Saturday, June 29, 2013

"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." ~ P.J. O'Rourke

Last year I offered up my own summer reading list.  Now is the time for true confessions - I read exactly one of the books on that list - The Age of Miracles - and I loved it.  I own a couple of the others, either in print form, or on my ipad - they sit there waiting for me.  Why have I not gotten to them?  One of the reasons is something that I've written about before.  I don't often purchase books anymore - someone either loans or passes on their copy to me, or I use my local library.  Since the ones borrowed from the library (and sometimes from friends) have a due date - they tend to get read first.  Truthfully though, I have been on a bit of a reading hiatus.  This happens to me every now and again, and usually when my life is full of other things going on.  That is certainly the case right now.  I find that I am checking out more audio books than ever before because I can knit, set up my new studio space, drive and cook, all while listening to a story that I might have otherwise sat down to read.  I'm not like my good friend Judy, who can read a book and knit at the same time! For example, today I am swinging by the library to up the audio recording of Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, all 25+ hours of it!  I think that will cover me for awhile.  I have also put a request in for And the Mountains Echoed, the newest by Khaled Hosseini.  That one's going to be awhile - there's a fairly long list of other people ahead of me.

Still, I love to look though those recommended summer reading lists and parse out those that seem to interest me the most.  So here is MY list for summer 2013 (in no particular order - and with links at the bottom to other lists for you to look at).  All cover photos are from, and all summaries are from  My apologies to those of you reading this via e-mail.  Whenever I line things up side by side in my blog, it seems to be all over the place in the e-mail.  If that's the case, please click here!  

Here's hoping that I get to more than one of them!

"It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country."

"It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who “found something wrong with every place she ever lived,” takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.
An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town—a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister—inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz."

"Rose Baker seals men’s fates. With a few strokes of the keys that sit before her, she can send a person away for life in prison. A typist in a New York City Police Department precinct, Rose is like a high priestess. Confessions are her job. It is 1923, and while she may hear every detail about shootings, knifings, and murders, as soon as she leaves the interrogation room she is once again the weaker sex, best suited for filing and making coffee.
This is a new era for women, and New York is a confusing place for Rose. Gone are the Victorian standards of what is acceptable. All around her women bob their hair, they smoke, they go to speakeasies. Yet prudish Rose is stuck in the fading light of yesteryear, searching for the nurturing companionship that eluded her childhood. When glamorous Odalie, a new girl, joins the typing pool, despite her best intentions Rose falls under Odalie’s spell. As the two women navigate between the sparkling underworld of speakeasies by night and their work at the station by day, Rose is drawn fully into Odalie’s high-stakes world. And soon her fascination with Odalie turns into an obsession from which she may never recover."

"A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror,The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman's first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.
This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real…"
"Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page."

"The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge."

"Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.
That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.
Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancé, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily's friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction...and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations.
Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick’s marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever."
"Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember what’s happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais’s school uniform is covered in blood.

Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counter-culture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade of horrors visited upon her early life, she greets the world with the witty, fierce insight of a survivor.

Anais finds a sense of belonging among the residents of the Panopticon – they form intense bonds, and she soon becomes part of an ad hoc family. Together, they struggle against the adults that keep them confined. When she looks up at the watchtower that looms over the residents though, Anais knows her fate: she is an anonymous part of an experiment, and she always was. Now it seems that the experiment is closing in.
Named one of the best books of the year by the Times Literary Supplement and the Scotsman,The Panopticon is an astonishingly haunting, remarkable debut novel. In language dazzling, energetic and pure, it introduces us to a heartbreaking young heroine and an incredibly assured and outstanding new voice in fiction."
"When Lucy Lovett’s husband loses his job, she is forced to give up her posh life in London and move their family to a tiny apartment in Manhattan, where her husband has managed to secure a lowly position. Lucy finds herself living in the center of cool and hip. Across from their apartment is a trendy bar called PDT—whenever Lucy passes by, she thinks, Please Don’t Tell anyone I’m a middle-aged woman.

Homesick and resentful at first, Lucy soon embarks on the love affair of her life—no, not with her husband (though they’re both immensely relieved to discover they do love each other for richer or poorer), but with New York City and the three women who befriend her.

There’s Julia, who is basically branded with a Scarlet A when she leaves her husband and kids for a mini nervous breakdown and a room of her own; Christy, a much older man’s trophy wife, who is a bit adrift as only those who live high up in penthouses can be; and disheveled and harried Robyn, constantly compensating for her husband, who can’t seem to make the transition from wunderkind to adult.

Spot-on observant, laugh-out-loud funny, yet laced with kindness through and through, No One Could Have Guessed the Weather 
is a story of what happens when you grow up and realize the middle part of 
your story might just be your beginning."

"Christmas is approaching, and in Québec it’s a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department, his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn’t spoken to him in months, and hostile forces are lining up against him. When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Mystified by Myrna's reluctance to reveal her friend's name, Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo.
As events come to a head, Gamache is drawn ever deeper into the world of Three Pines. Increasingly, he is not only investigating the disappearance of Myrna’s friend but also seeking a safe place for himself and his still-loyal colleagues. Is there peace to be found even in Three Pines, and at what cost to Gamache and the people he holds dear?"

Other Reading List LInks:

CNN What to Read This Summer
Paste Magazine 20 New Books To Read This Summer
NPR Critics' List
Amazon Summer Reading For All Ages
Summer Book List: 2013 Beach Books
Slate Magazine: Summer 2013
Refinery29: Our Favorite Books You've Got To Read
Chatelaine's Best Ever Summer Reads
Oprah's 2013 Summer Reads
Sweet Summer Reads

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Side by side – Year by year." ~ Author Unknown

86 years ago tomorrow, my grandparents, Paul and Adelma Young, were married.

60 years ago tomorrow, my parents, Robert and Norma Rhodes, were married.

The rest, as they say, is history!

Happy 60th Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

"I was supposed to get a nice body for summer, but there's a small problem...I like food." ~ Unknown

It's time again for BITE!  Tierney had us ushering in summer with the citrus theme of lemons and limes, and we had a beautiful summer's day as our backdrop.

Our hostess gifted each of us with her homemade Lemon and Coriander Infused Olive Oil.  Thanks Super T.!
This time it was my turn to take care of the appetizer.  I prepared two different ones following our theme.  My first one was Grilled Lemon/Lime Shrimp with Yogurt-Cilantro Dipping Sauce.  The recipe doesn't say if the shrimp is served hot or cold, but I decided to go with cold so I could prepare it a bit earlier in the day.  I prepared two versions of the sauce, one with cilantro and the other without as I know that it's a love it or hate it taste - I for one, love it! The cumin however, provided a very distinct flavor to both options.  This was a nice, refreshing appetizer and I would definitely do it again - the make ahead factor is very appealing to me.

I hadn't really intended to prepare a second appetizer, but I ran across one that my sister served at my niece's graduation party last weekend.  There really isn't a recipe to follow - just a log of goat cheese topped with olive oil and the zest from one lemon.  I used both lemon and lime since I already had a lime for the previous dish.  Serve this with some type of cracker for spreading.  Delish!

For our side-dish, Ellen chose to make Whole Wheat Couscous with Lemon, Peas, and Chives.  Again, summer fresh and flavorful!

Our main dish, prepared by Tierney, was delicious Crab Crumble, accompanied by a summer fresh beverage, Watermelon Agua.

Not your typical crab cake, this dish does not have a lot of fillers, just fresh ingredients and wonderfully sweet crab.

Summer in a glass!
Finally for dessert, Chris baked up some Key Lime Pie Cupcakes.  Just the right size - not too large, not too small, nice buttery crust, tangy lime and spongy cake - wonderful!

Welcome Summer!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Babies are such a nice way to start people." ~ Don Herrold

I have mentioned before that I have been knitting up baby sweaters as many of my friends become first-time grandparents.  I have been fairly consistently using the same pattern, Cute As One Button.  It is not complicated and is a good social knit.  And social knitting is exactly what I was doing the other evening with my group of knitting friends.  

The yarn that I'm using is one that I have used before, Plymouth Encore Colorspun, and is from the stash that I picked up while in Florida. This yarn is 25% wool and 75% acrylic, which means that it can go right in the washer and dryer - how I prefer to have baby sweaters.  It knits up really nicely and has a nice, even lay to it.

Anyhow, I'm knitting away the other night, and chatting away as well.  I made significant progress in a short bit of time and put the cardigan down to take a good look.  Suddenly I exclaimed, 

       "These colors look like camouflage - camouflage!  Is it ok for a baby's sweater to look like camouflage?"

Conversation ensued with mostly affirmative responses, and I came to the conclusion that, since this little boy's grandfather is an avid outdoorsman and hunter, yes - having a camo-cardigan is going to be ok.  So Ken, this cardigan is as much for you as it will be for your new grandson!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Good friends are cheaper than therapy." ~ Author Unknown

Well, once again we had a small, merry band of knitters for World Wide Knit in Public Day.  The gray skies and chill in the air did not put a damper on our spirit, though I confess that I did more frogging than knitting - I should know to never start a new project when I will also be socializing with friends!

We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs - lots of laughs!  We left the Homer Farmers' Market smelling of hot sausage sandwiches, which were bring prepared behind us for the afternoon's Blue Grass Festival.

Perhaps next year the sun will shine, and more of our knitting friends will be able to join us - we had a wonderful time regardless!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

"Better Living Through Stitching Together" ~ World Wide Knit in Public Day!

Today marks the beginning of the week long celebration of World Wide Knit in Public Day!  

"World Wide Knit in Public Day was started in 2005 by Danielle Landes. It began as a way for knitters to come together and enjoy each other's company. Knitting is such a solitary act that it's easy to knit alone somewhere and sink into your work without thinking about all the other knitters out there. Neighbors could spend all their lives never knowing that the other knits.  This a specific day to get out of your house and go to a local event (with your knitting in tow) just for you and people like you.  Who knows you might even bump into your neighbor! Consider this a spark, to ignite a fire; getting all of the closeted knitters out into fresh air. In 2005, there were about 25 local events around the world. In 2006, there were about 70 local events, and in 2007, almost 200. In 2008, there were 800 events, and in 2009, 751 events. Over the years there have been local events in Australia, China, England, Finland, France, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, United States and so many more countries. WWKiP Day takes now takes place from the second Saturday to the third Sunday of June each year; making it a week long celebration of knitting and other fiber arts."

My group will be meeting this morning at the Homer Farmers' Market on the Village Green in Homer, NY. Last year we had a small group of "Intrepid Knitters", as one member referred to us.  I hope that today we will have a few more, but as the summer months are here - weekends do get booked!  I will plan to bring you some photos of our WWKIP Day in Wednesday's post!

If you are interested in locating a WWKIP Day event near you in the upcoming week, simply go to the site, register, and then follow the steps to finding an event in your neck of the woods!

On a different note, if you have left comments on my blog in the past, you will notice a difference.  For a few days now I have been getting some spam left in my comments section.  Just the run-of-the-mill list of unrelated links to click on.  Anyhow - I have turned on my ability to monitor and approve comments before they are posted.  You will see however, that I have turned off the pesky "prove you are not a robot" section.

Thanks so much for visiting here in the first place - and I always look forward to your comments!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"To have a sacred place is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so, where you do not know who your friends are, you don't know what you owe anybody or what they owe you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be." ~ Joseph Campbell

I must say that my husband Bruce is a great guy.  He has always encouraged me in any endeavor that I have undertaken.  When I started making homemade soap - he built my soap molds.  When we are on the road, he sometimes scopes out knitting shops along the way so that I can make a quick stop.  And remember this past winter - he captained our boat of knitters?  Great and brave!  So, it came as no surprise to me when I said that I wanted to move my studio space from the farthest corner of our basement to a sunny second floor room - he was all for it!

I have been planning and talking about this move for some time -it is quite an undertaking as I have a ton of "stuff".  I knew that it would have to wait till we were back from Florida- but life has a way of delaying the best of plans.  Finally though, the move is underway.  Bruce and I did a down and back to IKEA in New Jersey this past week in order to pick up the shelves that I wanted.  I'm happy to say that I earned enough money last fall selling some of my bracelets and knitted ornaments, that I was able to cover the cost of the shelves - a nice feeling - my craft paying for my craft storage!

As you will see - the room is indeed bright and sunny - a huge difference from the basement which, while it was well-lighted, lacked what only true sunlight can provide.  I am trying to determine what should come upstairs and what should stay in the basement.  My new room is wonderful, but is significantly smaller than my basement space.  I don't need to bring up all of the Christmas boxes.  All of my soaping equipment needs to remain where it is.  I'm trying to narrow things down a bit so that I will actually be able to see what I have. How many times have I bought something again only because I couldn't find what I already had!!??  The result at the moment is that I have an explosion both downstairs and up!  Right now I'm just loading the shelves and will organize them once I've determined that everything that I want is there.

               I promise to keep you posted on my progress - this will not come together quickly! 

Getting started on the first of three shelving units.  The third had to be moved to the guest bedroom across the hall because of the hot-water baseboard heat.

The view out my window - a tad different from the basement!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

“Everything goes so quickly for us. We let ourselves get stressed and blame the time which is flying past. When you sit in front of the knitting clock, however, you experience that it is we who produce the stress because the clock works so slowly that you can hardly see that the yarn is forming the mesh.” ~ Siren Elise Wilhelmsen

I was all set to post on a recent discovery that I made on my blogging friend Linda's blog, when I received notice that Linda has nominated me for the Sweetest Blogger Award!  What a lovely surprise! More on that in a moment!

Linda is a multi-talented knitwear designer in Norway.  A recent accomplishment is her Norwegian knitting book: ‘To rett en vrang. Designstrikk’ published by Cappelen Damm in January 2012. She is currently designing for Thomas Kvist Yarns.  Linda has also had many of her designs published in magazines.  I always enjoy visiting Linda's blog.  It has given me a new appreciation for the talent and effort that goes into designing knitwear - I really had not given this any thought before!

Linda often posts about the fiber activities that are going on around her.  In a very recent post, Linda wrote about her trip to The Thief, an amazing hotel located in Oslo.  The thing that captured my interest here was the hotel's knitting clock!  

The clock was created by designer Siren Elise Wilhelmsen.

"The conceptual clock which stands in the hotel’s library knits a mesh in half an hour. In the course of a calendar year, it has made a two metre-long scarf of the months which have passed. When the New Year arrives, the ball of wool is changed – and who knows what experiences will be caught in the mesh in the minutes, days and months to come."

I just love this kind of thing and said to Linda that I am continually impressed by Norway's embrace of its "fiber" and its role in her country.  In response she said:

 "Yes, we do embrace fiber in all its form but I do believe The Thief has done a marvelous job of celebrating Norwegian Design as well as international art with their partnership with Astrup Fearnely Museum of Modern Art!"

Thank you to Linda for sharing the knitting clock - and thank you for passing on the Sweetest Blogger Award! In choosing a picture to accompany my award, I picked a luscious photo of crème brûlée - which is my very favorite dessert.
In accepting this award, I will answer five simple questions about myself, and then pass the award on to up to a baker's dozen of other blogs that I enjoy and read.  I am going to keep my list quite a bit smaller, but for those of you I pass it on to, know that you can go up to 13 if you so choose!

On to the questions!

1.  Cookies or cake?  Well, this may be difficult to believe, but I am not that much of a sweets eater!  That's not to say I don't ever eat something sweet - after all, I do love crème brûlée, but I am a salty/crispy kind of gal.  That being said, I guess that I would choose cheese cake as a preference for cookies or cake.

2.  Chocolate or vanilla?  Well, again - I don't really crave either, though I will tell you that a friend recently gave me a chocolate bar with crispy caramel and sea salt - I am still savoring it!

3.  Favorite sweet treat?  Crème brûlée!

4.  When do you get hit with cravings?  Whenever I see it on the dessert table!

5.  Sweet nickname?  I love it when my husband calls me "Babes"!

And now to pass the baton!  I love these ladies!

Silver Trumpet Style...   her most recent post - the countdown to her trip to Squam!

Spun Right Round...  her most recent post - her gorgeous Cloud Illusions shawl!

Close-ups and Wide Angles...   her most recent post - fabulous photos of Quedlinburg!

Thyme...   her most recent post - incredible photos of her family trip to Istanbul!

Thanks so much Linda!!!