Betts ~ A Characterization

has tortured, bleached blond hair in a chin length, blunt cut just the wrong side of perfection.

one who still wears caked-on, blue powder eye shadow to match her bulging blue eyes

deep throaty voice brought on by heavy-duty smoking, yielding rasping hacks when laughing and punctuating her profuse commentaries

speaks loudly, often emitting stories about events and her reactions to them, usually in a humorous fashion, although she could become riled and uncompromisingly opinionated regarding a range of current events, family affairs, and generic gossip

often repeats the just-told story to the same people who had just heard it on the first go-around, then reiterating phrases that particularly tickled her: "Ben and his Doritos; that Ben and those darn Doritos, I swear!"

can be equally bombastic in affection and displeasure, often frightening the young children who are dear to her: "I wanna give you a biiiiig hug. You are so sweet! I haven't seen you in a looong time!" she boomed as she gathered two cringing children close to the pillowy softness of her body.


Favorite Books of 2012

This week's question addresses the end of the year and looking back to 2012 reading: 
"What are/were your favorite book(s) of the year?  Bonus points if you know how many books you read."
Since I keep track of my reading at Goodreads, I know that I read 65 books so far this year. It will be 66 or 67 by the end of the year, which means two days from now. I always have difficulty choosing favorites of anything, so here are a few I especially like:

The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity 

by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy

The history of the interactions among the sitting President and his predecessors helps the reader to grasp the special bonds that exists despite political differences. Many compelling and entertaining anecdotes make this an enjoyable peek behind the scenes in the world of high level power.

The Book Lover

by Maryann McFadden

The author brilliantly intersects the lives of a struggling independent book store owner and an aspiring author. The subplots involving secondary characters are every bit as clever and enjoyable to read as the main story line. This is a magnificently crafted book--definitely a MUST for book lovers!

The Age of Miracles

by Karen Thompson Walker

This is the completely mesmerizing story of the slowing of the earth's rotation and the ensuing effects upon the characters. The story all the more believable because of the natural setting and events that seem to make sense relative to the slower rotation of the earth. The characters are captivating in the assorted ways they deal with the mysterious phenomena.  I could not imagine what the ending would be--just HAD to keep reading!

Click on the button at the top to read about more favorites and to add your own.
Happy Reading in the new year!


Christmas Home Tour 2012

(Click to follow the tour.)

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. Luke2:11

 Our new fiber-optic poinsettia tree has a beautiful display,
 though you wouldn't know it from this picture!

 Feliz Navidad

 Turn on the music box and watch the miniature skaters.

Merry Christmas.  May you be blessed.

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Afghan Squares for Sandy Hook

These unblocked squares are for memory blankets for the families impacted by the Sandy Hook tragedy. If you would like to contribute, the information is here. The pattern for the daisy square is well-written and easy to follow, although my choice of the variegated red background looks a bit wonky because of the color changes!!!

 The squares were made with Plymouth Encore, some left-over yarn bits from other projects and a size H hook.

 "Any books you’re particularly hoping to be gifted this year? Any that you’re giving as presents this holiday season?"

I have opened a gift from one of my sons, who gave me a wish-list book, Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley. I plan to read it sometime in January when I can really dive into it for long stretches of time.
The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins boxed gift set is wrapped and waiting under the tree for 13-year-old grandson. Several Amazon gift cards will go to other grands so they can select their books.
++Click on the button to answer the reading related question and to read the responses of others.++


Davidson, Dereske, & James

This week's reading will be a continuation of The Main Corpse  by Diane Mott Davidson, which will soon be finished and is most enjoyable.

 I plan to follow it with Miss Zukas Shelves the Evidence by Jo Dereske. Have you read these Dereske books? I've read only one and was enchanted by the characters and clever writing about a community where the businesses are based on books. What fun! The humor clinches it for me! This is a series of light, humorous, highly entertaining reading.

Today I began listening to a memoir, Paris in Love by Eloisa James, which I am sad to report is a bit disappointing. It reads like a list of diary entries read by a way too perky female. At this point, I plan to stay with it. Hope I can finish it. We'll see.

What are your reading plans for this week?


The Main Corpse

The Main Corpse is the sixth book in Diane Mott Davidson's culinary series. These cozy mysteries feature Goldy Bear, a caterer, who happens to solve a murder along with her cooking duties. The stories are whimsical, relaxing, and cozy!

Here are the opening lines to this book:

"Sometimes you'd kill for a booking. I was ready--I'd had a rotten spring. The lack of business meant I spent afternoons frantically scrolling through my client files."

There are times when I am in the mood for a light read like this series. I must admit, however, that these opening lines do not particularly draw me to the story. I am continuing on because I am reading through the series and expect better things than what these opening lines seem to offer! Reading cozies is hit-or-miss for me. There are times when the writing is flat and the plot is so implausible that I just put the book aside. On the flip side, cozies can be a joy when the author achieves a balance with the action, levity, and writing. I hope that will be the case with this book!

page 56: "The sheriff's department had branded Jake an unreliable bloodhound. When the dog's handler of many years retired, the new handler insisted Jake had lost the scent on three consecutive trails. Jake fell into disrepute,..."

Do you read cozy mysteries? Please leave a comment.  :)

I am linking to "Book Beginnings" and "Friday 56" listed in the side bar. Click on the button to participate in the book sharing.


Crocheted Mixed Stitch Throw

 Little Woollie’s crocheted mixed stitch stripe throw is a perfect way to use stash yarn. This fun project isn't a pattern so much as an example. Thus far, which isn't very far as you can see, I have followed Little Woollie's stitch choices. The variegated yarns do change the look quite a bit, not so much by design as by convenience. It's what is in my stash! :)

The size will be for a child's throw. There isn't a recipient at the moment, so I'll keep it for just the right person! For now, though, I am enjoying the process! The mix of yarns are DK and light WW crocheted with a size H hook. Thanks to Little Woollie for sharing her process!

I am linking to Tami's Amis WIP Wednesday in the side bar. Click in to add your WIP, too!


Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6)Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is yet another tour de force by Louise Penny. Inspector Gamache seeks physical and mental healing after a particularly brutal incident taking the lives of some of his agents. The multiple story lines deftly woven together guide the reader through the intricacies of relationships among individuals, communities, and subgroups.

Much of the action occurs in Quebec City, Canada, in bitter winter weather. The police are investigating the death of an eccentric who is searching for the grave of Samuel de Champlain, the explorer who established the settlement of Quebec. Another story line involves efforts to rescue a kidnapped agent. Action and witty banter make this an engaging read. Penny's stories always impart charm and humor. This book is exceptional even for this author.

View all my reviews

TEASER: "Now there is no more loneliness. Closing his eyes, he let the voice loose to play, to run around in his head, to laugh and tell him once again about breaking his first violin, a tiny one lent by the school, worth more money than they had and his mother mending it and handing it back to the distraught boy, reassuring him, 'Things are strongest where they're broken. Don't worry.' "

Join Tuesday Teaser by clicking the button in the side bar.  Happy Reading!


Deadly Politics

Deadly Politics (A Molly Malone Mystery #1)Deadly Politics by Maggie Sefton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I continually return to this author because I want to like her books, but her writing style distracts from the story. Much of this book is the back-story on each character; so that the action does not move forward so much as stagnate. Another distraction is the over-use of similes. The awkward writing takes my attention away from what I had hoped would be an enjoyable read.

This is a promising series with an interesting premise as the widow of respected legislator returns to D.C. and the swirl of political drama. The author inserts life style details that lend a breath of authenticity to the events. Sorry to say, it was only an OK read for me.

View all my reviews


Thankful ~ Booking Through Thursday

I have linked to the Thursday party in the side bar.

BTT asks, "It’s Thanksgiving here in the U.S., so … what are you thankful for this year, reading-wise? New, favorite books? New gadget for reading? New comfy chair? Bonus time to read? Just the mere fact of BEING a reader? Having the Internet to share ideas/recommendations/conversations about books?"

The newest and so-far fun reading related gadget is a web site,, where I can track the book series that I enjoy. In some ways, it duplicates my Goodreads account, yet I truly enjoyed adding some of my books into my new account. You can mark the status of the book, i.e., read, currently reading, to be read, etc. The series' are then displayed in a grid along with the new book to be read in the series. Fun-fun-fun! That, and practical, too!

"...what are you thankful for this year, reading-wise?"


Wishing you a happy, blessed Thanksgiving.


Deadly Politics ~ Teaser Tuesday

I have linked to the Tuesday and Friday parties in the side bar.

This is the first book in a new cozy mystery series by Maggie Sefton. 

page 6: 

"Washington, D.C. lay spread out below me like a seductive old whore....the knife hidden in the folds of her gown. My breath caught at the sight of her."

What book do you suggest as a good read?


Quick & Easy Scarves for Christmas

I have linked to Friday parties in the side bar.

 Here are a few scarves that I am making from stash as Christmas gifts for friends. These are for some special ladies who like to have fun as we play cards, dominoes, and go on excursions now and then. We also solve the world's problems, on the side! I plan to present the scarves for them to try on and choose one that they want. Fingers crossed that each finds one that she likes!!
 This scarf is truly a rich brown cotton chenille in WW by Crystal Palace held with a DK strand of  Louise Harding "Jasmine" in brown with a gold strand. The size 10.5 needles yielded a full, somewhat open stockinette stitch for the body of the scarf. It has 12 rows (6 ridges) of garter at the beginning and end. Each side has a border of three stitches in garter. That's it. No pattern. Only lovely, mindless knitting.

 When making scarves like these, I use the rule of thumb that the scarf's length should be approximately equal to the wearer's height.
This version of the "Brilliant Zigzag Scarf" by Lion Brand is knitted with Interlacements pink and gray variegated linen yarn held with gray "Wool-Ease" by Lion Brand for a squishy, soft texture.
 This fiber gave me a change of pace with it's combination of eyelash and fuzzy boucle. While it is not my  preferred yarn, it did provide a diversion.
Using it for this particular pattern was not my best choice, but I'm going forth with the "Fickle Mistress" pattern. The open work and the shaping really does get lost amidst this crazy yarn.
This will definitely receive a good blocking upon completion! I'm hoping that the open work will be more evident once this beauty is finished!!

These scarves are my only Christmas knitting this year. What are you knitting for Christmas? I'd love to hear from you!


The Friday 56 ~ Himmelman

I am linking to "The Friday 56" in the side bar, a great place to visit for book blurbs. Join in and leave a page 56 quote from a book you are reading.

From Yours In Truth:A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee by Jeff Himmelman:

"The story of Ben's life has a lot of mythic elements to it--not apocryphal, but big, cosmic, blurring the lines between fate and luck and free will, like the story with the rain on his way down from Boston. He got his start in journalism, for instance, because his dad wanted him to have a job one summer and happened to know the owner of the Beverly Evening Times, a small paper near the Bradlee summer place."

Ben Bradlee's life among the powerful elite of Washington, D. C. is a fascinating tale of a man born to wealth and success who is determined to live on his own terms.


Tuesday Teaser ~ Yours In Truth

This week's teaser is from Yours In Truth by Jeff Himmelman who wrote about the adventurous life of long-time Washington Post editor, Ben Bradlee. Bradlee came to wide notice for his handling of the Post's coverage of the infamous Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration.

page 86:
 "I eventually figured out who wrote the report, and why, but for two years I knew him only as 'The Frenchman'. It really is as if deToqueville had materialized in the Washington Post newsroom."

Check out the other Teasers for today at the link in the side bar. Please leave a comment and tell me what you're reading! Thanks!


Simple Scarf WIP

See that itty-bitty ball of yarn? That is what will soon make my WIP become an FO! In a matter of mere minutes, this scarf will become an actual Christmas gift! The simple pattern is a dream as is the Malabrigo yarn! Details about this scarf are posted here.

What is your current WIP?

I have linked to the Wednesday party listed on the side bar.


The House of Velvet and Glass

It is Tuesday and time for a teaser from one of my current reads, The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe.

page 241: "Sibyl glanced back at the medium's face and saw that she knew what Sibyl had been looking for, and did not judge her."

This luscious, atmospheric novel is set in mid-19th century just after the sinking of the Titanic. I am savoring this read and recommend it to those  who enjoy historical fiction with the mysticism of that era.

What are you reading?

I have linked to Teaser Tuesday in the side bar.


Flat Scottie

(Check the side bar for Wednesday links.) The cute Scottie dog that I saw at this blog triggered thoughts of a fabric patchwork Scottie that belonged to my late son-in-law. His first grandchild will be born in April, my first great-grand! So I decided to crochet a Scottie for this dear little one in memory of the grandfather that the baby will never know.
I have adapted the pattern, as I tend to do. Using scrap yarn from stash, I made the strips of dc--10 sts wide and 10 rows high changing color to create the patches. I determined the number of patches per strip by counting the patches in the original Scottie blog post and changed the number for my purposes. Then, I whip stitched the strips together to make the front and back.

 Next, I will make white squares to add width around the dog shape, stitch them in place, and stuff the Scottie. I hope this comes together as I am envisioning it! The colors are gender neutral. While not in love with the colors, I do feel good about using stash!


Recently I've had the urge to make a cowl which, of course, means hours upon hours of browsing patterns on blogs, Ravelry, Pinterest, and Google. What a wonderful cyber world of possibilities! This blog post caught my attention. It is so inspiring that I want to share it, just in case someone else is nursing cowl cravings.


WWW Wednesdays

To play along, just answer the following three questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?
What are you currently reading? I am reading 43* :When Gore Beat Bush; A Political Fable by Jeff Greenfield. It is not a full novel and is offered only as an ebook for $1.99.
 What did you recently finish reading?   Miss Zukas and the Library Murders by Jo Dereske, a new-to-me series. I enjoyed this book immensely and plan to read through the titles in this series.
What do you think you’ll read next? I think I will read The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe.
Miss Zukas and the Library Murders (A Miss Zukas Mystery #1)     The House of Velvet and Glass

43* When Gore Beat Bush;A Political Fable

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• Share the title & author

Jeff Greenfield has written a "political fable" as an alternate history, that is, let's say that the mother of Elian Gonzalez had not drowned in her attempt to leave Cuba. How would that single event affect the Presidential election of that time? Fascinating. 

This is not a full length novel, but a $1.99 e-book.

p. 83 "And that was the perfect storm in which the Gore administration found itself all through the next months. On a weekly, if not daily basis, fresh news reports offered damning--if unverifiable--testimony from defectors from the Iraqi military of ambitious weapons programs and terrorism training."

Here is the link to an interview with the author:

What are you reading?


Almost an Owl

 Although this may appear to be a ball wearing a helmet with antennae, it is almost an owl!! I am making a set of three owls for a granddaughter with a November birthday. I guess making the owl baby hats finally has gotten me into an owl-making mode, although I plan to stop after I finish this set. You can find the pattern for the three sizes here. I am tweaking the pattern here and there as well as adding little embellishments.
This is the one I have finished, which is the largest of the three.

Meanwhile, I am fast becoming a major pinhead! I am always late to the party. I don't jump into things; I am in the older--read, Boomer--demographic; I am cautious. Then, I either dismiss things or jump in completely jump! Pinterest? I'm in! What a great way to keep track of things I want to remember! Fab-ah-luss!! Come follow me! I'd love it!

What is your WIP??