Friday, May 27, 2016

The Last Few Days in Pictures, Again

At the Colonial Inn in Concord, Massachusetts, they keep the register on display, set to October 19, 1895.
One traveler on this list is from Ohio, but the rest are from sooooo nearby... my friend pointed out that in 1895,
Lowell (about 14 miles from Concord on today's roads) and Waltham (about 11 miles)
were far enough away that you might reasonably want to stop at an inn overnight.

In the skies above Vermont, I saw a cloud shaped like a pegasus.

At SkyVenture in New Hampshire, Kevin...

..and I did this thing called indoor skydiving that involved entering what is basically a spherical windtunnel...

where the wind holds you up and bats you around, and you feel like you're flying.

Kevin adopted more of a superhero stance

whereas I literally look like I'm about to attack someone and I'm way too happy about it.

It was fun, and interesting, and different. You can get a discount with a Groupon, in case you'd like to try it yourself.
BTW, some of you have been around the blog long enough to remember the flying I used to do regularly.
For comparison purposes, the indoor skydiving was fun... but no, it was nothing like this.

Closer to home, I'm trying to hide from myself that I'm about to move house. What? Boxes?
I don't know what you mean; I see my favorite winter scarf, which I've draped across the bookshelf,
as one does.

In my office, there is a big red blob that certainly does not have 20 boxes beneath it.

Just some Moomins. Move along please.

I've also knitted a turtle washcloth....
As practice for knitting my turtle blanket square.
Pattern, by SMARIEK, is here.

All seven buds are blooming on the orchid!

And I'm plotting, and, in free moments, still reading mystery after mystery after mystery.

*happy sigh*

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

In case I didn't sell you on the Summer of Darkness app...

Here's what I found just now when I picked up my phone.

More info about the app here.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

1816, Summer of Darkness -- the most fun iPhone/iPad app ever!

Mary Shelley fans, romantic poetry fans, geology fans, Switzerland fans: have you heard of the iPhone/iPad app Summer of Darkness?

From the app's website:

"Between 1812 and 1815 several large volcanoes erupted around the world including Mount Tambora in Indonesia, which was the largest volcanic eruption in a millennium. Ash accumulated in the atmosphere and changed weather patterns worldwide.

"1816 became known as the Year Without Summer. The average global temperature dropped by several degrees. Crops failed, many starved, and the normally beautiful Swiss summer was shrouded in gloom and rain. The world was prophesied to end in July."

And, what else was happening? Mary Shelley (then Mary Godwin), aged 18, was traveling through Switzerland with her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley and her step-sister Claire Clairmont... who was in pursuit of her erstwhile lover Lord Byron... who was also in Switzerland, because he'd fled England in an attempt to avoid debtors and scandal. This was the summer when Mary Shelley began working on Frankenstein.

It's currently the 200th anniversary of the Year Without Summer! If you download the app Summer of Darkness, you'll get real-time updates of what all of these people were doing that summer. Letters written; poetry tinkered at; travel journals scribbled; reports of illnesses, heartbreaks, inspirations, arguments, challenges extended and met. This is just a guess on my part, but I bet we'll get a pretty clear sense of what an asshole Byron was, too. It's a win-win! :o) I for one can report that when I pick up my phone and see a notice that my dentist called and a reminder that I need to buy groceries, I'm also really happy to see a notification that Claire just wrote an impassioned letter to Lord Byron.

Poor Claire.

This app was created by Anindita Basu Sempere and Andrew Sempere of Digital Scenographic. Read more about the app here: And find it worldwide through the iTunes store here:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Last Few Days in Pictures

I finished a major revision I've been working on since before Halloween. Whew!

I took a trip to see my parents for Mother's Day.
Here's a blurry picture of me and my Dad
in Wanamaker's Department Store in Philly, on a very rainy day.
They have a famous organ in the store. My Dad talked about
going to concerts when he was a kid.

Moments later, watching the Philadelphia Philharmonic get ready to play.
(My Dad calls this "batting practice.")

Scrabble tragedy. Is there anything worse
than having a 7-letter word and no place to put it?

Knitting a TARDIS washcloth :o)
(Pattern by Arwyn Arising can be found on Ravelry, behind the comments tab.)

When I got home, I discovered that five of seven buds are now open.

The sun set on Boston while the Red Sox beat the Oakland A's.

And I'm reading and rereading mysteries, in preparation for diving into a revision of my other book that's in revisions.

I also found a new home. I'm moving! (To the next town over.) Cambridge, I love you and I'll miss you. But you're too expensive, and also, you're LOUD.

May all the goodness continue... though I wouldn't complain of a slower pace.

And that's the news from here.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Washcloths in Progress...

I haven't been able to find any online Weeping Angel patterns that satisfy me, so I'm making my own angel up as I go along. This will be a loooong washcloth. Assuming the additional white yarn I've ordered arrives soon, I think it will say "DON'T BLINK" at the very bottom. It might not end up being the most artistic of the washcloths, but it will be a true original. Here it is at about maybe 2/3 of its final length (we'll see!).

You can help supply refugees with necessities by bidding for the washcloths -- and other fun and useful things -- at the Writing for Charity Refugee Benefit Auction!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Orchids and Wolves

From home, here's an update on my re-flowering orchid:

A lot of people are nervous about caring for orchids, but in my experience, the big secret is that they do great with a light touch. It's practically impossible to underwater an orchid. This particular orchid suffered through a sustained period of neglect (like, over a year) during which, distracted and preoccupied, I probably remembered to water it once a month, then, whenever I did water it, fearing to drown it, gave it very little water. It's repaying me with a whole new stalk and seven healthy buds!

Further afield, we went to Wolf Hollow, a wolf sanctuary in Ipswich.

Kevin took these pictures with Fancy Camera, from a distance, through two spaced-out chain-link fences. You might be able to see the diffused image of the fences; it looks like distortion in the air around the wolves.

I recommend this place, it was really interesting! We learned that wolves have been grossly misrepresented as human predators. In fact, only two people in North America have been killed by wolves in the past one hundred years. We learned the difference between wolves and huskies; that dire wolves were a real wolf species that went extinct when their primary food source, the woolly mammoth, went extinct; that wolves have a complicated social hierarchy; that they mate for life; that they mourn their dead; and that their populations in North America are severely threatened. One of the wolves in the sanctuary, named Bear, is actually a wolf/German Shepherd hybrid who was bred as a pet (such an obviously bad and irresponsible idea!), then needed to be removed from its domestic situation. (Um, because it was DANGEROUS. I hate people.) Luckily, simultaneously, a wolf at the sanctuary who'd lost her pack due to social maneuvering needed a companion. The sanctuary opened its doors to Bear, and now the wolf and the wolf/dog live together. :o)

ETA: I notice that on the website, Bear's doggy origins are a little more unclear -- maybe he's part husky or malamute? Regardless, his tendency to howl would bother the neighbors, so he was in danger of being euthanized by the Environmental Police. Wolf/dog hybrids as domestic pets = really bad idea. It's against the law in Massachusetts. You can read more about each of the wolves here!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I WIll Knit for You

Did you like the Dalek washcloth I posted the other day? Would you like me to knit you one? I'm donating three Doctor Who-themed washcloths, knitted by me, to the Writing for Charity Refugee Benefit Auction. I will knit you three washcloths with three different Doctor Who themes, in three different colors. I promise one of them will be the Dalek. You, in turn, will be ensuring that I spend time doing my favorite meditative activity. And together, we will be helping the humanitarian organization Lifting Hands International, which ships much-needed supplies to refugee camps across Europe.

Here's the direct link to my items, but definitely look around at what other authors and artists are offering too!

My washcloths are functional, made of cotton yarns that can be put through the washer and dryer no problem. :o)

More information about Lifting Hands International is here.