Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday Miscellaney

Hello hello! First, some housekeeping. I have replied to all your comments on my last two posts. I was extra witty, so go check it out. (Note: I was not extra witty).

Also, Dr. M's dad has some serious health issues going on. We're not sure exactly what's going on, but I'll let you know when I know. Just please keep him & Dr. M & his brother in your prayers.

Now, on to the miscellany!

My hair must think I have a personality disorder of some kind. Here are the products that I routinely use:

I want volume! But it needs to be calmed down. And then curled! And, really? My hair is not curly, or straight, nor does it have volume. I think all these products are just canceling each other out. But I'm using them until they're gone because I hate to have a cabinet filled with half used things.

I made two squares with the new yarn I bought last week. You'll notice that the colors look different in the two pictures. Lighting really does make a difference - who knew? The second one is a little more true.

I wore a blazer that I haven't worn in a while & found this note in the pocket:

It was written on a full sheet of notebook paper, with nothing else on it. My Facebook folks had some interesting ideas, but none of them sounded right. What do you think?

On Saturday I made a cake! A yarn cake that is (that's what they call those little squat balls of yarn that aren't in a skein or in a ball). It's not a very good yarn cake, but at least that wad of yarn is usable. (Note the color difference in these photos too - taken in the same place, but three hours apart).

Finally, the moon!

Have a fabulous week!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Book Review Tuesday, Part 1

This is Part 1 of 2 because I've read 16 books since my last Book Review Tuesday post in November. There would have been more, but I'm rereading all the Harry Potter books again (I'm on the Order of the Phoenix - Book 5 - right now).

1. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina GeorgeSimon Pare (translator). Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened. After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. 

The Bug Says: I read this one for book club and I really thought I would like it. It was nicely quirky, and the characters were somewhat interesting. But, since I’m the person who will wander through your house looking to see if you have anything in your decorative boxes, I had no patience for Monsieur Perdu and his 20 year old unopened letter. Sorry for your heartache dude, but it should have happened 20 years ago! I gave it 3 stars.

2. All Shall Be Well (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #2), by Deborah Crombie. Perhaps it is a blessing when Jasmine Dent dies in her sleep. At long last an end has come to the suffering of a body horribly ravaged by disease. It may well have been suicide; she had certainly expressed her willingness to speed the inevitable. But small inconsistencies lead her neighbor, Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard, to a startling conclusion: Jasmine Dent was murdered. But if not for mercy, why would someone destroy a life already so fragile and doomed? As Kincaid and his capable and appealing assistant Sergeant Gemma James sift through the dead woman's strange history, a troubling puzzle begins to take shape -- a bizarre amalgam of good and evil, of charity and crime . . . and of the blinding passions that can drive the human animal to perform cruel and inhuman acts. 

The Bug Says: I enjoyed the first book in this series & decided to continue on. I’m glad I did. The ending was very surprising! I gave it 4 stars.

3. Breaking Braydon (Breaking and Taking #1), by M.K. Harkins. Playboy billionaire Braydon Decker changes women more often than designer ties. Scarred and humiliated as a teenager, he pledged long ago to never trust a beautiful woman again. But then he never imagined meeting one quite like Jain Parker. Jain, a dedicated medical research scientist, learned early in college that her good looks were a hindrance and she’d have to tone down her beauty to be taken seriously, thus, Plain Jain was born, and men were no longer an issue. Of course, she didn’t count on running into Braydon Decker. 

The Bug Says: This was my book club freebie, and if it looks like your typical Harlequin romance, then you are exactly right. As a brown eyed brunette, I was So Annoyed (ANNOYED) that Jain disguised herself as a brown eyed brunette to make herself unattractive. Urgh. I gave it 2 stars.

4. Devoted in Death (In Death #41), by J.D. Robb. Ella-Loo and her boyfriend, Darryl, had been separated while Darryl was a guest of the state of Oklahoma, and now that his sentence has been served they don’t ever intend to part again. Ella-Loo’s got dreams. And Darryl believes there are better ways to achieve your dreams than working for them. So they hit the road, and when their car breaks down in Arkansas, they make plans to take someone else’s. Then things get messy and they wind up killing someone—an experience that stokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo. A desire for Darryl. And a desire to kill again.

The Bug Says: Another great Eve Dallas installment – Ella-Loo & Darryl made a big mistake when they brought their show to NYC! I gave it 4 stars.

5. Taking Tiffany (Breaking and Taking #2), by M.K. Harkins. Young socialite, Tiffany Thompson, seems to have it all, everything but love, that is. Guarded since her high school boyfriend’s betrayal, she wouldn’t recognize real love if it hit her over the head. Unless it’s a can of paint, and successful financier Todd Jameson is behind it. Todd fell hard and fast for Tiffany a year earlier, but, unwilling to risk his own heart after a college sweetheart shattered it, he avoids Tiffany and vows to keep his distance. Fate has other plans, however, and changes both their minds. 

The Bug Says: OK, I know I just read the first book in this series, and I know that I gave it 2 stars, and I know that I was really annoyed about what the main character did to make herself unattractive, but…book #2 was free too & I sort of liked the Tiffany character. But this one was meh too, so I gave it 2 stars.

6. The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2), by Danielle Paige. To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die... But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn't wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked? 

The Bug Says: This series has so much potential! But I guess I’m past the age where I’m entertained by teenage heroines. I’ve got middle-aged hormones going on – I do not want to deal with teenage ones. Plus, I was really disappointed by who was killed in this book. I spent a lot of the book just annoyed. You know I’ll probably read the next one though. Sigh. I gave it 3 stars

7. Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander #1), by Henning Mankell. One frozen January morning at 5am, Inspector Wallander responds to what he believes is a routine call-out. When he reaches the isolated farmhouse he discovers a bloodbath. An old man has been tortured and beaten to death, his wife lies barely alive beside his shattered body, both victims of a violence beyond reason. The woman supplies Wallander with his only clue: the perpetrators may have been foreign. When this is leaked to the press, it unleashes racial hatred. Kurt Wallander's life is a shambles: his wife has left him, his daughter refuses to speak to him, and even his ageing father barely tolerates him. He works tirelessly, eats badly, and drinks his nights away in a lonely, neglected flat. But now, with winter tightening and his activities being monitored by a tough-minded district attorney, Wallander must forget his troubles and throw himself into a battle against time and against mounting racial hatred.

The Bug Says: Here’s another one that I wanted to like, but Wallander also mostly annoyed me (I’m sensing a trend – maybe I’m the problem!). I realize that the book was written in 1991, but I had trouble with his attitude toward women. But the mystery itself was interesting, as was the role that refugee camps played – especially with today’s current refugee crisis. I gave it 3 stars.

8. The Scam (Fox and O'Hare #4), by Janet Evanovich. Nicolas Fox is a charming con man and master thief on the run. Kate O’Hare is the FBI agent who is hot on his trail. At least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality, Fox and O’Hare are secretly working together to bring down super-criminals the law can’t touch. Criminals like brutal casino magnate Evan Trace. Evan Trace is running a money-laundering operation through his casino in Macau. Some of his best customers are mobsters, dictators, and global terrorists. Nick and Kate will have to go deep undercover as high-stakes gamblers, wagering millions of dollars—and their lives—in an attempt to topple Trace’s empire.

The Bug Says: This was another fun romp through Janet Evanovich’s mind. As I’ve mentioned before, unlike her Stephanie Plum character, Kate O’Hare is actually a competent FBI agent. It’s nice to see a woman who can kick butt. I gave it 4 stars.

What are you reading these days?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday Miscellany

Well hello there! I trust you're doing well. I'm fine, although I could have done with a couple of extra Saturdays this weekend. I always have a list of things I'm going to do, but then I get to the end of the weekend & mostly I've just crocheted. Poor Dr. M.

We got new square patterns for the afghan crochet-along. Fun and VERY fast. I sat outside on Saturday & crocheted one of them start to finish in just a couple of hours. (The key phrase there is "I SAT OUTSIDE.") Here are the new squares, plus my progress so far:

The weekend was VERY windy and our snow people decided that they were just done. I'd like to think this means we might not have more snow, but I'm not sure how much we can trust the predictive power of lumber.

I put a screen protector on my new iPad, and I had to laugh at the instructions. Exactly how does one hold something soft and floury firmly?

On Sunday before book club I ran into Michael's for more yarn. As I said on Facebook, it's not an addiction. I can quit at any time! Right after this next project...

Hope your Monday lands softly!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Last night at choir practice we were learning a new piece with a pretty low alto part. I was singing along, when suddenly I heard my mother's voice come out of my mouth. She didn't sing often - she had no confidence in her singing ability - but when she did sing, her voice was low and mellow. Made me smile. Made me miss her all over again. 

Que sera sera Momcat, que sera sera...

Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday Miscellany

I'm writing this while in a Valentine's candy stupor, so who knows what I'll say... Let's see...

The iPad Story. I decided to get myself a tablet for my birthday, and after weighing the pros & cons of different ones, I decided to go with the newest iPad - the Air 2. It would use the same charging cables as my iPhone, & since it's basically a giant phone, I already know how to navigate it. Of course, I couldn't wait until my birthday to get it, and when it arrived I was really excited until I pulled out the charging cable. Not at all the same. Turns out that I ordered an iPad 2 instead of an iPad Air 2. I just treated myself to 5 year old technology! Woo hoo! I thought I'd gotten a really good deal. Ha! But so far I like it just fine. If I were watching a lot of videos or playing games I might wish I had something newer, but I wanted it to read books and blogs and Facebook, and it's perfect for that. 

Church Stuff. I agreed to run for Senior Warden at church again - another 2 year term. And those crazy people elected me again. Hopefully this next two years will be as uneventful as the past two years (although, come to think of it, a lot of stuff actually did happen... hmm...). 

Another (ANOTHER!) hat. I made a gray one this time. I love those buttons!

I'm currently working on a scarf, but since right now it looks like one of those crocheted beards, I'm not sharing a picture. Well, ok, since you asked, but this is not how it will look when it's finished.

Temperature Blanket. I saw this super cute idea on Facebook & decided right away that I needed to try it. And yes, I know what you dirty-minded people are thinking & you just keep those thoughts to yourselves! :)

OK, I know this is long on yarn, and short on substance, but it's what you're getting at the moment. Why don't you tell me a yarn in the comments?

P.S. I'm trying to be better about replying to comments on my posts, so check my last post to see what fascinating thing I said (note: not really fascinating).

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Still here...

Somehow it's almost Friday & I never did a Monday post! This is what happens when you relax & decide to go with the flow... The flow has been busy crocheting and playing with my new iPad (now that's a story!).

But, no time for stories today. Here are some pictures to tide you over until I can do a proper post. Plus, check out Dr. M's hawk here!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday Miscellany

First of all, shingles update: No nerve pain to speak of, the ugly rash on my leg feels similar to a bad sunburn. So, really, no big deal. I'm so thankful & amazed! That antiviral medicine really really works! Thanks to L & J (a couple of nurse friends) for "making" me go to urgent care last Sunday!!

Next, here's my week, as told in Facebook posts...

Tuesday: Experimenting with coasters.

Saturday: Spent the afternoon at a baby shower & made a friend.

(From Dr. M's Facebook page): Red-bellied woodpecker, 1/30/16


Just had a serious conversation with Dr. M while wearing this (hat on the left). He didn't seem to notice. ‪#‎crochetspouse‬ (Finished hat on the right)

Temperature blanket update: the month of January is 8.5 inches long, had a little bit of snow, some really cold temps, and some really warm ones (I wasn't expecting to use green until March!). The blanket is 56" wide. I'm hoping the non-snow months won't be quite as long (adding the white yarn makes that row a little taller). After much soul searching I decided to use gray to mark the end of the month.

Did anything interesting happen in your life this past week?

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