2007

I won an ARC!

An ARC is an advanced reader copy, a copy of a book that is given out before it is officially released for public consumption. Late last week I got an email from a friend saying that an author I like, Nalini Singh, was holding a contest on her blog where she would give away 5 ARCs of Caressed by Ice, the third book in a paranormal romance series that is due out in early September. I adored the first two books, so I entered the contest without hope or expectation. I never win anything...

...until the next day!

I got an email from the author that was simply a reply to my entry email, so I thought it was just a confirmation that I was in the running. But the first words I saw were "Congratulations! You won..." Then I got a little lightheaded and giddy. Got the giggles. Bounced up and down in my chair. Fired back an email to Nalini thanking her profusely. One of the things she asked all her winners is to read the book and review it in a blog, at MySpace, on Amazon, etc, a couple weeks before it's release. I'll be reviewing it in a number of places in late August.

This is a great series. There are no vampires, no faeries, no hinky magic. There are three races: humans, the Psy, and the changelings. The Psy are conditioned from birth to push back and eliminate all emotion as part of the Silence Protocol. Long story behind that. The changelings are those who can, of course, change forms. There are wolves, leopards, wildcats, and others. They spend most of their time in human form, though.

The first book, Slave to Sensation, was about a Psy female, one who already feels because Silence didn't work on her, who fell in love with the alpha of the local leopard pack, the yummy Lucas. The second book, Visions of Heat, was also about a Psy female and leopard male, but this Psy, Faith, did have her emotions dampened by the conditioning and Vaughn, one of Lucas's elite bodyguards, had to work to draw out her emotions. The third book, Caressed by Ice, is about Judd, a Psy male, and Brenna, a changeling (wolf) female who was abducted, tortured, and rescued in the first book and is dealing with some unexpected effects of her kidnapper's cruelty.

There is a larger story arc beyond the individual romances that is starting to take form and promises to get really interesting very soon. I will talk more about it after I receive and read the ARC of Caressed by Ice. I'm so excited for this I'm bouncing in my chair again!

If you are not already a fan of Nalini or paranormal romance and/or roll your eyes whenever I go on about the hot vampires I'm smitten with, this is a good series to read if you're getting curious. The premise is very original, which is hard to come by in paranormal books, and Nalini accomplishes her worldbuilding with concision when she needs it and flourishing descriptives when they are called for. She is a rising star in romance and many of us fans have high hopes that this Psy-Changeling series will put her on the map.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My New Knitting Project

I recently finished the purple sweater I knit for Peanut. It's too big, which is absolutely perfect. But when I finished it, I realized that I needed a new project. Sure, I had the babymaking mojo log cabin blanket going for my sister, but I didn't want to really pick that up again until she was actually pregnant. If she doens't have good fertility vibes now from all the work I've done on it so far, I can do no more. So I had to figure out a new knitting project.

I found it while I was watching Knitty Gritty on the DIY network. They had an episode entitled Teen Scene with a couple projects designed by teenagers. One in particular, the slippers with crochet trim, looked to be fast, easy, and inexpensive. I suck at embedded links, so here it is:,2025,DIY_14141_5466264,00.html

It looks so fast and easy, as a matter of fact, that I want to make several pairs as gifts to a few authors I'll be meeting when I go to a private event in September. I'll be meeting several of my favorite paranormal romance authors, women who have made significant contributions to my bookcases and therefore my life. There are three in particular who are all New York Times bestselling authors whose work accounts for about one third of the books in my collection.

Several people may think it strange that I want to do something as personal and intimate as a knitted gift for women I hardly know who have already profited by my purchases of their books. But reading is as essential to me as breathing; not a day goes by that I don't read and it has been that way ever since I was in elementary school. I am not truly happy unless I have recently spent time with my nose in a book. These authors have all made an impact on me and my life and I would love to dedicate the time and effort that knitting requires as a thank-you to them.

I know I won't be the only one there who will be bringing gifts for the authors. The organizers of the event set up a Yahoo group for all attending and we've been chatting for months. So far I'm the only one knitting something, but I know several are bringing gift bags of chocolate and/or other treats. Maybe if they like my gifts enough, I'll really stand out and when it comes time for them to give out ARCs, they will remember me! ARC stand for Advance Release Copy, copies of books that authors and publishers give to reviewers, friends, and family weeks and sometimes months before the general release date. For someone as impatient as me, getting an ARC of the new book in any series that I read would be fantastic!

Cross your fingers for me!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Online Friendship

Through the JR Ward message board, I have developed a few friendships that are just as rewarding as friendships I maintain in real life (RL). We communicate mainly through instant messaging and phone calls. I have found people with similar lifestyles and similar interests, so the conversation flows naturally.

My biggest interest is reading paranormal romance and while this particular subgenre of romance is growing exponentially, I can't seem to find people in RL that share both this interest and others. Many people I converse with don't read paranormals or, worse, have a disparaging view of romance novels in general. Of the people I've met in RL who do read paranormals, we don't have anything else in common. Granted I can talk about books for hours on end, but variety is a good thing.

Another problem is inclusion in the "mommy club." I swear, once you have a baby and have those demands, maintaining a friendship with a childless friend is distressing in my experience. I've been able to find people with kids of similar ages to mine who understand me on a level that others can't. If I'm frustrated because Peanut woke early from a nap or is sick or is being a general pain in the keister, venting to someone who either is going through the same thing or who went through it not so long ago helps me. Peanut is a relatively easy baby, but she definitely has her moments.

The largest problem, though, is the unreliability of my shut-up filter. That's the filter between my braiin and my mouth that keeps stupid, offensive, and otherwise inadvisable words and phrases from being spoken. I call this unreliability my "foot-in-mouth facilitator." When I have gone too long between saying something I shouldn't, my brain circumvents the shut-up filter and I say something that offends, alienates, or hurts someone I care about. Worse, I can't seem to stuff my face with food and drink enough to keep myself from talking. This problem really asserts itself at my knitting group, where I knit with wonderful people. I said something a few weeks ago that had a really bad effect and I'm still suffering for it.

Online friendships are mostly spared the worst of the foot-in-mouth facilitator because I can read over my words before I hit send. I have a chance to consciously activate the shut-up filter before crap spews out of my mouth. It's been a lifesaver. I don't really have anyone I do stuff with in person. Those people who are similar to me as far as the kids thing goes live too far away for casual drop-ins and hang-outs. The friend who is close enough for that isn't speaking to me thanks to the foot-in-mouth thing.

My online friends are my best friends. I adore those I knit with, but I've never done stuff with them that wasn't knitting-related. When I'm online chatting with "aprilla", she can crack me up and comiserate about the antics of babies and toddlers. I can talk with "kraus" and see what the stay-at-home-mom gig will be like in a few years. Listening to "jade" go on about stuff lightens my mood on even the worst of days. I even get to chat with my brother who lives in Maryland on occaision.

I love the internet. :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Lover Revealed...continued

Okay, so, Butch and Vishous and their unique relationship. I hate it when people try to label them because labels involve generalities. What is going on between Butch and V is very specific to these two personalities.

Again, I warn you, I am NOT a spoiler-free zone. I'm about to reveal the coolest part of the book, so if you haven't read it, stop reading this and go read Lover Revealed. It's a better read, anyway.

At the end of LR, Butch is inducted into the Brotherhood. Here's how the ceremony works: each of the Brothers bleeds into a cup, then bites the new Brother and takes a sip of him. When they are finished biting the new guy, he drinks the blood in the cup. This is how they become brothers--flesh of each other's flesh. When V bites Butch, it turns into a very erotically charged moment and they get pretty close. Oddly enough, I didn't see it as a sexual moment when I first read it. It is actually the very definition of sexual: they get physically close in a very sensual moment brought on by emotional intimacy. This scene is yet another example of how gifted a writer JR Ward is. Her descriptors, her phrasing, and her bravery in even writing this scene are amazing.

So V and Butch get up close and personal and it's pretty damned sexy. I still don't think they were ever sexually attracted to each other/desired each other that way. But they got physical in that moment because it progressed from their emotional intimacy. It was a one-time-thing, of course, because they are best friends, not lovers, and Butch is mated to Marissa. But I think it was a good thing that they had that moment, especially for Vishous. His sex life is really hardcore and he distances himself from the females he's with; he deserved a moment of embracing and being embraced by someone who loved him unconditionally.

This, of course, means that I am going ABSOLUTELY INSANE waiting for Vishous's book, Lover Unbound. It CANNOT come fast enough for my taste. His female is a human trauma surgeon and we're speculating on her like crazy on the boards. I really think that we'll finally meet Lassiter, too, because every time he's been on the boards, it's been to clash with V and they obviously have a history. And I think that John Matthew will transition in LU because it was remarked that he's getting close in LR.

I really could go on and on about this book and this series, but I'll spare you. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lover Revealed

So on February 27th, I read Lover Revealed by JR Ward. It's official release date was March 6th, but Wal-Mart has a habit of putting books out early. Not my Wal-Mart, though. Nor the other four Wal-Marts at the top of the list that gave me when I put in my zip code. But the fifth one, a thirty minute drive out, had it out. Since it was my birthday, I decided to be a bad cellie and buy early. I have been itching for this book since the beginning of September and I just couldn't let my birthday pass without reading it.

For all of you who have not yet read this book, stop reading this blog. I am NOT a spoiler-free zone. The book has been out for over a month. Read the damn thing already. Also, unless you have read the whole series and frequent the author's message board, I might lose you. I am a rabid fangirl and I will let it show. (So hi to all the cellies)

Anyway, I started it at about 7 pm, after putting my daughter to bed. She woke a few times because she was getting her first tooth, so I will forever connect my first child'd first tooth to LR. But after we finally got her down for good, I read nonstop and finished it at 3:30 am. WOW. Just WOW. I love this book. I love everything about it. EVERYTHING. Lover Revealed is Butch's story. I've always loved Butch, ever since Dark Lover. He fits in with the Black Dagger Brotherhood naturally, as a dear friend to them. Butch doesn't see it that way, though; he sees himself as being on the fringes, not in the thick of things. He has a warrior spirit trapped in a human body, and later on we find out why. Butch is the product of an affair with someone who had vampire DNA. Amazingly, he is related to Wrath, which I thought was GREAT. And Wrath seemed very happy and proud that Butch was of his blood. Wrath even took off his sunglasses for Butch when they found out. I got way sappy. So what they are able to do is force a transition. This means that--YES!--Butch ends up a vampire. This may seem a convenient solution to a lot of problems with Butch and Marissa's relationship, but it was actually hinted at throughout the three preceding books.

Marissa is a gorgeous fragile slip of a female vampire--or so she thinks. She ends up flexing that newly-discovered backbone on a number of occaisions. In the beginning she's a little exasperating to someone who hasn't read the whole series because they didn't see how she was when she was still tied to Wrath: he never loved her, so she thought she was unlovable. He never desired her so she thought she was undesirable, that there must be something wrong with her. These feelings of inadequacy were exacerbated by how she was treated by the glymera, the vampire aristocracy. They're total assholes, but that was the society she grew up in. Poor thing. Anyway, she has some serious self-esteem issues for a while. But she eventually develops her "rule number one": no one defines her but her, no one makes choices for her but her. This is a very good thing. It results in her burning her entire haute-couture wardrobe, among other things.

So Butch and Marissa are dayum hot together between the sheets. H-O-T-T, hot! What I love about their lovescenes is that Butch is always so careful not to push her, to not make her uncomfortable. He is one of the most considerate lovers I have ever seen in a romance novel and it's perfect for Marissa. There does come a time, though, where she finds her sexual confidence and matches him.

We see a lot of Rehvenge, that ultra-hot, bad-boy, half-symphath, drug-dealing, club-owning pimp who is also Bella's brother. I LOVE this male. He has a serious thing for Marissa and he treats her so well. He gets his clock cleaned by Butch at one point because Rehv fed Marissa, but that was great because Rehv had always been mystified why Marissa loved a male who wouldn't feed her and when he finds out that it was Butch, whom Rehv likes and respects, Rehv lets the punch slide. And, well, Butch was dead drunk at the time. Rehv has one of my favorite lines: very near the end, when Marissa basically sticks it to the glymera mucky-mucks and takes rightful control of her family's vote on the Princeps Council, Rehv says, "Hot damn, girl. You are so the shit." I can't wait for more of Rehvenge. YUM.

We get a great scene between Zsadist and Bella where he's chasing her around the mansion. I think I reread that scene three or four times before I finally moved on. It was so sexy and sweet at the same time. To see Z go from that angry mysogynistic victim of horrible sexual abuse to a sexually confident male who can also instruct trainees on the finer points of explosives was really remarkable. I fell in love with Z even more in this book. Lover Awakened will always be my favorite because it was just so damned good, a lovestory I will never see equalled. But LR still rocked.

But the most compelling aspect to this book was not Butch and Marissa's relationship. It wasn't that Butch became a vampire. It wasn't the glimpses we got into this amazing world that JR Ward has created. It was the relationship between Butch and Vishous.

I put my take on their relationship on the boards, so I won't repeat too much here. But getting to the bottom line of it, Butch is the first person for whom Vishous has felt anything and this new emotional attatchment confuses the heck out of him. One thing I hate is that when many people talk about V's feelings for Butch, especially when they talk about when V bites Butch as part of the Butch's induction into the Brotherhood, is when people use words like "homoerotic" and "bisexual." Why do I hate that? This blog entry is already too long, so I'll pull a WARDen and say...


Friday, March 23, 2007

Coming Soon

I know I'm terrible about keping this thing current, but I promise to do an entry on all the cool books I've been reading. Lover Revealed was INCREDIBLE, of course, but that's no surprise. I'm also reading a few series that I'll talk about too. SO for all you people who actually read this, I'll post a bigger, better entry soon!

Monday, February 19, 2007

I wrote a pattern!

My cousin, Wendy, was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before Christmas. She recently had a mastectomy with reconstructive surgery and will be undergoing chemotherapy soon. She has had a wonderful attitude throughout the entire ordeal and I am in awe of her for it. Her family and friends have been incredibly supportive and I want to do my part, too.

I knit hats only occaisionally. The last one I knit was for Peanut, a cute little pink number. I decided that, since Wendy will be losing her hair, I would knit her a couple of awesome hats. They will be lovely and feminine because I think that losing one's hair must not detrimental to one's femininity. The only problem I forsaw was that I wanted to use very high-quality yarn that is, of course, expensive. So I asked my mom and my sister to donate the money, I asked Auntie, Wendy's mom, for color recommendations, and I'm the one making the hats.

I found two wonderful yarns: Louisa Herding Grace, a lovely silk-woll blend in cream, and a grey baby cashmerino by Debbie Bliss, which is a blend of merino wool, cashmere, and microfibre. The silky stuff is luxurious and decadent and I wanted a hat that wasn't too simple, but wasn't too complicated either. And I wanted to knit in these pretty goldish beads I got at Joann Fabric and Crafts. I couldn't find a pattern that I was happy with, so I wrote my own. It has cables, which is something I had never done before but turned out to be frighteningly easy. The hat is gorgeous and here's the pattern for it:

Wendy Hat with Cables and Beads, copyright 2007 by Courtney U

Gauge: 23” head circ. @ 6 sts/in = 138 sts
Pattern: four stitch cable
Place bead: bring yarn and bead to front, sl 1 purlwise, bring yarn to back, leaving bead at front
pm: place marker
C4F: sl 2 onto cable needle and hold at front, k2, then k2 from cable needle

Thread beads onto yarn before casting on
CO 130, pm every 10
1: *k2, p2, k4, p2* repeat around to 1st marker
2: *k2, p2, k4, p2* repeat around to 1st marker
3: cable: *k2, p2, C4F, p2* repeat around until 1st marker
4: *k2, p2, k4, p2* repeat around to 1st marker, placing bead after every marker
Repeat rows 1-4 four times or until the desired number of twists are achieved.
For all rows after cables are done: *k2, p2, k4, p2* repeat until hat measure 5.5 in. from bottom. Remove all markers except first.

1: *k2, p2tog, k4, p2tog* repeat to first marker
2: *k2, p1, k2tog, k2, p1* repeat to first marker
3: *k1, k2tog, k2, k2tog* repeat to first marker. All sts after this row will be knit
4: *k11, k2tog, pm* repeat to first marker
Knit every stitch, knitting 2 together before every marker until 7 or so stitches are left on needles. Thread yarn through remaining stitches and tie off. Weave in ends and the hat is done!

I'm very proud of this pattern. It's not perfect and it probably has a few kinks that need to be worked out, but it's mine and I'm happy with it. Next up: the grey cashmerino hat. I'm going to knit a simple rolled-bottom hat and make some knitted flowers to attatch to it. This the the hat that matches Wendy's business suits, so it will be professional with a touch of girly embellishment.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

It's February!

Ah, February. I like this month, especially this year. For starters, it means that the shock of the new year has worn off and I'm mostly used to writing 2007 on my checks. And since I have a wonderful husband, Valentine's Day will be nice. I was never one to lament the lack of a relationship if I was single on February 14th, so it's not like I'm grateful to be attatched or anything, but Trin and I do get extra mushy.

Second, this is my birthday month. I'll be 25 on the 27th. I'm not sure what to make of this birthday. On the one hand, I'm halfway to 30. My youth, such as it is, is slowly but surely passing. But I think of my parents who are in their fifties and I don't worry that 30 is bad at all. Goodness knows Mom and Dad still have plenty of youth left to last for a while. But I'm quite satisfied with how my life is right now. I have a loving husband who is a wonderful father to our little girl, who is the cutest baby on the planet. We own our own home, have an affectionate (if a little headstrong) cat, I'm a stay-at-home mom, and life is in general just fine. Trin's still looking for a job, but I have every confidence that he'll get one. We have our health, as do most of our loved ones. So 25 doesn't really faze me much.

Another wonderful thing about this month is that at the end of it, or just after, the book I've been waiting for for six months is coming out. Lover Revealed, the fourth installment of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward, is officially releasing on March 6th, but I'm thinking I might be able to find it early at Wal-Mart. I found the third book, Lover Awakened, over a week early. Maybe I'll even find it on my birthday! Oh, what a present that would be. As soon as that book is in my hands, I'm ignoring everyone (except Peanut) and reading until I can't see straight. Then I'll rest for a few hours and read it again. I suppose I'll let Trin read it after I've read it twice; any more and he might start to complain.

And when February is over, along with the coming of Lover Revealed is the coming of slightly warmer temperatures. March is hardly ever as frigid as February. Today it was in the -20s--that's just inhuman. My sister called me and told me her husband described people who live in this weather as insane. Needless to say, I did not argue. Seriously, I haven't left the house in days. I have stuff to do, but it's to damn cold and there's no way I'm taking Peanut outside.

So I'm here, patiently waiting for the end of the month. Well, mostly patiently. Sometimes when I think about the wait for the book, I get twitchy. But time flies, so I'm trying not to think about it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Why I Read Romance Novels

I often get razzed for reading romance novels. I almost always get razzed for reading paranormal romance, particularly because I prefer those with vampires. I've apparently earned the dubious title of "vampire porn girl." But I don't read those books for the "good parts." I heartily enjoy them, of course, but that's not the main draw.

I live an average life. I have a woderful husband whom I love very much, a beautiful and intelligent baby girl, and an ordinary house. I knit, I clean house, I spend time with Peanut and my other half. We watch cartoons on Saturday mornings. It's a great life, but an ordinary one. Basic. Simple.

I love it, but my mind craves adventure, great stories, seeing the guy get the girl. I love seeing two people fall in love in all the myriad ways that can happen. I love seeing them have their happily ever after in a committed relationship. Today's romance heroines are strong and willful, not the wilting female who swoons and knows only how to let her man sweep her off her feet. Women still get swept away, but on their own terms and with alpha males who want a relationship with an equal.

As for the paranormal tales I favor, I find that there's no better way to go somewhere in my head than to visit a place that is so far away it isn't real. I love the various angles on the vampire myth that authors take and how those differences affect the story. And whether it's vampires, valkyries, witches, or werewolves, I love seeing the humans try to make sense of it.

And as for romance novels being "girly porn," that irks me. I read a wonderful article on writing good lovescenes By one of my favorite authors, Angela Knight. She said in her blog:

Repeat after me: Romance does not equal porn

A year or so ago, I saw an RWA-sponsored ad to the effect that romance novels don’t really have all that much sex in them. It then listed various books and the number of love scenes in them – generally just one or two.

That ad really ticked me off, because it implied that a book with only one sex scene is somehow more moral than one with four or five. I’ve encountered that attitude a lot in other romance writers who sniff that they write love scenes only because their publishers demand it.

Apparently, like Victorian wives suffering the attentions of randy husbands, they lie back and think of England.

My personal belief is that somebody who writes mechanical sex solely to placate a publisher and make money is a lot more guilty of being a pornographer than I am.

No matter how much some writers might like to pretend otherwise, at their core, romances are about a sexual relationship between a man and a woman, not a purely spiritual union of souls. After all, when was the last time you read a romance staring Ghandi?

I think Knight pretty much summed it up to a tee. So don't call it vampire porn anymore. ;)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hello my cellie friends!

If you're a fellow aficionado from the BDB message boards, thanks for stopping by! I love the cellies. I'm rather obsessed with this series and I know I'm not alone. Isn't it fun to be in good company whilst one is utterly addicted to the Brothers? I live in the cell. For real. ;)

Can any of you help me with a title? I don't even know what to call my blog. Like I said, I'm kinda not creative.

So here's what's up

All right, I'll do an "intro" post. My name is Courtney and I'm a wife, mother, knitter, reading junkie, and all-around ordinary gal. My baby, whom my husband, T, and I call Peanut, just turned seven months old and time has flown as far as that goes. Wasn't she just my brand-new bundle o' joy who did nothing but nurse, sleep, and poop? Well, now she's almost crawling. T is really looking forward to that, but I liked it when she was just cute and immobile. I could set her down and go to the bathroom or hunt for my ringing phone or grab a quick bite in the kitchen and when I got back, she would be right where I left her. Now? No. She rolls. And rolls and rolls and rolls. She's starting to get up on her hands and knees and is almost scootching. And she's unbearably cute. Like turns-your-stomache-with-sweetness cute. Hates fruits so far, though. No bananas and apples for this girlie. Peanut has decided she likes veggies. So bring on the peas and squash.

On to knitting. I love to knit, but I have a terrible habit of starting projects and not finishing them. I recently finished a blanket for Peanut that I started when I was about 5 months pregnant with her. Also, she has a cute fuzzy pink hat. I've also started a baby blanket in the log cabin style for my sister, Mrs. Angel. She's not pregnant yet, but she wants to be, so maybe I can give her some good baby-making mojo. And if I start the blankie now, it MIGHT be finished by the time she gets pregnant and has the baby. What is on the needles on this moment is a basic scarf for me made out of Lion Brand Homespun. The color on the label says "Edwardian," but darned if I know what that it. It's charcoal with white strands, so it isn't black but it will go with everything.

BOOKS!!!! My passion is reading. If you know me, you know what I look like with my nose in a book. I'm reading a large fantasy novel called Kushiel's Scion, the fourth in a series by Jacqueline Carey. It's heavy duty reading, so I'm going slow and taking breaks. And as of today, it's only one month and two weeks until the release of Lover Revealed, fourth installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward. This series is my obsession. It's romance and so much more. I can't talk about it right now becasue it would take over this posting, but I'll be going on and on about it frequently. Suffice to say that if anyone calls me or demands any of my attention on March 6th (or whatever day I find it at Wal-Mart, which is notorious for putting books out early), you will be disappointed. I'll be doing basic mommy duties and reading. And that's it on that day.

Anyway...Now for my husband. The most wonderful man. We're still adjusting to being three and not two, but I think we're okay. His jobhunting is progressing, and that's a good thing because he's getting restless. But he deserves the downtime unemployment is giving him and I try to let him do whatever he wants--game with friends, poker with parents, video games and other stuff. He needs the relaxation. He's one of the best things that has ever happened to me and he gave me the best, our daughter. It's rough seeing such a responsible provider not have a job, but we'll be okay. I have absolute faith that he'll provide for us.

So, that's me right now. Baby, hubby, knitting, and books. That's about all that I've got going on.

I have a blog. Hmm.

I have several wonderful friends who blog. I even blog with my knitting group. Sarah, a friend, told me I should blog for posterity's sake. Document my life. Write it all down, you know? So here I am, writing it down.

Oh, if only I knew what to say.

I find that in conversation I tend to be interrupted a lot. Whether this is because I say uninteresting things or just don't talk loud enough, I don't know. What I do know is that here on my blog, I have carte blanche and that in itself may prove to be the biggest benefit. The downside is that because this is MY blog, no one will tell me that what I'm saying just really isn't interesting. Well, it is to me.

I'm wavering, aren't I? See, this is what I mean. I'm pretty sure I pushed out part of my brain when I had Peanut. I'm still discovering exactly what the consequences of that are. Other than being able to "converse" with my 7-month-old with no heed to my unused intellect, I can't think of any upsides to having misplaced some of my brain. But it's all good, because Peanut doesn't mind. And T is nothing if not a wonderful husband, so I think that even when he does wonder who I am and what happened to the woman he married, he's okay with me being how I am now. I hope.

Perhaps soon I'll get around to really introducing myself. Talking about what I'm up to as far as knitting projects and mommy misadventures. But for now, I'm going to leave it here.

Thank you and have a nice day.