Sunday, March 31, 2013

2013 Maine Readers' Choice Award

Yeah!  Finally we're on the Net!  Thanks to my brother-in-law, Bill Oleszczuk ( for designing our logo and to Holly Valero ( for getting our website up and running.  Thanks also to Valerie Osborne, Maine State Library Consultant, Northeastern District, for spearheading this effort and being the inaugural chair. This has all been very exciting and I hope that you'll share that excitement with us as we work toward our final list.  Our finalists will be posted in early May.  You'll then have the summer to read the books and vote for your favorite in September.  We have tentative plans to present the award at the Bangor Book Festival in October.

In the meantime, you can see our shortlist of books at  I've made great progress.  I've completed three of the books (Canada, Harold Fry's Unlikely Pilgrimage, and Gone Girl.)  I am just about finished with Beautiful Ruins.  I'm well into The Lifeboat and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.  I've started Yellow Birds.  To say that I'm enjoying this is an understatement.  How do I like the books?  Well, it's hard to say.  Each book, so far, has something to recommend it being on our shortlist. But, overall, nothing has really jumped out at me.  I'll begin posting reviews shortly. 

Why don't you read along with me?

 birds - Copygonegirl - CopyCANADA By: Richard Ford.Blly
lightbetweenpenumbra - Copythe-lifeboat - CopyBeautiful_ruins

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ya gotta love this......

Everyone who knows me knows that I love hockey. I'm always arguing that it is a great sport that requires the most athletic players of all. Yeah, there are times when the fighting can get to be a bit much. I wish the refs would step in sooner than they usually do. However, when it's all said and done, there's a nice
camaraderie in the sport.

Well, speaking of camaraderie, here's a video that will showcase the best of sportsmanship. I believe this is from a "special" hockey program in Kitchener. The little guy is getting a helping hand in scoring a goal. The video will just leave you cheering and maybe wiping a tear or two from your eyes. The music's not too shabby either and was composed and performed for this hockey program. Enjoy!!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

March Madness

I absolutely love this time of year!  The endless games, the upsets, the close calls, and, yes, even the disappointments as long as my teams get to the Big Dance to begin with.  However, this year I have a gripe with the women's seedings. 
I don't think teams should be seeded in regions that give them an incredible home court advantage unless it's equal for everyone. No. 1 women's seeds: UConn (Storrs, CT) playing in Storrs, CT; Stanford (Stanford, CA) in Stanford, CA; and Baylor (Waco, TX) in College Station, TX. Notre Dame (Notre Dame/South Bend, IN) in Notre Dame? Nope, Iowa City, IA. 300 miles and 5 hours away. Oh, but wait a minute! It's ND and with its legions of fans, ND never has an away game.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it, NCAA Selection Committee.  Who cares that you've violated your own rules.

Sorry that the ND MBB team didn't make it out of the first round.  They were truly outplayed by Iowa State.  Congratulations to Tom Knight of Dixfield, ME, on a great Senior season.  Great to see a Maine connection at ND.  Best to you, Tom Knight .

Good luck to the ND WBB team.  Go Irish!  Beat Skyhawks.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Head "Straight" to Your Local LYS

Another break in reading for the book award. It's always a treat to have some knitting eye candy if you don't have much time for anything else except browsing through patterns, magazines, or books.  Well, this week I've hit the jackpot because I have another excellent book to recommend.  This is one that you'll be looking at and making things from for a long time to come.

Knit Your Socks on Straight: A New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles by Alice Curtis (Storey Publishing, June 2013) presents the knitter with an updated and simple method for knitting socks on two straight needles instead of the cumbersome and challenging double pointed needles.  Curtis is a yarn shop owner and teacher.  In response to her students' quest to make socks more easily, Curtis goes back to the old-style straight needle patterns only to find them too complicated or with seams in a place that make wearing the sock uncomfortable.  In mastering the technique, Curtis also ended up with about 15 patterns to showcase the method.  All of the patterns are well-written, stylish, and looking like a lot of fun to make.  With sock names like "Cirque du Sole" and "Slainte," I just won't be able to resist putting down other projects to start these.

Curtis starts off the book with the usual knitting fundamentals such as casting on and swatching, which are illustrated.  She takes the usual one step beyond to give a really good mini-course in sock construction and the different styles of toes, something that I had not paid attention to prior to this.  Then there's the "secret" to using the straight needle technique.  While I didn't get to try it, the instructions are clear enough to read and understand without out knitting an entire piece.  For me that always deserves special mention.  If I can figure out a pattern without knitting it, chances are I'll be successful. The same kudos go for the patterns themselves.  They are quite understandable and easy on the eyes. The book rounds itself out with hints interspersed throughout, excellent lists of materials needed and gauges in boxes, and a quip or two at the start of every pattern description to entice you.

A unique technique and a great presentation make this a book that you should go straight to your local shop to pick up.  It's due out in early June so you can have some perfectly sized and fun projects to take with you anywhere you go this summer.  Enjoy!