You know that feeling...

...when you're between really good books/series and you can't quite settle into anything new, because the last series you read was so good and enjoyable?

Yeah, that feeling.

It's happened at least three times this year. And one time, it was the last book of the series---so no "next book" to look forward to.

Having claimed myself a writer for 5 years straight and off-and-on since then, I know it's no picnic to get a book from "idea" to "finished", let alone "edited and ready for the publisher". Still, in this modern age, you'd think the time from "handed in" to "on the shelves" could be shorter, eh?

So, I struggle, reading new books that don't fill the need for the book I'm craving and I keep browsing Amazon for new recommendations, hoping for that next great series in which I happened to miss the publishing of the first eleven or thirty books (hey, I read fast, okay?).

Which brings me to a new-to-me series I'm itching to get my hands on. Thanks to Amazon's recommendations, I found Lisa McCann's Wake, which could possibly fill the void left for me since Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series completed back in August. If you're a fan, I'd love to hear what you think of it.

Of course, if you're a fan, you probably already know about the Freaking Huge Contest-O-Thanks Ms. McMann is holding on her blog. She does say that mentioning the contest is a good entry, for which I'm glad since I haven't read Wake yet!

I really need to spend more time on Amazon, adding my two cents to the books I love---I rely on that input a lot when I come across a new author. And, believe it or not, the author's own input back to her fans matters too. So, Ms. McMann, keep connecting with the fans and keep writing. I'm looking forward to trying your work out!

Did you?

Guess what I did today? Yep! I voted. Did you?

Whatever your political leanings, please go vote. There are many people around the world watching us, envying our right to choose our leaders in safety and without repercussions. Please don't take this right for granted!

My polling place was a weird one. It had 5 parking spaces---including the single handicapped space. And a lot of "fire trucks only" curb, which everyone was ignoring. The little lobby of the you-store-it business that was my polling place squeezed in about ten of those collapsible voting booths, a table to sign in at and the ballot accepting machine (is there a better name for that sucker?)

Even with all that craziness, Randy and I were in and out again in less than 10 minutes! That's really good! Mom called and said she spent almost 2 hours waiting to vote, signing in and voting. Wow. Here I was, ready to knit in public (KIP) today with a freshly cast-on pair of socks for Randy...and no chance to actually KIP!

I was saddened to learn that on the eve of this election, Senator Obama's grandmother, "Toot", passed away. My condolences to Senator Obama and his family. What should be a happy time (hopefully) will be marred by her passing. Even though he knew her health was failing, I'm sure he hoped she'd make it through today, to see the end of the campaign and the results. I'm glad he knew it was important to stop campaigning and go see her.

While I'm thinking of families, be sure to reach out to your family members, especially those across party lines and idealogical beliefs from you and remind them to vote (or thank them if they have).

Check your local newspapers (and their websites, if they have one) to see if that little "I voted today" sticker will get you a freebie or a discount. I haven't found one I'm interested in yet (Cold Stone Creamery, you hear that?) but the "Sticker specials" are out there!

Happy Election Day, my fellow tax-payers!

Colbert gets it right...

This is pretty much how I feel about Canton, Ohio too...

*Note: edited (by Randy on behalf of Anne) to replace expired Hulu video with link to Comedy Central instead.

He's lucky he didn't have to live there for eleven years! I'm surprised he didn't crack on the town's mania for the damn "Pro Football Hall of Fame". ::shudder:: I hate football.

I was lucky to get out for a solid year and live in a country with a dictator---that was way better than Canton, even when I had a machine gun pointed at me! (Okay, I might be exaggerating about the "even when" part. There's nothing good about having a machine gun pointed at you!)

This next part is necessarily in Castellano for my Chilean friends who might be stopping by from Facebook (don't laugh; I know my Castellano is's been twenty years since I lived there and I haven't done a whole lot of practicing since then!):

¡Hola, mis amigos! ¡Ha sido un rato largo puesto que hemos hablado! Le he faltado todo. Todavía espero volver a Chile un día y demostrar a mi marido la belleza de las montañas de Chile. Son la razón que quise vivir en Arizona---¡para estar alrededor de las montañas hermosas otra vez!

Cuando pasé mi tiempo con ustedes en Chile, no había " internet" , las computadoras no eran "personal" y nadie habrían podido imaginarse "blogs" o "Web site sociales". Ayúdeme por favor a alcanzar los términos que ustedes están utilizando para estas cosas, en Castellano. Déjeme un comentario con cualquier término que no esté utilizando correctamente---o corrija cualesquiera de mis errores que ustedes vean. ¡Ustedes saben que quiero conseguirlo correcto! Para ahora, engaño con el babelfish para decir este mucho.

Si ustedes quieren leer mi blog en su lengua materna, intente por favor usar Espero poner traducciones en el sitio muy pronto, así que será más fácil para usted a lo que he estado haciendo. Pienso que ésta será buena práctica para que consiga cómoda con el pensamiento en Castellano otra vez.

Hasta luego, amigos. Quiero oír todos sobre sus familias y estudios.

Oh, hey, non-political content!

With the early (not totally unexpected) arrival of my nephew, I've decided that blanket #3 and the Sheldon turtle that goes with it, are going to be his first Christmas gifts. That relaxes my time constraints some and lets me mix it up with the other Christmas gifts I'm working on.

First there's this one, which I can't speak about much because the recipient reads here. I even had to change the name of it on Ravelry, so the link wouldn't give anything away!

Then there's the project which is using this purchase, for another blog reader. This project has no knitting (!) and requires me to push my drawing skills to the limit. Eek! What was I thinking????

I still need to come up with good gift ideas for my nephew's mum and dad, my mum, and some other people I'm sure I'm forgetting. Not everyone will want a handmade gift, but for those who do, I'm trying to find the right kind of gift.

Since a lot of my knitting between now and the end of the year will be of a gifting nature, there's probably not going to be a whole lot of pictures of the knitting variety between now and then. Except for darling nephew's gifts 'cause he's not quite old enough (!) to catch on...

Here's his Sheldon turtle all finished up:

I didn't take Sheldon out of his shell because he's a little challenging to pull out and put back in. Maybe the extra shells I want to make for Soren's turtle will have velcro tabs to open and close his shell's underside, for easier removal.

If you like Sheldon, you should check out Drunken Monkey Knits --- this is a great blog, plus there's some awesome costumes Brooke has worked up for Sheldon. You can buy a kit for some of her costumes over at Knit Picks.

My friends had a baby....

...but more importantly, I'm an aunt!!!! Wanna see the cutey? Check out his papa's phototstream and spy my new nephew and his beautiful mom.

Of course, his early arrival put me behind schedule (oh, he's gonna be one of those kinda kids...) with my baby knitting, so I gotta run... I am determined to have this baby wrapped in handknits, if I can help it!

The Final Presidential Debate, 2008

Yesterday was a long day for me and by the time I got home, I was too tired to watch the debates with anything resembling a working brain. So, I took some time today, to watch. And this time, I made some notes as it ran. Some relate to specific points in the debate. I'm linking to the transcript at the LA Times, so you can see the original words in context.

My first thought was how often McCain talked about Americans being angry---he seems to focus on anger a lot. I wonder how much of that is him projecting his own issues with anger onto the people he meets?

At first, I thought Obama wasn't taking notes and wondered if it was a tactic to emphasize McCain's need for notes and his use of notes---kind of a subconscious pointer to McCain's age. But, I think I saw a pad and pen for Senator Obama as well...and maybe saw him writing once or twice??? Are both candidates left-handed? Or did I imagine that?

A couple of times, McCain stopped, backed up, added a phrase or sentence and moved forward. It gave him the sound of someone working in memorized little speeches instead of working from his own mental processes.

I like how Senator Obama appeared more flexible, bringing McCain's own words "scalpel" and "hatchet" into his responses---and bringing up the scalpel again later on. Let me quote a couple spots:

McCain says: (trimmed to just this part)

OK, what -- what would I cut? I would have, first of all, across-the-board spending freeze, OK? Some people say that's a hatchet. That's a hatchet, and then I would get out a scalpel, OK?

Senator Obama responds:

And, in fact, an across-the-board spending freeze is a hatchet, and we do need a scalpel, because there are some programs that don't work at all. There are some programs that are underfunded. And I want to make sure that we are focused on those programs that work.

Later on, Obama says: (trimmed to just this part)

And if we have an across-the-board spending freeze, we're not going to be able to do it. That's an example of, I think, the kind of use of the scalpel that we want to make sure that we're funding some of those programs.

That brings me to another comment. Why does McCain keep mentioning autism and Sarah Palin? Why does he say:

She'll be my partner. She understands reform. And, by the way, she also understands special-needs families. She understands that autism is on the rise, that we've got to find out what's causing it, and we've got to reach out to these families, and help them, and give them the help they need as they raise these very special needs children.

She understands that better than almost any American that I know. I'm proud of her.

And then later:

And I just said to you earlier, town hall meeting after town hall meeting, parents come with kids, children -- precious children who have autism. Sarah Palin knows about that better than most. And we'll find and we'll spend the money, research, to find the cause of autism. And we'll care for these young children. And all Americans will open their wallets and their hearts to do so.

Does he think Trig Palin has autism? I'm not all that informed on politicians and their families, but how can anyone not know Trig has Down's Syndrome, especially after all the "is Trig really Piper's baby?" rumors?

I'm going to back up to a point I liked:

Now with respect to a couple of things Senator McCain said, the notion that I voted for a tax increase for people making $42,000 a year has been disputed by everybody who has looked at this claim that Senator McCain keeps on making.

Even FOX News disputes it, and that doesn't happen very often when it comes to accusations about me.

I think McCain got schooled on that point.

Am I the only one who was reminded of a lizard, every time McCain's tongue darted out to lick his lips? I wish I knew how to edit the footage to just cuts of all the times he licked his lips that way. ::shudder::

As the debate progressed, I felt like McCain got more and more sarcastic towards Senator Obama. I also felt it betrayed a sense of "I'm losing" on McCain's part.

Hey, Joe, you're rich, congratulations, ...
Now, Joe, you're rich, congratulations, ...

Oh, this part really bugged me:

That's big government at its best. Now, 95 percent of the people in America will receive more money under my plan because they will receive not only their present benefits, which may be taxed, which will be taxed, but then you add $5,000 onto it, except for those people who have the gold-plated Cadillac insurance policies that have to do with cosmetic surgery and transplants and all of those kinds of things.

He lumped people with life-threatening situations which require transplants in with people who have cosmetic surgery. Now, I understand that sometimes cosmetic surgery is truly necessary and important---like in the case of burn victims, or mastectomy patients.

And to say these people have "gold-plated Cadillac insurance policies" is just... Is he really disparaging these people who need coverage beyond "major medical" and a yearly check-up----people like me, who are on maintenance medications just to function daily, who see their doctor every three months, just to keep on top of things? And I'm not really in the worst shape.

I just read of a young girl here in the Valley who was given mere months to live, at age 15, due to the brain tumors she had. Her parents fought and encouraged her to fight and they removed the tumors, but didn't give her much time---maybe 3 years. Well, it's been 3 years and she's still fighting, but now her parents may lose their home due to all the medical bills which have piled up.

I don't think anyone who needs more than "just the basic care" thinks of themselves as having a "gold-plated Cadillac insurance policy"---especially if they've ever had to fight to get something covered!

Now, he mentions before that statement giving $5000 to you for insurance, but didn't he also say:

MCCAIN: Nobody likes taxes. Let's not raise anybody's taxes. OK?

There's no money left, McCain. It's gone. The country is in debt unto the nth generation. Where's this money gonna come from? You got a printing press in your basement, working to devalue the dollar some more?

One thing I'm going to go research because of this debate is Obama's plans for education. He said something that really caught my attention:

And that's why I've proposed a $4,000 tuition credit, every student, every year, in exchange for some form of community service, whether it's military service, whether it's Peace Corps, whether it's working in a community.

Now, those who know me, know a couple things about me. One, I finished my degree with a toddler and a husband. I did that with student loans. Loans which are now costing me about $220 a month. You also know that I'm not a fan of the Department of Education. I think it should be shut down and left for the states to handle---you want competitive schools, let the states build their school systems and create a real competition! Only with competition do we all win.

But this proposal could be a good idea. I'll have to read up on it and see how it's supposed to work, to make my decision.

That's all the comments I have for now on this debate. Except for clothing.... Is it odd to anyone else that the "blue" candidate wore a red tie and the "red" candidate wore a blue tie? And that their wives wore the opposite colors?

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