29 November 2007

Books are good for the soul

Yesterday I went with Rachel, Jackie, and Mindy (librarian for the Patients' Library at the UIHC) to deliver books to the kids at the hospital. It was so much fun to see kids who really have little to smile about light up because they get to choose a book to keep. Or two or three because we had so many. I hope we get to do that again before Christmas comes.

Speaking of the book drive, we need more teen/adult books because a lot of patients are not little kids right now (5 copies of Eragon don't stretch very far). So if you read this blog, and you shop at the Coralville B&N, please donate a book for a teen/young adult to our book drive. Heck, if you shop at any B&N please donate a book or two - a number of stores are partnered with Head Start-type organizations and could really use the help.

Scrooge really is right: you need to keep Christmas in your heart and practice it all year round (who wants to tell that to the ruddy bugger who didn't want to buy a book to donate to a sick child because his taxes do that - excuse me, what?).

Current book-in-progress: I finished A Temple of Texts (ow, ow!) but I started a new book - Why We Read What We Read: A Delightfully Opinionated Journey Through Contemporary Bestsellers (it's all Kat's fault)
Current knitted item: Pretty blue sock, but I should really, really start carrying the Christmas stocking with me
Current movie obsession: Hot Fuzz

27 November 2007


I think all the muscles from my ribcage down hurt. All. The upside to having Deanna for ballet is that my joints don't hurt like they always do. She works the body much differently. I love her but I'm in pain!!!!

Turns out most of the new patients are a little squirrelly so the nurses would prefer that I not cause trouble and rile up the patients by doing surveillance swabs. I can live with that. We can wait until they're a little calmer.

My office is so cold I think my blood is freezing.

I get to play with my nieces tonight!!!

Current book-in-progress: I would be finished with A Temple of Texts if I weren't so dead-ass tired that I fall asleep right away after reading only half a page; the book is good (chapter is titled "Evil") I'm just exhausted
Current knitted item: Pretty sock!
Current movie obsession: Hot Fuzz (Angels in America part 2 is shipping from Netflix so now I can watch both back to back)

26 November 2007

Help! I've been buried by boxes!

ouhh, ouhh. Or however you spell Tim Allen grunts.

The product for one of our clinical trials arrived today. All two pallets of it. So it took three trips using the receiving dock's trolley to get it all upstairs (and part of it is in another RA's office). The receiving guys wouldn't let me use the motorized pallet driver. Meh.

If I wasn't tired after ballet class (my body thought I was kidding when I said we were going to Deanna's class today) I certainly am now. And I still have to go out and swab my new patients. And then try and find an article about red and white in Tennyson's Idylls of the King because that article is from 1967 and isn't available online through MLA or anything. And then mediate disputes on BNBC because people can't seem to behave themselves.

Who said life is dull?

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch, I am only 17 pages from being done with A Temple of Texts
Current knitted item: Second pair of socks, Christmas stockings
Current movie obsession: Hot Fuzz is hilarious!

25 November 2007

Post Holiday-blah

Survived my first Black Friday ever - the trick must be to close rather than open.

I watched the Samantha Morton/Ciaran Hinds version of Jane Eyre. I think that's my least favorite JE adaptation so far. Morton's Jane seemed very snotty, not reserved and quiet while Hinds didn't quite have enough warmth behind the gruffness. The scriptwriter needs to be flogged; Charlotte Bronte wrote plenty of decent dialogue and it needs neither updating or your own "personal touch" to be interesting.

I'm off to create a bunch of Middlemarch threads now. Come join us on BNBC.

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch
Current knitted item: Second pair of socks and I need to get cracking on the Christmas stockings
Current movie obsession: probably Hot Fuzz now

21 November 2007

Sock virgin no more

I knitted my first pair of socks. I friggin' rule! Check them out (I fixed the Chaucer damage - note to self: keep all things made of wool out of the reach of the goat-cat).

Knitted from Artyarns Supermerino (hand-painted!), color 140, these socks are warm. Mmmm, mmmmm. They do have one teensy, tiny mistake - the cuffs are knitted in two different ribs. Look carefully. One cuff is in 2x2 rib and the other is in 1x1. But who cares. My socks fit!

I also promised pictures of my vest:

And my shrug:

Both are knitted from Cascade 220 (my favorite).

In other aspects of my life, I found out that the people who ride the mid-day bus are generally very strange. Today there was a man riding with a 4 1/2 foot tall stuffed tiger. No joke. There was also a day care center that took 11 preschoolers on an outing to the Children's Museum at the mall. Via the public bus. Mental note not to use that day care once I find out who they are.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and for the first time in my life I will not be spending it with my family (or boyfriend's family). I'm going to Annie's house to spend the evening with her family and the Donelsons. Should be fun. Please think good thoughts for my parents (who are driving to Illinois as usual) and for my brother (who is working this holiday, so please don't make him scrape you up off Interstate 80).

Current book-in-progress: Mostly Middlemarch and A Temple of Texts (because I would really like to finish that; I'm currently working on some interesting commentary on Rilke's relationship with Rodin; did you know that Rodin fired Rilke, who was sort of like his social secretary, for making business decisions without speaking with Rodin first?)
Current knitted item: Second pair of socks and I need to get cracking on the Christmas stockings
Current movie obsession: Three DVDs arrived from Netflix today: Hot Fuzz, Jane Eyre (Samantha Morton version), and Angels in America: Part 1; what shall I watch??????

20 November 2007


Suskind wrote Perfume in the mid-1980s, set in 18th century France but written in German. It was recommended by the professor for my 17th century Restoration literature class because Suskind managed to convey the dirtiness of cities prior to the advent of sanitation and public health. The amazing thing about this book was how you could "read" the smells right along with Jean-Baptiste Grenouille.

I was a bit apprehensive about watching the 2006 motion picture because, well, how can you smell what you see?

It's not quite the same as reading the book but Tykwer did an amazing job with the film. It's shot beautifully and realistically, lots of close shots to follow smells, and thankfully the scent trails weren't realized as clouds or anything hokey and cartoonish. I think the casting was well done; I'd heard that some reviewers thought Dustin Hoffman was all wrong, but I think he did very well as a man who is now a caricature of his past. Ben Whishaw and Rachel Hurd-Wood were also excellent (talk about dye job on Rachel's hair, that was some red).

I also finished off Wide Sargasso Sea, a good novel but a very painful movie to watch. The only good things were the scenery and the reconstruction of Afro-Carribean dances. Otherwise Nathaniel Parker is a bit all wrong (he was Mr. Skimpole in the 2005 Bleak House BBC adaptation) and the whole movie just seems to be a vehicle for Karina Lombard to get naked all the time. Boring.

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch, The Western Canon, Idylls of the King, A Temple of Texts
Current knitted item: Second sock (Chaucer chewed on first sock so I now have to re-do the cast off for that one); I'm still stuck on this, having finishing avoidance issues
Current movie obsession: Hamlet until the Netflix shipment arrives, then Angels in America

18 November 2007


I have clean sheets and blankets. And they smell like lavender. And they're fresh from the dryer.

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch, The Western Canon, Idylls of the King, A Temple of Texts
Current knitted item: Second sock (Chaucer chewed on first sock so I now have to re-do the cast off for that one)
Current movie obsession: Wide Sargasso Sea - not much of an obsession because it's going back to Netflix as soon as it's done

17 November 2007

And so, another football season comes to an end

The Hawkeyes lost - to Western Michigan. Got spanked hard, actually. No wonder all the customers decked out in Hawkeye Black and Gold were grumpy after about 7pm.

Pretty autumn days

Autumn is probably my favorite time of year. The days are crisp, the fall leaves are pretty, and I can turn on my fireplace. We've had a couple of very sunny days so I just feel bright and happy to be outside. The UI campus is also at it's best in the fall so I love to walk rather than take the bus.

The only damper on the prettiness today is that it's the last Iowa Hawkeye football game of the year. It's a home game and anyone even remotely familiar with NCAA football knows what that means. The town is crazy.

So I spent my morning at home (sleeping in - joy) and cleaned my desk. This is what I do when my life feels nuts. I clean. Or at least obsessively clean one thing, like a bookcase. Now I need to go out and brave the loonies from out of town so I can find some lunch and work a shift at the bookstore. What a great combination: Christmas shoppers and football fanatics. The Hawkeyes better win otherwise there's going to be serious grouchiness occuring in all the customers.

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch, The Western Canon, started Tennyson's Idylls of the King for Laurel's "Epics, etc" group, and I found A Temple of Texts while I was cleaning my office
Current knitted item: Second sock is getting closer!!
Current movie obsession: Planet Earth - I was trying to convince Kat of the coolness of this DVD and just had to watch a little of it when I got home last night.

15 November 2007

I have a clean office...

...and you do not. Hmmm. Doesn't quite scan as well as "I am a baboon and you are not." In truth, I had accumulated a great deal of paper (memos, print-outs, brochures, etc) and was unable to see the surface of my desk. So I had a cleaning day. Death to dust bunnies!!

This is also called work procrastination because it keeps me from doing something really boring like sending nagging emails. Now that my office is clean I have to send emails. Blah.

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch, The Western Canon
Current knitted item: Second sock is almost done
Current movie obsession: American Ballet Theatre in Ashton's "The Dream" - Ethan Stiefel is so gorgeous

14 November 2007


Can anyone tell me why Marie Osmond is still on "Dancing with the Stars?" She has the lowest point total each week but still manages to hang around. Hellloooo, this is a dance contest.

I would like to see the finals come down to Mel B and Helio (sadly, Sabrina got sent home which is crap).

Life is nothing more than a series of busy nothings

My office is freezing. I think the heater is broken. Already.

Went to a satellite presentation about infection control in ICUs - had a nap because I had already seen all the data.

Started Middlemarch and was intrigued that the opening chapter used personal fashion to discuss the characters of the two Brooke sisters, Dorothea and Celia. Had some dude on the bus tell me books shouldn't be that long (he couldn't pronounce the title, so I'm sure that he can barely read a cereal box).

I am almost done with the second sock of the first pair. Hooray socks!

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch, The Western Canon
Current knitted item: Socks!!!!!!!
Current movie obsession: American Ballet Theatre in Ashton's "The Dream"

12 November 2007

My book FINALLY arrived

So after waiting for a month past the original publication date, the one-volume edition of Tom Stoppard's Coast of Utopia finally arrived (most closely follows the New York production since Stoppard did some editing in the intervening four years). I also bought Angels in America, which was huge during my senior year of high school thanks to my friend Nick Terpollilli but I don't think I understood it at that time. I debated buying W;t, which is a simple but profound play; however, the little book is only 1/4 the size of the Stoppard and the Kushner but costs exactly the same so I will wait until later.

I do have to confess that I'm not much of a play reader. I have trouble visualizing what is going on because I feel that I lack direction. Good thing I'm not an actor by profession.

Missed a few

So much for blogging every day - I didn't go near my computer all weekend. Just knitting, and reading, and, well, working.

I finished my tank and wore it to work on Friday. It looks very nice and I got lots of compliments on it. Next time I use that pattern I will make the lower half longer and the neck not quite so tight on the bind off (speaking of Friday, we had Knit Nite at the store and I tried to teach Janice to knit; I'm not an experienced knitting teacher and whoever helped Janice pick out her yarn did not pick out a good yarn for a newbie so lots of frustration all around).

Worked a full shift on Saturday. Yup, Christmas psychosis - that should be a recognized disease in the DSM-IV.

Had the store meeting Sunday (also worked a split shift due to a sick co-worker). We gave the store manager his "mohawk" hat and I think he liked it. Just because I'm silly, I packed the hat in a box punched full of airholes and had "this side up" written all over. If I could have found something that would have meow-ed or ribbit-ed I would have snuck that in the box for effect. I didn't have my camera, but I'll post a picture once I download a couple Beth took.

Current book-in-progress: I had to start Middlemarch for BNBC November since that board will open the Monday after Thanksgiving
Current knitted item: Socks!!!!!!!
Current movie obsession: "History of Britain"

08 November 2007

It's like they read my mind!

Creepy. Very creepy.

Current book-in-progress: working on that ARC because The Almost Moon weirded me out

Current knitted item: Seaming the straps on the tank. Then all I have to do is work in the ends, knit the edges, and presto! Done!

Current movie obsession: "History of Britain"

07 November 2007

Yup, this really happens

People do actually do things like this. Among other things.

The other day a woman asked if she got a free polar bear plush for buying the new Jan Brett book. (Uh, no.)

I also had a woman get mad at me because I would only discount a damaged item 10%. Or I could order her a new one. She asked if I would give it to her for free. (For the record, the cover and pages were falling out of the book and considering that this woman was wearing at least three designer label items, she was obviously not strapped for cash.)

In other book-related news, I tried to make headway on The Almost Moon. Ummm, I thought the book was going pretty well until I got to an unbelievably ludicrous sex scene. Between the protagonist and the protagonist's best friend's son. In a car on the driveway. In the front seat (I think - I was starting to get grossed out). That might have ruined the book right there. No wonder the reviews were so harsh.

Current book-in-progress: The Almost Moon
Current knitted item: I can't decide what other color to make the "hair" since I ran out of dark blue....and I have to start a scarf.
Current movie obsession: Perfume is being shipped from Netflix

06 November 2007

Tuesdays are terrible too

This morning I had an email, addressed to my boss, about the issue from the phone call last night. Gee, thanks for waiting until you had my reply LIKE I TOLD YOU ON THE PHONE. So I called this person and let them know that the email was not appreciated at all. Then he got read the riot act about how crappy his organization was being. Sigh. Probably not the best course of action but I was beyond pissed off at that point. He's lucky I didn't yell.

I've been updating my book journal. I find I've been very lax regarding that bit of bookkeeping.

Current book-in-progress: finishing an ARC (new author) and The Almost Moon (I'm in finishing mode)
Current knitted item: I left the "hair" at home, so the tank is with me
Current movie obsession: I just ordered "History of Britain" from BN.com - it was on sale and I had a coupon!!

05 November 2007

American Gangster

'tis a two-post day. Hah.

I went to see a movie in an actual movie theatre tonight (two movies in less than six months, I must be caving); I'm not a complete social outcast, I went with some friends. We saw "American Gangster" which was the only choice that was compatible with all three of us.

The choices:
1. American Gangster (two screens) - eventual pick
2. Bee Movie (two screens) - deemed as too juvenile, besides having a bee's voice done by Jerry Seinfeld among other things
3. Michael Clayton - ruled off limits because someone doesn't like George Clooney (I don't mind)
4. The Life of Dan - ruled off limits by us girls as too juvenile and yet another loser guy movie
5. Game Plan - none of us heard of it
6. Saw IV - ruled off limits due to general disgusting offensiveness and the fact that the last two sequels were terrible
7. Thirty Days of Night - also ruled off limits due to potential grossness
8. The Final Season - a future rental; I have a tough time with baseball movies after "Bull Durham" because nothing can beat it

This really is a good movie, well shot, well scripted, and well acted. Denzel Washington is phenomenal (Oscar?) and Russell Crowe shows that he actually can act. The design people also did a phenomenal job recreating 60s and 70s New York/New Jersey. Very much in the vein of "The Departed" except more of a business movie, not a dirty gangster movie. Since "American Gangster" was based on the true story of Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts, the whole thing feels very real, less Hollywood.

Ah, the previews, only four this time:
1. I am Legend - never read the book. But I am debating about that now...
2. Wanted - a "fraternity of assassins"? Plus side: has Morgan Freeman; Minus side: has Angelina Jolie; also a potential minus - there are some Matrix-like effects occuring in the previews and that's starting to get old
3. National Treasure 2 (it actually has a subtitle instead of a 2, but I can't remember what it said) - the appeal of the first movie was that they didn't have car chases through Washington DC; from the previews it looks like the second one is more action movie and less thinking movie - drat
4. Charlie Wilson's War - since this is also based on a true story, it might be good; also has Tom Hanks as Charlie Wilson and Julia Roberts as some rich woman

Current book-in-progress: finished What-the-Dickens at dinner (was OK - its a kids book and it is pretty darn cute), need to find something else to finish now
Current knitted item: "hair"
Current movie obsession: Dangerous Beauty is being returned to Netflix; a good movie (also based on the true story of Veronica Franco, a courtesan in 16th century Venice - what is it with biopics lately), if a little slow, and borrowed only so I could drool over Rufus Sewell

I hate Mondays

People at Western IRB are incompetent - they had a last minute question about a checked box on our application before the app goes to the board on Wednesday. If we keep the box checked, it will delay approval even further because the board on Wednesday won't be constituted for that specific question; we would have to wait for a correctly constituted board.

My problem: I answered all the questions from a previous regulatory analyst and this wasn't mentioned.

WIRB's response to that point: oh,...that must have been missed. (Really??? You've been making us cool our heels for three weeks before the application gets scheduled for board and you only see this now??? Morons.)

Did I mention these yahoos are in Washington (near Olympia) and called me at 5:15pm central time? I was 5 minutes from leaving...stupid people suck

Current book-in-progress: gonna try and finish What-the-Dickens (need to finish some things so I can start Middlemarch
Current knitted item: Having got most of the "hair" on (ran out of dark blue, so I'm going to be creative), I think the "mohawk" hat looks like the top of a hobby horse rather than a bonnet
Current movie obsession: 300 (when did David Wenham get hot?); not real jazzed about Gerard Butler's Scottish accent, sort of on-again/off-again sounding

04 November 2007

I was wrong

The mohawk hat pattern is not fairly easy to stitch - the directions are vague so it sucks. I googled the pattern for commentary and found a page of errata for the pattern. Great.

It looks like an oversized bonnet. I got the gauge asked for, so I'm not sure why it turned out so large. Oh well, not like I'm expecting the manager to wear it for warmth.

Gearing up for another shift in kids. And it's Sunday.....

Current book-in-progress: see previous (I'm almost done with Classics for Pleasure)
Current knitted item: Having finished what looks like an oversize bonnet I'm now working on the "hair"
Current movie obsession: 300 looks friggin' awesome

03 November 2007

Secret Knitting

Here I am knitting yet another surprise. Not so terribly secret - the store manager saw a pattern for a knitting "mohawk" hat (yes, it's a hat that looks like a mohawk haircut) and said he'd wear it if someone made him one.

Never tempt a knitter.

It's a complicated design, but simple enough to stitch. And I'm using some really, really ugly yarn that I bought waaaaaaaayyyyyy back when I re-taught myself to knit. TLC Red Heart acrylic. Yuck (he's only got to wear it long enough to get a picture of him in it).

I worked a full shift in kids at the bookstore today. The shoppers are already developing Christmas psychosis. God help us.

Dance Gala was really nice. The department limited the show to six pieces so the length was really just right and all the pieces together showed a very nice range. Alan did a beautiful homage to David Berkey's "White Mountain" and guest choreographer Toni Pimble created a nice ballet piece to a Villa-Lobos string quartet (the Maia quartet played the music live).

Current book-in-progress: Lies My Teacher Told Me, revised edition; The Almost Moon; Classics for Pleasure; it never decreases!!!!!
Current knitted item: Tank, secret hat (heh, heh)
Current movie obsession: Hamlet is still in the player, but I did receive 300 from Netflix, hmmmmm

02 November 2007


So I guess this is National Blog Posting Month...is this new? Or have I just been living under a virtual rock? Don't even ask what I thought when I saw the abbreviation. My friends Kate and Beth are doing this so we'll see how far I get this month.

So, daily update:
1. I had to be my boss on a conference call (she's on vacation); guess I did OK. I've picked up the active surveillance in the MICU so that should make them happy because they don't like the other RA who was doing surveillance.
2. I'm going to Dance Gala tonight! Merde for all the dancers.
3. I've been reading too much Shakespeare and not enough of anything else I've previously started reading. See? Startitis again.
4. I indulged my pen/marker addiction at Dick Blick (I was going to say Hi to Jordan, too, but she doesn't work on Thursday, boo).
5. I bought too many books yet again. Purchased two academic titles to help with my Joyce reading, Finnegan's Wake (stop snickering, I mean it), a couple of Harold Bloom books, and another Portable Professor course about Walt Whitman. Someday I will get Ulysses, Finnegan's Wake, and In Search of Lost Time finished. Quit laughing. You'll wet your pants.
6. I was inadvertently a bad friend this week. I'm sorry.

Current book-in-progress: Lies My Teacher Told Me, revised edition; The Almost Moon which isn't nearly as bad as the reviews said it was; Classics for Pleasure; and, oh, whatever else strikes my fancy
Current knitted item: Tank (work really sucks up my time), trying to start the scarf, and I did wind up some yummy sock yarn.....
Current movie obsession: Kenneth Branagh's 1995 adaptation of Hamlet; it's beautiful, has a great cast, and Kate Winslet is perfect