Saturday, April 29, 2006

Tagged! A Reader's Challenge

I've been tagged by P.A. Moed to reveal my reading habits. Check out this list and see how many of these books you've already read, which ones you think you might read someday, and which ones you'll probably never read.

Look at the list of books below.
Bold the ones you’ve read.
Italicize the ones you might read.
Cross out the ones you won’t.
Underline the ones on your book shelf.
Place (parentheses) around the ones you’ve never even heard of.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy--Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
(His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
The Life of Pi—Yann Martel

Animal Farm - George Orwell
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban—J.K. Rowling

One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
(The Secret History - Donna Tartt)
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis

(Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides)
(Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell)
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
(Atonement - Ian McEwan)
(The Shadow of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway (I can’t stand Hemingway - sorry)
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert
(Sula by Toni Morrison)
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
(White Teeth by Zadie Smith)
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
(Brighton Rock - Graham Greene)
(The Moor’s Last Sigh - Salman Rusdie)
(We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Schriver)
Disgrace - JM Coetzee
(Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro)
(The Buddha of Suburbia - Hanif Kureshi)
(Small Island - Andrea Levy)
(Titus Groan - Mervyn Peake)

Ivanhoe - Walter Scott
(Patrick Suskind - Perfume)
(Bernand Shlink - The reader)
(Father and Son - Larry Brown)
Crooked Hearts - Robert Boswell
She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
Postcards - E. Annie Proulx
(A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (stories) - Robert Olen Butler)
(Defiance - Carole Maso)
(Being Dead - Jim Crace)
(And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos, by John Berger)
(Holy the Firm, Annie Dillard)
(Bear Attacks--Their Causes and Avoidance, by Stephen Herrero)
Desert Notes--Reflections in the Eye of a Raven, by Barry Lopez
River Notes--The Dance of Herons, by Barry Lopez

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald
Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
The House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus
(The Last of the Just by Andre Schwartz-Bart)
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
(Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson)
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
(The Red Tent by Anita Diamant)
(A Bell for Adano by John Hersey)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Herzog by Saul Bellow

Add your own to the list and pass it along. My additions are:

War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
The illustrated Man - Ray Bradbury
Anton Chekhov’s Short Stories - Anton Chekhov
Roughing It - Mark Twain
A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. LeGuin
The Mistress of Spices - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyesvki
Grendel - John Gardner
A River Runs Through It and other stories - Norman Maclean
Nobody’s Fool - Richard Russo
The Worst Journey in the World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard
The Book of the Thousands Nights and a Night - translated by Sir Richard F. Burton

And now, it's my turn to be "IT". I'm tagging:
Michaela Gabriel
Ginger Hamilton Caudill
Patricia Parkinson
Anne Bauer

Friday, April 21, 2006

Into Blue

Originally uploaded by antiguan.

Into Blue

When these grey days finally melt
and I look overhead
to see the ceiling of my world dissolve,
then I too will dissipate into blue.
I will feel my arms and legs disjoin
at the shoulders and the hips,
will set my eyes toward the azure sky
and let my head fall back
to float on the liquid pillow
of an emerald sea.

I will ride the embrace of summer’s tide
until winter washes me ashore once more.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Portland Yarn Crawl, Part 2

After finally tearing ourselves away from the Yarn Garden, we stopped at P.F. Chang's and gathered our strength over a delicious lunch. Despite being just a half-block across the street from Powell's City of Books, we maintained our yarny focus and headed a few blocks south to Knit-Purl.

Knit-Purl is a decidedly hip, sophisticated, and urbane yarn shop. In fact, it may be best thought of as a yarn boutique. While all of the other shops we visited carried a mix of luxury yarns and everyday fibers, Knit-Purl emphasizes the higher end of the yarn spectrum. They had an entire wall of absolutely gorgeous sock yarns in a variety of colors I wouldn't have believed possible. The hand-dyed Socks that Rock by Blue Moon Fiber Arts was especially tempting, but I couldn't in good conscience justify purchasing any more sock yarn (for now - but I'll be back, no doubt).

Overall, the prices here were a bit higher than we'd seen elsewhere, and the atmosphere was less relaxed and inviting than the other shops. In the end, we came away from Knit-Purl without buying anything, but with a profound sense of awe at the many beautiful yarns on display.

Our final stop of the day was Lint, situated a little off the beaten track in the Pearl District. By the time we got there, it was late in the day, we were pretty tired. We thought we'd give it a quick once over and head home.

As it turned out, Lint was probably my favorite shop! It was extremely cozy and inviting, with just enough yarn to keep us occupied, but not so much as to be overwhelming. They even had yarn I'd never seen anywhere else, including our four previous stops of the day. Their pattern selection was pretty extensive and there was a comfy little corner with sofa and chairs to sit and relax while looking at them.

Harriet was delighted by their display of knitted cupcakes. Lint offers a wide range of classes, including the Cupcakes Workshop with Leigh Radford, whose book One Skein was just published.

I got a lovely v-neck, short sleeved shirt pattern here, as well as a single skein of Star by Classic Elite Yarns. This yarn is 99% cotton and 1% lycra, so it has the most wonderful stretch and shape retention. If it knits up half as well as I think it will, I'll be making myself a t-shirt with it.

The Knitting Bee
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my LYS, The Knitting Bee, even though it wasn't part of our yarn crawl. After seeing so many other shops, I have an even greater appreciation for this store. They have a big selection of yarns in a well-ordered, bright, and very welcoming environment. They have plenty of patterns and books to look at, a sofa and chairs to sit in, a large table for classes in the back, and even toys for little ones to play with while mommy shops.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


It's been very quiet on the submission front lately - one or two rejections in the last few weeks despite having many, many things out. I'm hoping that's a good sign.

I've just finished my fourth round of 30 poems in 30 days. I can't believe I've written 120 poems. Wow! I'm taking a break from the daily poems for a while to concentrate on revision. I've got poems (obviously), flashes and short stories, and my NaNoWriMo novel all begging to be revised and polished.

Here's a cento I wrote using lines from war poems by Graham, Auden, Crane, Neruda, Mikhail, Homer, Amichai, Lowell, Celan:

Would you prefer for someone else's son to die in the mud?

Outlaws fill the mountain caves,
little souls who thirst for fight.
Come and see the blood –
it works with unparalleled diligence!
Grief has you by the hair with one;
behind all this perhaps some great happiness is hiding
or the blessèd break.
We scoop out a grave in the sky where it’s roomy to lie.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006

First socks

First socks
Originally uploaded by Sharon Hurlbut.

I finished my first pair of socks! These are for Emma. Kate gets a pair next, and I can't wait to make some for myself.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Portland Yarn Crawl, Part 1

This past Sunday, my friend Harriet and I spent the entire day visiting yarn stores in Portland. It was great to be out as two adults with no children in tow and no husbands shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot by the door. We could fondle the yarn as long as we wanted, pore over pattern books, and generally take our own sweet time without any guilt. Here's where we went:

The Naked Sheep Knit Shop
This was our first stop of the day, and since it was fairly early for a Sunday, we were pleasantly surprised to find several people, including one apparently knowledgeable gentleman, knitting in comfy chairs at the front of the shop. It was a small store, but it held a lot and was very bright inside. The selection was quite good, with a large variety of yarns I'd never seen before, all arranged neatly in bins and a few baskets. The prices were reasonable and they had several binders of patterns. I got a sock pattern and some Fixation yarn, which is 98.3% cotton and 1.7% elastic. It should make for some very stretchy and comfortable socks.

Mabel's Cafe and Knittery.
Our second stop was a funky, homey sort of shop. Although advertised as a cafe as well as yarn shop, we were a bit disappointed to find that Mabel's only offered coffee and a limited danish selection. Of the stores we visited, this one had the smallest selection of yarn, but they still had some interesting varieties. I got a vibrant skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in Lorikeet which I think will be enough to make a pair of socks for myself as well as both Emma and Kate. I also got two MinnowKnits patterns, one to make a dress for Kate and one for a sweet t-shirt for both girls.

Yarn Garden
The Yarn Garden was a revelation. It was a sprawling store stuffed with yarn in room after room. We were both overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of yarn and felt a little giddy with the beauty of it all. Like Mabel's, the Yarn Garden offers drinks (coffee, tea, italian soda) and baked goods (cupcakes, cookies, bagels, crumpets), though their selection was considerably larger. We had a brief snack to fortify ourselves before venturing into the extensive shelves of yarn. If you're looking for a particular yarn in the Portland area, Yarn Garden is almost sure to have it. I found some Noro Lily, a 70% cotton, 30% silk blend that I'd been looking for and bought a skein to test swatch for a shawl. Yarn Garden also had an entire room devoted to books, patterns, needles, and other tools. With a large table in the center of the room, it's easy to sit down and look through patterns for hours here.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Update: Writing, Knitting, Life

Today marks day 21 of my fourth round of writing 30 poems in 30 days. Now that I'm well entrenched in the habit, I simply cannot stop. It's extremely freeing to write daily, because the pressure of so much quantity removes the pressure of producing quality writing, and that allows for some surprising and occasionally superb results. It's a great way to shut down that internal editor.

I've got almost 100 stories/poems out on submission at the moment, as well as several stories ready to submit and probably 2 or 3 dozen poems ready to go. My husband has created a database for me that will allow me to track submissions and do cool things with the data. Of course, that's assuming I ever find the time to input all my info from the spreadsheet I've been using for the past three years!

In my knitting life, I made an adorable bluebell flower fairy dress-up outfit for Kate and am working on one for Emma. There will also be rose fairy outfits at some point. I'm on the second half of my first pair of socks (for Emma) and I bought some nice stripey sock yarn in Idaho to make a couple of pairs for myself. I also have the yarn and filler to make knitted bunnies for both girls. Guess I'd better get busy since Easter is barely a week away!

After being sick for most of March with a nasty virus that just wouldn't quit, I'm finally feeling much, much better. Of course, now Kate's got a viral infection, but she's not too sick and is a real trooper. Emma's class just reported its second case of strep throat for the spring, so I'm crossing my fingers we can escape unscathed.

That's a thumbnail sketch of my life at the moment. What's up in yours?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Emma and Kate Visit the Snow-Covered Mountains

Emma and Kate Visit the Snow-Covered Mountains

Evergreen trees are paintbrushes
dipped in white
and swished across the sky,
dabbing clouds onto a blue canvas.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Don't Miss These

Just got home from a week in Idaho for Spring Break. We had a good time (more about that later), but it feels great to be home again.

Did you miss the latest issue of NOÖ Journal? Check it out.

How about Katie Weekley's column in the latest Moondance: Cheeseskate?

Antonio Maltezos' flash The Sea Witch is up this week at Salome.

Looking for some good poetry? Try Tilt.

The current issue of Red River Review features poems on The State of Our Nation, including a fine series of haiku by Nathan McClain.

And if you haven't read it yet, get over to TravelBlogs and check out P.A. Moed's essay on the Passeggiata in Siena, Italy.