Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday - 12/28/2011

I figured out where I was on the Flourish shawl!!!  I have worked on it  a little since last week, but you cannot really tell.  Here's a little peaky of it:



The reason that Flourish hasn't progressed greatly is that I dropped it on Monday in order to finish the Citron shawl because I want to gift it before the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas.  It's finished and now needs to be blocked.  How does one block a Citron?  It has to have a bath first...that I know, but...then what?  Lots of pins on the round part or weed-eater cable or what?  Help.



I cleaned out the daughter's bunny cage today.  Meet Africa.  He is temporarily in my care.  While I had him out of the cage, he made me a little yellow puddle on the floor.  I think he likes me.



MK out.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Movie Monday - 12/26/2011

Despite scurrying around with last-minute Christmas preparations, I did watch a few flicks in the last week...

On DVD:
Jumping the Broom is a predictable little movie about cultures and socio-economic backgrounds clashing as two people are preparing to tie the knot.  Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Paula Patton and Laz Alonso star in the film and all do a good job.  It was cute. I liked it.

I just love Russell Brand.  Most of his characters in movies are a little naughty - on the bawdy side - but I find him cute and the antics are fun to watch.  In Get Him to the Greek, he plays Aldous Snow - a rock star that is sobriety-challenged. He is being escorted by Aaron (Johah Hill), a record label executive, from London to a sort of comeback concert in Los Angeles.  It was rude, crude and socially unacceptable at times, but I was entertained.

The documentary Catfish is a bit controversial.  A 24-year-old photographer,  in New York in New York is sent a painting of one of his pictures that was painted by an 8-year-old girl.  Soon, he gets to know most of the family via telephone calls, e-mail and the Internet - specifically Facebook.  I cannot say too much about the film because it would spoil it, but critics of the film question its authenticity.  At best, it can be seen as a cautionary tale.  I liked it.

In theaters:
Like Crazy is a love story between Anna (Felicity Jones) and Jacob (Anton Yelchin).  They meet in school; they fall in love; she overstays her student visa.  After she goes back to England and tries to return to the US, she is deported.  Even though they marry in England, she still has that student visa issue to clear up.  His work is in the US.  They are kept apart, and interestingly, both have affairs while they are waiting for things to work out for them. (Really?!?)  I didn't buy the story, but the acting is pretty good.  It was alright.

George Clooney and Ryan Gosling star in The Ides of March.  George Clooney also directed, helped write the screenplay and produced this film.  It is about a senator (Clooney) trying to win the Democratic nomination for president and all the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that his press secretary (Gosling) has to handle.  It is also about how ambitions can sometimes get in the way.  It is well acted and a very good movie.  I liked it.

Until next time...

MK out.

Friday, December 23, 2011

FO Friday - 12/23/2011 - Merry Christmas Y'all

I finished these Christmas stockings in November, but then I took them to the embroidery shop and it took a few weeks to get them back.  I gave them to the recipients last week, but waited until today to show them to you:



The stockings are made from Ella Rae Classic wool in mostly Christmassy colors and using  5mm 16-inch Addi turbos. 



I winged the pattern, knitting top-down with a picot edging for the feminine ones and a funky edging for the masculine one that I will not use again, most probably.  



Then, I proceeded to the short-row heel, continued down the foot and grafted the toe.



Here is an FO from several years ago.  It is a shawl that I made for myself using Trendsetter Dune yarn.  I remember that the pattern (Lacy Scarf or Wrap by Catherine Ham) called for seven skeins, but I stopped after six.  I really wanted to wear it and was over it already.  I returned the extra skein, and to this day, I keep wondering if maybe I should have gone ahead and used all seven.  Oh well...



I love the yarn.  It has just the right amount of sparklie...and you know how much I heart the sparklie!  It has done a bit of blooming since I first knit it, and it still looks great.



MK out.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WIP Wednesday - 12/21/2011

So, last week, I pulled out the Flourish shawl that had been in time out. I didn't know where I was, because, silly me, I didn't write down what row I ended on the last time I worked on it.  I looked at the shawl.  I looked at the chart.  I did some counting and I tinked back about 4 rows.  Still, I couldn't figure out where I was.  I looked at the shawl.  I looked at the chart.  I counted.  I put the shawl back into the bag.  I worked on the two other projects.

Today, I pulled out the shawl.



It still looks the same as it did last week, but I am determined to figure out where I am before I go to bed tonight.

Wish me luck.

MK out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - Christmas Lists

Imagine my surprise just now when I came upon my blog, since I am contemplating a WIP Wednesday post, and notice that my Ten on Tuesday post didn't publish.  Well, maybe because it was saved as a draft...

I back-dated it, because I am "detail oriented" that way.  (I know what phrase you are thinking instead...)



This week, with Christmas being only days away, Carole asks us to tell 10 Things You Have to Do Before Christmas.  Here is my list:

1.  Wrap four gifts…but they haven’t come yet.
2.  Finalize the actual date our family will celebrate Christmas…Christmas Eve v. Christmas Day Night…Don’t ask.
3.  Pull out all the serving dishes and utensils.
4.  Double check the pantry to make sure I have everything I need.
5.  Bake – I think this year, it will just be pumpkin bread, zucchini muffins and some cookies.
6.  Finish writing thank you notes for stuff The Husb has been getting at the office.
7.  Pick up the grands and drive down to the Big D to see the Christmas lights.
8.  Deliver the baked gifts.
9.  Watch It’s a Wonderful Life at some point on Christmas Eve.
10.  Enjoy my family and friends.

MK out.

P.S.  That is not a picture of my house.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Movie Monday - 12/19/2011

The race to the Oscars is gaining speed.  There are so many movies out right now that I have not seen, and more are being released weekly.  I will do my best to catch up...

The Descendents, starring George Clooney and Beau Bridges, is garnering Oscar buzz.  Matt King (Clooney) is a descendent to one of the first white land-owning families in Hawaii.  He is the trustee of a large piece of property on Kauai.  Many of his cousins want to sell it off to developers, and while he plans to take their wishes into consideration, the ultimate decision rests in his hands.  The natives are not happy that the land may be sold.  Meanwhile, Matt’s wife is involved in an accident and is being kept alive artificially.  Not only does he have the weight of the future of Hawaii on his hands, but he is now a single parent to two girls in whose care he has been absent up to now.  It was a comedy with a deeper message.  I really liked it.

In 50/50, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, a guy in his twenties that finds out he has a rare form of cancer.  Seth Rogen plays his best friend Kyle.  Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston also star in this movie that is intense at times, but definitely heartwarming.  The medicine is not always true to life, but it was a good story and the acting is very good.  I liked it.

A planet named Melancholia is hurtling towards the Earth on a collision course.  Kirsten Dunst plays Justine.  She and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard) get married and her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg and brother-in-law John (Kiefer Sutherland) offer up their estate for the reception.  But Justine starts acting a little off and soon, it is evident that she has a mental illness and is falling apart.  Claire is the steadfast one.  By the end of the movie, as the deadly planet nears, it is Claire who cannot handle things, while Justine knows exactly what to do.  Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgard and Udo Kier also star in interesting look at the world coming to an end.  It was entertaining, but weird.

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is an older film (1972) that is named in a list of twenty-five foreign films that we must all see.  I don’t remember who made up the list.  The movie is in French with English subtitles.  It is difficult to follow, and it seems that the story unfolds in bits, both in dreams and the experiences of each of the six main characters.  Basically, it is supposed to be a satirical view of society.  Interestingly, the sextet is always supposed to share a meal, but something always happens and they do not actually eat.  It was different.

In A Better World won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film last February.  It has been described as a cautionary tale. It is a story about bullies – on many levels. Two school children become friends.  Both come from homes with issues.  One is rather passive, the other is rather angry.  The two together are not a good combination.  Meanwhile, one of the dads is a physician who goes on mission trips to Africa and treats women who are victims of the local thug. The film is in Danish with English subtitles.  I didn’t recognize any of the actors, but they all did a great job.  It was very good.

MK out.

Friday, December 16, 2011

FO Friday - 12/15/2011

Don't faint...The last time I did an FO post that included knitting was in September.

I cannot believe that I never showed y'all the Little Boy Blue sweater.  I sewed the buttons on weeks ago and put it away.  Well, out of sight and out of mind...



I used 4.0mm -  24" circulars and Tahki Yarns Tweedy Cotton Classic in a pretty blue colorway.  The pattern is Old School Cardigan by Kristen M. Jensen.  I would gave it a medium difficulty rating on Ravelry.  I didn't find it hard, but for someone just starting out with cables, it might be intimidating.

Remember this cardi?



Here it is in action.  My mom had picked out the pattern and together we picked the yarn from my stash.  She wanted me to make a gift for the son of a special friend of hers.  Well, here it is in action:



I was worried about the sizing, but it fits well!



And I had leftovers from that Reynolds Cabana yarn...so, I made a couple of hats, totally winging the patterns:



Y'all have a good one.

MK out.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WIP Wednesday - 12/14/2011

Remember those trees and those poinsettia leaves from last week?  I scrapped those ideas. The Barbie sweater made the cut and just needs finish work, as does the matching hat. Now, there's a scarf on the go too:



I was commissioned to make a hat, and I've been working on it:



I pulled out the Flourish shawl today.  I put it away weeks ago because my stitch count was off and I wasn't in the mood to deal with it.  It doesn't look very different from the last time I took a picture, but here it is anyway:



That's my Wednesday. 

MK out.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - 12/13/2011 - For the Hostest with the Mostest

This week, Carole asks us to tell Ten Hostess Gift Ideas.

Here is my list of things that I like to give and receive:
1.  Flowers always put a smile on people's faces.
2. There are so many wines out there...It is hard to choose.
3.  Chocolates - make mine dark!
4.  Homemade cookies are great, especially if you have a specialty that everyone likes.
5.  Homemade bread or muffins...I like zucchini bread or pumpkin bread or banana nut bread.
6.  A fruit and cheese basket is a healthy treat!
7.  I really love kitchen towels. I especially like holiday themed ones.
8.  A nice shower gel or lotion (or both) from Bath and Body Works.
9.  Handmade soaps add a nice touch to a powder room.
10. There are so many pretty decorative candles, and they don't have to be scented.

I will leave you with something hysterical I saw the other day...



...and no, I won't be giving it as a hostess gift to anyone I know.

MK out.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Movie Monday - 12/12/2011

Slow week:

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 was a over two-hour set up of the final chapter in the Twilight story.  Bella and Edward get married…Bella becomes pregnant…Bella becomes a vampire.  All of this to get ready for the next part…when the Volturi will be coming after Renesmee.  The usual suspects starred in this film and they are either becoming better actors, or they are just growing on me.  It’s definitely fare for the Twilight Saga fans, but I really liked it.

Nowhere Boy is about the early John Lennon, before The Beatles.  John (Aaron Johnson) was raised by his Aunt Mimi (Kristen Scott Thomas) and Uncle George (David Threlfall).  His mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), lived only a few blocks away, but John didn’t meet her until after his uncle died.  We do meet the young Paul and George in the film too, but this movie is about how John became John Lennon.  He had a rather difficult early life, although his aunt and uncle loved him very much and tried to do right by him.  The movie is based on a memoir by Julia Baird, who happens to be Lennon’s half-sister.  Overall, the film is very good.  The acting is first rate.  I really liked it.

MK out.
 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WIP Wednesday 12/7/2011

Oh em gee!!!  There is actually a WIP Wednesday post this week...

I am making trees, poinsettia leaves and Barbie sweaters.



What about you?

MK out.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - 12/6/2011 - Ho Ho Ho!!!

It's the most wonderful time of the year....Carole prompts us to tell our Ten Favorite Holiday Traditions.  I'm all over that!


1.  Picking out the picture for the Christmas card…since 1990.


2.  Attending the Tree Lighting on the Square in our town.  We attended this year was the first time in about five or six years, because The Kid started playing sports around then, and he would usually have a game on the night of the event.  Anyway, I was glad we were able to resume the tradition this year…It was the 23rd annual lighting, and The Kid is 21 – so we've gone to quite a few in our day…
3.  Putting out the Christmas dishes every December 1st and using them all month long.
4.  Pulling out the decorations and trimming the tree with the as much of the family that is around.
5. Hanging the stockings….same ones…same positions…every year.
6. Lighting scented candles every night. My faves are the ones that smell like a Christmas tree.
7.  Watching Christmas movies and specials…A Charlie Brown Christmas is a must!
8.  Making cookies...It will be a little sad this year without my momma around.
9.  Driving down to the Big D to see the Christmas lights in Highland Park.
10.  Putting out the presents under the tree after everyone has gone to bed on Christmas Eve...and in the early years of our marriage, that sometimes meant we didn't get to bed before 0300.  Apparently, it was The Husb's family tradition growing up that all the presents weren't wrapped before Christmas Eve when everyone went to bed.  I have since modified that part of it...It has morphed to I wrap as I buy over the years.

MK out.



Monday, December 5, 2011

Movie Monday - 12/5/2011

The weather outside is frightful today.  No ice and snow, much to the chagrin of the grandchildren whose ears had perked up to the words "slight chance of snow" on the weather forecast yesterday and were hoping for a school closing today...

Directed by Barry Levinson, You Don't Know Jack is a biographical film examining the career of Dr. Jack Kevorkian.  Al Pacino plays the controversial right-to-die activist and he is very good, as are Susan Sarandon, Brenda Vaccaro and John Goodman. The film ended after he was convicted and sent to jail for second degree murder.  He served about eight years before he was released in 2007 for good behavior.  Kevorkian died in June this year and was said to have not suffered any pain.  No matter which side you support in the euthanasia issue, this movie was thought provoking and entertaining.  I liked it.

Terri, starring Jacob Wysocki and John C. Reilly, is a film about an overweight teenager who suffers many indignities at school from students and teachers alike.  Aside from his weight issues, Terri stands out because he wears pajamas to school…everyday.  His parents died when he was quite young, and he now lives with an uncle, who has his own issues.  The school’s vice principal (Reilly) is the only person who gives Terri the time of day, and deservedly so.  Terri is very bright and empathetic towards other people.  He’s a good kid.  I liked it.

The trials and tribulations of dancers are depicted in Every Little Step.  This film is about the casting process for the 2006 revival of A Chorus Line on Broadway.  The movie follows the year-long process of casting the leads.  What the dancers go through is grueling and heartbreaking at times, but any of them will tell you that if he or she wins a role, it is worth it.  It was fascinating and entertaining, but if you are not in the least bit interested in the subject material…you might be a little bored.

I wasn’t sure I would like J. Edgar when I decided to see it the other day.  I really wasn't all that interested in the subject matter.  I figured that it would probably be nominated for at least one of the major Academy Awards categories; so, I felt compelled to see it.  Now, I am glad that I did.  I really didn’t know all that much about J. Edgar Hoover, except that he was the head of the FBI until his death in 1972 and that he had “the dirt” on many influential people (and that he used it regularly as it suited him).  Leonardo diCaprio, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench and Armie Hammer were wonderful in their roles.  It was surprisingly good.

Stay warm and dry!

MK out.

Friday, December 2, 2011

FO Friday - 12/2/2011

No knitting that I can reveal today, but I am super excited about something:



Can you believe it?!? It's only December 2nd and the tree is up, with lights and decorations.  It must be a first.

Next up, finishing the Christmas shopping and starting the wrapping.

Knitting soon...

MK out.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Movie Monday - 11/28/2011

What a week last week!  Hope everyone had a nice time with family and friends and ate too much and stayed up to go to Black Friday on Thursday night and is now ready for Cyber Monday...

Wonder of wonders...I had asked The Husb several weeks ago to put together the tree on the weekend before Thanksgiving.  Well, he did. (I know...right?) It is a pre-lit tree (if you remember), and he and the oldest son put it together Sunday night the 20th.  I didn't want the lights to start coming on until after Thanksgiving, because I'm funny that way.  Interestingly, we took a ride with the grandkids Saturday night, and there are many houses with full blown Christmas decorations going.  Well, technically, it was after Thanksgiving, but still...



(I cannot figure out how to rotate this picture...I've done it before, but all my tricks aren't working...Sorry.)

Now...movies...

Cinema Paradiso (The New Version) is an adorable movie set in Sicily before television.  It is in Italian with English subtitles...Apparently, when the movie first came out in 1988, the studio cut almost an hour from the film.  Years later, it was rereleased in its entirety.  I believe there was some controversy that the older version is the better one, but whatever the case, I saw the newer one, and I thought it was good.  Salvatore (Toto) is a young boy who lives with his mother and his younger sister.  He has adopted the projectionist of the local theater (Alfredo) as his father figure.  Toto's love for the movies leads him to become a successful director.  The movie begins years later when Salvatore learns of Alfredo's death and returns to the village to pay his respects and from there, the story is told in flashbacks.  Philippe Noiret and Jacques Perrin star in this engaging film.  I really liked it.

Anthony Hopkins, Laura Linney, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Omar Metwally and Hiroyuki Sanada star in The City of Your Final Destination.  A graduate student flies to Uruguay to obtain permission to write a biography about a deceased author from the man's wife, mistress and brother. The three of them are living on the estate in a seemingly amicable existence until the arrival of the student, at which point tensions rise.  I thought the story was good and the actors did a great job.  I was entertained.

MK out.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Movie Monday - 11/21/2011

Here are two movies I've seen in the last week:

In Summer in Genoa, a recent widower takes his two daughters overseas to Italy for a change of scenery to get over their mother's death.  Colin Firth, Catherine Keener,  I would definitely see this film just for the scenery, because other than the beautiful shots of Italy, the movie was pretty lackluster.  The plot was slow and the acting wasn't anything to write home about...

The Princess of Montpensier, in French with English subtitles, is a historical drama set in France during the 1500s when the Catholics and the Huguenots are trying to tear the country apart.  Melanie Thierry, Lambert Wilson, Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet and Gaspard Ulliel star in this love triangle (really rectangle, of sorts) that is, again, a bit slow, but moslty in the beginning.  The acting was much better in this film and the attention to detail is apparent.  Marie de Mezieres loves her cousin, Henri de Guise, but has been promised to marry Phillippe de Montpensier.  I wonder what it feels like to be wanted by so many...

MK out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shanghai Girls

I read this book in August.  One of my LYSs, The Woolie Ewe, has a book club.  Even though I haven't been able to make any of the get togethers, I still try to read and keep up.  The book was written by Lisa See and is set in China in the 1930s. Pearl and May are sisters who are living the high life courtesy of their father’s thriving business. Tragedy soon strikes.  The girls are sold as brides for the sons of a wealthy Chinese American businessman in exchange for his bailing out their father’s gambling debts. At first, the sisters do everything they can to avoid going to America to live the life that fate has dealt them, but soon, when the Japanese start bombing Shanghai and they must leave to save their lives, they end up going to America after all. There, they find that the life they were promised is altogether different from the life they find.  I enjoyed reading this book.

MK out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - 11/15/2011 - Keep moving...there's nothing to see...

Carole's topic this week is Ten Ways to Use Fresh CranberriesSince I do not really do a lot with cranberries, I've got nothing in that regard.  I buy the can of whole berry cranberry sauce for our holiday meals and call it a day.  (Sshhh...I know that's blasphemy in some places.)

I was out of town until last night and I didn't write a Movie Monday post.  There hasn't been a knitting post in a while...mostly because there hasn't been much in the way of productive knitting.  Maybe, I can distract you from my lack of quality blog posts...

Here's some random photos from October:

My flowers that about died from the drought and over 100-degree temperatures this summer are going crazy...that is, the ones that survived are going crazy.



We had a flyover before one of the World Series games in The Ballpark at Arlington.



The Kid celebrated his 21st Birthday.



Happy Anniversary!  I ate crab claws...yum!



And we had cheesecake.



Getting ready for Halloween at Chez Merry Karma is always fun.



We went to Naples (Florida) for a long weekend over Halloween.  The first night, we ate at Chops in the downtown area.  Our waitress (The Mad Hatter) and one of her cohorts posed for a picture...



Thing 1 and Thing 2 were running around like crazy people...I got Thing 1 to stand still long enough for me to snap her picture.



Apparently, Halloween is big in Naples...and I kind of like that. 

MK out.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cutting for Stone

I read Cutting for Stone in July.  The book was recommended in one of my physician assistant journals, of all places.  It is the story of a pair of twin brothers who were conceived by the mission hospital’s surgeon and the Indian nun who serves as his first assistant.  Because their father flees and their mother dies in childbirth, the boys are raised by the other two doctors in the clinic.  The novel is set in the Ethiopian village of Addis Adaba.  While growing up, the brothers are quite close, but then an event tears them apart.  Later in life, they meet again.  The novel was written by Abraham Verghese – an Ethiopian born physician, now living in the United States. Interestingly, the surname of the twins in the novel is Stone, but the title is taken from the line in Hippocratic Oath that states: ‘I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest.’  I really liked this book.  It was a good read.

MK out.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - 11/8/2011 - Aa..aa..CHOO!




I woke up with a monster headache today, and I just happen to have a doctor's appointment - but it's just for a follow-up for another problem.  Will I go?  You betcha...

It's a coincidence though, that Carole's topic today is Ten Things You Do to Care for Yourself When You Have a Cold.

When I wake up feeling puny:
1. I stay in bed thinking if I stayed there a little longer, I’d feel better and be able to go on with my day.
2. The Husb wakes me up right before he heads off to work asking if I am going to stay there all day or can he make the bed.
3. I get up, get cleaned up and decide I really don’t feel good.
4. I wonder, out loud, if we have any chicken noodle soup, Sprite, crackers and orange juice in the house.
5. I wait for The Husb to look.  He doesn’t.
6. I go look to see if we have any chicken noodle soup, Sprite, crackers and orange juice in the house.  We have some combination but not all of the things on the list.
7. The Husb says that he will bring the missing things home after work.
8. I gather my pillow, a blanket, the tissue box and DVDs and head to the den.
9. I forget to bring the phones (my cell and the landline) to the couch until one of them rings.  Then I retrieve them and put both on the coffee table.
10. I settle in for a day of laying around, napping on and off and almost feeling decadent, if it weren’t for that nasty cold...or in today's scenario...that monster headache, after I get home from the doctor's office.

MK out.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Movie Monday - 11/7/2011

...and we're back!

In Queen to Play, Sandrine Bonnaire plays Helene, a housekeeper, who takes up the game of chess after watching two hotel guests play a romantic game.  Her mentor is one of her employers, Dr. Kroger (played by Kevin Kline).  He is a widower, but we don’t find out too much more about him, including what he is doing in Corsica.  The movie is in French with English subtitles.  The acting is superb, the scenery is beautiful and the story is good.  I liked it.

Forks Over Knives is a documentary whose premise is that one should eat a vegetarian diet based on whole foods in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle that prevents chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.  It features the works of T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn.  I found much of the information good and interesting, but I am of the school that extremes are not always the right path to take. I think one can benefit from eating more fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes and curbing the intake of animal products, but I like my red meat too much to totally go without.  It was a thought-provoking film and certainly one worth seeing.

Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright is based on a true story about the Oakland Athletics baseball team.  In the 2002 season, general manager Billy Beane (Pitt), with the help of nerdy statistician Peter Brand (Hill), put together a low-cost baseball team that had everything it needed to win the World Series.  It was very entertaining, especially if you like baseball.  I liked it.

In Around a Small Mountain, Jane Birkin plays a woman who returns to the circus that her family owned after years away.  Sergio Castellitto plays Vittorio, a man that she meets when he stops to help her by the side of the road when her vehicle stalls.  Ghosts of the past resurface. The two characters become close.  He helps her put things into perspective.  The film is in French with English subtitles.  It was subtle, as many French movies are, but good.

MK out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Help

I read The Help in July.  It is set in the south during the civil rights movement.  Skeeter Phelan has graduated from college and is ready to write and to take the world by storm.  Her mother has other ideas.  She wants Skeeter to settle down, get married and start a family - what every good southern girl of that era was raised to do.  While she does take part in the Junior League and other socially acceptable activities, Skeeter also takes a job working as a housekeeping advice columnist in the local paper. It is a far cry from the New York publication to which she aspires, as well as from the advice she received from its editor - to write about something that is really important to her.  She starts consulting the African American maids who work for her family and friends for advice about how to answer some of the dilemmas that people send. She soon finds that there is a real story in how these women feel about working for their bosses - many of whom are Skeeter's friends.  She pitches her idea to the New York editor and then sets out to earn the trust of the women in order for them to tell her their tales.

I really enjoyed the book, and while the movie was a very good adaptation, it was still better than the film.  Maybe, there's something to be said about one's own imagination...However, I highly recommend both.

I will leave you with a little something:

To N. Cruz ~ a haiku

Nelly can catch good,
And he can throw really good,
But hitting is best.

Go Rangers!!!

MK out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Movie Monday - 10/10/2011

I only watched one movie this last week...

Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill lend their voices to the animated characters in Megamind.  It is a cute movie about a villian whose plans seem to backfire until he figures out what is really important in life.  It was good...I think it appeals to all ages.

MK out.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest...

...is the final book in the Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson.  I read this book in May.  We first met Lisbeth Salander in the first book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  She was quite the enigma...a youngish girl who had an old soul.  Reading through the Trilogy, we discover more about the injustices done to her through her life thus far and come to understand why she doesn't trust people easily. I marvelled at the fact that she possessed more than just survival skills...She conquered her challenges.

In the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Salander teams up with Michael Blomkvist, a magazine publisher, to solve the case of the disappearance of a prominent family's niece.  We also learn that Salander is a talented computer hacker and can be quite resourceful in getting what she wants.  In the second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, Blomkvist is working on a story to expose high level officials who are involved in a sex trafficking ring.  When the reporter who had unearthed the evidence for the story and his partner are found dead, Salander becomes the murder suspect.  The next day, her guardian is also found dead by the same gun.  Salander goes into hiding, while she tries to find a way to clear her name.  Her journey brings her face to face with her father and lands her in the hospital.  In Hornet's Nest, the story continues, with Salander having to trust in Blomkvist to help save her life and her name.

All three books were really good.  I devoured each one of them as quickly as social acceptance allowed.

MK out.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

WIP Wednesday -10/5/2011

The other day, I read on Ravelry that there are 88 days until Christmas.  The post was from a week ago...meaning, now there are only 81 days.  I counted to be sure.

I have a little Christmas project up my sleeve...it was a commission:



Today, I am working on the Citron.  It is moving right along, without having to spend an inordinate amount of time on it.  I know it will be small, and I don't think I will have enough yarn to add a repeat, but we will see:



I started the Flourish shawl yesterday.  I am using leftover Brooks Farm Mas Acero that I used to make the Gathered Pullover.  I am loving it so far.  I like the way the yarn feels while I am working it and it is one of my favorite colors; so, it makes me happy:



The Aragorn socks are still in time out.

MK out.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - 10/4/2011 I do! I do!

This week, Carole wants us to tell Ten Things You Like About Weddings.

1.  I like weddings for many reasons, but the top number one reason for me is the wedding cake.  I like it plain the best, but I will eat all the foofy fillings and icing flavors...I don't care - just let me eat cake!
2.  I get to dress up! (usually)
3.  I look forward to seeing the wedding dress.
4.  I love the people, whether it is seeing old friends or making new ones.
5.  It's fun to see what special touches a bride incorporates into her big day - from the invitation to the place cards to how the venue is decorated.
6.  I must have been a member of royalty in a previous life, because I love the pomp and circumstance of a wedding.
7.  Flowers make me smile.
8.  Music is uplifting during the ceremony, and if the band or DJ offers up Play That Funky Music at the reception, it's always a plus.
9.  It is always interesting to see the food offered at the reception...and I like it all!
10.  I love that the day is all about love.

MK out.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Movie Monday - 10/3/2011

This week's installment:

Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis star in Due Date, about a guy (Downey), who has to get back to California for his wife’s scheduled C-section.  Peter meets Ethan, a quirky dude (Galifianakis), at the airport.  Ethan gets them kicked off the plane and the two end up sharing a rental car in order to get home.  There are some funny parts, but the plot has been done before in a better fashion – Planes, Trains and Automobiles.  Juliette Lewis has a really funny role as a pot dealer.  Michelle Monaghan and Jamie Foxx also star in this film.  It was alright.

In Meek’s Cutoff, Bruce Greenwood plays Stephen Meek, a guide who is helping three families cross to the other side of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains to start a new life.  Soon, the group finds itself in very rough terrain and with no water in sight.  They realize that they must be lost; despite how much Meek tells them how wonderful he is at his job.  When they come upon an Indian and Meek wants to kill him, one of the wives (Michelle Williams) stands up to him and forces Meek to spare his life.  She figures the Indian is better able to get them across the mountains, and may even help them find water.  This movie is slow, the plot is less than intriguing, and the ending is not really an ending.  I did, however, like how it seems to be a truer portrayal of what life must have been like for early settlers heading to new territories, unlike most westerns that Hollywood has made. 

Bill Cunningham New York is a delightful documentary examining the life of a man doing his life’s work and enjoying every minute of it.  Cunningham is a photographer who chronicles fashion.  He does photograph the collections, but he is more about how real people interpret and wear the styles.  He is not impressed by celebrity or wealth.  He is all about the artful self-expression of dressing. He is in his eighties, and still rides his bicycle or walks the streets of Manhattan while taking pictures. I really enjoyed watching this movie.

Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is Morgan Spurlock’s recent documentary that examines how advertising is such an intrusive aspect of our lives.  It is everywhere!  Spurlock exposed how deals are made behind the scenes, while simultaneously financing his entire film with the advertising income.  It was interesting and entertaining.

MK out.

Friday, September 30, 2011

FO Friday - 9/30/2011

My friend Amy had a baby boy the other day.  I made him a little something and took it to the hospital yesterday:



MK out.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - 9/27/2011 The Daily Grind

This week, Carole asks us to list Ten Things You Do Everyday.  Here's what happens with regularity between the times I wake up every morning and go to bed at night:

1.  Brush teeth - more than once throughout the day...
2.  Take medicines - fortunately, mostly vitamins...still...and at my age!
3.  Work out - I like to take a nice power walk
4.  Shower and get dressed 
5.  Read the paper - I scan the front page headlines and do a run through of the living/style/whatever-your-paper-calls-it section – especially my horrorscope (as I like to call it), the Lu Ann comic strip and Dear Abby (sometimes)
6.  Knit a little – it may just be a row or two, but something…
7.  Work a little on paper clutter
8.  Blogging – if I don’t write a post that day, I will at least check some of the blogs I follow
9.  Eat – at least two meals, I don’t always eat breakfast
10. Think about what to have for supper – note- I didn’t say what to make for supper, because lately, there hasn’t been as much cooking around here as before...


There are many days that, despite all the other chores and projects that are on the agenda, this list is all I get accomplished.  I feel pretty bummed out on those days.  I should look at it from a more positive point of view.  It still means the ironing may have not gotten done, but I did do something...


MK out.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Movie Monday - 9/26/2011

Another installment of Merry Karma movie comments:

I don’t think I ever commented about The Informant!  In it, Matt Damon plays a guy working for a large agricultural firm.  He becomes very well-versed in the company’s price-fixing conspiracy and then decides to report it to the FBI.  Unfortunately, his story and his loyalty keep changing, frustrating the FBI’s attempt to capture the “bad guys.”  At the end of the movie, the driving force for this behavior is revealed. Is it greed or something else? I had pretty much figured it out early on…see if you can.  Scott Bakula and Melanie Lynskey also star.

Our Idiot Brother isn’t a great movie, but it does have a sweet message.  Paul Rudd plays Ned, a very honest guy.  His honesty seems to get him into all sorts of trouble.  His mother and sisters, played by Shirley Knight, Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks and Emily Mortimer, are always bailing him out of his scrapes.  He may not be as idiotic as he seems…It was cute.  There were some funny parts.  It’s definitely a renter.

Reservoir Dogs put Quentin Tarantino on the map.  A group of thugs that are to use fake names are brought together by a big boss to commit a jewelry heist.  We see what happens before and after the botched attempt.  There is some flashing back. It was disgustingly graphic in places.  Many good actors are in it:  Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Lawrence Tierney and even Quentin himself.  Despite that, I would’ve been okay not ever seeing it.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is based on a series of children’s books by Kathryn Lasky.  This animated feature is rated PG.  I think it is a good decision because the movie is dark and a little too violent for the younger kids.  It’s about bad owls and good owls.  Some owlets get kidnapped by the bad owls, escape and try to find the mythical good owls who can beat up on the bad ones once and for all.  Meh.

In Country Strong, Gwyneth Paltrow plays a country music star who has fallen on hard times.  Her husband is eager for her to get out of rehab and get her career back on track.  On the tour with them are a songwriter who happens to be her lover from rehab and a young rising star.  Tim McGraw, Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester also star. It was predictable and just okay.

MK out.

 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Like to Read

I used to read all the time.  If a book is really good and I want to get to the end to see what happens, I've been known to spend all day and night reading...ignoring housework, cooking, even (gasp!) bathing...

For the last several years, I've tried to limit my reading to about one book a month or so, because life is so hectic that I need to focus on the tasks at hand.  I go through many reading dry spells, too, when life gets too busy.

I have been on my once-a-month schedule lately.  In May, I read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  I wanted to read it before I saw the movie.  I like to read a book before I see the movie, because books are generally better, and I feel I might ruin my reading experience in some way if I see the movie first. 

The book is set during the Depression.  The story begins with Jacob, a veterinary student who is near the end of his training.  He suddenly finds himself an orphan without any money.  He has to drop out of school and find a way to make a living.  He literally joins the circus.  He finds himself falling in love with the star of the top attraction, who is married to the cruel animal trainer.  Jacob has to fight for his life in his quest to get the girl. 

I really liked the book.  I thought the movie was an adequate adaptation, but the book is better.

MK out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WIP Wednesday - 9/21/2011

Merry Karma knitting mojo report:  Still not too knitterly around here.

My concentration level these days is not where it needs to be to keep Aragorn's twisted stitches and mini cables from trying to fall off the needles...I have had to frog back one too many times.  Add to the fact that the dark yarn makes it difficult for night knitting - which is when I seem to have a minute to knit these days.  All that to say, the Aragorn socks are in time out for a few days.

I do feel the need to feel some yarn and pointy sticks in my hands.  It is comforting.  I looked through my queue on Ravelry, and Citron popped out at me; so, I cast on the other night.  I'm not very far yet, but here's a little (not very good) picture:



I am using yarn that I bought in Palm Harbor, Florida three or four years ago.  It is Anne by the Schaefer Yarn Company in a reddish-orange colorway.  I haven't decided if it is too orangy for me; so, it may end up being a gifty.  I am enjoying knitting it so far.  It is doing the trick.

MK out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - 9/20/2011 Extra! Extra! Read All About It!!!





That Carole, she came up with another good one...Ten Headlines from the Year You Were Born.

I'm going to let y'all figure out what year it was (and it was a long time ago), but here we go:
1.  TIBETIANS SITE RED AGAIN; Travelers Report Speed-Up of Communizing Efforts
2.  GHANAIAN LABOR HAS WORLD TIES; May Join Neutralist African Group, but Keep Link to Free Trade Unions
3.  COURT BARS PICKETS ON ATOMIC SHIPMENT
4.  SOVIET SPACE PROBE IS FIRST HUMAN-MADE OBJECT TO REACH MOON
5.  KHRUSHCHEV TALK WITH MAO BEGINS
6.  US SPACE PLAN BACKED BY NIXON
7.  40 WRITERS OUT IN MOVIE STRIKE; Members of Guild Fail to Report in Move Against 56 Independent Producers
8.  PARIS WOULD BAN A-BOMB CARRIERS; UN Hears Plan to Outlaw All Means for Delivery of Nuclear Weapons
9.  ELECTION REFORM BACKED BY HOFFA; Judge Approves Agreement With Monitors on Rules for Teamster Locals
10.  BIG RISE IS PREDICTED FOR YEAR'S AUTO SALES

It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The world continues to be concerned with things such as armaments that threaten global annihilation  (the a-bomb v. nuclear missiles v. biological weapons) and the threat of a spread of a hostile ideology (the communists v. terrorists of many extremes).  Unions still play a role in our workforce (the teamsters v. the NBA and NFL, most recently). 

There have been changes too...it's kind of sad that the US space shuttle era has ended and that our domestic auto industry is no longer the power it once was.

MK out.

Friday, September 16, 2011

FO Friday - 9/16/2011

The Merry Karma has lost her knitting mojo in the last couple of weeks.  There wasn't a problem in the project planning department - just in the execution of the plan department.

I do have some FOs to share that were completed in August...

Better late than never - the June 2011 Socks:



I used Lorna's Laces in Flamingo Stripe on two 2.0mm circulars.  I knit them cuff-down, starting with a picot edging, did short-row heels and a what I call a regular toe...nothing fancy, just plain vanilla.  I need to practice my short-row heels, because I tried not to strangle my stitches with the wraps, as Lucy Neatby once pointed out I was doing, and I think they turned out too loose.  I may not have to worry about it, since I think I found a great way to do short-row heels...

May I present the (Christmas in) July 2011 Socks:



They are also in a plain vanilla stockinette pattern.  Using two 2.0mm circulars, and Lone Star Arts Fusion, I did a modified Turkish cast-on toe, worked Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato Heel (OMG - it is so easy and I liked the way it made the socks look like peppermint candy!)  I continued up the leg in stockinette and finished up with Cat's Cable-Top bind-off.  I think they turned out cute.

MK out.