Saturday, November 3, 2012

Writing Projects and a New Gun

First of all, thank you for all the birthday wishes via Facebook and text messaging. And thank you to my family for all the wonderful presents and most of all a great big thank you to my dear husband Mikey for planning a fun weekend to celebrate my birthday.

The months of October, November and December are big months for me and my family because October we have our wedding anniversary and then my birthday and majority of my side of the family have their birthdays in October. November is another big month because Mikey's side of the family has their birthdays in November. And then you have Thanksgiving then Christmas for December.

The Saturday before my birthday, Mikey and I went to the Denver Zoo then we had a late lunch at Cinzzetti's, an Italian buffet restaurant in Denver then my in-laws treated us out to Sunday lunch at Pappadeux Seafood Kitchen, also in Denver. Mikey got me a Takumi Clover Soft Touch Crochet Hook Set that was top of my wish list and of course, I couldn't help but immediately customize the case it came with.


Another very much wanted and appreciated present was a Knit Picks yarn scale and a really cute small project bag from Liberty Avenue Bags, all these from my brother-in-law and his lovely wife. So guess what I did when I had a free moment? You guessed it right, I updated my yarn stash on Ravelry with the correct yardage thanks to the handy dandy Yarn Scale! Luckily I don't have a huge yarn stash like Tina of the KnittingBlooms podcast among others or else I'll have a problem.

I haven't been knitting much because I am learning (or more accurately, teaching myself) to crochet (again). And this time, I made a pair of fingerless gloves and though they didn't come out as perfect as photos shown in the book does, I use them a lot. I only hope I improve with time and practice.

My next attempt at crochet was Bear In A Jiff but it didn't turn out well. So I threw that out, didn't even bother to frog it since it's made out of Lily's Sugar 'n Cream yarn in the Strawberry colorway. As for Knooking, I'm giving up on that one. I am completely hopeless with a hook. Good thing knitters still use different sized crochet hooks to weave in ends and for emergencies. So I'm covered in that area.

I think I'm going to try sewing a project bag/purse as soon as the basement is clear of debris from scraping the popcorn off the ceiling.

During this knitting break, I am back to adding words to my various writing projects and hopefully I'll be able to finish a children's story, the second in the Fairy and the Gnome series that I am collaborating with my husband, Mikey (he gives me the ideas and the plot and I write it down in narrative format). I am quite positive I'll be able to write more because I'll be able to bring my iPad to work. I wasn't able to bring my iPad to work before and was typing out my stories on my iPhone because Mikey gets home earlier than I do and he uses my iPad to watch Netflix/Hulu videos while he runs on the treadmill. But all that will change because since his birthday is in a couple days, I got him the iPad 4 mainly for this purpose and I also ordered a Bamboo Wacom Solo stylus pen so he can draw/sketch on his iPad and hopefully, he'll get so good at drawing maybe, he'll be able to do the illustrations for my children's books.

So for November, which is also NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month), I probably won't be doing a lot of knitting (which I already feel bad about). Wish me lots of inspiration.

On a completely different note, Mikey got me a gun! It is a Ruger LCR .22 LR and I love it!

Today's Target
I knew it was coming because sometime last month, we went to a shooting party at his friend's house/property and the next day, I got to try to shoot the Sig Sauer P238. I didn't care for the recoil and I didn't care for the fact that the pistol jammed three times and I thought to myself that though it is a really great gun for women to conceal carry, I don't like the idea of having to pull the slider back to shoot especially if an attacker is right in front of me and my gun happens to be in my purse. So I looked around some more for other small sized guns and I found the 8-shot Ruger LCR .22 LR. Mikey got that for me and as of writing, I've gone through 100 rounds on my first shooting trip at the range and I love how minimal the recoil is. The only problem I encountered while at the range is that I had trouble pushing down on the eject rod to unload the cylinder of empty rounds. It sometimes felt stuck. I am not sure if this is a known issue or maybe I just need to break it in or something. Another issue I had is the heavy trigger. I had to pull the trigger with two index fingers (well, considering I weight 100lbs if my size matters). Mikey and I are thinking of sending it over to a gun smith and have the trigger altered to be a bit more lighter if that is possible. I love the feel and weight of this gun in my small hands and most of all (once I get my conceal carry permit), I love the idea that I can shoot it directly from inside my purse without having to deal with a safety and a slider if an attacker approaches me.

As embarrassing as it is to admit this, my first shoot with my LCR at the range last Sunday, I was such a terrible shot, I think I only got 10-15 rounds that actually hit the target out of 100 rounds. But today, I'd like to think I am getting better because I was able to actually get more rounds at the target and towards the end of it, I was able to control my breathing, improved my sights and I was able to focus rounds on certain areas of the target. Thanks to wonderful tips from our friend! They were very helpful indeed and I am so proud of today's accomplishments and I can't wait for next weekend so I can go shooting again!

Books I've Read Since Last Blog Post
• Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
• Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - 10/3/12
• Divine Evil by Nora Roberts - 10/8/12
• The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory - 10/7/12
• Defending Jacob by William Landay - 10/17/12
• The Ugly Duchess (Fairy Tales, #4) by Eloisa James - 10/11/12
• Lives of the Writers: Comedies, Tragedies (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull and Kathryn Hewitt - 10/12/12
• Wings (Wings, #1) by Aprilynne Pike - 10/16/12
• Spells (Wings #2) by Aprilynne Pike - 10/24/12
• A Kiss At Midnight (Fairy Tales, #1) by Eloisa James - 10/26/12

Currently Reading
• Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

Finished Objects
• Louie the Lovebot by Rebecca Danger x 2 for Rachel

• Pink Haze Fingerless Gloves


• Deborah's Gnome Baby

Currently Knitting/Crocheting
• None due to NANOWRIMO

Product Reviews
• Small Project Bag by Liberty Avenue Bags - this bag is very ideal for sock knitting or any small projects or for any one skein/ball project. It has 2 yarn guides (perfect for 2-colors colorwork projects), a crochet hook pocket and a notions pocket on the inside. It has a wrist strap to easily carry the bag and knit on the go. If you are one to tote around a really large purse, this bag can definitely fit in there. It is made of sturdy, durable fabric and the closure is secured by snap buttons and I just love the design on the front. Overall, I highly recommend this project bag. I love it and it is awesome!

• Knit Picks Yarn Scale - this item is exclusively sold by KnitPicks, battery operated, lightweight, has a handy conversion chart at the back for different types of yarn weights, unit of measurement is either in ounces (oz) or in grams (g). This is a very handy tool for yarn crafters as it helps in determining the yardage of a finished project and left over yarns and if you need to divide a skein of yarn in half (like when you're knitting two at a time socks). I am very pleased with having this handy tool.


Announcements

Just in case, I would like to share the blogs and/or podcasts I'm really enjoying which are also listed on the side bar...and these are in the order I discovered them...hope you'll enjoy them too!

• 2 Knit Lit Chicks
• Never Not Knitting
• The Writing Show
• Books On The Nightstand
• Knit Me Happy
• Knitting Blogcast
• Blooming Knitter
• Knit 1 Geek 2
• Just One More Row
• That's Write
• The Foodie Knitter
• Knitabulls Podcast
• Ladies of the Knit
• Robinz Nest
• The Book Pod
• Your Weekly Zen
• Life Coach and Author Sheri Kaye Hoff

Sunday, September 30, 2012

[Book Review] Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Everyone in my office is raving about how good and funny this book is... To be honest, I am not an erotica genre fan but I thought I'd give it a try... I am not liking this book as much as my officemates do but at least I am not hating it as much as I hated Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. This book is more annoying than enjoyable and as much as I would like to just put this down and never finish it like I did with ELIC, I'm a couple pages away from the end so I'll just suffer through this and I won't even bother reading the next 2 books in this series.

Thank God I am finally done with this stupid book! I can honestly say that I am appalled that there are actually women out there who think and feel that Christian Grey is the ultimate romantic hero. I don't think so! Who in their right minds would want to be controlled like a puppet on strings at all times, have no say at what to eat, drink, wear, where to work, what music to listen to, among other things? Who in their right minds would want to be physically and mentally abused, stalked and raped? Christian Grey seriously needs to be locked up.

As for Ana Steele, she's a stupid, annoying, spineless idiot. A perfect example of what women should not be. I was a virgin when I got married 3 years ago when I was 28 and thank God, I was not like Ana with all of her "Oh my", "Holy craps", "Subconscious" and "Inner Goddess" shit. No sane, mature woman above the age of 18 with or without sexual experience have thoughts as immature as Ana does. Virgin or not, if you don't like to do something, you don't feel confused about it. If you don't like it, you don't. End of discussion. And when you say no, it means no and and if Grey still forces himself on you (like he always does to Ana), you either slap them hard, or knee them and walk away, not go with the bastard complacently and then try to bear the abuse. And how on earth does a college graduate go through college without having a computer (even a beat up old desktop) especially in the 21st century? Or use the library's computers? Ana is probably just as delusional as Grey himself and needs help.

As for E.L.James, she needs to read more high quality romances (since she is claiming to be a romance writer) and learn from great romance authors, she needs to expand her vocabulary (hence the read more advice), her characters need to have more depth to them and the plot line could do better.

Not to judge the author by her first crappy book, but I really and seriously hope her other works after the Fifty Shades trilogy will be a better and much, much more improved version of her current writing skills.

View all my reviews

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Music, Writing & Knitting


It has been an awfully long time since the last blog post and I'm sorry for that. There's been some ups and downs on reading and knitting and I have rediscovered my love of playing music. Before I moved to Colorado in 2009, I played the piano regularly and it's been 3 years since that I haven't played the piano and I'm starting to miss that. I know it is not the same but lucky for me, I had the foresight to bring my recorder along with me. It all happened when after almost a month hiatus from reading (that was after I read Unfinished Business by Nora Roberts and I had no idea what to read next), I was gripped by the sudden and alarming realization that I'm starting to forget how to play a lot of songs on the piano and one of them was my version of Pachelbel's Canon in D that came from two or three different scores. Back in 2007 when I first put it together, I was just too lazy to write it down and save the sheet music, thinking that I'll never forget it as long as I have an audio recording of it. That was a bad idea. So with that alarming realization, I quickly downloaded the Finale Notepad and started plugging in the notes while listening to the audio recording. It was hard work! Luckily it was one of those days where inspiration was at work so I was working away from 9am till 6pm just to get the basics down. The score is not complete yet, but for now, I'm done with it until I can get a hold of a piano and then I can plug in additional notations to the score. As for the recorder, I need more practice on it. I've been trying to learn how to play the recorder for almost a year now on and off and watching a couple of professional recorder players (like Michala Petri, Giovanni Antonini, Il Giardino Armonico, among others) on YouTube are pretty inspiring for me to give my recorder and me another chance at it.

On to other stuff... I got an email announcement about a YA short story writing contest and I was thinking of participating and if I do ever finish writing the short story that I started, this will be my first writing contest ever. I used to write a lot of fiction back in high school and though they're probably crappy pieces of fiction, two teachers were very encouraging and they inspire me to write and keep honing my fiction writing skills. So big thanks to Ms. Ruth Detera (my journalism teacher and advisor to the High School paper when I was one of the contributing writers) and to Mrs. Peneyro (my English teacher). Thanks to Facebook, I'm able to find Ms. Detera and hopefully I'll be able to reconnect with her (I hope she still remembers me). As for Mrs. Peneyro, I hope she's doing well and I'm hoping her son, a friend of mine, would give me her email address. Anyway, with Twilight, Fifty Shades, and Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close out in the market and very popular despite the poor writing skills of the authors, I now have the courage to continue writing my most promising fiction (I would like to think that I have considerably improved as a fiction writer compared to my first work), and submit it to agents. I'm hoping to get an agent from the Writer's House in New York. Let's see where this journey will lead to. I'm still afraid of receiving rejection letters in the mail (hence I haven't submitted any) and my worst fear is that I might stop writing altogether or what if, I ran out of stories to write? Or what if my imagination runs dry? Scary thoughts but I guess that's why I have this blog and books and most of all knitting to keep me calm and inspired.

I am somewhat proud of my first works of fiction because of the time and effort I put in it and it was a way for me to escape my reality in high school and I am warning you that if you do check them out, it might be really crappy but I would love to hear your comments on them, good or bad, so that I may continue to improve on my writing. I will hopefully be able to update Haunted House soon (it is almost done) and I'm also hoping to upload my current writing project soon as well. You guys can read my fiction works at: http://www.fictionpress.com/~mgcamacho

Books I've Read Since Last Blog Post
• One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (audiobook)
• Dyer Consequences by Maggie Sefton
• Skein of the Crime by Maggie Sefton
• The Initiation and The Captive (The Secret Circle, Books 1&2) by L.J. Smith
• The Captive II and The Power (The Secret Circle, Books 2&3) by L.J. Smith
• The Divide (The Secret Circle, Book 4) by L.J. Smith
• Unfinished Business by Nora Roberts

Currently Reading
• Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Finished Objects
•Scalloped Table Runner by Amy Stender
• Baby Gnome by Tonya from Plain & Joyful Living Blog
• Hearts Seamless Phone Sock with Strap - my original design
• Modified Berroco Kluster Crochet Hook Case
• Louie the Lovebot by Rebecca Danger
• Miracle Scarf by Rick Mondragon

Currently Knitting/Crocheting
• Fingerless Gloves
• Louie The Lovebot x 2 for Rachel (almost done)

Product Reviews
Clover Soft Touch Crochet Hook

  • Simply the best crochet hooks out there
  • Very comfortable to use especially for extended periods

The Knook by Leisure Arts

  • Fun to learn
  • The book has instructions for right-handed & left-handed knookers
  • Very fidly especially if the stitches are too tight
  • A great way to transition from crochet to knitting and vice versa


Announcements

Just in case, I would like to share the blogs and/or podcasts I'm really enjoying which are also listed on the side bar...and these are in the order I discovered them...hope you'll enjoy them too!

• 2 Knit Lit Chicks
• Never Not Knitting
• The Writing Show
• Books On The Nightstand
• Knit Me Happy
• Knitting Blogcast
• Blooming Knitter
• Knit 1 Geek 2
• Just One More Row
• That's Write
• The Foodie Knitter
• Knitabulls Podcast
• Ladies of the Knit


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lifelines And A New Appreciation For My iPad 2

Last weekend, I started to knit the scalloped table runner by Amy Stender and it has some sort of lacy pattern to it. As you all know, I haven't done any lace work and this will be my first encounter with yarn overs. On top of that, I found myself signing up for the Knit Me Happy Ravleympics team and at that time, I was thinking of knitting up a lacy scarf or a toy, or 3 pairs of socks. What on earth was I thinking? I am a monogamous knitter and I don't see how this will work! I do have different sized needles and I'm sure one of them will be the right size for the lacy scarf that I am thinking of doing or I could do socks. Anyway, before I start to panic about the Ravelympics, I have to focus on getting as much done on the scalloped table runner that I am knitting for my mother in law as a christmas present while Ravelympics hasn't started yet.

I am now using a lifeline in this project. The pattern is not that hard or confusing so you're probably asking why am I using a lifeline? Well, this project got to a point where it got so frustrating I was frogging it three bloody times! Why? Because, every time I finish a couple of rows and count the stitches, it doesn't match up with the pattern. It is like stitches magically appear and multiply themselves. So, after frogging for the third and final time, I decided to cut a piece of white cotton yarn and use that as a lifeline and every row thereafter, I counted my stitches just to be sure. On the printed pattern, I even wrote in pencil how many stitches each finished row has. So far, so good. I haven't done any major frogging yet and I might've missed a yarn over or two when I am not paying close attention to my knitting. So it is going great now.

Another thing to be happy about is my new appreciation for the iPad 2 that I sort of abandoned and deemed a semi productive gadget that I have. When I first got my iPad, I really liked it for email, face time, and simple web surfing and a couple of games. Then I got my iPhone 4S and my iPad was forgotten and never used so I wiped it. The only thing that's keeping me from selling it off is the fact that this iPad will be a really good tool to teach a child how to read, write and count, so I kept it. At that time, I was looking to get myself the 11-inch MacBook Air. But comparing the Air against the iPad, I realized, the only thing different is the bigger memory on the Air, the longer batter life on the iPad, and the built in physical keyboard on the Air. Other than that, it is almost very similar to the iPad. On top of that, I noticed that everyone I know who owns an iPad really loves it to the point where they don't or rarely use their computers or laptops anymore. And lately, a lot of the knitting pod casters that I listen to got themselves the iPad and they're loving it especially with the knit companion app, making knitting patterns more digital and Eco-friendly with the use of less paper.

So I thought about the Air and the iPad again and decided to give my iPad 2 another chance to redeem itself and get itself out of this love-hate relationship that's been going on between us. So this week, I wiped the iPad again because it has my husband's information and stuff on it since he borrowed it to try reading on iBooks and I downloaded a bunch of productivity apps like Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie and Adobe Reader and so far, I am liking it better. It still bugs me how it is so hard and frustrating to navigate on some websites when you are viewing the desktop version on the iPad to update settings that are not available on the mobile version but I am glad I gave my iPad another chance. So I am happy about that.

Books I've Read Last Week

• Demon Seed by Dean Koontz
• Immortal by PC Cast, et. al.
• A Deadly Yarn by Maggie Sefton

Currently Reading

• None

Finished Objects

• Wheat Ear Cable Cell Phone Sock for the Nokia Asha 300

Currently Knitting

• Scalloped Table Runner by Amy Stender (slightly modified)

Announcements

Just in case, I would like to share the blogs and/or podcasts I'm really enjoying which are also listed on the side bar...and these are in the order I discovered them...hope you'll enjoy them too!

• 2 Knit Lit Chicks
• Never Not Knitting
• The Writing Show
• Books On The Nightstand
• Knit Me Happy
• Knitting Blogcast
• Blooming Knitter
• Knit 1 Geek 2
• Just One More Row
• That's Write
• The Foodie Knitter
• Knitabulls Podcast

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Socks, Paints And Words

Some time between now and the last blog post, I have finally finished my socks!




Yay for me! While I'm really proud of finishing something that I can actually wear that's not scratchy (like my first scarf), I think I can do better on my next pair, like maybe making it a bit more snug. Now I know why a lot of people are addicted to knitting socks. I'm also extra happy to know that the yarn I got for my sock projects (super wash merino) did very well in the washing machine and dryer along with other clothes and that the dye/color did not run (unlike the Lily brand yarns). I know in an earlier blog I mentioned about practicing on my cabling skills but sad to say, I got sidetracked by my obsession on circular needle cases and while I do have a temporary case (a 6-inch plastic file case) which works fine for now.

I'm still wanting a more permanent case for my beloved needles and being the stubborn person that I am, I thought I'd try to knit one up myself instead of buying a really expensive case (I'm currently obsessing on the Della Q Theo Secure - in red or pink if they'll ever have a pink one)
and so that's what I'm currently working on. Oh and while I'm ambidextrous, I am knitting right handed and I thought I'd learn how to knit left handed. Thanks to video tutorials on CyberSeams, I was able to do it and I've been practicing my left handed knitting skills. I'm sure it will come in handy for when I finally teach my left handed friend at work how to knit.

Also, I have been practicing on my watercolor painting skills. I was really happy to be picking up my paints and brushes again after close to two years of watercolor hiatus.


I have also started writing again sadly on new projects - Children's stories this time. I still write poetry when inspiration strikes (which is rare in between) and I do have plans of finishing off the stories that I've started a very long time ago. I'm not sure about submitting or publishing those stories because I think they're not good enough for public consumption. I'm sure my well-meaning friends would say otherwise. Either way, I would love to have a successful writing career but for now, I'm happy with just honing my skills and discovering what I would love to write for: adults, kids, teens, fantasy, or romances? It's really hard to pick at the moment.


Books I've Read Last Week:

• A Kiss Of Fate (Guardians #1) by Mary Jo Putney
• Stolen Magic (Guardians #2) by Mary Jo Putney
• Return to Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux
• A Distant Magic (Guardians #3) by Mary Jo Putney
• Needled To Death (Knitting Mystery #2) by Maggie Sefton

Currently Reading:

• Demon Seed by Dean Koontz

Finished Objects:

• Socks

Currently Knitting:

• Circular Needle Case

Announcements:

Just in case, I would like to share the blogs and/or podcasts I'm really enjoying which are also listed on the side bar...and these are in the order I discovered them...hope you'll enjoy them too!

• 2 Knit Lit Chicks
• Never Not Knitting
• The Writing Show
• Books On The Nightstand
• Knit Me Happy
• Knitting Blogcast
• Blooming Knitter
• Knit 1 Geek 2
• Just One More Row
• That's Write

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monster Sock, Baby Sock and Frogging

Since the last post, I was knitting along with the video tutorial hosted by Kelley of Knit Picks and my sample sock turned out to be this monstrous, shapeless sock that has nothing to do with the tutorial but most likely due to my lack of sock knitting ability and the fact that I used my practice yarn: worsted weight 100% cotton.

So with the left over cotton yarn that I used to create the monster sock, I decided to try to crochet a sock with another YouTube video tutorial and due to running out of yarn, it ended up looking like a baby sock that some mindless idiot made.

After the disastrous pair of mismatched socks, I was still excited to try this whole sock knitting thing. It's supposed to be really easy, and it's supposed to go fast, right? I wish! I had to frog it twice now because the first time I had to frog it was because I forgot that I was supposed to decrease the gusset every other row. The second time I frogged it was -- guess what? -- I forgot to completely decrease on the gusset. Talk about super duper frustration. I was ready to toss in the towel and call it quits -- at least until I'm calm enough and a lot more ready to take on the joy of knitting socks.

But now I am back with five rows done and hopefully I'll stay focused long enough to remember to do the decrease on the gusset and actually finish the socks.

Now on to the Books I've Read Last Week:

• City of Night by Dean Koontz
• Dead and Alive by Dean Koontz
• Knitting Diaries by Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery, & Christina Skye
• The Marriage Spell by Mary Jo Putney
• Island of Lost Girls by Jennifer McMahon
• The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux

Currently Reading:

• A Kiss Of Fate (Guardians #1) by Mary Jo Putney
• Stolen Magic (Guardians #2) by Mary Jo Putney
• Return to Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux

Currently Knitting:

• Still trying to get my socks right

Wish me luck! Lots and lots of luck and tons of patience! LOL! ;-)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

No More Blankets... At Least For Now

Yay! I am finally done! After 4 months and 1 week I have finally finished my first ever blanket that I made for my husband, Mikey. So I really hope he'll use this blanket instead of my brown blanket.

Now I am moving on to sock knitting using the magic loop technique. So excited!

Anyway, I think this blog needs to be more organized so here goes:

Books I Read Last Week:

• Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire
• Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
• Knit One, Kill Two (A Knitting Mystery #1) by Maggie Sefton
• A Good Yarn (Blossom Street Series) by Debbie Macomber

Books I'm Currently Reading:

• City of Night (Frankenstein #2) by Dean Koontz
• Knitting Diaries by Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery, Christina Skye

That goes for the book talk... As for the knitting part...

So far, I am one of those knitters who knit only one project at a time (at least for now). For the last four months, I have been knitting up this blanket for my husband and finally it is done! I am not blocking it and I have no intention of blocking it. I am washing my hands off of this blanket. At least for now, no more big projects like that for me.

Current Knitting Projects:

• Socks

This is my first time trying out the magic loop technique and thanks in advance to Kelley's Sock Class video tutorial from the Knit Pick library for making sock knitting look really easy. Of all the sock knitting videos on YouTube, Kelley's sock class videos were the easiest to understand and I hope, now that I am ready with my size 3 circular and practice yarn (I do have a sock weight yarn on standby) I'm hoping that following along this video tutorial would be a breeze.

I am so looking forward to knitting myself and my husband some socks that fits better than the store bought socks that we currently have.

This is it for now and enjoy knitting with a good book!



Saturday, February 25, 2012

V-Day, Bad Day

This year's Valentine's day celebration for me and my husband Mike has been weird and a bit sad to say the least.

A really sad day because V-day was the day we buried my aunt. Auntie Elvie died on Feb. 3, 2012 at 7:20pm due to a single roll over car accident on I-80 on their way to Reno. Uncle Cecilio was driving at that time and I really pray and hope he doesn't continue to blame himself for this tragic accident due to the right rear tire blowing out. I also pray that his pain would lessen in time and that he'll be comforted with the thought that Auntie Elvie at least did not suffer much. Her bright and cheerful personality, her generous and loving heart will be greatly missed by everyone who was blessed to know her.

On the weird side of all this, my dear husband Mike wanted to take me to a Build-a-Bear workshop so I can pick and dress a bear as my valentine present. I feel bad because even though I appreciate the thought, I actually asked if I could change it to something related to knitting, like maybe a circular needle case that I've been obsessing about until now. He was really nice about it and so today, I got to pick my very belated Valentine's present: a 29" US 3 Clover Takumi Bamboo circular needle, 2 skeins of Premium Yarns Serenity Sock Weight yarn in Hot Pink (as I'm going to try my hand at sock knitting), and a box of Boye Jumbo Stitch Markers.

I'm really excited to finally see the end of my current WIP so I can move on and practice on doing cables then I'll be learning how to knit myself some gloriously pink socks!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

[Book Review] Ryan's Return by Barbara Freethy

Ryan's Return
Barbara Freethy
ISBN: 9781452472669
Price: $4.99
315 pages, eBook Edition
Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4/5
Review Date: Jan. 22, 2012


Ryan's Return by Barbara Freethy is actually our book club selection for April 2012 and I was surprised at why I haven't read any of her books before now.

Famous photojournalist Ryan Hunter has come back to a family torn apart by mistrust and resentment, to the father who disowned him, to the brother who betrayed him, to the little boy who shares his features. Ryan, the charismatic "bad boy" son, has returned'stirring up past conflicts like a whirlwind . . . and throwing Kara Delaney's fragile, passionate heart into turmoil.

. . . and love is Waiting

Kara has struggled back from a disastrous marriage to build a new life for herself and her little girl—a peaceful existence now jeopardized by vicious, smalltown politics, by her daughter's fanciful ghost stories... and by Ryan's return. Now nature's impending fury threatens to expose long-buried secrets. And Kara must join with the enigmatic, misunderstood Ryan-to discover the truth that will save their families ... and to explore a dangerous, irresistible love as mighty and enduring as the onrushing river.

Like any small town, Serenity Springs is shall we say, on the brink of progress or stagnation and it could go either way depending on its residents. Of course, one group embraces progress in order to rebuild their town and to boost local businesses. And there are those who firmly believe that keeping the town as small as it is would help save the town from becoming a ghost town in the near future. Kara Delaney believes that the two opposing groups can compromise if only they would let go of what happened in the past and look to the future with an open mind.

On top of the issue of progress or stagnation, Ryan's Return also deals with the question: What makes a parent - nature or nurture? Is being emotionally unavailable to your child enough to be called father or does being loving and caring to someone else's child makes someone more of a father?

And the ultimate question that Ryan's Return poses for Ryan, Kara, Jonas, and Andrew is this: Are you willing to give up your life, your home, your lifestyle to be with someone you love?

To conclude this review, I truly enjoyed reading this book as Barbara Freethy in Ryan's Return effectively captures the beauty of a quiet, peaceful little town that is Serenity Springs. Ms. Freethy also has successfully managed to bring to life memorable characters that continue to live on the pain of their past, not fully realizing what they are missing in the present, coming to terms with their loss, and finally finding redemption, forgiveness, happiness, love and a family of their own in the arms of the one they truly love.

[Book Review] The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol
Dan Brown
ISBN: 978-0-385-53313-3
Price: $9.99
571 pages, eBook Edition
Rating: 5/5
Review Date: Jan. 22, 2012


I first got drawn to the world of Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code and was eagerly looking forward to reading The Lost Symbol but sad to say, it's been so long since I added this title to my mental to-read list that I actually forgot about it. I'm being more organized now as I have updated my goodreads.com bookshelves to better track all the books I've read and to-read.

In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world's most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling--a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths . . . all under the watchful eye of Brown's most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object --artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation . . . one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist --is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations--all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown's novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown's fans have been waiting for . . . his most thrilling novel yet.

The opening line, "The secret is how to die" already grabs your attention, pulls you into the story with the question "Who is going to die and why is he chanting the phrase over and over?"; making you want to read more.

Following the tradition of the other two books, The Lost Symbol is ripe with mysticism, symbols, ancient Masonic secrets and baffling codes delivered in a very graphic, fast paced prose.

To conclude this review, I highly enjoyed it as much as all of Dan Brown's other works and The Lost Symbol, with many references to the Bible, makes me want to re-read and do an in-depth study of the Bible and understand the secrets to a bountiful life contained in its pages.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

[Book Review] Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Jonathan Safran Foer
ISBN: 9780547416212
Price: $7.03
368 pages, eBook Edition
Fiction
Rating: 1/5
Review Date: Jan. 17, 2012


Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.

This book was selected for our first office book club meeting and sad to say... I give up on trying to finish this book. It doesn't make any sense to me and it is forever confusing me as to who is speaking. I can't get into the story and the story line doesn't flow as smoothly as I had originally thought. Another issue I had with this book is how depressing and disturbing the characters are. If this is a normal first person point of view book, where the chapters are clearly labeled as to who's point of view that chapter is about, I might probably try to finish this book despite its depressing and disturbing characters and their story.