Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Wisdom of Books

Awhile ago, I shared some quotes I'd written down from TV. Today I'd like to share some book quotes. These are all from Louise Penny's books.

Louise Penny's character, Armand Gamache, is particularly wise. This first quote is how I feel about knitting. I choose to do it anyway.
He walked briskly to the young couple and their son and joined them as they walked to the stall Old Mundin had set up. It was full of furniture, hand made. A person’s choices were always revealing, Gamache found. Mundin chose to make furniture, fine furniture. Gamache’s educated eye skimmed the tables, cabinets and chairs. This was painstaking, meticulous work. All the joints dovetailed together without nails; the details were beautifully inlaid, the finishes smooth. Faultless. Work like this took time and patience. And the young carpenter could never, ever be paid what these tables, chairs, dressers were worth. And yet Old Mundin chose to do it anyway.
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny 

Stupid people worried Gamache. They were unpredictable.
The Hangman by Louise Penny 

Gamache listened, but didn’t nod. Didn’t agree or disagree. He was bending much of his will to disengaging from Br├ębeuf, while still listening closely.
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny 

It isn't just Inspector Gamache that's clever, though.
Yes, I’m in debt. Never was good with money and now that apparently I’m not allowed to steal, life is much more difficult.
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny 

“Do you think he’d lost his mind?” Clara asked. “I think,” said Myrna slowly, “that Peter could afford to lose some of his mind. It wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.”
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Book Quotes: Funny

It's time for some funny quotes.

“There are only so many hours in the day, Simon. Two, three people—that’s all any of us have time for.”
“There are more people than that in your immediate family, Penny.”
“I know. It’s a struggle.”
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell 

You and I…we despise almost everyone, which means we save all our love and affection for a small few. I don’t know how they put up with the intensity of it, but they do.
Neanderthal Marries Human: A Smarter Romance by Penny Reid 

Oh thanks be to the God she doesn’t believe in.
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths 

I don’t want to do anything. I don’t even want to start this day because then I’ll just be expected to finish it.
 Fangirl: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell

I have to admit that humans waste a lot of their time—almost all of it—with hypothetical stuff. I could be rich. I could be famous. I could have been hit by that bus. I could have been born with fewer moles and bigger breasts. I could have spent more of my youth learning foreign languages. They must exercise the conditional tense more than any other known life-form.
The Human by Matt Haig 
“I had enough adventure as a child,” Sophie said firmly as she poured. “I’m having a staid adulthood to make up for it.”
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie 
Shitsofuckit. This is just your life, your career, your world, my brain said to me. No reason for you to be nervous. Why are you such a pain in the ass? I asked. It’s the job of every neurotic artist to have a brain that tortures them, my brain answered. Well, fuck off, I demanded.
Rock Chick Reckoning by Kristen Ashley 

Why would she take one of her two days of quiet and solitude a week and spend it with people? Nice people, certainly, but people who wanted to talk and interact.
The Obsession by Nora Roberts 
“You’re a very unusual man.”
“I have no context with which to frame a reply to that observation.”
Memory Man by David Baldacci
Here’s a thing I believe about people my age: we are the children of Hogwarts, and more than anything, we just want to be sorted.
and
 Every single surface told a story. A long one. With digressions.
and
I felt the disorientation of a generous offer that in no way lines up with anything you want to do: like a promotion to senior alligator wrestler, or an all-expenses-paid trip to Gary, Indiana. 
 Sourdough: A Novel by Robin Sloan 
The railway hit Harrow on the Hill in 1880 and it’s been downhill ever since, culminating in one of those formless red brick shopping centres which artfully combines a complete lack of aesthetic quality with a total disregard for the utilitarian function for which it is built. As a result, your average shopper has only to spend ten minutes inside to be reduced to a state of quiet desperation
The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch 
We are all ignorant. There are beaches and deserts and dunes of knowledge whose existence we have never even guessed at, let alone visited. It’s the ones who think they know what there is to be known that we have to look out for. “All is explained in this text—there is nothing else you need to know,” they tell us. For thousands of years we put up with this kind of thing.
The Book of General Ignorance by John Mitchinson and John Lloyd 
 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Book Quotes: Emotion

These quotes are ones that explain some nebulous emotional state. When I read them, I understood them profoundly, but I'd never been able to put the feeling into words.

I'll read anything Rainbow Rowell writes. I bet even her grocery list is fantastic.
He sat back in the seat and looked over at her. “I wish you’d go away,” he whispered, “so that we could finally talk.”
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 
They’d even gone to therapy together after their mom left. Which seemed weird, now that Cath thought about it. Especially considering how differently they’d reacted—Wren acting out, Cath acting in. (Violently, desperately in. Journey to the Center of the Earth in.)
and
Cath couldn’t control whether she saw Levi on campus. But she could worry about it, and as long as she was worrying about it, it probably wasn’t going to happen. Like some sort of anxiety vaccine. Like watching a pot to make sure it never boiled.
and
Cath had tried to call Levi first—not because she thought he could help, he was four hours away—but she wanted to touch base. (The “tag” kind of base. The kind that means safe.) 
Fangirl: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell 

These are ones I've collected from various books:
So I guess you could say Neel owes me a few favors, except that so many favors have passed between us now that they are no longer distinguishable as individual acts, just a bright haze of loyalty. Our friendship is a nebula.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan 
Decent people who were curious, interested, and even sad about Angie’s death, but felt it in a removed way. A protective empathy. If I feel bad for Josie Archer, then it won’t happen to my family.
Death by Cashmere by Sally Goldenbaum
It was like being rolled over by a steamroller made of flowers, Abigail thought. It didn’t really hurt, it was all very pretty and sweet-smelling. But you were still flattened.
The Witness by Nora Roberts 
And I knew the point of love right then. The point of love was to help you survive. The point was also to forget meaning. To stop looking and start living. The meaning was to hold the hand of someone you cared about and to live inside the present. Past and future were myths. The past was just the present that had died and the future would never exist anyway, because by the time we got to it, the future would have turned into the present. The present was all there was. The ever-moving, ever-changing present. And the present was fickle. It could only be caught by letting go. So I let go. I let go of everything in the universe. Everything, except her hand.
and
Kissing is what humans do when words have reached a place they can’t escape from. 
The Human by Matt Haig 

Seth’s voice stayed quiet, but his eyes—full of noise—stayed on Susan’s face.
The Obsession by Nora Roberts 

"I love it. I just… If you had scanned it in—I feel bad you had to ruin the actual photo.” 
“I didn’t ruin anything,” she insists. “I cut out the only two people I cared about in that class.”
The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer 

I hardly ever spoke to live people. It wasn’t that I was stupid (although a lot of teachers thought so when I first entered their classes), or that I didn’t like people. It was just that there didn’t seem to be a lot to say that someone wasn’t already saying.
Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech and Marc Burckhardt 
I squirmed in my chair. I didn’t know what to do. My mental hands were tied. I had been flung into a part of life that was over my head and I was in danger of drowning in ignorance.
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley
Dan and Dad’s relationship always had an edge to it, as if the two men couldn’t quite embrace each other’s ways and personalities. They were like two jigsaw pieces with the same bit of sky on, but which didn’t fit together.
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick 

“I should enjoy that,” she said, stretching the truth so thin that really there was nothing of it left.
First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh 

All people are children when they sleep. There’s no war in them then . . . They . . . open their hands halfway, soldiers and statesmen, servants and masters. . . . If only we could speak to one another then when our hearts are half-open flowers Words like golden bees would drift in.
To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon 
Addison felt a deep-down, strangely detached sort of devastation.
A Darling Bay Christmas: Three Heartwarming Holiday Short Stories
--This one by Juliet Blackwell

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hard

I'm finding things hard.

News stories make me want to lie down in the road and never get up, but I feel guilty not listening.

I feel despair at the decisions our political leadership are making, and I feel like my letters are pointless.

Plus, should I really have to tell anyone, but particularly our elected leaders, that their job is to watch out for those who need it most? That they need to be most concerned with the poor, the jobless, the homeless, those needing extensive medical care? Isn't this obvious?

This is clearly not obvious, as evidenced by the bullshit form letters I receive back from those elected officials.

I am disgusted and appalled by Trump and cannot understand why there are those who are not equally disgusted and appalled. This then makes me feel badly because I feel I am living a double standard: I expect you to understand my position but I do not have to understand yours.*

I feel confident we're more fucked up than ever before, but then I remember mustard gas and Hiroshima and Vietnam and KKK lynchings. Then I just wonder if we're doomed to be a racist, violent, hate-filled species that kills itself off.

Personally, I'm having a harder time than usual with the short days. I bought a light therapy box, but I still struggle with feeling I should just sit on the couch and eat mac and cheese until March.

I then feel guilty that I'm struggling because I live in the first world, have a job, have good health, have a wonderful partner and friends, etc.

So many things in my life are great, but... it's just hard right now. I'm putting a lot of energy into life. I'm forcing myself to stick to my workout routine. I'm using the light therapy box. (I typed "life" therapy box. Freudian slip.) I'm making sure to get good sleep. I'm trying to eat healthily more often than not. What I want is to watch British murder shows and eat mac and cheese and not move. What I'm doing is quite different, but I'm so tired.

It's just hard right now. It'll get better. The only way out is through.

*Because my position is right, damn it. Sigh. Not helpful.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Zippered pouches!

As I mentioned, a friend and I took a six-week sewing class. We met a couple hours one evening a week.

One of the reasons I was excited about this class is that we were going to learn about zippers. In the past, I have paid someone to put a zipper in a knit cardigan. Zippers are scary.

Now they're less scary. I have a healthy, hesitant respect toward zippers now rather than a blind terror.

The pattern was a zippered pouch. We did one unlined and then one lined. I worked on making more lined ones the past couple of weeks.


I made every mistake imaginable: sewing the exterior wrong side out, sewing the interior as the exterior (just on half, of course, so I couldn't pretend that was my intention), using quilting tape instead of basting tape (totally not the same thing and doesn't work), trying to sew up the hole in the lining where I turn things inside out and having to do it 3 times to actually catch both sides of the hole, using the wrong bobbin and completely buggering the machine. Really, I was diligent in making errors.


But I fixed them. The pouches turned out great despite (because of?) all the mistakes.


I've replaced the $2 cosmetic bag I've been carrying for years with my knitting notions in it with my very own handmade zippered pouch. It makes me feel like a crafting ninja.

See that purple and pink felt in the bag at the bottom of the picture? Remember this? 
I made that nearly eight years ago and still use it all the time.

I think the point of this post is a reminder to myself: New things are supposed to be hard. Make mistakes, then fix them.

And also, know when to take a break. For me, that time was yesterday when the rage at yet another stretch of quality time with the ripper could literally be felt in my stomach. Take a break. Come back to it later. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat.

Now I'm thinking about sewing a cover for my machine...


Monday, October 30, 2017

The Wisdom of TV

I keep a notebook by my normal spot on the couch so I can write down quotes from TV. Here are some from the book:


"All I know is that I don't want to be mad anymore."
"Then maybe don't be."
Robert and Sol in Grace and Frankie



"I just want you to think. Do you know what thinking is? It's just a fancy word for changing your mind."
"I will not change my mind."
"Then you will die stupid."
The Doctor and Bonnie (Zygon, not me) in Doctor Who



"I don't want to talk about it."
"I regret the words I've said already."
Rosa Diez and Raymond Holt in Brooklyn Nine-Nine



"Grow up?! I have a Roth IRA! I eat wheat toast! YOU grow up."
Terry Jeffers in Brooklyn Nine-Nine


"Kimmy, I don't know what to say, so I'm hoping the tone of my voice makes you think that I do, okay, sweetie?"
Titus Andromedon in Kimmy Schmidt


"You're very Grace right now. I mean, there's a lot of Grace going on."
Frankie in Grace and Frankie


"Macrame is just like knitting except everyone hates it."
Archimedes in Puss in Boots


"Do you want to talk about it?"
"No, I don't think I'm emotionally available for that yet."
Mitch in Rosewood


"That's enough. Life is too short for conversations like this."
Elderly writer character from PC Game The Raven


"I like books. They're so much less terrifying than people."
Leonard Finch in Grantchester


"Does sarcasm help?"
"Wouldn't it be a great universe if it did?"
River Song and The Doctor in Doctor Who


"And, Dad, how do you feel?"
"Let me check in." <pause> "Nope, never mind. That was scary."
Bud and Sol in Grace and Frankie

Monday, October 2, 2017

Sewing 101

A friend and I are taking a six-week beginning sewing class at Crimson Tate. The first week we made a pin cushion (think square bean bag filled with crushed walnut shells). Last week we worked on a fancy pillowcase.

My mother-in-law is a delightful person, plus she provided half the genes for my very favorite person. For these reasons and others, she deserves fancy pillowcases for Christmas. I worked on hers this weekend. 


I wonder how many fancy pillowcases I need to make before it feels less stressful than disarming a bomb.


The answer is more than four.

Tomorrow there's a rumor we're going to work on zippers. Like Little Red Riding Hood, I'm excited and scared.