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Friday, January 30, 2009

2009 Audiobook Challenge

J. Kaye is doing an audiobook challenge over at J. Kaye's Book Blog. As it happens, I love audiobooks almost as much as I love regular books. It's just so much easier to listen to audio while I knit, crochet, spin, or journal, you know? (Though I can knit or crochet while I read, if it's a nice, thick hardcover that will stay open on its own...)

The goal is twelve audiobooks; I'll probably do a few more, but that's where I'll start. I'll blog a review for each of them, and post it here.

My definite listens:
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l'Engle
A Wind in the Door by Madeleine l'Engle
A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine l'Engle
A Scanner Darkly by Phillip K. Dick
Begun with my husband 01.27.2009

Completed to Date
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l'Engle (01/09)
A Wind in the Door by Madeleine l'Engle (01/09)
A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine l'Engle (01/09)
A Scanner Darkly by Phillip K. Dick (03/09)
Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty (04/09)
Winter's Heart (The Wheel of Time, Book 9) by Robert Jordan (05/09)
Crossroads of Twilight (The Wheel of Time, Book 10) by Robert Jordan

Abandoned as Horrible
Hart's Blood by Orson Scott Card

In Progress
The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time, Book 2) by Robert Jordan
Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time, Book 11) by Robert Jordan

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Save Handmade! Amend the CPSIA!

Save Handmade! BuyHandmade.orgCross-posted from my craft blog, because it's just that important.

Have you heard about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, or CPSIA for short? No? Well, our government has really done it this time!

The CPSIA is a new requirement for all items intended for babies and children. Its aim is good: keep kids safe from lead. But it's insane! Under its provisions, handmade items, especially one-of-a-kind handmade toys and clothes, are no longer feasible to make and sell.

In a nutshell, it requires that every single item intended for children and babies be tested for lead and the like, and have a tag permanently affixed to it. That may sound reasonable, right?

Think about it. If your neighbor is a seamstress who makes custom christening gowns for babies, she now has to make TWO IDENTICAL DRESSES and send one off to be tested (which destroys it). The remaining dress must have a permanent tag affixed to it, stating that it is safe.

If a handmade item is sold in a store, the store must display a certificate for that item, and for every other children's item! How does that work?

It's insane! For more information, see Craftzine's excellent post on the topic.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sixteen Things About Me

I've been tagged repeatedly on Facebook, so here we go.

1. I'm a native Atlantan, married to a native Atlantan. Though I'm the first in either of my parent's families born in Atlanta, my family has been in Georgia for several generations...at least five, I think.

2. Though most of you know me as an artistic person, I didn't even think I could draw until I took Two Dimensional Design and Drawing I in 2000 or so. I had been doing crafts since, well, forever, but I was convinced my mom and siblings had all the artistic ability in the family. It took me years–literally–to be able to call myself an artist!

3. For almost all of my life, I thought I would be a scientist. I started college as a physics major and math minor. I've taken math through Calculus IV, and lots of physics (including two semesters of quantum mechanics). Not very useful as a graphic designer; take my word for it!

4. I can listen to a podcast and read a book while knitting or crocheting, if I have the right place to sit...and I retain the information. It only works with hardcovers, and it works best with big, thick books like the Wheel of Time novels: they stay open on their own quite well.

5. I adore baking, though I don't do it nearly as often as I should. As for cooking, I prefer yummy, nourishing stuff like casseroles. My husband is the one who loves cooking ethnic foods (except for Persian rice); I usually just eat it.

6. Counting from when we began dating, my husband and I have been together for almost half our lives! We started dating a month before he turned eighteen, and we're both thirty-five now. We dated for almost three years, were engaged for two years minus one week, and have been married for over twelve and a half years.

7. Total strangers have been known to comment on how dedicated my husband and I are to each other. Inevitably they ask how long we've been married, and are surprised to find out it's over a decade!

8. I really adore goats. No, I don't know why, but I really want pygmy goats. Note the use of a plural, which scares my husband.

9. I have never broken a bone. Likewise, I have never had surgery. If I were superstitious, I would be afraid to put that in writing. However, I don't expect God to jinx me just because I said it. :)

10. When I was a kid, my sister and I used to fight over my brother. We would have long, involved arguments where we used kid logic to try and convince each other that we had the most "right" to him. Fortunately, we eventually stopped viewing him as a possession, but we're still a very close family.

Okay, it's getting hard to think of stuff; bear with me.

11. I collect...well, things. Lots of different things. Fortunately, my husband loves me anyway. :)

12. I adore costumes of all sorts. Give me an occasion where I can wear a costume, and I'm happy. I can keep myself occupied quite nicely planning and plotting for different occasions.

Woohoo! I'm getting a second wind on this stuff, I think...

13. I never read only one book at a time. I'm always setting one down, or leaving it at work or home. In fact, I can't even remember the last time I read only one book. Maybe elementary school?

14. I have a very interesting approach to exercise. I detest participating in organized sports, probably due to my poor depth perception and the number of times I got hit in the face with a ball as a kid. However, I will happily troop around in the woods, climb things, or bike, as long as I have freedom to stop and explore when I want. And swimming? My husband has the hardest time getting me back out of the pool, unless I'm absolutely freezing.

15. Though I've been a Middle Eastern dancer for over fourteen years, I was never a dancer before then. My parents simply couldn't afford lessons for me or my sis. I didn't even do drill team; I did Flag Corps instead.

16. Speaking of Flag Corps...I was in Flag Corps for three years, my sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school. I now twirl brooms, sticks, and anything of the right shape, usually without thinking about it.

If I tag you on Facebook, it's probably because you tagged me. :)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lacking Motivation

I feel so worn out. I suppose I should be knitting or working on ATCs or journaling or something, but I'm just too tired.

Maybe I'm just feeling a bit down because it's Twelfth Night. That means I had to take my tree down, and all the lights.

I miss my pretty Christmas tree. Sob.

And so does Bibo.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A Year of Change

And still we buy books!I think it's funny that this month's NaBloPoMo theme is change, because 2008 was a year of change for me.

Some of the change was great: my beloved husband finally finished all his schooling, allowing him to get a position as a school media specialist. This meant we got a new apartment (big yay!), moving to Gwinnett County from DeKalb. Nice apartment with a high balcony, which means the kitties can go outside. Of course, moving and a new job for my husband meant big changes to our schedules: I wake up between 5:20 and 5:45 every morning. Not so hot for a dedicated night owl, believe me. But so worth it.

Because of the new apartment, we've been able to host a few overnight guests: a Guild Wars friend and his wife and family in July, and some other Guild Wars friends for Dragon*Con. I have loved the freedom to invite people over whenever we want!

There was even bigger good news for my family: my sister got married and is pregnant. He will the first baby on my side of the family. I take great pride in having bought him his first stuffed animal (a frog from Ikea), only three days after I found out she was pregnant and before most people even knew!

I've done some cool stuff artistically this year, too. In February, I took an art journal class, Love This Journal, with Jessica Wesolek. I loved it, and I've almost filled my first Moleskine. I also got a spinning wheel, which I adore. (Note that I don't claim to spin with any degree of skill...)

At church, we called a new music minister, just in time for our Christmas program. Exciting for sure; we've needed him! Still, I'm glad we didn't jump into a decision.

Not all the change was good though: my life was really shaken up in October, when my mom was diagnosed with lymphoma. Her prognosis is excellent (as I've posted before), but it shaken up everything. (Even more so for my brother and uncle.) But it has definitely reminded me of how much I love all my family. The blessing in all of this is that once my mom is cancer free, she should be in better health than when she started! Turns out the cancer was behind some health problems she had been having...and they discovered her gallstones before they caused her any problems. Since they are taking out her gallbladder once chemo is over, she'll never have any problems with them!

It's true that 2008 had some very serious, scary problems, but life is always like tht. Regardless, it was a promising year for us.