Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesdays are now Mondays...

I have a heavy heart today. I found out yesterday that my boss's boss, who was just recently diagnosed with a brain tumor, passed away on Friday. He was such a good man, a great boss, and leaves behind four high school/college age children & his beloved wife.

I'm also sad about Daddy's wife, Amy. She's been ill for some time and this week found out some more hard news about her heart. It's hard watching people you love suffer.

On the other end of the spectrum, Dr. M's father is doing well - he did have a bit of skin cancer on his scalp, but his surgeon removed all of it and told him to start wearing a hat when he was outdoors.

I'm apparently having trouble getting it together to post on Mondays. Especially this week after the Holy Week Marathon. There was Wednesday night choir practice, Maundy Thursday (soup meal and foot washing), Good Friday, spending a couple of hours on Saturday setting up the altar for Easter, and then Easter. I tried to take a nap Sunday afternoon, but I kept waking myself up snoring. What the heck! Anyway, here are some pictures, plus there will be a surprise later this week.

Good Friday


Easter Sunday


My poor trashed bracket. And now I'm in the uncomfortable position of either pulling for UNC (remember, I'm ABC - anyone but Carolina) or Notre Dame - which is just wrong!


G-Man had a rough night...


I mowed for the first time this season!


Miss Pinky's verbena started blooming - she's such a good mom :)


Dr. M caught Papa Cardinal mid-song.


My latest afghan squares & a progress update. I didn't care all that much for this particular pattern, but mixed in with the other squares, it's not too bad.


Now I'm off to respond to your comments on my last two posts. I'm sorry I haven't gotten around to read posts in a few days, but I'll get there eventually! How are you guys doing?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

I had a crazy busy weekend and just couldn't get it together to post anything. And, really, I'd like to be snoozing right now, so it's anyone's guess as to how coherent this will be. But, for you, I will trudge on & see what happens.

First of all, I made good on my threat. Ha! We've named him G-man (for Gnome Man). It's highly entertaining.


Next, look at this travesty of an NCAA tournament bracket. It's kind of hard to tell in the picture, but the east is dead to me now. I picked the wrong underdogs to win. Ah well, it makes the tournament more interesting.


On the crochet front, here's my latest square - #3 of pattern #5:


Finally, here's a temperature blanket update. Frankly, I think it's the weirdest thing. And adding red & orange this summer will only make it weirder. I kind of like it though - and I'm certainly paying more attention to the weather than I usually do!


How have YOU been doing?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Miscellaney

Well, I have quite the slate of miscellaneous items for you today. Let's get right to it, shall we?

First, I just finished the most hilarious book. Its brand of humor is probably not for everyone, but I totally enjoyed it. It's a murder mystery, by Mark Schweizer, and the main character is the chief of police of a small NC mountain town. He is also the organist at the local Episcopal church, a millionaire, and a wannabe whodunnit author in the style of Raymond Chandler. The book I just finished, The Mezzo Work Mink, is the 6th in the series. So funny.

Today I posted the last of the seven day nature challenge pictures. Here's a collage, featuring (in no particular order): Pansies from my dad's yard, a stone garden ornament from his yard, moss from Dr. M's dad's yard, Pinky McPinkerson yearning for spring, a daylily shoot from our yard, and an actual crocus from our back yard!

The other day I went into the Rite Aid & did a double take. What the heck? I looked closer and these gentlemen are solar garden lights! I am so excited - totally going to go back & pick up a couple for our yard.

On Thursday I posted this Throwback Thursday picture on Facebook. I love how solemn we all look. And someone should have told me to stand up straight!


Yesterday I went to meet some fellow Ohio Temperature Blanket ladies, but for a variety of reasons I was the only one to show. I stayed for a bit working on another project (a special request braided cowl - she wanted pink & white). Then I went to buy more yarn. Ha!


Speaking of crochet, here is square #2 of pattern #5. Now that I have more yarn I'll get started on this pattern in my third blanket's colors. 


So, how was your week?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday Miscellany

Oops - just a bit late today. We're in NC checking up on the Dads, and once again it's a bittersweet trip. You might recall that Dr. M's aunt died while we were here at Christmas. This time, his uncle passed away. We're going to his funeral tomorrow. While we were here at Christmas we were so glad to have spent some time with him at the last funeral. Uncle Barry was a man who always had a quick smile & funny story. We'll miss him!

Dr. M's dad has surgery next week. We'll know more about his condition after that.

It wasn't until Lisa's comment last week that I realized I had never updated about my shingles. That antiviral medication was a miracle drug! I had very little pain after taking it, some itching & burning, but not much, the rash didn't spread, and it was pretty much a non-event after about a week. Amazing!

Dr. M decided that our room at the hotel was designed for basketball players. The dimensions are huge and the beds are SO TALL. I measured to the top of the bed is 31" off the floor. I feel like Edith Ann when I get in it.


Here are my latest crochet squares. I'm caught up with the new colors & on to square #5.


Finally, I was challenged on Facebook to post nature photographs for seven days. I just posted my first one today - some Henbit from my dad's yard. I was happy to see that bee!


I hope you all have a good week!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Book Review Tuesday, Part 2

As I said last week, I did this quarter's book list in two parts. I really wish I'd go back to doing it monthly! (Goes to put a reminder on my phone...).

9. Keeping with Killers (The Salinger Trilogy #1), by Adam Nicholls. Blake Salinger leads a normal life in London as a salesman. Every day is planned, organised... safe. But that all changes when the police arrive at his workplace. His wrists are shackled as he is arrested, accused of murdering his estranged father. That's when he is daringly freed by the silver-haired man, a shady ally with the goal of setting things straight... and an unquenchable thirst for violence. Blake comes to learn that he is merely a puppet in a mysterious organisation's plan. With the police hot on his trail, Blake - along with his new companion - must strive to uncover the secrets of his father's murder, before it's too late. Before The Agency catches up to them.

The Bug Says: Another book club  Kindle freebie. The mystery was pretty interesting, and I might read more books in the series, but it was obviously self-published & I found the typos & poor grammar distracting. I gave it 2 stars.

10. The Aeronaut's Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1), by Jim Butcher. Jim Butcher, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Dresden Files and the Codex Alera novels, conjures up a new series set in a fantastic world of noble families, steam-powered technology, and magic-wielding warriors…

The Bug Says: I might not have read this because I’m not really into steampunk scifi, but since the next Harry Dresden book doesn’t come out until May I decided to give it a shot. I even made Dr. M listen to it when we drove to NC for Christmas. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. And I’ll read the next one too. It’s nice when an author you like starts writing another series that you also like. I gave it 4 stars.

11. Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3), by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling). When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality. With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

The Bug Says: I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did the first two books in the series. The mystery itself was really good, and I was nicely surprised by the culprit, but I got a little tired of the Strike/Robin potential romance dynamic. I really am turning into a curmudgeon! I gave it 3 stars.

12. Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college - and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks.

The Bug Says: I have almost given up on this series so many times, but this time I had the best time. I don’t know why, but Lula was A+ hilarious to me, and Stephanie was pretty funny too. And there was even a new & fun way for her car to get destroyed! I gave it 4 stars.

13. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor's dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally. 

The Bug Says: This was a book club book. I feel really guilty that I didn’t enjoy this book. I sort of feel like I’m kicking a puppy, but it felt like I was reading someone’s not very interesting diary. Which, given all that he does & discovers & causes is not at all fair on my part. My fellow book clubbers seemed to enjoy it a lot more than I did, so if it interests you, then have at it. :) I gave it 2 stars.

14. Crimson Shore (Pendergast #15), by Douglas Preston. A secret chamber. A mysterious shipwreck. A murder in the desolate salt marshes. A seemingly straightforward private case turns out to be much more complicated-and sinister-than Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast ever could have anticipated. Pendergast, together with his ward Constance Greene, travels to the quaint seaside village of Exmouth, Massachusetts, to investigate the theft of a priceless wine collection. But inside the wine cellar, they find something considerably more disturbing: a bricked-up niche that once held a crumbling skeleton.

The Bug Says: Oh Pendergast you addicting devil you – you string me along & solve the mystery, and then leave me hanging: are you alive or are you dead? How is it possible that your brother is still alive? Or is he? Very annoying. I gave it 4 stars :)

15. The Beautiful Bureaucrat, by Helen Phillips. In a windowless building in a remote part of town, the newly employed Josephine inputs an endless string of numbers into something known only as "The Database." After a long period of joblessness, she's not inclined to question her fortune, but as the days inch by and the files stack up, Josephine feels increasingly anxious in her surroundings. The office's scarred pinkish walls take on a living quality. The drone of keyboards echoes eerily down the long halls. When one evening her husband Joseph disappears and then returns, offering no explanation as to his whereabouts, her creeping unease shifts decidedly to dread. As other strange events build to a crescendo, the haunting truth about Josephine's work begins to take shape in her mind, even as something powerful is gathering its own form within her. She realizes that in order to save those she holds most dear, she must penetrate an institution whose tentacles seem to extend to every corner of the city and beyond.

The Bug: This is another book club book. So very bizarre! I’m still not entirely sure what I think about it. The description made it sound like a corporate espionage sort of book, but it’s not like that at all. The main character seems to spend the whole book in a sort of fog & very strange things happen to her. It was well written, but weird. I gave it 3 stars.

16. The Song of the Jubilee (The Phantom of the Earth #1), by Raeden Zen. In the Great Commonwealth of Beimeni, a subterranean civilization in North America, expansion long ago gave way to peace and prosperity in the face of the history's most devastating plague. Immortality is the reward for service and loyalty in Beimeni, a place where the physical blends with the metaphysical and power consolidates in the hands of those with a genetic edge. The fissures first spread slowly, then swiftly, until now the Great Commonwealth finds itself on the brink of economic devastation, challenged by forces from within that know its secrets and its crimes. At the center of the conflict lie the Selendias of Piscator, founders of the resistance with an uncanny connection to the zeropoint field, and the Barão Strike Team, three researchers tasked with finding a cure to the Reassortment Strain, the plague that nearly wiped transhumankind from the Earth. Traveling from the uninhabitable but pristine surface to the habitable but inhospitable underground, this is a story about dedication to dreams, battle for survival, discovery and connection, song and celebration, undoing past misdeeds, and sacrifice for the greater good.

The Bug Says: The second book in this series is my book club Kindle freebie for February. Of course, I couldn’t just start in the middle, so I had to read the first one too. Again, I’m not really into this type of scifi, but I’m soldiering through very bravely. Basically, some sort of virus has wiped out almost everyone on earth, forcing the ones that remain to live underground. The goal is to figure out a cure so that people can move back to the surface. But there are plots! Intrigues! Political machinations! I’m still trying to decide if I care. I’ll let you know after I finish the next book. I gave this one 2 stars.

What are you reading lately?