Sunday, June 28, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Twenty-six

Hello out there! I’m feeling a smidge more alert than I was when I wrote last week’s post. A smidge. There is no guarantee, however, that I will be any more coherent. I can’t wait to find out – can you?

Sunday, June 21st                                                             

Happy Father’s Day! Spent some time with Daddy & Sue, but did I take a single picture? No I did not. Instead you get this test run for the new scarf (excuse my face – Sunday is a makeup free zone). I don’t know – I’m not at all sold on it. However, it does sort of match those yellow pants. Anyone else in love with it & need it in their life?


Monday, June 22nd                           

It turns out that our mystery plant in the wildflower bed is bee balm! I love it!


Tuesday, June 23rd                                                                 

Got my hair did! Basically she toned down the brassy highlights & gave me more layers. I like it! 

Walked into the office to find this escape in progress.

Wednesday, June 24th                                                        

Starting a new project & was organizing all the colors of this yarn that I have.

Wildflowers!

The Roy got a haircut! He’s a whole new dog! It turns out that he isn’t as chunky as we thought – he was mostly fur. His owner says that she didn’t recognize him when she went to pick him up – and he has a lot more energy.

 


Thursday, June 25th      

Still working on my project. I was playing around with color & design (note: not my spiritual gift). I’m going to make one of these four designs using 2” square blocks.

The double orange daylilies are gorgeous this year!

Friday, June 26th                                                                   

I was about to take a big ole bite out of my breakfast burrito & realized that I was still wearing my mask. Oops.

It was Take your Dog to Work Day! I was kind of obsessed with Pebbles the Siberian husky.

Now that I’m wearing a mask at work every day I decided to order an extra one for me from a blog friend, along with a couple for Daddy & Sue. Dr. M tried out the one for Daddy – love it!

Saturday, June 27th                

Spent some of my morning on the deck working on the new project. Can you tell which of the four designs I decided to use?

I did a walkabout to check on the flowers. My two little wildflower boxes are producing such delicate little blossoms. The big wildflower bed on the other hand – not very delicate at all!


I am about at my wits end trying to figure out why people are so belligerent about wearing masks. It makes no sense. It reminds me of the O Brother Where Art there Quote: “It’s afool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.” Ah well, I’ll just keep wearing my mask and waiting for a vaccine. What is your state of mind these days?

 


Saturday, June 20, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Twenty-five

I’m sitting here typing this leaned back in my recliner with my eyes closed. That’s how lively things are around here. Just the way I like them – low key and chill. Well, that was nice, but I guess I’ll have to open my eyes to write the rest of the post – it is about pictures, after all. J

Sunday, June 14th                                                            

I took a little walk around the old homestead to see what was what.


This is a total mutual love affair. 

Monday, June 15th                          

I’m not saying the Supreme Court’s decision about discrimination against LGBTQ folks was because I was wearing my pride band, but I’m not saying it wasn’t.


Tuesday, June 16th                                                                

No picture – just this sad screen shot. I’m pretty sure there won’t be baseball this year. I’m trying to not read anything about it because as long as I don’t, then I don’t have to be mad and disgusted at all the parties involved. And anyway, I’m not sure it’s at all safe to play baseball.


Wednesday, June 17th                                                        

The hydrangea at Dr. M’s dad’s house is blooming!

I asked the interwebs if I should add watermelon to my salad (spinach, apples, grapes, feta, almonds). The results were inconclusive, so I added the watermelon anyway. It was good!

Thursday, June 18th       

Ms. Pinky Two-Tone showing off her two tones.

I really should have taken another step just to stave off the apocalypse, but frankly I couldn’t be bothered.


Friday, June 19th                                                                    

My mom’s birthday. Miss you Momcat! It was also Juneteenth, which I have actually known about for years, partly because it’s the same day as my mom’s birthday & partly because I’m married to a historian.

They’ve been feeding us at work on Fridays & this time I got a breakfast sandwich as big as my head. That bread was as big as two slices – HUGE! I ate half & Dr. M had the other half for dinner.

Saturday, June 20th                 

I finally finished this shawl. When I bought the yarn I thought I’d make socks, but it turns out I’m intimidated by socks so I fell back on something I felt more comfortable with. However, I’m not sure the pattern I picked works well with this very busy yarn. We’ll see what I think once it’s dry & I can style it.

We’ll end the post the way we started it – with flowers. We were thrilled to finally see those purple coneflowers – the first ones we’ve seen in the 3 years since we planted the wildflower bed.

I’m not really much of a cusser, but the way things have been going lately my interior monologue has become rather ripe. I sure hope that the rally in Tulsa isn’t as deadly as I’m afraid it will be. Meanwhile, I’m just wearing my mask, trying to elevate black lives, and celebrating with my gay friends & Dreamers. What are you doing?


Sunday, June 14, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Twenty-four

I’ve got nothing. (If you’re reading this it’s because I wrote the rest of the post and I still have nothing to say here.)

Sunday, June 7th                                                            

I think they liked it! 


Monday, June 8th                          

Flora 

Fauna 

Some of both. 

Tuesday, June 9th                                                                

The only Boys of Summer that we’re getting these days. 






Wednesday, June 10th                                                        

I’m not sure what’s going on here.  A before picture that I can use if I ever go to get my hair done? 

Thursday, June 11th       

This isn’t my photo – it’s a street in Charlotte. I love the art and the message! For my “all lives matter” people, here is an article that might help you understand why that response comes across as racist. Here is a quote: “Black lives matter” is about focus, not exclusion," Johnson says. "It reminds us to recognize and confront racism and racial violence."  


On my way home from work I saw this small demonstration. 


I was dreadmilling & hadn’t remembered to pull my hair back so I used a headphone cord. It was only somewhat effective. 

Friday, June 12th                                                                    

Wildflowers! 

And here are my two wildflower boxes. We’re finally getting a little action. 

Saturday, June 13th                 

Breakfast: steel cut oats, fried eggs, roasted green beans, tomato & cucumber salad, and parm. Yum! 


Our “ditch lilies” are winding down – next up will be the double orange. 


I have no caption here either. Why don’t you tell me something instead?


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Book Reviews - the May Edition





Last month I only had 3 books to review, but I made up for it this month. I read 5 books! Once again there was a nice mixed bag of just ok and fabulous.

1. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle. ★★★★★ There is a voice of longing inside every woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good mothers, daughters, partners, employees, citizens, and friends. We believe all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives, relationships, and world, and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful. We hide our simmering discontent—even from ourselves. Until we reach our boiling point.

Four years ago, Glennon Doyle—bestselling Oprah-endorsed author, renowned activist and humanitarian, wife and mother of three—was speaking at a conference when a woman (Abby Wambach) entered the room. Glennon looked at her and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. … Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both a memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It offers a piercing, electrifying examination of the restrictive expectations women are issued from birth; shows how hustling to meet those expectations leaves women feeling dissatisfied and lost; and reveals that when we quit abandoning ourselves and instead abandon the world’s expectations of us, we become women who can finally look at ourselves and recognize: There She Is.

The Bug Says: Oh man is this a GOOD book! Each chapter is a little kick to the gut (in a good way). Some are vignettes from her life and others are discussions with us about how to become true to ourselves. I highly recommend it.

2. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah. ★★★ Alaska, 1974. Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed. For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival. Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

The Bug Says: I loved Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, so I was excited to read this book. But oh my goodness – it was like she thought of every possible stereotypical thing that could happened to a family & just threw it all together to see what would happen. Every chapter contained something that would have been the denouement in any other book, and yet this one just kept going. The ending was somewhat satisfactory (in an ABC Afterschool Special kind of way).

3. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. ★★★★ IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

The Bug Says: This was a lot of fun to “read” (I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Wesley Crusher Wil Wheaton). There was a LOT of 80s trivia. And there was a very satisfactory rebellion against a corporate giant. Apparently a movie was made (the book came out in 2011) – I haven’t looked to see if it’s any good, but I might have to check it out.

4. The Deep, by Alma Katsu. ★★★ Someone, or something, is haunting the ship. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the Titanic from the moment they set sail. While some of the guests and crew shrug off strange occurrences, several--including maid Annie Hebbley, guest Mark Fletcher, and millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim--are convinced there's something more sinister going on. And then disaster strikes.

Years later, Annie, having survived that fateful night, has attempted to put her life back together by going to work as a nurse on the sixth sailing of the Britannic, newly refitted as a hospital ship to support British forces fighting World War I. When she happens across an unconscious Mark, now a soldier, she is at first thrilled and relieved to learn that he too survived the tragic night four years earlier. But soon his presence awakens deep-buried feelings and secrets, forcing her to reckon with the demons of her past--as they both discover that the terror may not yet be over.

Featuring an ensemble cast of characters and effortlessly combining the supernatural with the height of historical disaster, The Deep is an exploration of love and destiny, desire and innocence, and, above all, a quest to understand how our choices can lead us inexorably toward our doom. 

The Bug Says: This was a very interesting twist on the Titanic story, and I really enjoyed all the name dropping of famous passengers (I kept looking them up to see if they survived). But for some reason it just fell flat for me. This is a case where I actually think this would work better as a movie.

5. Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener (Agatha Raisin #3), by M.C. Beaton. ★★★★ Agatha Raisin has a crush on James Lacey. In order to endear herself to him, she takes up gardening, hoping to participate with him in the prestigious Carsely Horticultural Contest. But as the contest approaches, plants are being mysteriously uprooted, poisoned, and burned. When the prime suspect turns up dead, Agatha must solve the murder mystery.

The Bug Says: I loved the first book in this series, but the second book was meh. This one was a lot better than the second one – mostly because despite that first sentence in the description, Agatha spent most of the book not having a crush on James Lacey. (I was heartily sick of her crush in the second book.) This is lighthearted English murder mystery fun.

Just today I finished a Jen Hatmaker book (5 stars), started a Nora Roberts novel, and am in the middle of a British murder mystery (the 13th in a series). Also, on my list to read: Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation, by LaTasha Morrison, and How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi. What are you reading?


Sunday, June 7, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Twenty-three


For some reason, today, I am feeling more hopeful about the direction the country is moving in. Maybe I’m delusional. That doesn’t mean that I don’t intend to continue to do the work to help dismantle racism (once I figure out what my piece of that work is).  For now, let’s see what else happened this week. For example, this is the week that I finished the blanket I’ve been working on. I was about to say that now you will have seen the end of it, but I took pictures of it today in its new home, so you’ll see those next week.
Sunday, May 31st                                                           
I love this picture of Peaches the Rose – you can see all the different stages of her flowers, from peach bud to blowsy lady.


I called this the Banana Bread of Doom. I accidentally used ¾ tablespoon of salt instead of ¾ teaspoon. You wouldn’t think it would make that much of a difference, but reader: it does. I made some caramel sauce later in the week to see if I could trick myself into thinking I was eating some sort of salted caramel dessert, but it only sort of worked.


THE LAST SQUARE (of this particular blanket).


Monday, June 1st                          
Daylily at Dr. M’s dad’s house.


Tuesday, June 2nd                                                               
Salad in a jar. It had leftover homemade pulled chicken bbq in it and it was GOOD.


Wednesday, June 3rd                                                         
I took just a few grapes to work for a snack. Heh.


We have these very interesting flowers growing by the building I work in. What are they?


Dr. M grilled some corn so we could have Mexican street corn again. It’s my new favorite thing.


Thursday, June 4th       
We haven’t really been wearing masks at work – just trying to not be in each other’s space. But, my office is kind of small, and when I meet with employees I have to spend time closer than 6 feet (especially if we’re going over paperwork), so I decided that I needed to be a better citizen by wearing a mask.


Friday, June 5th                                                                    
Time to add all of these squares to this monster!


Both geraniums are now blooming and seem to be very happy out on the deck.


Saturday, June 6th                 
Ta da! I really struggled to get a good picture (the blanket is almost 7.5 feet square). I’m including the video because I think it does a little better job. The recipients (Daddy & Sue) seemed VERY appreciative when I delivered it today. It was a really fun project, but I’m glad to get it out of our living room. Ha! People keep asking how long it took to make. It's hard to tell because the original 24 squares were done over the course of a year (a new pattern was released every two weeks). But I estimate that I spent about 3-4 hours on each of the 36 squares. The joining itself didn't take that long, but maybe add another 2-3 hours for that? So, somewhere in the (very broad) range of 100 to 150 hours?







Our Mistfits box had an English cucumber in it today, so Dr. M made cucumber tomato salad. It was really yummy!


I am getting ready to work on my May book review post, but expect that I might post some more information about the Black Lives movement at some point. Dr. M has been doing some good writing on Facebook, so I might steal from him. Something for you guys to look forward to!

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 ...