A New Fishbowl

I have a new custom fishbowl! If you want to swim over for a visit, head to http://www.fishwithsticks.com.  Over there you can read my blog, see what I’ve thought about the books I’ve recently read and/or reviewed, check out what I’m knitting, or just generally enjoy swimming through those bits and bobs of my life I choose to share.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Happy FIshbowl Owner
aka The Fish With Sticks


More Than Just 140 Characters (#8 of 30)

The running “joke” about Twitter from those who don’t use it is “who cares what someone had for dinner?” or “I don’t want to know when they have to use the bathroom.” My family is completely baffled that I have over 100 followers. (Frankly, I’m a little baffled, too, but for different reasons. LOL ) Twitter is so much more than that. Here are a few ways I use it:

  • Keeping in touch with friends. I have friends here in Los Angeles, in other parts of California, across the country, and in fact around the world. A friend in Iowa needed a sentence translated to French, so I re-tweeted her request to my friend in Paris, and minutes later, Delie in Paris translated Katie in Iowa’s sentence and answered her questions.
  • Connect with authors. I follow (and in some cases am followed by) a number of authors. It allows me to find out about new releases or upcoming books. Details on events or future book signings. I’ve even picked up books based on their comments on books they’ve just read.
  • Connect with book reviewers, editors, publishers. Again, I find out about upcoming books, new releases, book signings in my area. I also find out about books and authors I’ve never heard of. I was sitting at Chez Guppy one day, and was stuck there all day. I asked my Twitter followers to recommend some new books, and I discovered four new authors that week. Four authors who are now all favorites of mine and I look forward to all their new releases.
  • Learning fun and interesting stuff. I follow scientists and astronomers and tech geeks. I follow NASA and some of the astronauts from the last Space Shuttle missions. It was fascinating when they’d tweet from space and send back these pictures they took. I was also following Mark Kelly (and his brother and fellow astronaut Scott Kelly) when Mark Kelly’s wife Gabrielle Giffords was shot.
  • Get behind-the-scenes glimpses. I follow actors and producers and make-up artists and get unique behind-the-scenes information and tidbits about shows I watch or movies I’m waiting for.
  • What’s Going On in Knitting. I follow yarn stores to find out about special discounts or sales. I hear about upcoming events or shows. I follow knitting designers to learn about patterns they’re working on or books they’re writing or events they’ll be attending nearby.
Twitter is so much more than just what someone is eating or the minutiae of their day. It can be that, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been guilty of posting things that were completely pointless, but it’s also bigger than just those 140 characters. It’s a way to learn more about what’s going in the world around us. It allows us to connect, however briefly, with people whose paths we never would have crossed if not for Twitter. 

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka @FishWithSticks 

Goodies (#5 of 30)

Can you believe it? Here it is, Guy Fawkes Day, and I’m still on track! Whoo hooo!

Today’s post is brought to you by request of Sweet Connie of the Dual Personality. She requested pictures of my goodies from Vogue Knitting Live, so here you go.

These are stitch markers I picked up at Knitifacts. The red and black ones will be used on my knitting. The sheep, fish, and pumpkin are being worn as pendants on black cord.

Next up is the Koigu. Don’t remember which vendor I purchased it from, but they had lots of yummy Koigu. I’ll be (eventually) making a Barn Raising Quilt (Ravel it!) using all Koigu, and 72 skeins of it to be exact, so I’ve been collecting single skeins of colors when I find them. 

And as a “just because” present, my friend and fellow Yarnivore Alyson bought me this shawl pin I was eyeing.

It has an antique chinese coin and a small elephant hanging from the end.

Finally, and unpictured, was some SOAK that I purchased from the SOAK booth. I was getting low, and I like the unscented stuff for washing and blocking knitted gifts, as people can be very sensitive to smells. I also picked up a 10-pack of the scented SOAK, as I wanted to try it and see if I like it for my wools.

That’s it! That’s all I purchased! There were lots of yummy yarns (including bison!), but I had barely unpacked from The WEBS trip where I had purchased all the yarns in all the land, so the thought of buying MORE yarn was just ridiculous. I made an exception for m BRQ project, but that doesn’t count. LOL. 

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka All My Money Is Tied Up In Yarn 



My Mom Is…

…A good sister to her two siblings…

…A total BEAR at times…

…An amazing mom to her “real” kid (hint: Me)…

…and to her “Other” kids…

…An amazing quilter…

…A wonderful friend/dancer/instigator/troublemaker/abler and abetter to her “Nursing friends”…

A supportive aunt to her niece and nephews…

…A world traveller…

…the strongest, toughest person I know. And as of today, another year older. Happy birthday, Mom. I love you, and am so glad you’re here.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka A Very Grateful Daughter 

Knitterly Adventures (#2 of 30)

This summer I’ve had a few Knitterly Adventures. I was going to put them all in today’s post, but…hey! I’ve got 28 more days to go! I’m gonna drag this puppy out as far as it’ll go. LOLOL.

One of the things I did this summer was take a trip to WEBS. Oh. My. God. WEBS. This was the entrance to heavennirvana…the store…

And unlike last time, it wasn’t 107 degrees with a non-knitter and two dogs waiting for me in the car. I had all the time in the world, as I was with a crocheter (mom) and another knitter. We spent way too much there, but oh was it worth it. The Madelinetosh alone. *swoon* And the Noro! On sale! BAGS of Noro!

If you’ve never been to the wonder that is WEBS, here are pictures of the inside. The place is so big, I had to take two pictures. And that doesn’t show the back room. And by “room” I mean “warehouse-like cavernous space full of yarn.”

Here’s the left side…

…and the right side…

Mom and I also went to an Alpaca farm. The people at Marlee Farm Alpacas were wonderful! Very friendly and informative, and best of all we got to walk among the alpacas! And even feed them! That’s mom’s hand, by the way. I talked her into going with me, and she had just as much fun as I did. 

She had no idea how cute they were up close until we went. 

I mean, seriously…How cute are they? And they were all very friendly and sweet and willing to let us pet them. They might have been looking for food, but I choose to believe they just liked us. LOL.

Those faces! I just can’t get over them. Soooo cute.

Okay. Tomorrow should be Vogue Knitting Live! Franklin Habit! Weird Knitted Items!

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka 2 Down and 28 to Go  

Unleash Hell!* (#1 of 30)

Except…not really. LOL I’m stating here my intention to participate in NaBloWriMo** in support of my pals who have joined in for NaNoWriMo.***

Help me. 

Seriously. I just checked and I’ve blogged about 5 times this year. And  now I’m supposed to do 30 posts in 30 days? (Pause for hysterical laughter from my “good friends” to die down) Wish me luck. My problem is finding 30 things to talk about! LOL.

So here it is. Post 1 of 30. Let’s see how long it lasts, eh? LOL.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka I Thought THIS Was A Good Idea?!

*”Unleash hell” At the beginning of Gladiator, Russell Crowe is pumping up the troops and tells them to “Unleash hell,” meaning fiery warfare from which there is no return. Amazing how many people thought he was talking about the dog and that the dog was named “Hell.” People confuse me.

**NaBloWriMo = National Blog Writing Month. A blog post a day for the entire month of November. IOW crazy town for bloggers.

 ***NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month. Write like a demon (or a dog named Hell) for a month, and at the end of the month, good or bad, you have a full-length novel. IOW Crazysauce with a side of OMG What Did I DO?! for writers.

She Suspects a Conspiracy

First a little backstory. My cat has to take medicine twice a day at mealtimes every day. The only way mom and I can keep it straight is with a note in the bathroom. One side says “Fed & Pilled”; one side says “Fed & NOT Pilled”. If there’s no note, neither of us fed or pilled her. You can see where this is going, right?

This particular morning I left at 7:00 a.m. never having seen Rani, so no note was put up in the bathroom. It’s now 5:03 p.m. and A Strange Man has made noise in the house, scared off the cat, and left.

Mom: Rani! Come on! Let’s eat!

Me: Let’s eat?! It’s too early for her to eat. What are you talking about?

Mom: She’s been bugging me for food for a while, and there’s no food in her dish.

Me: Really? What time did you feed her this morning?

Mom: I didn’t feed her. You fed her.

Me: No, I didn’t. I didn’t see her.

Mom: The note was up! I saw it!

Me: Nope. Made sure it was down this morning, because I never saw her.

Mom: ….

Me: …

Both: We didn’t feed her today?!

Poor kitty. No wonder she’s so hungry. Also explains why she was all over me this afternoon when I came home. It wasn’t love. It was FEED ME NOW!!!! She’s always suspected we don’t love her. Now she knows the truth. We are apparently trying to starve her. 

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka The One Who Is Meaner Than Any Other (according to Rani) 

Won’t Do That Again

I went out of town on a family trip on Friday, and, despite having had only 3 hours of sleep total spread over the previous 36 hours, I took my knitting out of my bag that night at the hotel. My BEADED LACE SHAWL that I had spent the last month knitting. The one that is my favorite piece of lace so far. And even KNOWING not to knit lace when tired. And KNOWING I probably wasn’t going to knit it that night. And KNOWING better than to PUT IT ON THE BED, I did it anyway.

I took it out.

I put it on the bed.

I went to sleep.

I forgot about it.

I got up the next morning.

I packed.

and I checked out of the hotel.

Now, when I say I know better, I’m not kidding. A little over three years ago my mom was hand-appliqueing a garment for a show for our friend Rachel Clark. Mom had it in a cream colored cloth bag, and when we got some tragic news, she missed the bag when we were throwing things in suitcases to race home, and it got left behind. The housekeeping staff also didn’t see it when they grabbed the sheets. Unfortunately, it was over a week before my mom noticed it was gone, and by then it was GONE Gone. Never to be found again, even though the hotel and staff diligently searched. Ever since then, we’ve both been SUPER careful about taking things to bed in a hotel room. And when I got up at 5:00 am on Saturday morning, and took out my Kindle, I thought about mom’s garment. I know how upset she was and how she’s never had the heart to try and recreate it. So I really DO know better.

After breakfast, we drove around town for a while before we actually hit the road. When we pulled off the road to take a quick picture before hitting the town limits, I decided to hop out and get my knitting, since it was going to be a long drive to the next town.

OMG. It’s not there. I’m sure my mother saw the panic in my eyes when I turned to her and said “My Little Mermaid…it’s not here!!!” Panic. Took everything out of the knitting bag. Took everything out of my purse. Rifled through my suitcase. Not here. Not here! NOT HERE!!!!

We turn around and head back to town. I call the hotel right away, and they check with housekeeping. Anna, the head of housekeeping looks around, but doesn’t see it. I ask if I can come and check myself. Absolutely! My uncle stops for gas, and my mom, aunt and I hop out and start systematically searching the van and luggage. If I can find it, we won’t have to go all the way back.

Front seat? No.

Knitting bag? No.

Purse? No.

My suitcase? Mom’s suitcase? No and No.

The back of the van? Backseat of the van? Under the seats?

No. No. No.

Still panicking, we head over to the hotel. Anna comes downstairs and meets me and mom and takes us back up to our room to search. We walk in and Serena is in the middle of cleaning the room. Anna asks her if she found anything in the room?

Oh, yeah, she says. A little drawstring bag with some knitting in it? And a pouch with charts? Yeah, it was in the bed. I tagged it and took it downstairs. It should be sitting on Anna’s desk.

I cannot possibly tell you how relieved I was. I was practically giddy with it. Aside from the cost of the yarn and beads, it is a gorgeous piece of knitting and the time and emotional investment I already had in the piece was not inconsequential.

So I’m THRILLED to have it back in my possession, and a letter to the management of the hotel about the wonderful staff will be written.

And, Greg, if this was you? NOT. FUNNY.

Okay, a little funny.

But not yesterday.

Lynda the Guppy
Aka The Fish With Sticks
Aka The Guppy Who Learned Her Lesson 

A First Kiss

A Peanut Butter Heart

Valentine’s day has always been hit or miss with me. I usually take the opportunity to tell those closest to me how much they mean to me. One of my dear friends is a guy I used to date and he always gave me roses. In fact, my first flowers from A Guy were from him. My mom and I had gone to the theater on Valentine’s day and he dropped off a dozen red roses for me with my dad. Brave guy. LOL. But then that impressed my dad and he’s liked James ever since. LOL

The Day BEFORE Valentine’s day has been significant twice in my life. Strangely enough, they were both Fridays.

The most recent was last year. There was an Event of Life Changing Consequences that happened last February 13. I won’t go into details here, but it has been a long road. And thankfully a longer one than we had thought at the outset of this “adventure.”

An Elevator Heart

But the Friday, February 13 that stands out to me most was when I received my first Valentine’s day Kiss. I was about 10 years old and my dad was working late on The Incredible Hulk. My mom was working nights as a nurse, and so she dropped me off at the set to stay with dad until he was done. They were using a closed psychiatric hospital somewhere, and we walked over to where they were filming. I remember the stunt  guys were doing wheelchair races down the hall. LOLOL.

While we were there, Bill Bixby walked over and introduced himself. I was so incredibly, painfully shy, and I’m not sure I said anything. I do remember I practically hid behind my dad. LOL. So there we were. My dad trying to coax me into saying 2 words, and Bill trying to charm me into the same. I was having none of it.

Bill turns to walk away, snaps his fingers and says “Oh, I almost forgot.” He leans down, kisses me on the cheek and says “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

I fell in love at that moment and I remember crying a few tears many years later when I heard he died. It was my first Valentine’s Day Kiss, and a moment I’ll remember forever.

A Noro Heart

So while people may say Friday the 13 is bad luck, I don’t believe it. Other months’ Friday the 13s have all been inconsequential. But my February Friday the 13s have been amazing. Sure, 2010’s was Bad News, but it could have been so much worse. In fact, it originally WAS so much worse. And things are better now than they were then, and much better than they could be.

And February 13, 1981 I got my “first kiss” so to speak, and fell in love for the first time. Not too bad.

Happy Valentine’s Day.
Lynda the Guppy
aka The Romantic Fool
aka The Fish With Sticks

My First Love

My first love was a love of books. I’ve always been a big reader from the time I was little. I remember the very first Nancy Drew book I read (Clue of the Leaning Chimney) and where I was when I read it. It was a treat because mom and I were going to our first appointment at a new doctor’s office, and we had heard the wait could be long. It was. Good thing I had my book.  And yes, I still have all my Nancy Drew books.

Now I have a Kindle. And this has changed my book buying quite a bit. I’m currently living in a place that is not mine, and storage is at a real premium. So instead of purchasing the book, finding a place to put it until I read it, and then having to go hunt for it when I need it, I just download to my Kindle. I. Love. It. I’m purchasing more books these days, and I’m absolutely reading more books than before. And now I don’t have to worry about The Leaning Tower of Novels on my bedside table toppling over in the middle of the night and knocking me unconscious. LOL.

Last year I kept track of what books I read during most of the year using the Goodreads app. I started in March, I think, so it wasn’t really accurate. This year, I’m already in the habit. And since I know some of you who read this blog also read romance, as I do, I thought I’d put out there what I’ve read each month. Here goes.

January Totals:

Audio books: 3

Sun Kissed by Catherine Anderson (Book 7 in the Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan series)

Morning Light by Catherine Anderson (Book 8 in the Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan series)

Dream Man by Linda Howard. One of my all-time favorite books. LOVE Dane.

Kindle/Physical Books: 17

Here Comes The Groom by Karina Bliss. Thanks to Sarah of Smart Bitches, I discovered Karina Bliss. And so far I’ve loved everything I’ve read. ESPECIALLY this one. And thanks to my Kindle, I was able to download all of her available backlist on New Year’s day. Love that. LOL. Speaking of…

Next up was Mr. Imperfect, Mr. Irresistible, Mr. Unforgettable, and Second-Chance Family which are a trilogy and a related book, and then Like Father, Like Son which is a stand-alone. And all by Karina Bliss.

My next new-to-me discovery was ALSO courtesy of Sarah at Smart Bitches, and that’s Shannon Stacey’s Exclusively Yours and Undeniably Yours. Both of these are about the Kowalski family. I think I liked the first one better, because there was more interaction with the Kowalskis. Undeniably Yours focused more on the couple. They were both good, and I enjoyed them both, but it was nice to see more of the family.

I’ve read Jaci Burton’s All She Wants For Christmas.  I’m SUCH a sucker for holiday short stories. LOL Any holiday, really. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s, etc. I’m also a sucker for going home type stories, and this one satisfied me on both counts.

I also read Maureen Child’s Baby Bonanza. I wanted something that was the reading equivalent of cotton candy, and that’s exactly what I got, so consider me satisfied. It was total escapist fluff, and as that’s what I was looking for, I have no complaints. Plus it was one of the Kindle Freebies, so bonus!

And finally I’m currently working my way once again through Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series. So far I’ve read Virgin River, Shelter Mountain, Whispering Rock, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, and Paradise Valley. I’m hoping to drag these out until the last of the new trilogy comes out next month. We’ll see how that goes. LOL One of the things I love about this series is that she doesn’t just write one couple, and then in the next book move on, and we don’t really see the previous couple. She really has set these books up as if you were visiting a community. Other couples, even those who have had their own books, tend to play major roles in several books. And I LOVE the Town Christmas Tree.

So that’s it. That’s what I’ve read this month. What have you read?

Lynda the Guppy
aka A Bookaholic
aka The Fish With Sticks