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Archive for November 2009

Little Christmas Book

November 30th, 2009 — 11:22pm

This afternoon I felt like recording something easy, so I chose a sweet little children’s story by Alice Hale Burnett, “Christmas Holidays at Merryvale”. It’s got 9 tiny chapters and is about 35 minutes long altogether. Henry graciously agreed to do the proof-listening so I could catalog it right away. Enjoy!

5 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

The Story of Mankind, Ch. 60

November 30th, 2009 — 9:39am

The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon, read by Kara and Michelle.

60 The Age of Science – 10:17

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

The Story of Mankind, Ch. 58 & 59

November 28th, 2009 — 10:25am

The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon, read by Kara and Michelle.

58 The Social Revolution – 10:00

59 Emancipation – 15:51

4 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog


November 28th, 2009 — 9:04am

Today (Saturday) is our family Thanksgiving get-together, yay! I’ve been looking forward to this for so long. Yesterday I made a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake, two apple pies, and a big casserole dish of stuffing (we have a tiny oven so can’t bake anything but turkey today). Today I’ll make the turkey, mashed potatoes, grilled onions and asparagus, and cranberry sauce. Mom is bringing a Big Salad. I only have one actual pie-dish so the apple pies are made in cake pans:


After all that baking I was totally worn out, so I played a little WoW and then watched the entire BBC “Wives and Daughters” miniseries while knitting. It’s so good, just so good.

Oh, forgot to say — a couple of days ago I finished my slinky knitted summer nightie:



The pattern is invented and the yarn is the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece from my old “I Do” shrug, split into 2-ply. It fits perfectly and will be wonderful next summer when it gets hot again. No, you can’t see a picture of me modeling it, it’s far too naughty ;-) The project is here on Ravelry if you want more details:

2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Three audiobooks

November 24th, 2009 — 9:36am

I have three audio books to tell you about today.

First of all, today, Nov 24 2009, is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”. Hooray for Charles Darwin! So maybe you would enjoy listening LibriVox’s free, volunteer-read, unabridged recording: (it’s a little over 24 hours long) Enjoy!

Next, our LibriVox production of Hamlet, which we began in July of 2006 and just finished today! Dozens of volunteers worked on this one. I played Rosencrantz.

And finally, something I’m really proud of — Alice’s Abenteuer im Wunderland (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in German)! Elli and I took turns reading every other chapter. Yes, I recorded half a book in German! Yay me! I guess I won’t podcast this one, but you can download it here, for free, of course. :)

Now Elli and I are trying to find something else to read together in German. Alice was relatively easy for me because I know the story in English very well, so another famous children’s book would be ideal. The tricky thing is that anything we read must have been published before 1923, including translations, so we’re pretty limited.

2 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

The Story of Mankind, Ch. 57

November 23rd, 2009 — 9:03am

The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon, read by Kara and Michelle.

57 The Age of the Engine – 19:35

2 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

The Story of Mankind, ch 56

November 21st, 2009 — 9:45am

The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon, read by Kara and Michelle.

56 National Independence – 41:24

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

feeling better!

November 20th, 2009 — 2:39pm

I felt a better yesterday and feel better yet today — my energy is back, my appetite is back, and I feel cheerful again. Hooray! I’ve made a start on the next book I’m recording for Ignatius Press: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven by Peter Kreeft. It’s very well-written, and even kind of humorous in spots, so I’m finding it more enjoyable than I thought I would. It’s quite interesting to have more insight into something that so many people have such faith in.

One of our wonderful LibriVox volunteers has begun creating a series of tutorial videos. Here’s his first, an intro to LibriVox:

Isn’t that great? Thanks, @dancapistan!

Oh, and here’s a photo of my handsome wonderful boy, just because:


We discovered last night that he is now taller than Chloe. I think he did a lot of growing while he was down with the flu.

Dan and I have been watching a British comedy series called Peep Show. We both adore it! We finished Series 4 last night and will be on to Series 5 tonight, because we can’t bear to let an evening pass without a dose of Peep Show. We’re looking forward to watching the whole thing all over again when we come to the end. I really can’t remember any show that’s as consistently funny. I frequently laugh until I can’t breathe, seriously. You can find series 1 on hulu, but don’t watch it if you can’t handle a lot of salty language and adult situations. :) Series 1 is good, and then it just gets better and better after that.


2 comments » | Blog

Ugh tired

November 18th, 2009 — 5:38pm

I felt amazingly good for several days; lots of energy, good appetite, cheerful, very productive. But today I woke up tired and have felt tired, gray, and unambitious all day. I did manage to get the chores done, feed people, edit some recordings, and help Henry with a project, but mostly I’ve just been doing nothing. Maybe tomorrow I’ll feel good again.

2 comments » | Blog

The Story of Mankind, Ch. 55

November 18th, 2009 — 9:30am

The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon, read by Kara and Michelle.

55 The Great Reaction – 16:30

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

The Story of Mankind, Ch. 54

November 16th, 2009 — 9:31am

The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon, read by Kara and Michelle.

54 The Holy Alliance – 21:45

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

fruit bowl

November 14th, 2009 — 8:26pm

Dan let me use his fancy digital SLR to take pictures of my new fruit bowl today:


I got tired of using one of my two mixing bowls to store fruit and then having to dump the fruit out when I needed to mix something, so I made a papier mache fruit bowl. I used a basic papier mache goop: 1 part flour/ 2 parts water/ a glug of white glue and a good big shake of salt. I had to buy a newspaper. It’s kind of hilarious that I only buy a newspaper when I need a lot of cheap paper for a project…


When the basic bowl was dry I gave it two coats of white acrylic paint. Next time I will be smart and use white printer paper for the last layer of papier mache. Then I used Mod Podge to apply a layer of yellow tissue paper to the outside of the bowl and then some orange and red flowers. The inside is just white with a coating of Mod Podge.

Hooray for making something very useful and decorative out of almost nothing!

5 comments » | Blog, Handmade

The Story of Mankind, Ch. 53

November 14th, 2009 — 12:53pm

The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon, read by Kara and Michelle.

53 Napoleon – 24:04

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

New Zoom H2 recorder!

November 11th, 2009 — 9:28am

After thinking about it for days, I ordered a Zoom H2 Handy Recorder on the weekend. It shipped Monday and I got it yesterday and spent all day playing with it. I love it. Besides cheap-ass earbuds, assorted cables, and a little screw-on tripod-foot, it came with a 1-gig SD card, a foam windscreen that slides over the mic, and a mic-stand adapter (not shown in the pics nor mentioned in the description, so I ordered a mic stand adapter as well, oops).

After fiddling with it a lot, I figured out that the best setup for me is to have the gain on medium and set to max. I attached it to a boom mic stand behind the couch, and the boom goes over the back of the couch and across my left shoulder. I have the mic near my mouth and tipped sideways so I speak just past it.

With my old (but very nice-sounding) condenser mic, I could only record in the bedroom because the mic was so sensitive it picked up the server hum, the refrigerator hum, and every tiny noise. Also, no matter what I did, my condenser mic picked up background hum from something and I had to do rather aggressive noise-cleaning for my Ignatius recordings (Ignatius likes LOUD recordings so any background hum was amplified as well). Last night Henry and Dan were playing videogames in the room next to the bedroom for hours. Ordinarily I would not have been able to record at all, since their voices would have come through the bedroom wall and the livingroom was out of the question. But last night I was able to record the five last chapters of “This Country of Ours, Part 4” sitting in comfort on the livingroom couch! I do still run my recordings though my 10-band EQ filter to remove any low-end rumble, a gentle compression filter to even them out a bit, and a *tiny* bit of light noise-cleaning because I’m just obsessive that way.

The Zoom’s sound quality is very nice — not tinny like my cheap USB mics. Not, perhaps, *quite* as warm as my condenser mic, but nearly so, and the lack of background hum more than makes up for that.

The Zoom H2 has a great interface. Once you get used to it, it’ve very easy to navigate around to change settings, record, play or delete files, etc. The thick manual is very thorough. Transferring audio via its USB cable is slow, so for my longer recordings I pop the SD card out and use my card reader instead, but for the shorter recordings it’s handy to just use the cable.

By a pleasant coincidence, Jacek, a Polish English teacher, emailed me yesterday for help registering at librivox, and it turned out he was also looking for someone to record short humorous anecdotes in English for his students. I volunteered, of course, so those were my very first recordings on my Zoom! Here they are:

Exact Change

Lol! And Jacek has just sent me some more, which I can do right here right now!

3 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

The Story of Mankind, Ch. 52

November 11th, 2009 — 8:55am

The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon, read by Kara and Michelle.

52 The French Revolution – 28:12

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

The Story of Mankind, Ch 51

November 9th, 2009 — 8:50am

The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon, read by Kara and Michelle.

51 The American Revolution – 13:30

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

Welcome home, Dan!

November 6th, 2009 — 9:39am

Dan’s coming home today!! He has has been gone for almost a week, learning sysadmin things at the LISA (Large Installation System Administration) ’09 conference. It felt like he was gone for a month and I’ll be soooo glad when he’s finally home.

Poor Henry has been very sick since Monday (some kind of flu — headache, fever, cough, general misery) so all he did all week was sleep and watch tv, and I kept him company. But I got a lot of recording done, too. I finished my recording of The Templars for Ignatius Press, and did a little picture book about the Pope for them yesterday as well. That one was very sweet, with pretty watercolors. I’ll provide links again when my audio is up for sale. I also recorded four chapters of the next part of This Country of Ours (kids’ US history) and another chapter of Alice in German.

I also ripped apart the odd collar of my Slipped Cable Vest and re-knit it to fit a lot better.


And I wove three bands on my inkle loom. I made them the maximum length my loom can handle, a bit over 8 feet. The red-and-black one has already become shoelaces for Henry (with electrical-tape aglets). If you want woven bands for anything (bodice lacing, dress trim, drawstrings, shoelaces) let me know :) I am super-proud at how much my weaving skill has improved. I wove the last one in one quick evening sitting, probably a couple hours or so. My hands have figured out the routine quite nicely.



Oh, and I’m working on a little case for Henry’s iPod Touch, which he won two weeks ago in some kind of game of chance at a bowling alley!!


I am, astonishingly, not sick yet, knock on wood. I’ve been washing my hands obsessively and staying as far away from Henry as I can, poor boy.

2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

The Story of Mankind, Ch. 50

November 6th, 2009 — 8:52am

The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon, read by Kara and Michelle.

50 The Mercantile System – 7:15

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

The Story of Mankind, ch 49

November 4th, 2009 — 8:58am

The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon, read by Kara and Michelle.

49 The Rise of Prussia – 8:46

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog


November 3rd, 2009 — 10:28am

I finally bought several colors of mercerized crochet cotton for weaving on my inkle loom. I just finished a pair of shoelaces for Henry last night:


And then I started another pair in green and white:



1 comment » | Blog, Handmade

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