Thursday, January 23, 2014

Twisted Mix Tape Thursday - Dance Memories

Yeah, so it's Thursday, it's been a busy week y'all, but I'm finally getting this done.

So this week's Twisted Mix Tape theme is your favorite dance music.  I suppose most people upon hearing this theme start thinking of partying and clubbing and the dancing that occurs in those locations.  But I like to be different, and that's not what comes to my mind.

From the age of 3, until I graduated from high school at 17, I took ballet, tap & jazz.  By the time I stopped I was dancing 20+ hours a week.  With at least 14 dance recitals, and umpteen-million actual dances performed, when I think of "dance music" I think of the songs I spent hours upon hours listening to in little snippets as I learned carefully choreographed steps.

Thankfully for you (and me) all my dance pictures are still at my parents' house, so no photographic evidence will be presented today.  So without further dance memories.

Brick House - The Commodores

I think I still remember half the steps from the jazz dance we did to this when I was in about 6th (?) grade. 

One - A Chorus Line

I did at least 5 different versions of chorus line to this song, because you can't end a dance recital without a chorus line right?  I remember when I was younger thinking I couldn't wait until I was old enough to be in the advanced class that got to do this final number. 

Footloose - Kenny Loggins

We had a lot of fun with this one.  I remember the dance started with the curtain almost completely down except for about 6 inches so you could only see our feet the beginning of the movie scene that just shows feet ya' know?

Let's Get Physical - Olivia Newton John

Yeah, I know, but it's seared in my brain & it made an awesome jazz dance song! 

Shim Sham Shimmy - Leonard Reed

O.k...this one's not really a song, but a dance, but I can't leave it off, because I hear the sound of the steps, and that's music to me.  Tap dance was always my favorite.

So there you have it...what dance music means to me.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Just Don't Get It

I just don't get some people.  I'm trying to decide if my morning was just people not thinking, or if it was a form of passive-aggressive in some way.  I may be reading too much into it calling it passive-aggressive, but that's sort of the way it felt.

So here's the relevant info you need for this to hopefully make sense....I'm the "lead" staff person to a committee, which basically just means if something doesn't get done, I'm the one that gets blamed.  Said committee is trying to go "paperless", i.e. we're not making copies of all the handouts & PowerPoint's, etc. but rather uploading them to a committee website that people can view on their own device or print out a hard copy if they so desire.  Said committee was meeting at 1:00 pm today, and yesterday was a holiday.

So I sent a quick note Friday to some other staff that I was assuming they would upload their presentations to the website themselves, but if they needed me to do it, just send them to me.  One (A) responded his was still a draft & he'd upload it this morning.  I got an out of office message for the other (B). 

This is how my morning went....

Email from B to me - Oh I sent my presentation to the committee clerk last week
Email from me to B & clerk - Clerk, could you upload what B sent you to the website, or send it to me & I'll upload it.
Email from B to me & clerk - A will upload mine when he gets back from a meeting.

2 hours later....

Phone call from clerk to me: - Do you want me to upload these presentations to the website? Me: Yes, if you have B's presentation, please upload it, as I haven't received a copy.  Do you know anything about A's presentation?  Clerk:  Oh yes, he emailed it to the other clerk this morning and she sent it to me.  Oh and he just sent an email saying he's still in a meeting so could I upload his presentation to the website. Me:  If you would upload them both, that would be great.  Clerk:  Do you want me to send you the presentations? Me:  Yes, please!

30 minutes later, and now an hour & a half before the meeting....

Email from B to me - A is still tied up in a meeting, do you want to to go ahead and upload my presentation?  (and finally attaches a copy of the presentation)

Email from me to B - Clerk has already done it.

I have to add that both A & B are in another division and are staff that I haven't worked with much, but it's common knowledge that B likes to be in control, so maybe that's why I read more into this.  But I just wanted to say WTF people???? Just send me the damn presentations and I'll put them up on the website!

On a positive note, the meeting went well and was a lot shorter than I had anticipated.

I haven't had time to come up with my Twisted Mix Tape for the week yet, so it will have to be a Twisted Wednesday instead of Tuesday this week.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday - It's New to Me

This week's Twisted Mix Tape theme is the best new songs you heard in 2013.  Jen has been very kind an allowed us to include songs that we heard for the first time in 2013, even if they came out before that.  This is a good thing, because I almost never listen to the radio anymore, and when I do it's usually an "oldies" station.  In the car I generally listen to audiobooks on my ipod and if I'm in the mood for music it's usually off my ipod as well.  So I really had to think about this one, but here's what I've come up with, for better or worse.

Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke 

I have to admit I heard ABOUT this song first and went and tracked it down on YouTube.  I liked the song a lot initially.  I like it a little less after the whole Miley Cyrus thing on whatever awards show that was.  I generally pay no attention to entertainment news, but the Miley thing was all over the place so I finally went and watched part of the video of it just out of curiosity.  Anyway, that incident diminished my enjoyment of this song somewhat, but it's still a pretty good song.

Jolene - Miley Cyrus

Speaking of Miley...  I am NOT a Miley fan.  She annoys me and I really can't stand to look at her facial expressions when she sings.  Nonetheless, this is actually a good remake of this Dolly Parton song.  Miley is actually wearing clothes in this video, but she still had annoying mannerisms, so just close your eyes and listen to the song.

Roar - Katy Perry

I don't dislike Katy Perry, I just wouldn't say I'm a fan.  In fact, this is the only song I think I know of hers.  I actually heard this song first on a video someone posted on Facebook of a little girl singing to the song in the car.  But it's a great sing at the top of your lungs song, and it has a great stand up for yourself message.

Wagon Wheel - Darius Rucker

This is probably the only album I bought all year.  Mainly because I've been a Darius Rucker groupie since way back when he was the lead singer for Hootie and the Blowfish and they were still playing bars all over North and South Carolina.  The man absolutely has one of the best voices I have ever heard.  This song was originally done by Old Crow Medicine Show, and I love that version too, but there's just something about Darius.

Carolina - Parmalee

Just heard this one towards the end of the year.  I'm a sucker for just about any song that has a singer longing for his Carolina home.  This is a new to me group that I'm going to be checking out a little more soon.
    Think I'm missing something great?  Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday - Hope It's Not A Mistake

Now that the holidays are over, I'm back with Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday.  This week's theme is past mistakes.
I think we'll skip the review of my past mistakes and instead talk songs that reflect what happens when you make a mistake.

First, there's the realization you've made a mistake and the consequences of that mistake, so I'll start you out with the requisite Journey song.

Open Arms - Journey

And after you realize your mistake, there's the period of hope that you can somehow fix it, make it right, or at least recover from it, depending on the circumstances. 

Amazing - Aerosmith

But then the hard work starts and you have to say you're sorry.  But....

Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word - Elton John

Really, really....

Hard to Say I'm Sorry - Chicago

And often you have to say it a lot more than just one time.

I'm Sorry - John Denver

And hopefully, after all that, if you're lucky you'll get a bonus and realize

Everything's Gonna' Be Alright - Bob Marley

Of course the easiest thing is to just not make the mistake in the first place, but that would mean you're not normal right?     

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 Knitting Review

I've been making a concerted effort to get some knitting projects I started last year finished this month.  There's no reason why the shawl I started in August and the socks I started in April shouldn't be done by now.  We won't even talk about the shawl I started in January 2011 that has a gazillion beads, but I am determined to day.

Unfinished projects certainly haven't kept me from casting on for totally new ones already, but there are even more that I want to start and I'm trying to keep the works in progress (WIP) to less than 10.  Yes, I said 10.  I've currently got 5 on the needles, but that's only because I've finished up a couple in the last week or so.

All that is really unrelated to the point of this post, which is to give you a sample of my completed knitted objects from 2013.  I showed you the sweater for my daughter and shrug for a friend in my December recap post, but here are a few more.

You've seen these before, but I'm still inordinately proud of my Water for the Elephants socks.

I did several shawls by one of my favorite designers, Romi Hill.
Winter's Moon

Song of Spring
 And another shawl from a different designer, Montego.

I also made Rob a pair of socks (which he didn't really want until he wore these hunting, and now he wants more) and a pair of hunting gloves (which I don't think he tried at all this season).

This shawl was made for a friend for her wedding.  Silver colored silk lace yarn with seed pearls.  I don't have a great picture, but she was happy with it.

I did a couple of samples for designers to take to shows or display in shops this year, including this single colored Coilis out of some really cushy locally produced organic wool.

That's not everything, but I don't want to bore you.  All in all, I finished 26 projects last year.  That's not as prolific as the 35 I did in 2012, but still a good bit.  I totally failed in my goal to knit 13 pairs of socks in 2013.  The ones I'm trying to finish now would have been pair number 5, so I didn't even get half way.  Oh well.  Knitting is relaxing to me, so I try not to stress about it.

Anyway, hope you've enjoyed the show.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New Approach

This little guy has nothing to do with the New Year, but he makes me smile.
I don't know what it is about the New Year that makes me feel like I have a clean slate.  It's not like there's any real change that occurs between December 31 and January 1, but it just feels like a fresh start.

I long ago gave up the idea of resolutions in favor of goals.  Resolutions always result in a feeling of guilt when they're broken, as almost always happens.  Goals feel more ongoing somehow, like something I'm striving towards rather than a set guideline or rule.  It's all terminology and semantics I suppose, but the word goal feels less strict to me.

This year I'm modifying my approach a little more and I'm stating several broad goals for the year, but I'm setting much smaller short term goals in each area.  I'm hopeful that this will keep me a little more focused in the short term.  Sort of a take it a day at a time approach, but on a monthly basis (or in some cases even weekly).  So rather than saying I'll post here 10 times per month, I'm saying my goal is to write blog posts more often, and my specific goal for January is at least 10 posts after this one.

I'm keeping most of the specifics to myself for the moment, although I may talk about some of them in the future, but here are my broad goals for the year.
  • Health - Eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight
  • Writing - Write more in all aspects, including blog posts, personal journal, short stories, novel
  • Fiber Arts - Use my existing yarn/fiber stash and limit additions to stash, spin more

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Reading List

Books I've read in 2014 - Total 132
New for this year, I'm including audio books I listen to on my daily commute. I've also started reading some books on the Kindle app on my phone and/or iPad, so I'm indicating that by Paper (P), Electronic (E), or Audio (A).

January (13)
Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting edited by Ann Hood (P)
Across the Creek by Jeremy Asher (E)
The Spirit of Steamboat by Craig Johnson (A)
Beneath the Willow by Jeremy Asher (E)
Close to Home by Jeremy Asher (E)
Still Life by Louise Penny (A)
Free-range Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (P)
Louise's Dilemma by Sarah R. Shaber (P)
A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (A)
Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (P)
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny (A)
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (P)
A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny (A)

February (14)
Copperhead Road by Roger Canaff (E)
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (A)
Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson (P)
Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain (P)
Beneath a Buried House by Bob Avey (E)
The Last Daughter by Jessica Ferguson (E)
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny (A)
A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch (P)
Buttons and Bones by Monica Ferris (P)
Unexpected Gifts by Elena Aitken (E)
Threadbare by Monica Ferris (P)
Gone But Not Missed by A.R. Kennedy (P)
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (A)
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison (P)

March (8)
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny (A)
Angels Flight by Michael Connelly (P)
Louise's Gamble by Sarah R. Shaber (P)
The Guestbook by Andrea Hurst (E)
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (A)
Sandman by Morgan Hannah MacDonald (E)
The Amazing Thing About the Way it Goes by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (P)
Shadow Prey by John Sandford (A)

April (8)
Spinning Forward by Terri Dulong (P)
Eyes of Prey by John Sandford (A)
The Drowning Spool by Monica Ferris (P)
Fit to be Dead by Nancy G. West (E)
Saltwater Kisses by Krista Lakes (E)
Silent Prey by John Sandford (A)
The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell (P)
Winter Prey by John Sandford (A)

May (11)
Night Prey by John Sandford (A)
Moving Target by J.A. Jance (P)
Missing You by Harlan Coben (P)
Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman (P)
After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman (P)
Mind Prey by John Sandford (A)
My Sweet Valentine by Jill Sanders (E)
Angora Alibi by Sally Goldenbaum (P)
The Heartbreak Cafe by Melissa Hill (E)
Sudden Prey by John Sandford (A)
The Chance by Robyn Carr (P)

June (11)
The Next Always by Nora Roberts (P)
Any Other Name by Craig Johnson (P)
Secret Prey by John Sandford (A)
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (P)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (P)
A Very Good Life by Lynn Steward (E)
Certain Prey by John Sandford (A)
Easy Prey by John Sandford (A)
Close Knit Killer by Maggie Sefton (P)
Murder in Merino by Sally Goldenbaum (P)
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (P)

July (9)
Chosen Prey by John Sandford (A)
Sweet Water by Christina Baker Kline (E)
Don't Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden (P)
Mortal Prey by John Sandford (A)
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (P)
Naked Prey by John Sandford (A)
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (P)
Yarn Over Murder by Maggie Sefton (P)
Hidden Prey by John Sandford (A)

August (13)
The Competition by Marcia Clark (P)
Starting Now by Debbie Macomber (P)
There's Only Been You by Donna Marie Rogers (E)
Broken Prey by John Sanford (A)
Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber (P)
Carolina Crimes (P)
The Stories We Tell by Patti Callahan Henry (P)
Invisible Prey by John Sandford (A)
Designated Daughters by Margaret Maron (P)
Summer People by Aaron Stander (E)
Phantom Prey by John Sandford (A)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (P)
Cora's Heart by Rachael Herron (E)

September (10)
Wicked Prey by John Sandford (A)
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (P)
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny (A)
The Ranger by Ace Atkins (P)
Arnco by Ben Muse (E)
The Ways of the Dead by Neely Tucker (P)
Storm Prey by John Sandford (A)
Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance (P)
Buried Prey by John Sandford (A)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (P)

October (9)
Louise's War by Sarah R. Shaber (P)
Stolen Prey by John Sandford (A)
Louise's Blunder by Sarah R. Shaber (P)
Silken Prey by John Sandford (A)
The Secret Place by Tana French (P)
Eliza's Home: A Cypress Hollow Novella by Rachael Herron (E)
Field of Prey by John Sandford (A)
Dark of the Moon by John Sandford (A)
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (P)

November (14)
Heat Lightning by John Sandford (A)
Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan (P)
Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs (P)
Personal by Lee Child (P)
Rough Country by John Sandford (A)
To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie (P)
Wait for Signs by Craig Johnson (P)
Revival by Stephen King (P)
Bad Blood by John Sandford (A)
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (P)
Guests on Earth by Lee Smith (P)
Shock Wave by John Sandford (A)
The Resurrectionist by Matthew Guinn (P)
Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past by Sharyn McCrumb (P)

December (12)
Byrd by Kim Church (P)
Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (P)
Mad River by John Sandford (A)
Greenglass House by Kate Milford (P)
The Brands Who Came for Christmas by Maggie Shayne (E)
Storm Front by John Sandford (A)
The Collection of Heng Souk by S.R. Wilsher (E)
Deadline by John Sandford (A)
Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-eyed Stranger by Lee Smith (P)
Safe Harbor by Sherryl Woods (P)
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen (A)
A Cold Creek Homecoming by Raeanne Thayne (P)

December Recap

I had good intentions of posting several  more times in December, but that obviously didn't happen, so here's a quick recap in pictures.

I finished the Christmas decorating Thanksgiving weekend, and although it took several hours and pretty much every single ornament I own, the 9+ foot tree was done.

 I spent most of the first week of December in Washington, DC for a conference.  Of course I found a local yarn shop and made some new knitting friends.  I highly recommend Looped Yarn Works as a great place to shop and also very welcoming to strangers for knit night.


Most of the rest of the month was spent getting ready for the holidays.  Our daughter & her fiance and my in-laws came for a couple of days at Christmas. My parents and some friends here in town joined us for Christmas dinner as well.  
Somehow in all the hustle & bustle of present opening and socializing, I forgot to take pictures of the actual gift opening, but here's some evidence of the aftermath.

My daughter liked the sweater I knit for her.  She had picked out the pattern & yarn a couple of months ago, but had totally forgotten about it, so it was a surprise.

And my friend Nicole was happy with the shrug I knit for her.  She had picked out the pattern & yarn when I drug her to the yarn shop on our visit to PA in September.
A fitting gift for me this Christmas!  I got several other items I wanted, but this was the funny one.

So Christmas is over, all the decorations are put away, 2013 is gone and 2014 is here.  I've been thinking about goals for the year, and that's another post that I plan to write soon.
But for now, we're all wiped out around here.