Saturday, January 19, 2008

One-Year Anniversary of My Blog!

I can't believe it, really, but today marks the one-year anniversary of this blog. I hope I'll have lots more toy knitting patterns for you in 2008!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sockless Sock Monkey Now Complete!

Hi! I'm finally finished!
Sockless Sock Monkey waiting for his hat

Well, I finally finished knitting and sewing on his arms, so my Sockless Sock Monkey is now complete ... well, almost. I am still working on his red-felted fez. I'll be happy to post that pattern when I am finished. So, stay tuned! For the complete pattern for the Sockless Sock Monkey, please click on the link to the right under: Nean the Bean's Free Patterns or click here to go there now!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Complete Jane Austen on PBS!!

That's right! PBS will start airing the Jane Austen collection starting this Sunday, January 13!!! Be sure to click on the Jane Austen Collection link above to find out more ... and to check the times.
If you'd like to start your own book club, they've even provided background information, a bookmark, and a scone recipe to get you started, all on pdf files! Click on this LINK.
And for homeschooling, there is also a great teacher's guide available. This would have been a great resource last year when Amelia was studying 19th-century women's literature. *sigh I had to put together my own for that one. (Finding the Norton Critical editions helped with this, though.) An interesting paper topic is to compare/contrast the main characters' strengths and weaknesses.

Anyhow: I can't wait! I guess this almost makes up for not being able to download the audiobook of Persuasion!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My Birthday ... Epiphany .... and Christmas Vacation is Over

My birthday was yesterday. It was really great. Here is a picture of the unique ceramic "cake" that my friend Denise sent to me!!! Look at the top ... it even has a ceramic candle in it!!! She sends me a lovely flower bouquet in an interesting vase every year on my birthday. The flowers (and her thinking to send them to me) make my day. (I think she knows this, but I'm saying it again in case she doesn't ... so I hope you're reading this, Denise!!!)
The cake vase was extra special this year, as Randy is on a diet (he's lost 30 pounds so far!!!) and I just couldn't bring myself to have a cake this week and another next week (it's Colette's birthday next week) ... so I had my cake and my candle, too!
Not to be braggy, but I also received a sweet, little book about tea and friendship, as well as a gift certificate to my favorite yarn store from my neighbors; a much-needed check from my parents; an gift certificate by email from my sister and her husband; the LOST season one set from Colette, Amelia and Kent ... and lots of anti-wrinkle creams and a lovely card from Randy!!! (The anti-wrinkle creams were ones for which I had especially asked. Yes, I'm feeling my age ... and so are the lines around my eyes.) THEN we feasted on Chinese take-out for dinner. We all had to try something new, except for Randy who can't stand to possibly "waste" a dinner that he knew could have been good on an experimental dish that may or may not turn out to be good. . As it was, he was satisfied with his usual order of Sesame Chicken ... Kent; however, tried Shrimp in Lobster Sauce and was not disappointed! He loved it! Amelia tried Moo Shu Shrimp with 4 pancakes. It looked odd, very odd, but she seemed to enjoy it. I think she could have used extra pancakes, as there remains a TON of Moo-Shu Shrimp, but no more pancakes to stuff. I, the birthday girl, ordered the Happy Family, which I thought was quite appropriately named! It boasted lobster, shrimp, beef, pork, chicken and vegetables. In short, as Randy suggested, everything they had laying around in the kitchen. In reality, I only found one piece of lobster in there (with shell still attached, I might add). Yet, it was quite delicious and we have plenty left for today, as well! It doesn't need any pancakes. We'll make more rice. Colette, by the way, was at a different birthday party and so did not get to try any special new Chinese dish. (She can try all our leftovers today, though.)
Meanwhile, when I was little, my birthday was always lots of fun. It usually snowed around my birthday ... and since I wasn't the one taking down the Christmas decorations, it didn't bother me.
But now, as I sit looking at the ornaments on the floor waiting to be wrapped and put into boxes ... and knowing our wonderful tree will become either a) mulch or b) a place for fish in one of the many lakes around here, it does make me a little depressed.
Colette and I took down all the Christmas decorations at my parents' house yesterday. In fact, although it's sad they have to come down, when it hits that 12th day of Christmas, the decorations need to come down. They look sad and saggy and ready for a rest.
Randy and I walked through Target and looked at all the 90%-off Christmas goods. Talk about depressing! It was like the "Island of Misfit Toys" in the Rudolph story. Snowmen with their eyes poked out and their stick arms conspicuously missing stood on the shelves waiting for someone to take them home. Broken bits of ornaments were scattered here and there ... nutcrackers without their hats looked forlorn with their bald, wooden heads showing ... bits of glue stuck on them where the hats had been.
I did get some incredible deals, though ... like icicles for .04!!!
So, anyway, here it is Epiphany ... when the Wise Men finally reach Jesus and offer him their gifts ... and we put away the last vestiges of the happy, holiday season and go back to the gloomy days of winter ... and back to school ... starting the second semester of the academic year.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Flashback: 12th Grade Honors English IV!

I just turned on the television in the bedroom and caught the end of one of the many crime scene shows ... the main character was reading from Walden and read aloud the following:

I would rather sit on a pumpkin

and have it all to myself than be

crowded on a velvet cushion ... Henry David Thoreau

I never, ever forgot that line! It was given to me in 12th-grade English as an assignment. We were supposed to agree or disagree with this ... I agreed and wrote, what I thought at the time, was a very convincing argument to support my thoughts! I always wondered from where the quote came. In fact, I thought perhaps the English teacher had made it up! Never having read Walden, I had no idea who was the author!!!

Just think: Almost 30 years (yes! 1978-79 school year!) later, I discover, by chance, who wrote it by watching a crime show on television! How weird!!!
Which then made me remember another one from that year. I think it must be from "The Lesson of the Moth"