Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth

We spent the morning at Kettle Cove, which is the free side of Crescent Beach State Park. It’s not quite as beachy, especially today, as we arrived at the highest point of an usually high tide. It was also strangely quite for a holiday weekend. We had our pick of parking, and were able to stake out the tip of the grassy area on one of the little rocky points.

It was a lovely place to spend the morning reading. There was a bit of a breeze, so we ended up leaving when the sun disappeared for a little while, and the breeze jumped into uncomfortably cool territory.


Coyote Blue – Christopher Moore

Read for the TBR Reading Challenge

Christopher Moore writes a great comic book. He can bring humor to situations usually better left touched only with great gravity and tack. I hate to say it, but I wasn’t feeling that so much with Coyote Blue.

The premise is certainly a good one: a Crow Indian named Samson Hunts Alone has run away from the reservation, leaving his heritage behind and assuming the new identity of Samuel Hunter, expert salesman. Life is going great until the ancient trickster god Coyote decides that Sam needs to help, and hilarity ensues. I kept waiting for the hilarity. It actually wasn’t a bad story, except that it was a Christopher Moore story, so I expected it to be a bit more over the top. Instead, Coyote is a good seemingly out of touch with the modern world. I’d think of any of the old gods, the Trickster would be the one to keep up with the times.

The book does have the introduction of a recurring character in some of Moore’s other story lines, so that at least was a satisfying part of the story.

My final thought upon finishing the book is that Neil Gaiman does it better. If you want a fun romp through the world as the old gods meddle in the lives of us mere mortals, read Anansi Boys.

R.I.P III Reading Challenge

Well, now I know the summer has been flying along. It’s time again for Carl V’s R.I.P. Reading Challenge. (The mind boggles!)

I’m going to do Peril the First this year. This involves reading four books out of any of the subgenres represented in the challenge, sometime between 9/1 and 10/31. I’ve actually been saving up books all year for this list. I’ve got six to choose from, just to make sure library or mail delays (yay Paperspine!) don’t thwart me.

My picks are:

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other Stories – Susanna Clarke
Blood and Chocolate – Annette Krause
Twilight – Stephanie Meyer (Yes, I have managed not to read this yet…)
Living Dead in Dallas – Charlaine Harris
Nocturnes – John Connolly
Tamsin – Peter Beagle

I’m really excited to get started with this challenge, and since I’ve just got one book to go for the Mythopoeic Challenge, that should be shortly.

Sock Yarnista

My first Sock Yarnista shipment has arrived! I got the Silver Bay colorway of this month’s Beckon Super Merino. Sadly, the light’s not so good today, so the photo above doesn’t really do the color any justice. It’s definitely a good icy blue.

I’m really tempted to start on this month’s sock pattern. I need to sit down and figure out how to switch it over to DPNs. I don’t think it’ll be that hard, but I may wait until after I’ve got some progress going on the Maelstrom socks I’ll be doing in September. I don’t want to start these and have to pause in the middle. So we’ll see. I really love the pattern.

Knitting Notes

Jaywalker sock number one is done! I have absolutely no idea when sock number two will get done, as I seem to have acquired a number of other project I should really be doing in September, but I can’t afford to tie up my sock needles. So we’ll see when I get started on number 2. The pattern is at least super easy, and shouldn’t be a problem to pick back up again.

In our travels yesterday, I picked up some Trekking Hand Art Yarn at the Yarn Sellar in York. (BF was finishing off our Flo’s hot dogs lunch, so I had some time at my leisure 🙂

I’m planning on doing the 2009 Sockdown Challenge on Ravelry. September’s challenge is to do either an orange sock, or a Cookie A sock. I’ve been lusting after Maelstrom ever since Twist Collective went live, and I think the blues in the Trekking yarn will look great in that pattern. (On a side note, I have to add to everyone that’s been singing the praises of the Twist Collective Patterns. They’ve very nicely written, with lots of photos. I’m quite sure I’ll be buying more from them.)

My first Sock Yarnista package went out of Friday, and since a number of people have already received theirs, I’m hoping mine will show up on Monday. I’ve already gotten the pattern, which is called Barrow, and is an incredibly cool Celtic knot pattern. It’s done on circs, so I’ll either have to learn how to do that, or figure out how to adapt the pattern to DPNs. So I may not be able to make it immediately, but I definitely want to make it some day. (If it’s easily adaptable to DPNs, that might be sooner rather than later.)

Around York County, Maine

We spent yesterday tooling around York County, something we used to do with a little more frequency in the summer before gas prices went through the roof. It was definitely nice being on the road and seeing what was open/closed/changed since the last time we went through.

We stopped at a couple of used book stores, meeting the gentleman above, who obviously has good taste. I’ve found over the past couple of years that my relationship with books has changed. I’m much less likely to stock up on books, no matter how much I like them. I lost most of my Mercedes Lackey Tregarth books several years back to a borrower who never returned them (I think I’d brought over around 20 of the books, because I had previously trusted this person). I could have bought one of the now missing trilogies at one of the stores yesterday, but I realized that I didn’t really need them taking up space in my house, when I probably wasn’t going to be rereading them anytime soon. This is a fundamental change in my thoughts on books, and is still leaving me in a weird pondering place today. (I did buy two books that I’d never read before, and would probably not come across in another place. Those seemed worth the money/space.)

Another stop was at the Stonewall Kitchen headquarters in York. I don’t know who does their landscaping, but that person is a genius. I look forward every year to seeing what they came up with this time. This years theme seems to be big and tropical:

The row of elephant ears up the front walk is incredible. They have them in these interesting spiral metal planters, so they have an impressive height to them. Very cool display.

I also noticed this angel’s trumpet, which is right in the corner near the door, for the first time. It’s actually an impressively sized speciman, considering that these do not over winter up here. I can’t remember seeing it before, so I wonder if it was just never in bloom, or if they brought it in specially this year for the tropical theme, and someone overwinters it in a greenhouse. It’s gorgeous whatever the story is.

They also maintain a cutting garden, which they use for the cafe. The zinnias and dahlias are in full, gorgeous bloom, and were host to a bee smorgasboard.

We stopped and had an early dinner with T, on her break from work in NH, and then head back over the border, to York Beach.

This was actually our second try to get parking. Dinner time seemed to be the charm, and the BF head into the Fun O Rama to play some video games, while I wandered around the souviner shops to see what knick knacks are available for the tourists this year.

I actually like hitting York in the summer at least once, because it reminds me how lucky we are to have this place all year. The summer visitors see the view we had yesterday, which is clogged with people and traffic. I’ve been to the beach in the winter when there was no one there, and it was actually quiet enough to hear the pounding of the surf. And you know what? Sure, it’s cold in the winter, but I still think my quiet view is the better of the two.

Austenland – Shannon Hale

Read for the TBR Reading Challenge.

I had a sudden thought about half way through Austenland. What would Jane Austen think of the many books that have been written based upon or in homage to her books?

I enjoyed Austenland. The story centers on Jane Hayes, a woman in her early thirties who has finally realized that she’s given up on every man in her life because they didn’t mention up to Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice fame. It’s not something she’s proud of, and one of the few people to figure this out is her great aunt Carolyn. When Carolyn dies, she leaves Jane a trip to a regency themed resort in England.

Jane’s three weeks at the resort are interestingly documented, and followed many of my own thoughts about how much I think I’d actually like living in Regency times. It all seems very romantic on the surface, but the three weeks give Jane a surprisingly long time to think about her life, and what she really wants from it.

There is romance in the book, and it was both predictable and ultimately unpredictable. I blew through this book in two nights (probably could have managed one night on a weekend), and that was two nights enjoyably spent.

Moonheart – Charles de Lint

Read for the Mythopoeic Awards Reading Challenge.

Charles de Lint is probably best known for his books set in the city of Newford, but this novel, one of his earliest, is set between Ottawa and the forests of the Otherworld. It was very much a story of the old world vs the new world, and having recently read American Gods, made an interesting contrast.

The book starts out very strongly, introducing us to Jamie Tams, and his niece Sara Kendall, residents of Tamson House, a sprawling house that takes up an entire block in Ottawa. It’s the kind of house that seems to go on forever, and you never know quite who you’re going to meet there.

Into this mix comes Kiernan Foy, and his mentor Thomas Hengwr, both wizards. Before too much longer, Tamson House, and a number of interesting characters including the bard Taliesin, are caught up in a battle that spans time and worlds. It’s hard to know exactly who the enemy is, or how that enemy will be defeated.

I very much enjoyed the beginning of this book, but got a little bit bogged down toward the end. This is not to say that the story didn’t end well, but it somehow seemed to lack some sort of polish that the author’s later books have. But, it’s entirely possible I’m just being picky because I have been exposed to a number of the author’s later books. I can definitely see where the de Lint is playing with the themes he later uses in the Newford books.

This is definitely an enjoyable read, and might be a good introduction for someone that doesn’t want to try and find the logical place to start in the Newford books. (Though I feel compelled to note that The Little Country would also fulfill this criteria, and boasts a thoroughly satisfying ending as well.)

Around the Lower Penobscot River, Maine

Today is my aunt and uncle’s 40th wedding anniversary, so we headed up to Stockton Springs for a celebration of that yesterday. We had a great luncheon, with a decent chunk of my mother’s extended family. There was good food, and tons of little cousins running around causing much noise and fun. Hands down cutest moment of the afternoon was when my 2-year-old little cousin J decided to try and emulate the older boys when they were rolling down the grassy hill we’d taken pictures on. J didn’t quite get the concept of rolling, so was instead inching down the hill like an inch worm. Cutest thing ever.

The after party turned into an imprompto historical tour of the lower Penobscot River Valley.

The BF and I started the afternoon with a side trip to Fort Point State Park in Stockton Springs. The actual fort (Pownall) is long gone, but you can still see the vaguely four-sided star shaped walls. There’s also a small lighthouse and belltower, and plenty of picnic space and shore to wander. The fog horn out on a ledge in the middle of the river was going great guns while we were there, despite the brilliant sunshine. I suspect there was a fog bank hovering closer to the mouth of the river.

After Fort Point, we met up with several of my cousins at Fort Knox State Historic Site a little further up the river in Prospect. I’d been to Fort Knox before when I was much younger, which is the best time for a first trip. It was a blast being there with my cousin K’s four boys, who were having the time of their lives wandering around the grounds.

The fort is fairly well preserved, and you can wander around in the tunnels in the hillside that lead to the batteries. There are parts where you really need a flashlight, which of course are perfect for scaring the living daylights out of the kids, who mostly love every minute of it.

It’s possible to get up on the roof level, which offers some great views of the town of Bucksport on the other side of the river, and all of the surrounding scenery. It also offers a good view of the two year old Penobscot Narrows Bridge (which is currently fronted by the smaller Hancock-Waldo bridge it replaced). The old bridge there was pretty tall, and was always exciting to cross, so the new, taller bridge is even better. (It was really neat watching as they built it. They started on either side, and built out to meet in the middle.)

The other really cool thing about the bridge is that they built an observation deck into the top of one of the towers. It’s just an additional two dollar charge to the Fort Knox entrance fee (a whopping $5 total for an adult) to get in. Anyone that doesn’t like heights should stay away, but for everyone else, it’s a great experience. The tower is essentially the tallest occupied structure in Maine, and the view is amazing.

Yesterday was just hazy enough that we couldn’t see the furthest away features, like Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, but there was still plenty to see of the river valley and some of the slightly less far away topography. Definitely a cool way to end the day.

Knitting Notes

The gauntlets for L are done! And only three project changes later. I really hope she likes them, when she finally gets to wear them down in that hot Texas weather.

I definitely liked the Socks that Rock Raven Clan Valkyrie that I used for the gauntlets. The colors blend really interestingly. They definitely remind me a of the colors in a feather. I did get a slight bit of bleed of the black onto my fingers as I was knitting, but nothing too bad. I gave them a good vinegar bath last night, so that will hopefully set the last of the dye. The water was clear the entire time I was washing them.

I have almost half of the skein of yarn left, so I’ll have to think of something fun to do with that. I’m tempted to do baby socks, but I’m not sure if I want to scar any parents for life if I forget to warn them that baby might have black feet the first time s/he wears them.

I’m about two rows away from turning the heel on the Jaywalkers. I had to a take a forced break today when I managed to give myself a paper cut right on the pad of my pushing finger. That was not going so well. I’m hoping to get these done before I get my first Sock Yarnista package from Three Irish Girls, but we’ll see. I’m won’t be too cut up about it if I don’t.