Sunday, December 27, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Fifty-two

Merry Christmas! Well, Merry Two Days After Christmas. I trust we all made it through unscathed? I still have a few gifts to distribute (due to them not being here yet), but I think we had a pretty successful holiday. It was EXTRA low key – so much so that after Sunday there aren’t very many photos. Also, I haven’t read blogs since Wednesday, but I’ll get around to everyone today or tomorrow.
 
Sunday, December 20th
I made banana pomegranate apple bread! It was really good! Although I might leave out the pomegranates next time – they didn’t really add to the flavor & that’s a waste of pomegranates to me.
 

Here are my coworker gifts for this year – pretty cute! I had to learn Tunisian crochet to make the little scarves. It was ok, but I definitely need to get better at it before I would attempt anything larger.
 

I also finally made us one of the ornaments that I made last year. It is a little bit on the homely side. I really struggle with pairing colors – obviously! The biggest problem is that I LOVE that green, but it rarely actually looks very good mixed with other colors.
 

Monday, December 21st
Dr. M made zucchini fries in the air fryer. They were really good!
 

Tuesday, December 22nd
The only picture today it this random selfie. I have no idea. Maybe I was checking that my hair wasn’t crazy? I look a little maniacal. 
 

Wednesday, December 23rd
One of the lilies in my anniversary bouquet finally opened up. It’s gorgeous!


Thursday, December 24th
We did a very brief gift exchange with Daddy & Sue. On a whim, I had made a Mickey (Minnie?) Mouse outfit for Sue’s doll. They gave me this thermometer & could not have been more excited! A hypochondriac during a pandemic? DREAM PRESENT!
 

Friday, December 25th
We took lunch to Dr. M’s dad, rambled around the county looking at sheep, and otherwise had a lovely quiet Christmas Day.
 

Saturday, December 26th
I’m trying to make a beanie, but this looks more like a place mat. It’s not becoming the expected bowl shape. I might have to frog it & try again with a smaller hook. Stay tuned!
 

 
People, I have missed having a big crochet project this year. I’m thinking about either doing another temperature blanket (in some style that won’t end up being 9 feet long), or another granny square blanket like I’ve done in the past. Do any of you have opinions on this? Do tell!
 
P.S. In case you missed it, I posted our annual Christmas poem on Christmas Eve. I was pretty proud of this one.
 
 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas!

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! For glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing:
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.
Edmund H. Sears, It Came upon
the Midnight Clear
 
Aging is sly and brutal
and I am unamused
by my body’s betrayal:
Healthy, but flawed
in the way of most things,
it wants more care
than I care to give it.

My spirit is the same.
It waits, impatient,
while I feed it bonbons.

I sit in mindful stillness.
Breathe out (the weary world).
Breathe in (the babe to come).

Listen! The groaning of
this broken world is
being drowned out by
songs of jubilation!
 
The babe has arrived;
he brings peace on earth
again as he always does.

Shall we follow him?
 
Dana & Mike Rhyne
Christmas 2020


Sunday, December 20, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Fifty-one

Christmas is less than a week away and I am not ready. However, we’ve canceled our family gathering, so I think I might have some leeway here. In fact, I hereby grant myself leeway. Whew! (Um, fam, your gifts might be a tad delayed.) I was going to go shopping today (to one store), but I’m not feeling fabulous & my temp is up a smidge (99), so I bailed on that plan. 99 degree temps didn’t used to be a cause for alarm, but these days we are not taking chances!

Sunday, December 13th

I tried to get a good picture of our tree without much success. So here is an over-processed one for your enjoyment. 

Monday, December 14th

Our anniversary is on the 15th, and I came home to goodies from Dr. M. He’s the best! 

Tuesday, December 15th

Anniversary day! Thirty years! That just seems crazypants. I posted this photo on FB and had a couple of folks who were happy to see the return of the hat (apparently I post this same picture every year? Ha!). 

The 30th is the pearl anniversary, so Dr. M got me a couple of pearl items. The green and freshwater pearl set is from my favorite, Feryl Designs. 

Back in February I had commissioned these portraits from someone I know just on FB. I kind of liked his quirky style. They don’t really look much like us – I think I like them better if I imagine that they’re other people. 


Wednesday, December 16th

Apparently Wednesday is the day that Dr. M cooks. Here is his description on FB: Nothing for it but to make chicken soup tonight! Started with a base of onions, white carrots, and a blend of bell and poblano peppers, added garlic, spices, and cubed yellow squash and zucchini for a summer vibe. Chicken, broth, corn, black beans, and, once all that came to a boil, a cup of orzo. Once that cooked, I finished with chopped cilantro and the juice from a fresh lemon.


Thursday, December 17th

For old times’ sake I put on my favorite lipstick – Burt’s Bees Rhubarb & then took a selfie showcasing my ancient Santa earrings. I wiped off the lipstick the next time I put my mask back on. 


Friday, December 18th

Our department won the decorating contest & got donuts as a prize. This is not a bear claw – it’s a bigfoot claw! It had apple filling – very yummy. I also took a picture of my coworker’s ostrich Christmas sweater. She got shamed into taking it off because of the unfortunate placement of the ostrich body. There was much hooting and hilarity. Ha! 

Dr. M caught the cotton candy twilight – and the moon!

Saturday, December 18th

I have had some sort of malaise all during this pandemic. I don’t read, I don’t crochet – I spend all my time scrolling Instagram and playing a game on my iPad. As a result, I haven’t made Christmas presents like I had planned to. Here is a sneak peek at a couple that did get completed – you’ll get to see them in all their glory next week. 

Are you ready for Christmas? What is it going to look like for you this year? Mine will be an introvert’s dream – but even introverts need people sometimes. Looking forward to the day when we can gather in peace again!

 

 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Book Reviews – the November Edition


Amazingly, I was able to finish four books in November. I’m still not sure I’ll reach my Goodreads goal of 60 for the year (and that’s down from 75 last year!). Such a weird book year.

1. Ghosted, by Rosie Walsh. ★★★★ When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it's mutual: It's as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn't call.

Sarah's friends tell her to forget about him, but she can't. She knows something's happened--there must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she's right. There is a reason for Eddie's disappearance, and it's the one thing they didn't share with each other: the truth.

The Bug Says: I enjoyed a lot of aspects of this book. The characters were interesting, and I was pulled along waiting to find out the “twist” that I knew was coming. For me, it did not disappoint, although the ending might have been a little over the top.

2. Parrot and Olivier in America, by Peter Carey. ★★★ Olivier is a young aristocrat, one of an endangered species born in France just after the Revolution. Parrot, the son of an itinerant English printer, wanted to be an artist but has ended up in middle age as a servant. When Olivier sets sail for the New World - ostensibly to study its prisons, but in reality to avoid yet another revolution - Parrot is sent with him, as spy, protector, foe and foil. Through their adventures with women and money, incarceration and democracy, writing and painting, they make an unlikely pair. But where better for unlikely things to flourish than in the glorious, brand-new experiment, America? A dazzlingly inventive reimagining of Alexis de Tocqueville's famous journey, Parrot and Olivier in America brilliantly evokes the Old World colliding with the New. Above all, it is a wildly funny, tender portrait of two men who come to form an almost impossible friendship, and a completely improbable work of art.

The Bug Says: Someone had recommended another book by this author, but it wasn’t available so I thought I would try this one. It gets 3 stars instead of 4 because it took me a long time to get into it. I listened to the audio version & the parts of the story from Olivier’s point of view were hard for me to understand at first (very strong French accent!). But then I warmed to the characters and really enjoyed the descriptions of their experience in America.

3. Battle Ground (The Dresden Files #17), by Jim Butcher. ★★★★ Harry has faced terrible odds before. He has a long history of fighting enemies above his weight class. The Red Court of vampires. The fallen angels of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. The Outsiders.

But this time it’s different. A being more powerful and dangerous on an order of magnitude beyond what the world has seen in a millennium is coming. And she’s bringing an army. The Last Titan has declared war on the city of Chicago, and has come to subjugate humanity, obliterating any who stand in her way.

Harry’s mission is simple but impossible: Save the city by killing a Titan. And the attempt will change Harry’s life, Chicago, and the mortal world forever.

The Bug Says: As the title suggests, this book was one long battle. It took me FOREVER to read it because I just knew that someone I liked was going to get killed. And I wasn’t wrong. But still, such a good series! It also feels like the “old” Harry is back – well, as back as he can be while still being the Winter Knight.

4. The Awakening (The Dragon Heart Legacy #1), by Nora Roberts. ★★★★ When Breen Kelly was a girl, her father would tell her stories of magical places. Now she’s an anxious twentysomething mired in student debt and working a job she hates. But one day she stumbles upon a shocking discovery: her mother has been hiding an investment account in her name. It has been funded by her long-lost father—and it’s worth nearly four million dollars.

This newfound fortune would be life-changing for anyone. But little does Breen know that when she uses some of the money to journey to Ireland, it will unlock mysteries she couldn’t have imagined. Here, she will begin to understand why she kept seeing that silver-haired, elusive man, why she imagined his voice in her head saying Come home, Breen Siobhan. It’s time you came home. Why she dreamed of dragons. And where her true destiny lies—through a portal in Galway that takes her to a land of faeries and mermaids, to a man named Keegan, and to the courage in her own heart that will guide her through a powerful, dangerous destiny…

The Bug Says: I am always excited to start a new Nora Roberts trilogy. And I do enjoy when she weaves in magic and magical beings. This one was a lot of fun, but it’s just the beginning, so it left me eager to read more. I guess that’s not a bad thing.

I’m currently reading a Lemony Snicket book (trying to cheat and read short books to reach my goal). And I have a Dean Koontz waiting in the wings. We’ll see how it goes! Did you have any book goals this year & how have you done? 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Fifty

It is with much relief that I can report that the Christmas poem is finished & the cards were mailed today. Thanks to Dr. M for getting the envelopes ready & printing the poem out. I actually wrote the poem last year, but we decided to not use it then. When you read it you’ll realize why it seems extra relevant today! 

Sunday, December 6th

Baby shower! I think it was a success. People seemed to have fun, and I felt like we were as safe as we could be. 

Monday, December 7th                                 

My face felt “tight’ all day, which is sometimes a symptom of a fever for me, so I came right home & took my temperature. Whew! I’m pretty sure I forgot to put on moisturizer that morning. Ha! 


Tuesday, December 8th                                                               

There’s really no way I’m going to meet my reading challenge goal this year, but I thought I’d sneak in this very short book to see if I could come closer. Lemony Snicket is a (very depressing) hoot. Ha! 


Wednesday, December 9th                                                           

More air fryer shenanigans. These look like apple slices, but they were potatoes. Very yummy!

 


Thursday, December 10th         

I stole these photos from a coworker – this is the lobby of our department at work. They did a great job!

 


Friday, December 11th 

I signed all of our Christmas cards and now there is glitter all over me, the house, and other peoples’ houses (once they get their card). Sorry! 


Saturday, December 12th                     

Just showing off the girls’ light situation. I took this picture in the afternoon – in the mornings the light can be blinding coming through those two windows! (Excuse the bath mats - I was doing the floors.) 


Dr. M took some pictures of more of our ornaments. We keep meaning to get a photo of the whole tree, but we need to do it at the right time of day and we can’t remember (hang on – let me just put a reminder on my phone. Done.). 


Here is my note from FB: People. I’m a notoriously slack housekeeper (hello quarterly dusting!), but I may have outdone myself. I just washed 17 pairs of my underwear. SEVENTEEN.   Who even knew I had that many?


Tuesday is our 30th wedding anniversary and I have asked for the day off from work. I don’t know if we’ll do anything exciting, but it will be nice to have a day together in the middle of the week. Five years ago today we were heading to Puerto Rico for our 25th anniversary cruise. That seems like another lifetime ago! Maybe someday we can do something like that again. What are you wanting to do once life gets back (somewhat) to normal?  

 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Forty-nine

People. I am just not in good enough physical shape for all this Christmas decorating. I dragged all the boxes out last Sunday, did maybe one thing every other night, and then spent a couple of hours basically attacking the tree with ornaments, and put all the boxes back yesterday. I was exhausted. Fortunately I was also able to finish the baby shower gift for the shower I’m helping give TODAY. I’m really not used to having to do things – all of this stay at home business has made me soft and lazy. Okay, yes, I was always soft and lazy. ANYWAY, here are my pictures for the week – mostly Christmas and selfies. 

Sunday, November 29th  

We had the nephews and their better halves over for a visit. B2 and his wife are just back from South Korea, and B1 and his lady live in Virginia (the nerve!), so we hadn’t seen any of them in a while. 

It was the first Sunday in Advent, so I dragged out my motley crew of candles.


Monday, November 30th  
I took the little tree that my mother got me to work. I can’t believe that it’s thirty two years old! It’s an antique! 

Meanwhile, Dr. M got the drop cord we needed so he could perfectly position our tree to make the Christmas Tree Angel. 

Tuesday, December 1st                                                               

My brother’s birthday! Happy birthday Joe! Your card was late! (It’s a family tradition.) Meanwhile, Ms. Pinky & Rita are doing well. 


Here is what Dr. M had to say about this meal: So tonight we’re having an Asian-American vegetarian vegetable soup, featuring a number of ingredients furnished by @misfitsmarket ! The base is traditional: red onion, celery, and carrots, sautéed a bit. I added Wayne Wallace’s most excellent garlic and my favorite soup seasoning: chopped cumin seeds, along with sea salt and fresh ground pepper with a bit of attitude. Next came soy sauce, followed by vegetable broth. Then I added chick peas for substance. After the soup returned to a boil, I added bok choy, with the more fibrous stem pieces going in first, then the leafy parts. Finally, I tossed in some roasted, shredded spaghetti squash! The spouse says it’s pretty tasty! 


Wednesday, December 2nd

I think we photograph these ornaments every year. They’re from Dr. M’s grandmother and they’re my favorite.

 


Thursday, December 3rd         

We didn’t have any other pictures, so you get this selfie. 


Friday, December 4th                                                                      Felt cute.



We made paper snowflakes at work. That was fun! Next week I should take pictures of our lobby – the ladies I work with did a FABULOUS job decorating.



Dr. M got us a new seasonally appropriate ornament. Ha!


Saturday, December 5th                     

This is how my brain works. I’ve had this little mouse for, oh, 30 years? Every year I wrestle an ornament hook through that hole to hang it. This year I FINALLY thought to put a little bit of yarn through there. But did I just grab a scrap from all the multitudinous yarn around me? Nope. I decided to do a bit of sewing & use the leftover end. Yes, I stopped decorating the tree to work on a crochet project so I could hang an ornament on the tree. The yarn doesn’t even really match. #what #welcometomybrain #christmas2020 

Here’s the dinosaur hooded blanket that I made for my nephew & his wife’s baby. I hope they like it!

As predicted, it was difficult to get out of bed for work last week, but I survived. How about you – did you survive?  

 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Forty-eight

I have had a lovely couple of days off with a nice mix of housework, crocheting, and book reading. Oh, and FOOD. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the pecan pie that Dr. M got me. Oh well, too late now. Rest assured, there are pictures of other food. 

Sunday, November 22nd

We watched a movie for the first time in forever – an old favorite. I’ve probably watched The Martian, read The Martian, and listened to the audiobook of The Martian about a blue million times now. Comfort food for my brain! 

Monday, November 23rd                                

Still plenty of beauty in our yard.  



Tuesday, November 24th                                                               

Dr. M took the mower to his dad’s house for the winter (he has a covered shed where it can be out of the weather). While there he took this picture of his dad’s (mostly feral) cats. Several of these were taken & fixed recently – hopefully the female who had two litters of kittens this year was among them. 


Wednesday, November 25th                                                          

Sign from a local Hardee’s – made Dr. M laugh enough that he turned around just so he could snap the photo. Ha!

 


Thursday, November 26th          

I couldn’t decide between sweet or savory oatmeal this morning, so I made a small amount of each – the top one has mushrooms, a fried egg, and parm; the bottom, pomegranates and almonds. Both were delicious!


Zoomsgiving! Not everyone participated, but it was nice to see so many family members.


Dr. M fixed us a feast! (We got sweet potato soufflé from my cousin.) It was all delicious! 


Friday, November 27th      

I got Dr. M a lava lamp for his birthday & he plugged it in today. Groovy, man! 


I’m working on a surprise present for a special someone. 


Saturday, November 28th                     

Our 30th anniversary is next month, and as usual we couldn’t wait until then to give ourselves a present. We got an air fryer/convection oven/toaster oven combo. Very excited to see what all we do with it! First, up, zucchini chips! 


Last week I wrote about being excited for a short workweek, and now it’s the next Saturday & I will have to work all five days next week. It’s going to be a shock to the system. Not the actual work (I like my job); getting up early enough to get to work on time is going to be the issue. On Thursday I woke up at 8:00, on Friday at 9:02, and today at 9:16. You can see the disturbing trend. Perhaps I should aim for 8:00 tomorrow? We shall see. Have you had a nice holiday? Will Monday seem rude to you too?

2021 Project 365 – Week Forty-nine

The first full week back at work after a holiday or vacation is the longest. I felt quite uninspired photographically, but still managed to ...