27 February 2007

The Spoils of Swapping

As promised, here is a picture of the box o' goodies I received from my Favorite Color Swap partner, Kim. In the pre-swap questionnaire, I had said that green, blue, and purple were my three favorite colors - Kim did a great job with that statement:

What fun it was to open the box, and find all of these things inside, wrapped up! The bag in the back is one of the Lantern Moon ones, with a pretty green lining, and pockets, including one specifically for knitting needles. I couldn't believe it when I pulled it out of the box! Then I realized there was more inside ...

Such as rosemary-scented hand and body lotion in its own holder. Something that was an added bonus is that the bottle has a statement that the company producing the products does not participate in animal testing. I was especially pleased with that, since I try to buy things that are not tested on animals. I have no idea whether or not it was a conscious part of the purchase on Kim's part, but I do appreciate it.

Anyway, away from my bleeding-heartism, and on to the other things in the package. She also sent me a really nice (and not cutesy) Mary Engelbreit magnet, a necklace of the neatest small, green beads (I'm not sure if they are glass or what, I need to figure that out. Not that it matters, since I love jewelry ...), and some green tea. The tea container says that the leaves unfurl when hot water is added, so I can't wait to see how/if that works. The little flower on the lower left decorated one of the packages, and Kim knitted it and sent it to me! She also found a green Pisces horoscope book (!), and of course, the two skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca alpaca/silk yarn, in a deep turquoise color. My brain has been working overtime, trying to decide what I can knit with it - I've already had about 10 different project ideas.

So thank you, Kim! I have to say that it's great having someone who "knows" me, as my swap partner, though I'm sure you wouldn't mind getting someone else's name for a change. But you are the best, swap partner or not ...

I have my package nearly ready for my swap pal, so I'm hoping to mail it this weekend, or early next week. Whereas Kim keeps getting me as a swap partner, I tend to get people in Canada, though not the same person all of the time.

Weird, eh?

24 February 2007

One-a-penny, Two-a-penny ...

Hot Cross Buns!

After my knitting problems caused by being hepped up on painkillers last Tuesday, I decided that I would still try to bake hot cross buns, since the next day was Ash Wednesday. For several years, I've made them the weekend before Ash Wednesday, and though it's a bit of a project, I look forward to it. So I put my knitting away and headed to the kitchen. Happily, my baking went better than my knitting that day. And though I thought this year's batch turned out to be flatter-looking than others, Tim decreed them "the best batch ever." Which makes me wonder if I should do more baking when in a drug-induced state ...

I also received my package from Kim, my swap pal in the Favorite Color Swap 2. Talk about a box of goodies! I will post pictures of my haul in the next day or so, but I'm telling you, Kim really spoiled me. (And has made me think that my package to my pal will be, um, underwhelming ...) She really went above and beyond, sending me so many more wonderful things than I would have ever expected to receive - and all when she was probably busy making preparations for Alan Rickman's birthday this past Wednesday (you'll have to see her post for that day to really appreciate this)! Some of you may remember this past December, when I took part in the holiday ornament swap with the Knit the Classics group, and Kim was my swap partner - as well as one other time! I will repeat what I said then, it's fine with me if Kim keeps getting me as her swap pal! (Though I'm willing to bet that she wouldn't mind getting someone else's name for a change ...)

22 February 2007

Victory Is Mine!

You may remember last week, when I mentioned in a post that over the long weekend, I hoped to try again to get started on the Odessa pattern; previous efforts had not ended well, and I was taking it personally.

I am pleased to tell you that I have prevailed! I have approximately 3 inches knit, and am at the point where if my count is off, I can tell where in the round I need to make the correction. It does look pretty nice, and will look even better once I remove the cat hair ... which is the only reason I wish that I had chosen a light color yarn, instead of the burgundy color. But I digress. Who, you might ask, will be the recipient of the completed hat? The answer is, that depends. If I can fit it onto my head, it will be mine. If not, someone will receive it as a gift. I'll just have to let you know.

(Just for the record, I apparently have an unusually large head ... very few hats for women fit me. My head looks proportional to the rest of my body to me, and no one has ever seen me and exclaimed, "Oh my God - your head is so BIG!" Anyway, I can't remember the last time I used the word "exclaimed" in a sentence.)

Ahem, back to the hat. I will attempt to provide a photo once it's finished, but it could prove to be a challenge, since it's a dark color, and my photography skills (particularly the digital kind) do not lend themselves to awe-inspiring pictures. In the meantime, you can always just go to the picture posted with the pattern, and imagine it in a burgundy color with garnet-colored beads.

Thanks to everyone who sent me kind thoughts and wishes after my post about getting stitches. My headache is not nearly as bad as it was the other day, now it's just slightly lingering. Which could be as much from the barometric pressure as the whole series of events on Tuesday. My jaw still hurts, though it would not hurt nearly as much, if I would stop trying to sit with my left hand on my chin while I'm reading something! Geez. You'd think since every time it happens, I just about pass out, I'd remember not to do it. You'd think. (Especially since there is a bandage over said stitches ...)

Today on my walk home from work, I was waiting at a red light, and a friendly geezer was also waiting (through no effort on my part, I am a Geezer Magnet - ask anyone). He looked over and said hello (they always do), and then noticed the bandage, and said in an amused fashion, "Boy, I'd hate to see the other guy," which I will admit I was not in the mood to go along with, so I said the first line of the "Our Father" in French, so he would think I was a foreigner and didn't understand. It seemed to work, either because a) he spoke French and was afraid I was a French religious fanatic, b) he didn't understand and thought I had no idea what he had said, or c) he just figured I was scary crazy. Any or all of the above work for me.


20 February 2007


No, not the knitting kind, or even Stitches East.

Today I had taken a day off because I had a doctor's appointment to have a birthmark removed from my face. It's a tiny one, on the left lower side of my chin, but the last time I went to the dermatologist, she was worried, because a whitish ring was forming around it. (Good thing she noticed, 'cause it looked the same to me!) Anyway, she wanted me to have it removed, because even though she didn't think it was anything too dangerous, she wanted to be safe rather than sorry, given my - as she put it - "colorful medical history."

So off I went to my doctor's new office location this morning, thinking it wouldn't be a big deal. And certainly in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't. As I was walking home, I thought to myself that maybe I should have gone to work after all. By the time I got home, I was extremely happy to be there! My jaw really hurt, I felt pretty out of it, and I had a headache.

Later in the afternoon, I thought I felt well enough to do some knitting. I figured it would be better to work on something simple, given that I was still kinda feeling out of it. So I picked up the sock I've been making, and gave it a try. I'm finishing the foot of the first sock, and it's just knitting, no pattern stitches or anything. Well, it took me over an hour to do three rounds, and then I realized I'd purled them all! So I tore out my three purled rows, and put the sock away ...

Which makes me wonder - how do people get so much knitting done when they are recuperating? Because usually by the time I've been with it enough to do any reasonable amount of knitting without really messing things up, it's been right when I was ready to return to work. But I know people who knit in their hospital beds, only hours after major surgery! I remember the first time I had to go to the hospital for surgery, I took my knitting project along with me, since I thought it would be a good way to kill time during the days and evenings I knew I would be there afterwards. And it would have been - if I'd had any clue about what was going on around me, or could even see straight!!

(Which is not to say I'm always right on top of things when I'm not in any kind of drug-induced state ...)

19 February 2007

Presidents' Day Musings

I always wonder when Presidents' Day comes along, if George Washington and Abraham Lincoln would mind that their birthdays have been combined, and assigned a Monday holiday.

I also wonder if George Washington even liked cherries, what with the whole chopping-down-the-cherry-tree story associated with him.

I am still amused when I think of the episode of "The Odd Couple," when Oscar and Felix were on the TV game show, "Password." The word they had to guess was "mayonnaise." Their opponent gave his partner the clue, "sandwich," or something like that, and they didn't guess it. Then Felix gave Oscar the clue, "Lincoln." Of course, Oscar didn't know what to say, and they lost their turn. Finally when the opponents guessed the word, Oscar asked Felix why he would give the clue "Lincoln." To which Felix responded, "It's a well-known fact that Lincoln loved mayonnaise!" Still funny, as far as I'm concerned.

It still surprises me to realize that Washington is the "city" in the District of Columbia. I always think of the whole phrase as one entity.

I wonder if they would have liked each other at all. They really didn't have much in common.

Is it possible any more for any president to become so honored, on a more or less universal level?

How come no other presidents are used to sell products? Does anyone care if Calvin Coolidge wanted us to drive a Chevrolet? Would we go to the mall for a blowout Millard Fillmore's birthday sale? Would we wonder what was going on if they used Martin Van Buren to sell pills to help us sleep?

I realize that there are a group of people out there who have devoted their lives to the study of the lives of the various presidents, and I think that's fine. But I wonder if they get frustrated when "their" president never gets time in the limelight.

Will anyone, anywhere, ever think that John and John Quincy Adams, and the two George Bushes, had anything more in common than the fact that they were father-son presidential pairs? (I'm not saying I do, I'm just wondering if anyone else ever will ...)

Does anyone else find the "Living Presidents" exhibit at Disney World as creepy as I did when I saw it? (Though it was amusing/depressing to hear the high school kid behind me, say to his friend, "Wow, I didn't realize that Lincoln and Truman knew each other," when he saw them "standing" next to one another on the stage ...)

Did any of the Presidents knit? And if so, were they English or Continental knitters? (I'll bet if Washington learned the English way, he had to switch during the Revolution, you know?)

These are the kinds of things I wonder about, not all of the time, but every once in a while.

Just a small window into the way my mind works ... bet you wish I'd kept it closed, and installed shutters, huh?

17 February 2007

One More Time ...

Ahh, a long weekend! I have approximately 142 things I would like to/want to/need to do. I got one of them done today. Which is making me think I need to reconsider at least a few of the rest of them ...

I will, however, give Odessa one more try. I started out late last summer, thinking I would knit it and have it to wear this winter. When I had trouble with it, I thought some time away from it would be a good thing, so I set it aside to try again later. When I was organizing my stash, I came across all of the started-but-not-finished projects, and decided that I would try to finish one thing for every new thing I started.

So, I sat down with my yarn, which has the beads strung on to it, my pattern, and my circular needles. The ribbing looked great! Then I got to the part where you start the actual pattern. The instructions are a) very clearly written, and b) not all that complicated. I imagine that once you got going on it, you would have it memorized after one or two pattern repeats.

But I may never know. There I was knitting away, following the pattern, and feeling very proud of myself. I even managed to get the beads knitted in properly. So I was sailing along, counting 110 stitches for each round. Except then I got to a round that had only 108 stitches ... then 105 ... then ... well, I ripped it out, put it away until the next day, and worked on a pair of socks I'm knitting for myself.

The next day, things just went smoothly again, until all of a sudden - yep, I no longer had 110 stitches. Which is ridiculous, because each pattern repeat is ten stitches, and I was trying to count them as I was going along, so that if I had to rip out a round, I might be able to recognize the mistake. Except I never could. So, out the whole thing - perfect ribbing and all - came, and I put it all away for the past couple of weeks.

I cast on 110 stitches earlier today. I am going to try this evening to get the ribbing done. And then tomorrow, I am going to sit down and see if I can get it to work. Because to be honest with you, now it's personal.

Tales of the Stupid

This week marked the serious arrival of my nemesis - ice. Love it in drinks, hate it on the ground. I am one of the few people in the universe who enjoys winter. I am happy that it finally started to feel like winter, and was disappointed at the lame amount of snow we've gotten so far.** But ice, other than where it should be (the North Pole, Antarctica), is not good.

Last week, they were already predicting "precipitation" for this week. First it was a small amount of snow. Then it was supposed to be more. Then it was the ubiquitous "wintry mix," and finally, it was supposed to start as snow and end as rain, creating ice and dangerous conditions.

So we did end up with ice, and any snow that fell got rained on, then froze, so it was iced-over snow. Which leads to this installment of Tales of the Stupid.

Walking to work on Thursday, I noticed a woman coming towards me, wrapped in a puffy down-type coat, hat, scarf, gloves ... and open-toed stiletto heels! She was doing the kind of mincy-stepped walk you see Chinese women with bound feet do in old movies. When she passed me, she said, "Oh my, it's so cold and icy!" Amazingly, I said nothing to her in response.

Then I turned down a side street, and there was a guy digging his car out. He was taking big shovelfuls of icy snow, and flinging them over his shoulder, towards the sidewalk. One of the icy snow chunks hit me on the shoulder, and I said, "Hey watch it," to which he replied, "Well, I have to dig out my car!" Then I said (and politely, I must add), "Well try to watch where you're throwing ice chunks." And he responded, "Well, if you were normal like everyone else, and drove, it wouldn't be a problem!"

**No, I do not particularly enjoy it when it is 5 degrees, and the wind chill is -20; nor do I wish we had 100 inches of snow like folks in upstate New York; and it does upset me that people and animals have died in places where they have had extreme cold and snow. But having said that, it's WINTER, and I live in Philadelphia - it's not supposed to be 65 degrees, OK???

14 February 2007

Valentines, Knitting, and Birthdays


Today is Valentine's Day, which I think is a lot of fun. This is mainly because it has never been a day that required having a boyfriend, spouse, or significant other, as far as I'm concerned. It's just a day to send a card to anyone you liked, or wanted to cheer up, having them know you were thinking of them. I can remember in first and second grades, when you had to either hand out no Valentine cards at all, or give one to every kid in the class - it was terrifying to think that some boy would think you liked him!! So what that everyone else was doing the same thing ...

Anyway, I hope you enjoy your Valentine's Day, and have a chance to hear from someone who loves you, and/or eat some candy.

Knitting - on a Knitting Blog!!!

Media alert ... I bet you have either forgotten about this, or thought you would never see a picture of the finished masterpiece, er, item:

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Tim's Birthday Vest, in all of its finished glory, modeled by the man himself - TA DA! Yes, I finally got around to posting this picture. I think it turned out pretty well, considering that it was the first item of clothing I'd knit for a few years. You can't see it here, but the stripes even match up on the sides, which for those of you who knit clothing all the time, is not a big deal, but it was a real accomplishment for me. The pattern is from a Catalina Yarns booklet, and the yarn is Catalina Yarns Chunky Baby Alpaca. It's the softest thing I have ever knit! I saw a sample last summer at the Adirondack Yarns booth at the Valley Forge Knit & Crochet Show, and it just really appealed to me. Tim likes vests, and it seemed the perfect special gift for his 50th birthday this past November.

And because he is such a sweetie, he even wore it to work today for Valentine's Day.


Valentine's Day is also special at our house, because we have two birthday boys:

Here we have Garden Kitty, aka GK or The Gardenia. He is 8 years old today. We had seen a cute little black kitten on our street for a few months, but whenever it would see you coming, it would run and hide. Then one day, said black kitten showed up in our garden. Which of course meant I had to put out food and water. After a few days, "the garden kitty" (as opposed to the cats in the house), would let me pet him. This went on for a week or so, and then Hurricane Floyd hit, and Tim decided it was time for him to come inside. And, as they say, the rest is history. He is a sweet boy, but is still unfortunately scared to death of almost everyone and everything - and he still seems convinced for the most part, that Tim is trying to kill him. Because, well, he does things like clear his throat, or get up from the couch - can you imagine???

Then there is Jetsam, aka The Gray Menace, Jet Boy, or Shtinky Puddin', who turns a year old today. I was walking to work one day this past May, and saw a cardboard animal carrier wedged into a city trash can. I decided that once I got to it, if it wasn't icky from other trash, I would take it to recycle. But when I picked it up, it meowed! So I headed home, and opened it up, and a tiny gray and white kitten was inside. I fixed him up in the guest room, so the other cats would stay away, and headed to work, where I spent the day calling around to see if any places had recently adopted out a kitten. No one had, so I figured when I got home, we would need to take him to the animal shelter, since I was figuring that Tim probably was not too keen on having another cat. I prepared myself for this all day, then when I got home, there was Tim in a chair asleep, with the kitten asleep next to him! Tim said he thought Jetsam would be a good name for him, and that is how he became the youngest member of the family.

Garden Kitty and Jetsam have become best buddies, which is fine with Abigail and Tess, who think they are terrible examples of the feline species ...

So Happy Birthday to The Boys, who are both so sweet, that Valentine's Day makes the perfect time for them to celebrate their birthdays!

10 February 2007

The Letter F

I've seen this on a few blogs, and thought it was intriguing. When I read Barb P's post, and she offered to send anyone who was interested a letter, I told her to go ahead and send one to me. She wrote: "When I think of your blog I think of the letter 'F' so that's your letter."

Now before I go any further, I have to say that when I read that I thought, Hmmm, I hope she thinks of "Fun," or "Fabulous," or even "Freakazoid" (hi Carol!), not, well ... you know ... that F word ...

Anyway, you are supposed to name 10 things that are important, or themes in your life, all starting with the assigned letter. And so I give you, The Letter F:

1. Family - I love my family, both immediate and extended. And I would just like to say that as far as I'm concerned, you don't have to be a mom, dad and 2.5 children to be a family. My immediate family is Tim and our four cats, as well as any other pets that we have had, or will have. (And of course, Sebastian and Doughboy - honorary family members!)

2. Fur and feathers - On people, no. On animals, yes. I love animals. Once I read in the paper that in Philadelphia, you were allowed to have 12 pets. I pointed this out to Tim. He pointed out that it was "a limit, not a requirement."

3. Fortitude - I think I have a lot of personal fortitude. I try as much as I can not to let anything throw me off too much, and I think I have succeeded pretty well in my life.

4. Fun - Part of my fortitude is because I try to see the humor, or the fun, in everything, even bad situations. There's a lot that a sense of humor will do for you.

5. Fortunate - I am fortunate for several reasons. I have a home and family that loves me, I don't have to worry about having a home or food on the table. Though I have, and have had, numerous health issues, I have a group of doctors that are not only the best at what they do, but are kind, wonderful, and funny people.

6. Feminism - I can remember when girls/women did one thing, and boys/men did other things, and that was it. I remember being told in school that it didn't matter that much if I never was too good with math or science, since I was a girl. I remember that the boys always had the chance to participate in sports, and for girls, the choice was cheerleading. So being a feminist, and wanting women to have equal rights, is important to me. Likewise, it is just as important to me that everybody is able to decide what/who/how they want to be, or to live their own life. A few years ago at an ALA conference, I went to a session where Gloria Steinem spoke, and even though I know a lot of people who think she is awful, I found her to be truly inspiring.

7. Friends - I don't have many true friends, but the ones I do have, I treasure.

8. Fifties - the decade when I was born, and the decade I started last year. So far, so good!

9. Ferocity - I am fiercely loyal to people, places, and things that matter to me. I can also be fiercely against people, places, and things. If you get on my wrong side, that's usually it for you, as far as I'm concerned. Everyone gets the benefit of the doubt once. After that ...

10. Food - I love food, especially when I can share it with family and friends. And if I am in a new place, I think it's fun to find the good places to eat. I like to cook and bake, especially when I can take the time to think about it (as opposed to fixing something quick after work so I can go to the gym or something).

That's it. Finished!

09 February 2007

Favorite Color Swap 2

I signed up for the Favorite Color Swap 2, because it will give me a chance to send a package to someone, while getting a package from someone else, and I am nothing if not a package-in-the-mail-whore. Anyhow, we have a questionnaire that we are to respond to, so that our swap partner gets more of an idea what our likes/dislikes are. So Swap Partner, here you go, and for the rest of you, just consider this a chance to look through a small window into the complexities that make me the person that I am ...

1. What are your top three favorite colors? Green, blue, and let's see, I'll say purple.

2. What crafts do you really enjoy? Knitting mostly. I also do needlepoint and counted cross stitch. Poorly.

3. What products do you really covet? Oh my God, "covet"???? Isn't it a sin to covet your neighbor's wife, or your neighbor's goods???? Fortunately, I do not covet either of my neighbor's wives ... and, whenever I used to see/hear "neighbor's goods" I always thought of canned goods, and there's no coveting there, trust me.

As for what products might I really like to have, well, I am thoroughly intrigued by sea silk yarn. And a small house in Ireland.

4. What other activities do you enjoy besides your favorite crafty things?

Reading, writing, (no 'rithmetic), cooking, walking.

5. Is there anything you collect?

Dust, apparently. And geezers, involuntarily.

6. What is your zodiac sign and/or Chinese zodiac symbol?

I am a Pisces.

7.What are your favorite……


Gardenias, fresh rosemary, anything baking, the ocean.

…types of music and/or bands?

I like almost any kind of music. Except I guess heavy metal, hip hop, and twangy country music. Oh, and anything by Philip Glass. Let's see, favorite bands, well, I'm a big Beatles fan, and I also really like Alison Krauss and Union Station. (I also like it when the Ohio State University Marching Band spells out "Ohio" at football games, but don't want a recording of their music thank you.)


Oh Lord, I could go on about this. Let's see, I'll choose one "classic" and one current - Edith Wharton, and Kathleen Norris.


Once again, geez. I don't think there are any animals I don't like. I have 4 cats, I also love dogs, and birds. I have always wished I could have a horse. In the animal kingdom at large, I guess insects are my least favorites. Though butterflies, dragonflies, etc. are nice. But not slugs or roaches.

…places to shop?

Bookstores, stationery stores, tea shops, and I do love walking around the King of Prussia mall, because it has lots of stores that are nowhere else near here, like Nordstrom's.


Fall, then winter and spring. Summer is last.

…yarn/fabric/paper/other craft supplies?

Yarn - I made Tim a vest from alpaca yarn. That was soooo soft!
Other craft supplies - well, I am a sucker for interesting tape measures (I have a black sheep and a white sheep), scissors (I have a pair of Santa embroidery scissors), and anything else "interesting."

…candies or goodies?

Chocolate, caramel, licorice

8. Do you have any wish lists?

Yep, on Amazon.

9. Are you allergic to anything?

Sulfa drugs. Latex. Mussels. Cigarette smoke. (So please, no cigarette smoke covered latex packages containing mussels injected with sulfa drugs.)

10. Do you have any pets?


What are they?

4 cats, and Doughboy, the Dog Next Door is an honorary member of the family. We used to have canaries, but after the last one died, Tim said he felt bad having a bird in a cage.

11. Please include anything else you would like your secret pal to know about you- anything that would be helpful in finding you little gifts that you will really enjoy.

I try to avoid leather products, being a vegetarian (though I am not a vegan). There are very few things that I don't like at all.

05 February 2007

04 February 2007

Why Technology Sucks and January Book Report

Now don't get your knickers all twisted, reading the first part of the title to this post. I truly appreciate the things that advances in technology have allowed to happen, I am not completely a Luddite. Believe me, anything that makes the electric eraser a thing of the past has my full support. (And if you have never heard of an electric eraser - or more horrifying, had to use one - please stop reading immediately and drop to your knees and thank whatever deity you believe in that you have been spared!)

Blogger has switched to a new (and therefore, by extension, better, because new is always better, right???) interface. Having no experience with any other blog creators/providers/whatever they are called, I have nothing to compare. "Old Blogger" and I got along well enough, and for the most part, had an amiable relationship. "New Blogger," not so much, at least not so far. First, I couldn't post a comment on anyone else's blog, if they had a blogger account, because I didn't exist. Surely you see the problem here - I do exist, and as you may have gathered, I have a comment on just about anyone or anything that you can throw at me! As a result, other knitting bloggers were deprived of my wit and wisdom for nearly three days! But then, all of a sudden, I existed again, and could comment away to my hearts' content. (Of course, who knows what golden nuggets from me have been lost to the ages?) Well, I thought, New Blogger is just settling in, getting used to everyone, etc.

Besides having many comments to share, I had a few posts I wanted to write, over the course of the past few days. I mean, I had a great one for Friday, with lots of neat pictures, and the one I had for yesterday, though not illustrated, was OK. But though I would try on several different occasions, I could neither upload images, or even publish my posts - they would just disappear, due to Error BYW^^9876!+ or whatever.

So this morning I decided to give it one last shot. Well, so far so good, as it did allow me to load an image of the book that Kim sent to me this week:

Yes, I am now the proud owner of Folk Vests, and fortunately, my copy is not this blurry. I got a note from Kim, saying that she had some books she was finished with, and was I interested. This was the only one I didn't already have, and so she sent it along to me, with a surprise of a pattern for a beaded smoke ring inside! I just think it was so nice of her to do that, and am thrilled with the book. There are a couple of the patterns that I have decided that I would like to try - I haven't done much multicolor/charted knitting, so maybe this book will inspire me to try. Thank you, Kim - not only do I appreciate your thoughtfulness, but it was fun to get a package in the mail!

January Book Report

This month, I only finished one book, the January choice for Knit the Classics, The Woman in White by Willkie Collins. When we were voting for the next group of books to read, I voted for this title, because of the choices listed, I'd never read it.

I will admit that at first, I wasn't sure I was going to like it, and it took me about 50 pages before I was totally sucked in to the story. It has a little bit of everything - class wars (of course!), a delicate ingenue, and her brave, "mannish" looking half-sister, international intrigue, murder, and a case of mistaken identity - all in 600+ pages. There are different narrators of the story as it goes along, which is interesting because what one character deems inportant, another may only mention in passing.

Basically, it's a detective story, set in Victorian England. Collins does a good job of providing details so strong, that you feel that you can picture the people and places he is describing. The story every once in a while becomes predictable, but then there is a twist that keeps you going. There are two half-sisters, Laura (the ingenue, fair, delicate, and well, kinda boring if you ask me), and Marian (the "mannish" looking one - I decided this meant she had dark hair and was rather plain compared to "beautiful" Laura. Of course she is way more interesting). The woman in white of the title may or may not be Anne Catherick, who was a favorite of Laura's late mother, who ran a school in the area. When Walter Hartright comes to the estate where the sisters live to be their drawing instructor, he runs into a woman on his way from London, who is dressed in white, and seems rather frantic. Only when he gets to Limmeridge, the estate, does he hear about Anne Catherick, and the bulk of the story is determining whether or not she is in fact the woman that Walter saw and spoke to, and whether or not she knows a terrible secret of Laura's eventual husband, Lord Percival Glyde. (God, I hate the name Percival.)

Of course, there is much more to the story, and Collins keeps it going until right near the end. Then, it feels like suddenly, all of the loose ends are tied up neatly - sort of like he got up one day and said to himself, "I'm tired of writing this, I'll finish it up today." And then the ending that he provides is not as satisfactory as it could be. All of the good people survive, and it appears that they will have happiness and wealth in their futures. The bad people meet terrible ends, and to be honest, I think it would have been a better ending if at least one bad person was left, even if they were in prison. (Unfortunately, I was not alive at Collins' time to suggest this to him. I'm sure he would have wanted my input ...)

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it. For the most part, it moves along well, and the story really piques your interest as you continue. It is a commitment, due to its length, but one that you'll be glad you made.

Between this book and finishing my Red Scarf, January did not have a lot more going on for me!

In other news ...

I recently started reading Purly, another knitting blog out of Gloucester, Massachusetts (one of my fave places). Earlier this week, Kathleen posted that her dog, Spenser, had gotten away from their dog walker, and was missing. Since it was really cold this week, she was extra concerned. She posted a couple more times, once to say he was still missing, and once to say she had seen him in the woods, but some other dogs nearby had spooked him, and he'd run away. Then on Friday, she posted that he was home, safe, sound, and warm! I can't tell you what a relief it was for me to read that, and how good it felt to end the week on such a happy note. S0 welcome home, Spenser!

OK, if you are reading this, it means New Blogger was being agreeable. If not, well ...